2005 seems like an eternity away. PC gamers had to wait 9 long years for a decent port of the most successful chapter in the Resident Evil series and while this version is not the ”ultimate” port of the game, it is still a fine game and a decent port for newcomers and old veterans of the series.
Resident Evil 4 was first introduced on the Gamecube as an exclusive but was later ported to the PS2 with some added extras, ultimately selling incredibly well even though it was graphically scaled back to run on the PS2; there was a time when Nintendo had a stronger console. A few years later, the infamous PC port came out to much ridicule, followed by the stellar Wii port and finally the HD versions on both PS3 and Xbox 360.
Enter the Ultimate HD version on Steam that offers the best visual quality with true 1080p widescreen, HD textures and lighting, and smooth 60fps, if your PC can handle it. Despite all this, major flaws, glitches and control issues make a comeback and hold this port of Resident Evil 4 back.
The game follows Resident evil’s 2 hero, Leon, in his quest to find the kidnapped daughter of the president of the united states of America. As weird as it is to send one man with a pistol, knife, and some herbs to find such a V.I.P, Leon continues forth and discovers a sinister plot involving cultists plotting to infect the world with a deadly virus that can cause horrible mutations. Against all odds, Leon travels through many exotic and familiar locales to save the girl and the world, all while retaining his magnificent hair-do.
This time we are not fighting the undead; it is the infected locales that we have to worry about. Funny enough they look like an angry mob from an old horror movie, pitchfork wielding fanatics and all, and go as far as throwing everything except the kitchen sink at you, and you, the hero of our tale, are skilled enough to deflect these projectiles with your weapons. Some zealous gamers are brave enough to deflect them with the knife, but I would rather shoot enemies in the hand to make them drop their weapons before I go for the kill shot.
Cannon fodders are one thing, but some enemies are really impressive and mini bosses will come out from time to time to make your life miserable. Nothing puts the fear of God in you like the chainsaw wielding maniac; kill him or face the most gut wrenching cut scene in recent history. Other enemies like the blind clawed beast are a real treat and many boss fights, while challenging, are a true work of genius.
The graphics this time around are sharper than ever, with crisp clean textures and amazing details on main characters and foes. The terrain and background received a huge overhaul with detailed texturing and legible words on items. Despite all this, some parts are left untouched and can leave a huge contrast leap between background items. While one item looks incredibly detailed, other less important items are still flat and as low res as it was 9 years ago. This can get jarring and sometimes annoying, but worst of all are some cutscenes that are not stretched into widescreen mode and retain their outdated look.
Resident Evil 4 still sounds great, in regards voice acting, music and sound effects, and it is still the same great game that it always was. The campaign is varied and long enough, and can clock around 17 hours with many bonus games and hidden items to find.
The extra story of Ada Wong is there, but it is not given the same graphical attention, and that is really a bummer move from Capcom. Keyboard and mouse controls are now native, but still very uncomfortable to maneuver with the mouse controls proving floaty and imprecise at best. The old ‘tank’ controls are at work with the mouse/keyboard option so the controller is still the best option for playing RE4, but I applaud Capcom for including the option nonetheless.
As an added bonus , SD mode is available for anyone wanting to go oldschool, and you even have an option to switch between 30fps & 60fps. You can also adjust graphical quality to suit your rig, and being a steam game, players can enjoy cloud saves, achievements and trading cards, all being a must for gamers that seek a challenge and a sense of accomplishment.
At the end of the day, Capcom seems to be milking an old franchise for the simple reason that Resident Evil 4 was, and still is, the best entry in the genre. The game still hold it’s grounds after 9 years and it was ported to almost every system, even the iOS via a decent port with an HD version on their famous pad.
At $20, you can’t go wrong by revisiting this old game for some quality time but be warned, other than a fresh coat of paint, this is the same game we all played and loved on other systems.
Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD edition is available on Steam (reviewed) and was made available to us via a review code from Pluto Games representing Capcom in the region.