Resident Evil 4 HD Review: Still strong after all these years

Resident Evil 4 is still an absolutely fantastic game.

Seriously, there’s nothing more to say. If you played the game back when it released in 2005, you’ll probably be happy to know that it’s still really, really good in 2014, so you can stop reading this review right now.

What if, though, you didn’t play it back when the game originally released? What if you didn’t own a GameCube or a PS2? What if you were too young? Then, my friend, keep on reading so I can tell you about one of the greatest games of all time.

The anticipation leading up to Resident Evil 4 was huge. Originally planned as a part of the “Capcom Five,” a group of games developed exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube, the newest tale of Leon S. Kennedy, protagonist from Resident Evil 2, marked a new future for the survival horror genre. A we now know by looking back at the franchise, Capcom has slowly turned Resident Evil into an all-out action affair, but Resident Evil 4 was able to successfully combine part action and part survival horror into one clean package that is still an absolute joy to play today.

Most surprisingly, the fact that you’re unable to move while aiming/shooting is something that doesn’t come across as dated as it should. This is likely due to the fact that Resident Evil 4 still presents itself as a survival horror game despite its over-the-shoulder third person camera.   The pacing, set-pieces, and anticipation all know how to properly function as moments are built up, not thrown into your face. It makes both boss encounters and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) quick-time event sequences more impactful.

I’d like to say, though, that I’m not a defender of quick-time events. Yet for some reason, they feel natural in Resident Evil 4. Maybe it’s because this was the first game to bring them to the mainstream. The more likely scenario is the fact that they’re not shoved down my throat. I’ll have to mash on some buttons to avoid a boulder or keep my eye on the screen during a cutscene to stave off death, but I’m never replacing combat with prompts.

When I’m defending a game’s inclusion of quick-time events (I still feel incredibly dirty about this, by the way), there’s really nowhere else to go besides a Jerry Seinfeld style exit. Look, folks: Resident Evil 4 was a fantastic game when it first launch. It’s still a fantastic game today, not only by 2005 standards but also 2014 standards. It’s $19.99 price tag may seem steep, but if you’ve never managed to experience it before, Resident Evil 4 is absolutely still worth the time and money.