Resident Evil 4 (2023 Remake) – PS5 Review

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Resident Evil 4 is widely thought of as the best Resident Evil title of all time. Capcom started remaking some of its games in 2019, this started with the launch of Resident Evil 2. This is the latest remake coming 18 years after it was originally released.

Over Here, Stranger

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge Resident Evil fan. No matter what you witnessed, whether it was the first zombie reveal or crows crashing through windows to peck you to death. There was sure to be a scare or two. So I jumped at the chance to check out everyone’s favourite title.

A hooded figure stands in front of a desk. On the desk is a gun and a pile of books.
Got some rare things on sale, stranger! – Credit Capcom.com

Gameplay

First released in 2005 Resident Evil 4 had everyone talking about it. Resident Evil is a horror series by Capcom, in earlier games, it revolved around zombies. The 4th instalment saw a change to change to gameplay coming away from the fixed camera perspective to a tracking camera. This move changed the series going forward, it became more intense and more terrifying. In the latest instalment of the series, Leon Kennedy returns as a special agent charged with rescuing the president’s daughter (Ashley Graham). Whether you are only acquainted with the remakes or the originals, the gameplay style will be familiar to you. A new combat knife that can be broken and repaired is a vital tool for combat.

Set in an unnamed village in rural Spain, Ashley Graham has been kidnapped by a religious cult. The villagers have all been infected by a mind-controlling parasite known as Las Plagas. It makes a big change following the zombies of previous games in the series. You collect Red, Green and Yellow herbs on your journey. These can be mixed to restore health or increase your maximum health.

In Resident Evil 4 you have the ability to craft ammo, however more options, including adding mines to a crossbow shot.

Interaction

When faced with certain situations, players can react in a variety of ways to the environment, such as kicking down ladders, jumping out of windows, dodging attacks, and executing finishing moves on weakened enemies. Avoid boulders falling before you or wrestle an enemy to survive in quick-time events. The added benefit of haptic feedback from the Dualsense controller brings the game to another level, the feeling when you get hit and when you are walking and running adds to the immersion. You can choose to have the adaptive triggers on or off, I prefer them on as it means you don’t accidentally waste ammo.

There have been a lot of comments within the Resident Evil community regarding the breakable barrels having a yellow paint stripe across them. When we have red barrels in games always highlighting what can be exploded if shot, what is the difference?

Leon and Ashley stand in front of an alter, a lamp burns off to the left lighting the scene
Ashley looks concerned as they asked for a table with a view

Take Down Enemies

It isn’t just the world’s reaction. There are now more options available to players than in previous games, where they could only shoot straight, up, or down. Shooting at the enemies’ feet can cause them to stumble, and shooting at their arms can cause them to drop their weapons. It is also possible to shoot down projectiles like thrown axes or scythes. Additional options are to plunge a knife into enemies neck or roundhouse kick them away

The crafting system is for the most part the same, but with one major difference: you can now create ammo. Ammunition is essential in the Resident Evil titles, as it is a limited resource. Being able to make a handful of additional bullets before a boss fight could give you just enough of an advantage to get through. This functionality can already be found in Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village so hopefully it stays from here on out. The inventory system receives an update in the form of a briefcase which has a grid system. Set up your own positions or simply use auto-sort which will give you the most amount of space, but is not necessarily the easiest way to find things in the heat of battle.  Weapons can be upgraded by finding parts or purchasing them from your friendly vendor!

Graphics & Audio

I really want to stress that this is not a remaster of the original or the HD version. Resident Evil 4 has been painstakingly rebuilt from the ground up, in the same way, that Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. That time and effort are clear, we are 18 years since the original was released on the PlayStation 2. A whole generation of consoles has been and gone, and I don’t think the devs behind the original ever imagined this would be possible.

Resident Evil 4‘s exceptional graphics is obvious throughout the game if you’ve seen the trailers you may wonder does it actually look that good? I can honestly say yes. The way the boat moves through the water, and the reflections it is everything that I could have dreamed of in this remake.

We are in a world now where audio is becoming just as important as beautiful graphics. Being able to have 3D audio be such a part of games takes the immersion to another level. With horror games immersion is essential, it provides those chilling moments designed to get the gamer’s heart racing. Doing this makes that jump scares even more satisfying.

Leon Kennedy killed in action by a heavily infected villager. A chainsaw through the back comes out of his chest as blood sprays upwards.
More than just a flesh wound

Accessibility

I am happy to say that Capcom has taken a big step with its accessibility settings. There are options for Visual, Auditory and motion sickness.

  • Visibility – Increases the opacity of the HUD. The subtitle scale will be set to big, and the backdrop opacity of the subtitles will be set to high. Additionally, colour adjustments for aim (reticle and aiming cues), laser dot, captions, and speaker names are suggested. The Biosensor Scope setting, which has three settings with various colour schemes when peering through the biosensor scope, is also suggested.
  • Auditory  – Subtitles, labels, and speaker identities will be enabled by auditory accessibility. All of the various level sliders that are accessible for customization are suggested changes. There are settings for Master, Voice, BGM, Sound Effects, Menu and Ballistic volume levels.
  • Motion Sickness – Camera wobble, motion blur, depth of field, and lens aberration are all disabled by the motion sickness setting. When the dot display is switched on, a dot appears in the centre of the screen. Adjusting the FOV (field of vision), as well as the camera’s acceleration, pace, and sensitivity, are recommended options.
Leon Kennedy stands in front of a dark cliff, overseeing the damage that has been caused
That bridge was really not up to code

Longevity

The main story lasts around 15 hours however, for a full completion you are looking at close to double that. Mercenaries mode will launch on Friday (7th April) as free DLC. Naturally, Mercenaries will add to the overall gameplay time as gamers look to beat their highest scores.

Final Thoughts

This remake had the potential to derail the amazing work Capcom has been doing with remaking games in the series. I was worried about it being a fan favourite. I am glad to report that the series is still in great hands. Capcom has seemingly done the impossible and made Resident Evil 4 even better. With the Mercenaries DLC out this week for free things will continue going from strength to strength. With new areas and stunning graphics combined with the power of the PlayStation 5 and dualsense controller, it is a match made in heaven.  For this reason, I award Resident Evil 4 the Thumb Culture Platinum award.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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About Author

I have been gaming since the '80s my first console was the Atari 800XL and I have not looked back since. Gaming is not the only passion I am currently studying to become a mental health counsellor. I currently game on the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X

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