Resident Evil 4

aka: Biohazard 4
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(prices updated 9/21 11:17 AM )

Description official descriptions

Picking up six years after Resident Evil 2, the fourth game in the series follows a former cop (now US agent) Leon S. Kennedy to Europe on a top-secret mission to investigate the disappearance of the president's daughter Ashley. As Leon encounters unimaginable horrors, he must find out who or what is behind everything. Old friends...and enemies...lurk around every corner as Leon attempts to find out who is truly behind the kidnapping of the president's daughter.

Resident Evil 4 is a major change from the previous installments. Instead of a fixed third-person perspective, the game features a new "behind the back" movement camera angle and an "over the shoulder" aiming feature that allows players to control their gun movement for specific body part hits. It features a brand new AI system and more open environments that allow enemies to work together to capture and corner Leon. Enemies are now humans, which allows them to climb up ladders, open doors, and use weapons throughout the game.

The entire item system has also been revamped, so that smaller items no longer require an entire item space to hold. Instead, items take up blocks of space in a briefcase according to their real-life size, to allow for many more items and weapons. Leon can collect treasure from enemies or from the surrounding area, and visit the infamous "merchant" to purchase bigger briefcases, treasure maps, weapons upgrades, and powerful weapons such as the one-shot RPG.

There is also the Mercenaries from Resident Evil 3, which allows the player to play survival scenarios as characters such as Hunk and even Albert Wesker himself.

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Credits (GameCube version)

165 People (149 developers, 16 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 96% (based on 112 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 150 ratings with 9 reviews)

A complete renaissance for the aging RE franchise

The Good
It's been mentioned elsewhere, but I'll run through it again: within the first twenty minutes or so, Leon Kennedy, the protagonist formerly of RE2, finds himself struggling to survive in a decaying Spanish village. Murderous (but not undead) locals mass to attack him. They take a lot of punishment. Leon ducks into a house, pushing a bureau against the door. He thinks he's safe. He's not. They break in...his ammo runs low...and then he hears the chainsaw...

This sequence is terrifying in a way that shatters the old RE paradigm. There are very few setpieces in RE4 that generate fear solely through claustrophobia. Instead, the completely rebuilt gameplay, in which the camera is always located directly behind and above Leon's right shoulder, capitalize on the new element of peripheral vision. You're seldom completely sure what is or isn't creeping up on you from behind or to the sides as you deal with nasties rushing you from the front.

The game's still about item management, but you no longer deal with tedious treks to a storage box. Rather, everything must fit in an upgradeable briefcase, and things can be discarded whenever you'd like to make room for new stuff. You still also have to worry about ammo management, but the selection of hardware easily trumps any previous RE. New to the series is a selection of sniper rifles that I found really enjoyable, but there's something in here for everyone's tastes.

The plot, such as it is (more about that below), does barrel along at a fine clip. There are some great boss encounters, absolutely stunning graphics, pretty decent music, some great bonus modes (Mercenaries is a killer, but the reward for 100% completion is a must-have) provides even more reason to pick this game up. Now.

The Bad
Ok, granted, it's not perfect. For starters, the plot pretty much stinks like garbage, and that's too bad. RE games are supposed to be cinematic, and in terms of visuals they always have been. Narrative-wise, however, they usually fail to live up to their promise. I suppose this flaw is made all the more apparent given that I've just recently lived with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a game which delivers certainly one of the finest narratives of all time. True, RE4 is much more about visceral action, but aside from rescuing the President's daughter, there's little sense of having accomplished anything really important, nor do we learn anything really interesting that you couldn't figure out within the first forty minutes or so.

Hey, at least the dialog is good, and peppered with the odd, amusing swear word to boot.

The Bottom Line
Forget Code Veronica - THIS is cutting-edge Resident Evil.

GameCube · by Lucas Schippers (57) · 2005

Horror, Action and Survival have evolved.

The Good
The first thing you notice about the game is the graphics. The immense detail on everything is astounding, and you'll just simply love the game for it. Voice acting is good, although some moments 'lacking' (that's the only way I can explain it), however, this only seemed to occur on one occasion so it didn't really affect the overall acting. Thank god.

The nest thing (which is hard to miss, considering that it's the main focus of the game) is the horror, action and survival. It takes everything good from the past games, makes them better then adds more. The scare and horror aspects are great, with things that create a lasting effect. For instance, the village. I play the game numerous times just for that segment of the game. It's great how you can go around blasting the locals, or make a stand and line them up like a shooting range, or you can lock yourself in a house and let them all invade from the doors and windows using ladders and various weapons which really will make your heart pound as they all seek your blood. Oh yeah, be sure to stay away from that chainsaw maniac (the main reason your heart starts to speed up).

The story is simplistic, but more than enough for you to still be interested and play right up to the end. For extra replay value, there is a mini-game in which you go around as any character and fight for survival, in an addicting and exciting way. After completion of the game, there's also a side-quest from the view of a different character which will add a few minutes to its game life.

For further in-game extras to keep you interested, you can kill for money and buy, sell and upgrade your items. Also, the shooting range mini-game is quite fun with collectible rewards for your efforts.

The Bad
The only thing I felt lacking was the fact that, whilst the Resident Evil remake released before this had smooth dark graphics, this installment seems to have some things 'rough'. For instance, the ground, the trees and some other things seem to be rough, whereas the previous game had its things more smooth. You tend not to notice though as only a few buildings and items have this 'rough look'.

Whether this 'rough' look was intentional or not, I don't know, but I though I'd state it anyway.

The Bottom Line
This is a huge step forward for horror games, and especially the Resident Evil series. Although there is a distinct lack of the undead foe, the villagers and the mutant creatures make fair replacements. This game is probably the killer app of the Game Cube (killer app = best game of the console / best game of its time / a game that made the console stand out). This game, simply put, deserved all of "the game of the year" awards that it won and was nominated for. If you love horror, or action games, you WILL buy this game.

GameCube · by Reborn_Demon (127) · 2011

What? I’ve been playing this game for over 30 hours?

The Good
Never before have I been so totally immersed in a game before, so utterly sucked into the whole experience that I have willingly played through the same scenario time and time again in successive play throughs. The amazing thing is, I never get sick of it. I have never looked at my copy of Resident Evil 4 and said “Meh, I’ll play something else.” The only other game I can say does this to me is Sonic Adventure, but for completely different reasons. No, there is something amazingly indescribable about Resident Evil 4 that transcends genre and established conventions. It’s the experience on a whole that is so addictive, so masterfully executed.

Playing Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil 2 you must infiltrate a small European village that is supposed to be harboring the kidnapped daughter of the US President. From here, the rollercoaster begins and Leon is subjected to all manner of physically demanding endeavors to save his, and Ashley’s lives. From the village you travel to the castle of a local tyrant, the sewers beneath it and even a military installation on a far island. Each location is so unique in its atmosphere and presentation that you never tire of anything, no environments or scenarios are every re-used, you’ll only ever see puzzles once and each indescribably awesome act of heroism performed by Leon is always unique and exciting. It’s this sense of driving pace and rapid transitions between environments that keeps the game feeling fresh even if you have beaten it several hundred times, like myself. Leon controls exquisitely. His movements are slick and he turns on a dime, his basic move set is pure survival horror. His weapon is readied with the a depression of the R button and it is fired when A is pressed. Holding down the L button readies Leon’s knife which can be a last minute form of defense or a method of saving ammunition or breaking boxes and barrels to collect items.

The enemies Leon encounters all have different reactions to being attacked on specific areas of their bodies. For instance shooting a standard Ganado (Basic sort of zombie like enemy) in the knee will cause his leg to buckle, allowing you to follow up with a swift kick to send him flying into a crowd giving you time to retreat. If you shoot him in the face you will get the same reaction however this will not work on all enemies and some like the Novistadors (flying, insect like things that kind of resemble Drain Demons from Resident Evil 3) cannot be staggered and must simple be overpowered. They can however be counterattacked at certain times. The way the enemies move, act and work together to block you and crowd you is claustrophobic and panic enducing. In lieu of traditional horror effects this method of panicking the player works perfectly.

From regular old enemies to cinematic boss encounters the action in Resident Evil 4 rarely slows down and just when you think you’ve got everything figured out you get burdened with Ashley; The President’s daughter. She is dead weight, but forces you to modify how you play, trying not to harm her and protect her simultaneously from the crowds of enemies that are often just as intimidating as the ones when Ashley isn’t hanging off you like a clingy girlfriend.

Graphically Resident Evil 4 is by far the most beautiful game on the Gamecube. Character’s move fluidly and realistically, there is no ghosting and very few frame rate problems. I was very, very impressed with the way Leon looked and animated from his swaying hair to his immaculately detailed jacket. There is no faulting the aesthetics of Resident Evil 4, nit pick if you must however you will come up with nothing. The only graphical trick the game seems to lack is bump mapping.

The sound design in the game is to be applauded. The enemies don’t speak English with forced European accents, they speak Spanish. They actually speak Spanish. The acting is very competent and the music is exciting, chilling and works seamlessly with the action onscreen to work you into a fevered panic.

The best part about Resident Evil 4 however is the various little extras that are bestowed upon you for finishing the game. When you’ve finished the main scenario which can take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours you are then able to play Ada’s little side story wherein you are tasked with finding 5 Plaga samples on the Island. When this is over you unlock yet another weapon which can be bought and used in successive play throughs of the main scenario. After buying all of the extra weapons and trying out all of the costumes you can then play through Mercenaries Mode, unlock yet another hidden weapon and then go back to the main scenario, buy it, play around with it and then simply poke around and try and find everything the game has to offer. You will NOT find everything in the game the first time through, unless you’ve already watched someone play it or you‘re incredibly meticulous. I’m still finding things I’ve missed in the past. Even if these things are small like treasures or little cache’s of ammunition or money, the point is the game is packed with these little surprises to encourage to keep playing. Which you will, for many, many hours.

The Bad
The bad things about this game are small and piddling, however there are issues related to the fundamentals of the Resident Evil series which cannot be skirted around.

I’ll get all of the specific things out of the way first.

To begin with Resident Evil 4 is letterboxed and if you’re playing on a small CRT, forget about it. Also if you’re playing without component cables on a High Definition television this game is going to look muddy and horrible. Playing it in 480p or on a wide screen CRT TV are your only options to enjoy the visual fidelity as it was intended.

There are many moments in Resident Evil 4 that you will probably hate. I know there are certain parts of the game I’d rather weren’t there at all, they won’t completely spoil your run of the game, but they will frustrate you greatly. Expect Ashley to die a lot and expect to spend a while on the slider puzzle in the Castle.

At first the bosses in the game are intimidating and often times gargantuan struggles that you will just scrape out of in the harder difficulties. However, once you learn that the Rocket Launcher kills everything in one shot, including bosses then you won’t be able to resist the temptation to simply buy one before the fight and blow the boss to hell in the opening moments.

Then there is the elephant in the room. What the hell happened to the Zombies? I was one of the people asking that very same question when this game came out. Sure, it is fantastic however it also has next to nothing to do with the well established Resident Evil mythos. I love the characters but the characters don’t mean anything if the other elements us Resident Evil fan boys and girls love so much are completely missing. The horror is gone, the zombies are gone and the T-Virus is a total no show. I have a big problem with this. It is all well and good having a sort of reboot of your franchise, but completely omitting every single element that was popular with the fans in the first place is akin to spitting in their face. Would it have been so hard to make this game, but with Zombies? Replace the Ganado’s with Zombies and no one would be able to tell the difference. Is it the speed you’re worried about? You introduced Crimson Heads in the remake back in 2002 for crying out loud. To me, the remake of Resident Evil back in 2002 had enough of a contemporary edge to make the series relevant again. It introduced strategic elements like burning bodies, gave us a fluid control scheme and the fantastic defensive weapons system.

The Bottom Line
I hate Resident Evil 4 as much as I love it. I hate it because it ended the franchise I loved so dearly and openly mocks me every single time I turn on the game by calling itself Resident Evil 4. As masterful and technically solid this game is, it still isn’t Resident Evil.

GameCube · by AkibaTechno (238) · 2011

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Trivia

Development

The earliest version of the game was announced for the PS2 under Resident Evil 2 with director Hideki Kamiya. This build was eventually cancelled as a Resident Evil installment and became the title known as Devil May Cry. Eventually, development was moved to the Gamecube console and another build emerged. This was the first version to feature Leon from RE2. The game's main menace was to sport a hook on one of its hands, and the logo for the game reflected this (this can still be seen in the final logo). More versions were created and cancelled before Shinji Mikami took over and transformed the title into what it is today. Of all the builds developed, only one of them was never unveiled to the public (it was the one that was being worked on right before Mikami took over). Early in the development stages the game's setting was Japan, not Europe.

German index

On June 30, 2005, the English version of Resident Evil 4 was put on the infamous German index by the BPjM. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

References

  • There is a laser room (hallway actually) much like the one in the original Resident Evil movie, where Leon has to dodge laser beams and pull various stunts. He survives the lasers, however, unlike the S.T.A.R.S. team in the movie.
  • The Killer 7 handgun was named after the title of a Shinji Mikami-produced game.
  • Krauser and HUNK's music that plays in The Mercenaries game mode is actually from P.N.03: the music from the 4th and 8th mission, respectively.

Sales

According to publisher Capcom, the GC version of Resident Evil 4 has sold 1.6 million copies worldwide since its initial release (as of June 30, 2016).

Voices

In the typical fashion of depicting Spanish inhabitants, the voiceovers were made my Mexican (some of them trying to do Spanish from Spain) rather than by real Spanish actors.

Weapons

All the weapons used by Leon in the game are based on real weapons. The standard handgun looks similar to a Beretta 92 (with nickel plating, which the original gun wouldn't have); the Punisher handgun looks somewhat like the H&K VP70; the shotgun is a Remington M870; the Striker is an actual shotgun developed in South Africa; the rocket launcher is a Russian RPG-7 (which can actually be reloaded and fired again). The "Red 9" 9mm pistol is a "Mauser C-96" from the World War I era. The Red 9 version actually had the number 9 carved on the grip, painted in red. It was heavy and slow to reload, but offered good power and range at the time.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2005 – Best Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Best GameCube Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Best Graphics of the Year
    • 2005 – Best Successor of the Year
  • Game Informer
    • January 2006 (Issue #153) - Game of the Year 2005
  • GamePro (Germany)
      1. February 2006 - Best Console Game in 2005
      1. February 2006 - Best Console Action-Adventure in 2005
  • GameSpy
    • 2005 – #2 Game of the Year
    • 2005 – GameCube Game of the Year
    • 2005 – GameCube Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2005 – GameCube Action Game of the Year
  • Golden Joystick Awards
    • 2005 - GameCube Game of the Year
    • 2005 - Best Film-Based Game of the Year
    • 2005 - Editor's Game of the Year
  • IGN
    • 1 by IGN Reader Reviews

Information also contributed by Big John WV, glidefan, kelmer44, MAT, MegaMegaMan, sealboy6, Tiago Jacques, TonicBH, Xoleras

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  • MobyGames ID: 52872

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Corn Popper.

GameCube added by MegaMegaMan.

Additional contributors: MAT, MegaMegaMan, CalaisianMindthief, Patrick Bregger, piltdown_man.

Game added September 14th, 2011. Last modified June 17th, 2023.