Spanish Castle Magic

Capcom’s Iconic Survival-Horror Action Classic Resident Evil 4 Gets Remade.

Official Resident Evil 4 remake Teaser Trailer Released by Capcom.


Image released by Capcom promoting the Resident Evil 4 remake.

Joseph Palos, Writer

The recent success of Capcom’s Resident Evil remakes, namely Resident Evil 2 and 3, set the bar high for plans to remake the fourth installment of the franchise, originally released in 2005. In light of the recent successes, fans of the series could rest easy knowing that the game would be in good hands despite the original game’s outdated playing mechanics.

The original Resident Evil 4 captured the hearts of players everywhere with its campy, Hollywood-esque, nonsensical tone and cheesy one-liners. Cited by many to be the best the series has to offer, and being credited with paving the way for hit games such as The Last of Us, Dead Space, and many more third-person shooters, it seemed a challenge to remake the game without losing any of the unique characteristics that made it so loveable, to begin with. 

Having never played the original I had no idea that for the next twenty hours of gameplay, I would be thrown into a sprawling epic filled with action and suspense. The story of Resident Evil 4 follows the main character Leon S. Kennedy as he is put on assignment to locate and rescue the U.S. President’s missing daughter, Ashley Graham. Intel leads Leon to the Spanish countryside, where he quickly discovers that the village’s secrets run much deeper and much darker than he could have ever anticipated. Players find themselves traversing through sinister landscapes ranging from unsettling farmland to a giant castle filled with many surprises that are both welcome and terrifying.

The remake manages to successfully sustain itself off of well-integrated suspense and engaging action. Capcom builds on the original in ways that are likely to be much appreciated by players both old and new. Additions to the remake that have been incredibly useful include the ability to move and shoot at the same time, as well as the inclusion of a parrying mechanic. Capcom integrates these mechanics so effortlessly, it is hard to imagine that they were originally never there. Mechanics are not the only things that have been updated. Capcom has also improved upon the story. Rather than rely on the campy gimmicks and cheesy dialogue that characterized the original, the remake crafts a story that takes itself more seriously and feels more worthwhile. Though the camp and dialogue have been dialed back, it is clear Capcom has not forgotten the game’s roots. Instead of ditching them, they embrace them with open arms.

The game plays beautifully, and Capcom’s RE Engine is at full display here. Whether it is fog slowly misting in through ominous, moonlit trees, a thunderstorm berating players as they escort Ashley through the village, or the light of the evening sun pouring in through a window as it passes through the distant mountains, this remake looks gorgeous. Ashley herself has been vastly improved; she is no longer a burden for Leon but is now a more realized aspect of the game. Aside from her character improvements, she is also capable of assisting Leon as he fights through the onslaught of evil Spanish cultists and giant monstrosities that await them on their journey. 

Characters like Luis Serra and Jack Krauser are given more time to shine, which the story greatly benefits from, as the narrative is allowed to be pushed further while making sense and retaining necessary character drama. Leon himself grapples with the traumatic events seen in his introduction to the series in Resident Evil 2, adding another layer of character depth to him that was missing before this recent adaptation, but without losing his ridiculous sense of humor. 

Despite greatly improving upon almost every aspect of the original game, one of the glaring downsides to this remake is the Del Lago boss fight. Although it remains a mostly stiff experience, it is still enjoyable and serves as a fun end to an early chapter in the game. Also, a downside is the lack of time we get to spend with Ada Wong, Leon’s famous, if not complicated, love interest. It seems that in favor of moving other aspects of the plot forward, Ada’s character was sidelined a bit, leaving her inclusion to mostly cutscenes and cinematics. Players can still interact with the beloved Merchant, where they can purchase multiple items, as well as upgrade their weapons. Though the prices can get pretty high, players will likely find that the inclusion of fun side quests makes treasure hunting a rewarding experience and a nice way to take a break from the chainsaw-wielding, parasite-ridden locals. 

My overall experience with the “Resident Evil 4” remake has been an overwhelmingly positive one. Capcom blends the campy feeling of the original with the more serious tone established in the previous remakes to, once again, create a genre-defining classic. Though there are some downsides, they are overshadowed by the many positives, such as the beautiful new score. Fans of the original will no doubt be glad to see Leon back and better than ever in his full suplexing, one-liner-cracking glory. This remake is Resident Evil and Capcom firing on all cylinders. It is a masterpiece that will likely go down as the standard for video game remakes. It has sparked a flame in the hearts of many while surpassing nostalgia value to bring a fully realized experience filled with suspense, terror, laughs, tears, and horror to a new generation of fans. It would indeed be a wise choice to pick this one up from your local video game merchant.