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 My review of RE4
Rick Grimes
 Posted: Mar 26 2012, 10:56 PM
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Overview

I initially bought Resident Evil 4 hoping (well, expecting is probably a better word) that it would be another fantastic entry in the franchise, despite my not liking its more action-oriented focus. I was looking forward to reliving the feelings of dread, suspense, and sometimes sheer terror that I did (and still do today) with previous entries such as RE2 and REmake. The following is my assessment of Resident Evil 4.

Atmosphere

This is, IMO, the most important factor not just in Resident Evil, but any survival horror game whether that be Silent Hill, Clock Tower, or whatever. It's the same thing that makes films like Halloween and Friday the 13th (the original ones) what they are. The static camera angles were a critical component of this and played on the fear of what might be there, which any true horror fan will tell you is far more frightening than just seeing the monster or killer in its entirety right away. Not knowing what was behind the next turn or door was probably the biggest source of tension in the games. Code Veronica took this a step further by adding the sound of a rapidly beating heart when entering a room for the first time. And while RE3 is my favorite of the franchise in terms of gameplay and story, I always found Code Veronica to be the most frightening of the games. Another critical "theme", you could say, was claustrophobia. While I have no real life claustrophobia, being stuck in a narrow hall with a pack of zombies advancing on me and very little room to maneuver around them always left me hesitant to advance because doing to required me to expend valuable ammunition to clear a path.

Resident Evil 4 forgoes much of this atmosphere with an over-the-shoulder camera and wide open environments often with very little obstructing your view of what the area contained. While RE4 no doubt had a number of locations that perfectly suited the franchise (Salazar's Castle, for example) with areas that were just as small as, if not occasionally smaller than, many of the corridors in the Spencer Mansion and the Raccoon City Police Station, most of the environments (I'd say 60%... 55% at the smallest) were often wide open paths where evading an unaware adversary was quite easily done. This is one of the areas where the game suffered the most. I never felt any real conflict in the choice between evading and preserving ammo or securing the area by dispatching everything in it. The only part of the game I felt to be in line with RE's atmosphere was the segment where Leon and Luis had barricaded themselves inside the house while being attacked by a horde of ganados. While I'll be the first to acknowledge that it's ripped right out of zombie fiction, I even then felt no real dread or fear due to dead ganados dropping ammunition and keeping me overly supplied. For these reasons I feel the horror aspect of the game to be severely lacking to the point where it's virtually nonexistent.

Gameplay

This is the most critical factor for me, because a story could be Golden Globe-worthy and the greatest on earth, but without gameplay it's no different from a movie. The previous REs encouraged you to evade as many enemies as you could because they didn't give you enough ammo to kill everything you came across. Contrary to this, RE4 is rampant with enough ammo to supply the entire US Marine Corps in Afghanistan for months and the fact that each enemy has a very high chance of dropping more ammo seemingly encourages you to kill everything in sight, almost as if it's rewarding you. Essentially, the game is more or less centered on combat above anything else, and while I enjoy shooter games, Resident Evil is not a franchise I feel I should look at to fulfill that need. Add to that the merchant with the ability to just buy extremely powerful weapons practically whenever you want, and the game has pretty much no survival to it.

Puzzles were also a huge part of the games and many of them were quite complicated and required a lot of thought and trial and error to solve (the armor puzzle in REmake, the near unsolvable water purification puzzle and clock stone puzzle in RE3, the animal puzzle in RE0, being four perfect examples). In contrast, what few puzzles RE4 had were relatively simple and easy to complete.

Having to constantly rescue Ashley was also just... really irritating. Since when did RE become about babysitting people?

Story
I thought the story in RE4 just plain sucked. I... can't really do anything to soften or sugarcoat that. It's either good or it's not. By contrast, I've never had any such thing to say about any previous RE game I've played.

Conclusion
So in conclusion, all I can say is exactly what I've been saying all along: RE4 just doesn't incite any feelings of dread, tension, suspense, or fear that I enjoy the original games for. For that reason, it falls severely short as survival horror and all that's really left is an action shooter.
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Spike Reaver
 Posted: Mar 29 2012, 12:31 AM
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For me, it was just what you expected, another fantastic entry in the series. I didn't look at it as being something horrible and dissapointing, nor did I look at it as being a brand spanking new thing that makes all before it obsolete.

The fixed camera angles were one of the many things that really made RE stand out. I found it difficult to use at first, as I'm sure we all did, but we of course all got used to it. It's not even close to being an issue for me at this point, but I don't think it was that significant of a thing to where it being absent really, really affects much. I mean, while there is a positive aspect to it, the fear of not knowing what's there...it's also annoying.

I mean, I don't want to get munched on by a zombie that's right up in my grill, but I can't see it because of a dumb angle. And there are definately some stupid angles that we've gotten over the games.

That said, I do like the angles, but I also like the OTS camera, that was firstly introduced in Dead Aim, but more popularly in RE4. I do miss the angles sometimes, I don't remember which RE I was playing, but there was a damn cool camera angle that really just made me miss it, for real.

I've spoken with Spartan before on this issue, and we've talked about having both the static angles and the OTS view. I think that could be cool. Mix it up so certain halls have camera angles when you first enter it, or for a specific reason, like a little scare, and having OTS for other parts. Especially aiming. I think the aiming is a great touch. I think that it should still be very RE-like though, the controls and everything.

In RE4, it still plays like an RE game. The controls are almost exactly the same. Hold R to aim, A to shoot, Hold B for running, Z for map, Y for inventory, etc. And these are all the same for REmake, RE0, RE2, RE3, CVX, etc. Those are the GC controls BTW, which are my personal fav, and are the most consistent.

Now, having more open areas is definately not something I think is a huge issue, so long as the entire game isn't like that, and it wasn't for RE4.

The action is something that gets a lot of hate, and with RE4 I think that's a little unnecessary. I mean RE3 and CVX both introduced tons of action elements. Maybe RE4 just did a combination of all the right things at the wrong time to where it made it seem even more different.

Here is one complaint though, one legitimate issue that RE4 has. The survival aspect of the game is still intact, most especially with certain parts of the game, the Verdugo, among others. But having enemies dropping ammo is a big no-no. I hadn't even realized it at first, but just like with any RE game, and any game in general, you really feel obligated to run in and kill EVERYTHING and then move on. With RE1, you'll find out pretty damn fast that, that won't get you anywhere except dead.

In RE4, you are undoubtedly rewarded for killing enemies. So that obligation to kill everything rewards you, and so you spend more time killing off the enemies in an area before moving on. That's not exactly very RE-like.

Now, I don't want to generalize, as the entire game isn't like that, but a good portion is. And that is not survival so much, but more like killing.

Here is something else, the fear in RE, while I'll admit, I've never really been scared while playing any RE games, as much as I defend RE4 having horror, but I do know that there can be some intense moments, in all of them.

But basically what I'm trying to get at, is that in RE4, you are better prepared to fight off the hordes. You have the ability to aim, which can be beneficial, depending on who is playing I guess, haha, but in the right hands, my hands, I can be a deadly weapon. smile.gif

You also have melee attacks. Now just being better prepared makes everything less scary, considerably, but RE4 is not such a perpetrator. I mean, RE3, on Easy, armed you with the entire militaries arsenal of weapons. Seriously, it was pretty ridiculous getting to my item box and seeing the magnum, grenade launcher, shotgun, etc, all in there with tons and tons of ammo.

There are also more, and possibly more challenging enemies in RE4, a single ganado versus a single zombie. Maybe us being better prepared isn't so unwarranted. But there's no doubt, that it's scarier being in a creepy mansion, with a pistol and very very little ammo and health, instead of being in a big open room with...well, even if you just have the pistol in RE4, you are still better prepared than in RE1.

But I do think that OTS and being able to aim, and those little addition to what we know in the controls and such don't really take away from the horror aspect.

Resident Evil Revelations, that is the 3DS RE game that is really superb. Now I know that Spartan wouldn't want to buy a stupid 3DS just for that, and honestly, I can't say that there is much else I'd even want on it, other than the RER and Mercs3D that I already own, other than maybe Mario Kart 7. Otherwise, just an FYI, the 3DS is nothing special, and the 3D is an eye sore and is always off on mine. smile.gif

So basically I can understand how certain aspects from RE4's predecessors are a little absent, but the horror still exists. It's there, and I don't think it's any less. Rather the action has just taken a bigger role to where it seems smaller I guess.

I don't want to get too into it here, but ORC is a prime example of RE action shooter, and man, is it horrible. I bought it as soon as it came out, at midnight, and I still haven't finished it. Because I can't stand to play it for too long.

Now RE4's story, I guess you're right, you either love it or hate it.

I think it's a fun story and I liked it. No more or less than any others I guess. It's got nothing on CVX's story. smile.gif I can appreciate how it being less connected to the more relevant RE storyline can be a bit of a let down.

I think I remember Spartan saying something once about how after the years of fighting Umbrella, to hear at the beginning how they are finished was really dissapointing.

I like the whole Las Plagas thing and the Illuminados cult aspect. I think it was fresh, in fact it was PH phresh. By RE5 it feels stupid and lame and unoriginal, but in RE4, it was pretty cool and new and interesting.

I like the whole thing going on with Ada, Krauser and The Organization, and surely everyone can see the similarities between RE4 and others like an RE2 or CVX. How the main story was less important than what was going on behind the scenes. In RE2, it's Ada working for The Organization/Agency to collect G. In CVX it's Wesker working for The Organization/Agency to collect T-Veronica. In RE4 it's Ada again, working for The Organization to collect the Master Plaga Specimen.

RE4's puzzles aren't something that I would consider an issue. I mean, they are there, and there is a fair amount of them too. I can say that not too many, if any of RE4's puzzles were tedious, which is something I cannot say for RE3. I hated the puzzle in RE3 with the obsidian, crystal and amber gems. That's the most illogical thing ever, and wasn't fun, and I can't say I felt any better after completing it.

RE4 has some real thinkers though. Like I said, nothing tedious, and while not all of RE4's predecessor's puzzles were tedious, though RE3 has a few infamous ones, RE4 did still have puzzles that required you to use your brain.

As for Ashley, she was annoying, no one can argue differently. But honestly, RE has been plenty about babysitting before. Remember this little brat called Sherry? You walk 2 feet too far from her and she squats down into the fetal position, even though you're in the same friggin room.

I guess that's it for now. http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm97/SpartanWarrior198/Resident%20Evil%20Final%20Days/smiley-ashamed004.gif
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Rick Grimes
 Posted: Mar 29 2012, 09:00 AM
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Quotes aren't going to work here since I've too much to quote, so I'm just going to underline what you say to differentiate it from my response.

For me, it was just what you expected, another fantastic entry in the series.
But the thing is it didn't turn out to be another fantastic entry in the series for me.

I mean, while there is a positive aspect to it, the fear of not knowing what's there...it's also annoying.
But by that logic, movies such as Alien shouldn't be the cult classics that they are today. They played on the fear of not knowing because, in most cases, the monster costumes were pretty bad quality and not as frightening as initially hoped.

I mean, I don't want to get munched on by a zombie that's right up in my grill, but I can't see it because of a dumb angle.
As I elaborated above, those "dumb angles" were one of the sources of the feelings of tension, suspense, dread, and terror that I loved the games for.

In RE4, it still plays like an RE game. The controls are almost exactly the same. Hold R to aim, A to shoot, Hold B for running, Z for map, Y for inventory, etc. And these are all the same for REmake, RE0, RE2, RE3, CVX, etc. Those are the GC controls BTW, which are my personal fav, and are the most consistent.
I haven't any complaints about the controls in and of themselves, because they are mostly identical..

Now, having more open areas is definately not something I think is a huge issue, so long as the entire game isn't like that, and it wasn't for RE4.
We'll just have to disagree on that and be done with it.

I mean RE3 and CVX both introduced tons of action elements. Maybe RE4 just did a combination of all the right things at the wrong time to where it made it seem even more different.
RE3 and CVX didn't take it to such an extreme and stayed entirely true to the games before them, though. I honestly feel you're deliberately trying to downplay RE4's changes.

Here is one complaint though, one legitimate issue that RE4 has. The survival aspect of the game is still intact, most especially with certain parts of the game, the Verdugo, among others. But having enemies dropping ammo is a big no-no. I hadn't even realized it at first, but just like with any RE game, and any game in general, you really feel obligated to run in and kill EVERYTHING and then move on. With RE1, you'll find out pretty damn fast that, that won't get you anywhere except dead.
This is also something we're just going to have to disagree on and be done with it, because I've never felt any sort of obligation to kill every zombie or hunter I came across in any previous RE game unless it was one I'd unlocked infinite ammo for and whatnot. You couldn't kill everything in sight and have enough ammo left to beat the next boss.

In RE4, you are undoubtedly rewarded for killing enemies. So that obligation to kill everything rewards you, and so you spend more time killing off the enemies in an area before moving on. That's not exactly very RE-like.
And this for me negates any survival aspects that might have been present in RE4 to the point where it's pretty much nonexistent.

You also have melee attacks. Now just being better prepared makes everything less scary, considerably, but RE4 is not such a perpetrator. I mean, RE3, on Easy, armed you with the entire militaries arsenal of weapons. Seriously, it was pretty ridiculous getting to my item box and seeing the magnum, grenade launcher, shotgun, etc, all in there with tons and tons of ammo.
I never played easy mode, so I can't really speak on that. http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm97/SpartanWarrior198/Resident%20Evil%20Final%20Days/sCo_idk.gif

There are also more, and possibly more challenging enemies in RE4, a single ganado versus a single zombie. Maybe us being better prepared isn't so unwarranted. But there's no doubt, that it's scarier being in a creepy mansion, with a pistol and very very little ammo and health, instead of being in a big open room with...well, even if you just have the pistol in RE4, you are still better prepared than in RE1.
A ganado will go down after a few rounds to the chest, really no differently from any regular person. A zombie just keeps on coming unless you destroy the brain, its only weakness. If you were to take the police barricade in the opening cinema of RE3 and replace the zombies with ganados, one will see the entire encounter playing out much better for the police than it did.

Being "prepared" is the action shooter's department.

But I do think that OTS and being able to aim, and those little addition to what we know in the controls and such don't really take away from the horror aspect.

So basically I can understand how certain aspects from RE4's predecessors are a little absent, but the horror still exists. It's there, and I don't think it's any less. Rather the action has just taken a bigger role to where it seems smaller I guess.

Once again, it's all a matter of opinion that we're going to have to disagree on and be done with it

I think I remember Spartan saying something once about how after the years of fighting Umbrella, to hear at the beginning how they are finished was really dissapointing.
It really was. It was the RE equivalent of MGS4's "nanomachines did it all", a real cop out

I like the whole Las Plagas thing and the Illuminados cult aspect. I think it was fresh, in fact it was PH phresh. By RE5 it feels stupid and lame and unoriginal, but in RE4, it was pretty cool and new and interesting.
I don't see how it was so special in RE4 considering it was the usual "we're gonna take over the world" BS. I can't see the logic in RE4 getting praised for this while Wesker's goal in RE5 was exactly the same thing and everyone considers it lame and stupid.

If there's any bias in the Old RE vs New RE debate, it's that RE4 gets far too much praise than it really deserves since games that do almost the exact same thing as it does get condemned for not being original. RE4 is hardly the first game to have a murderous cult as an enemy.

I like the whole thing going on with Ada, Krauser and The Organization, and surely everyone can see the similarities between RE4 and others like an RE2 or CVX. How the main story was less important than what was going on behind the scenes. In RE2, it's Ada working for The Organization/Agency to collect G. In CVX it's Wesker working for The Organization/Agency to collect T-Veronica. In RE4 it's Ada again, working for The Organization to collect the Master Plaga Specimen.
What you're talking about is story, my issue is the gameplay. None of those similarities you put forward are really applicable. Apples and oranges, as the saying goes.


In the end, it all comes down to disagreeing and being done with it, because my stance hasn't changed (and won't) in even the least. I've stated multiple times that my experiences are my own and I'm not telling anyone to agree with me just because I say so, which consequently is what I feel you've been doing.
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