STAFF REVIEW of Resident Evil 4 HD (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011.
by Brent Roberts

Resident Evil 4 HD Box art Leon, can you hear me? We have a situation that needs to be address immediately and your name came up as the "go to" person to get this mission accomplished. We know about your past with Raccoon City and to put things simplistically, we need the best for this mission. As you are well aware, the President and the U.S. Government has tried to shut down Umbrella, however, now we feel that their reach extended further than we ever thought possible. To be blunt Leon, the President's daughter, Ashley Graham, has been kidnapped and we are sending you to Europe to get her back. We need you to bring her back alive and safe Leon; failure is not an option. We are transmitting the details of the mission to you now from the confidential files of XboxAddict to help aid you on your way. Good luck Leon, we are all praying for your successful return.

Throughout the years the Resident Evil series has been well known as a classic staple in the horror game genre and while we have already seen the release of Resident Evil 5 on the Xbox 360, Resident Evil 4 has now been released in the games on demand section of Xbox Live and offers gamers a trip down memory lane with this classic title. The development alone for Resident Evil 4 was a trial all in itself as it had gone through various changes and complete overhauls before it ever landed on consoles back in January 2005. Now though, Resident Evil 4 has arrived on the Xbox 360 and for those who haven't played many Resident Evil games, this is a great offering of anyone who enjoys horror games.

The Resident Evil series originally provided a fixed camera system that allowed gamers a wide perspective of their surroundings and allowed the character to move freely within them and created some pretty terrifying experiences. Unfortunately though, this classic style that a lot of purists loved was ditched in Resident Evil 4 for an over the shoulder camera angle. While this is a major change for the Resident Evil series, the biggest change involve the enemies themselves, for you are no longer fighting and killing zombies, but humans infected with a parasite that allows them to be controlled and henceforth being known as Los Ganados or "The Cattle". These changes and more, while drastic were to try to reinvent the Resident Evil series to be more action oriented, and while purists wish for the return of what they have always loved, sometimes our wishes don't come true. That?s not to say that all changes are bad though as Resident Evil 4 marked the first time your character can have direct context-sensitive controls with the environment such as knocking down ladders, jumping out of windows or even trying to dodge an incoming assault. Resident Evil 4 also marked a first for the series incorporating what we know now as "QuickTime events" and while we all have an opinion of what we think of them, Resident Evil 4 boasts a lot of firsts for the series, and while some may be bad, some are groundbreaking for the series.

The overall quality of the gameplay may take some getting used to as your left analog stick is used for not only forward and backward but also is used for turning side to side. Your right stick controls your camera and can feel very touchy at times which can lead to a lot of intense situations when you find yourself amidst a ton of enemies barreling down on your position. Conservation has always been one of the main characteristics of the Resident Evil titles, and in Resident Evil 4, the tactics change slightly. Now when you decimate your enemies, there is a chance that you will find not only gold, but ammo for various weapons, and even healing items. While this slightly negates the whole conservation theory, with a limited inventory case that can only hold so many items, combining items to save space does play a crucial role. Another innovation that Capcom provided it's fans is the inclusion of minigames, the largest being called "Separate Ways" and focuses on a character Ada Wong who has been in the Resident Evil series since the beginning and has had various confrontations and relationships with the main character of Resident Evil 4, Leon. The Separate Ways minigame primarily revolves around Ada and her involvement in Resident Evil 4, but more importantly, her connection to Albert Wesker and the actions that Wesker is plotting. While not an essential part of Resident Evil 4, Capcom does do a brilliant job shining the light on other characters that many gamers have had questions about from previous entries in the Resident Evil series.

Resident Evil 4 has also received a great new facelift in the form of an HD overhaul. Now before you start getting excited, remember, that this game is over six years old and while the pre rendered graphics for backgrounds are gone, it still looks and feels like a game that is six years old, however, that doesn't mean that all of it should be trashed. The cut scenes are done very well and there are a lot of instances where you will notice a dramatic improvement upon the original release. Not only are the environments and cut scenes improved upon, but the character modeling also looks smoother and more defined in this HD remake of Resident Evil 4.

One of the main ingredients to the success of any horror game/movie has to be quality in the sound department and Resident Evil 4 continues the long line of prestigious work in the survival horror gaming genre. While the game itself unleashes a hefty 62 compositions, all of them help Resident Evil 4 provide one amazing scare experience after another. You will hear generalized conversations that the Ganados have with each other as you traverse the environment careful not to disturb the locals, but if spotted you will hear the cries of the plague infected as they seek you out with one thing in mind, to end your life by any means necessary. One of the biggest accomplishments that Resident Evil 4 has going for it is the voice dialogue. Every character excels in their role and makes every moment more believable than the last and when you combine the voice acting with the musical score, Resident Evil 4 delivers an incredible punch of sonic beauty to your ears.

With a price tag of $19.99 from the games on demand section of Xbox Live, Resident Evil 4 is more than a bargain for anyone who loves the survival horror genre. The story is well done and when combined with the updated graphics and the impeccable quality of all the audio, Resident Evil 4 stands head and shoulders above even most of today's survival horror games and should not be missed. Grab your handgun, turn out the lights, and let?s dive head first into the terrifying world that is Resident Evil 4

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.7 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.3 / 10


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