My Memories of Resident Evil 4

With Resident Evil 4 Remake releasing tomorrow, I wanted to take a look back and share some of my own memories of the game. Now years ago I did make a post about my first horror game, but in that article I mainly talked about Resident Evil 2. You see (as I previously explained), the Resident Evil series is something I dove right into the deep end on, and my "first horror" game was only my first, because that's what I chose to play first. In reality, I bought Resident Evil 2, REmake, 0, and 4 all at the same time. It's just 2 was a digital copy, so I had access to it while I waited for the others. Anyway... Out of all of those games, Resident Evil 4 is the one I looked forward to playing the most, but it was (of course) the last one I played. Despite this, it's the game I actually have the most history with as it's the game I knew the most about before diving in. It's actually one of my favorite horror games still to this day, and it was the first "review" I ever wrote for Netto's Game Room. (That review didn't survive the transfer from Capcom-Unity to this website.) Anyway, these are my memories of Resident Evil 4.

The first time I heard about Resident Evil 4, was actually the Christmas of 2005. I remember talking on the phone to my friend Keith, as we both told each other what Christmas gifts we had gotten. One of the games either he (or his brother?) received was none other than RE4, and he was pretty excited about it. Now I knew that Resident Evil was about zombies (so I figured I'd never play it), but other than that I didn't know much about the game. So when he started talking about how it took place in a village, and how enemies came at you with chain saws, and how you could hide and block off doors to protect yourself -- I honestly didn't know what he was talking about. It didn't sound like zombies to me, but I had to admit that it did sound pretty cool. Being able to shoot out doors and such wasn't really hears of in games, so it sounded pretty crazy to me. Of course I never planed on playing it, but I could appreciate what it was (even though I was like 14 at the time). 

Moving forward, Keith continued to talk about Resident Evil. It's a series he really liked, but again I was too afraid to play. (Plus no way my parents would get it for me.) So over the school years I would continue to learn about what it was, but never try it myself -- unless you count the one time Keith showed me the intro to 3. Of course when I got an Xbox 360 I considered checking out Resident Evil 5 thanks to the commercials on TV, but that didn't happen either. It wasn't until me trying to kill time at college that I finally decided to give it a shot.

As previously explained in my old post -- I used to have a lot of free time before and after classes at school. I would sit on my laptop and just look up random things. That's when I got the idea to check out Resident Evil, as it seemed like an interesting series, and was one of the few I never really tried. By this point I had already gotten into games like Metal Gear Solid, so not playing other "big name PlayStation titles" made me feel like I was missing out. So I started doing my research, read the wikia pages, and then bought what I could. Thankfully Amazon had a pretty good sale going on for the Wii versions of 0, REmake and 4, so those are what I went with.


Resident Evil 4 surprised me. I honestly was expecting something similar to Dead Rising (as I had DR on 360, while my friend Ryan bought the Wii version -- which was built in the RE4 Engine), except with a horror twist. (Dead Rising is in no way horror in my book.) Instead what I got was a crazy action adventure game, that kept pushing me to explore and uncover the truth of the village it was set in. While I don't consider RE4 to be scary either -- it did have moments I never expected.

First of all, despite playing 360 games at this point, RE4 had things even modern games tend to avoid. Breaking doors/objects to progress goes against standard "locked door video game logic," and being able to block off windows and such really isn't used much in games. The way enemies react to being shot/hit tends to be a lot more natural as well, and the dismemberment completely caught me off guard. At first it lead me to want to just shoot everyone's head off, but when the parasites got mixed in? Now that was unexpected! I'll never forget the first time I saw a giant bug erupt out of someone's neck -- it scared the crap out of me. It made me want to stop going for head shots, but I still knew you had to take them down either way. Then you had the insanely detailed death scenes. Game overs in RE4 weren't just game overs -- they were insane "look at how you died" videos that played first! Leon's head being cut off was the first one I saw, and the deaths continued to shock me up until the end of the game. (Those bugs spitting acid on his face was just.... Yeah...) These parts were what added horror to the game for me, but the rest was an action packed trip through a crazy new world.

Playing on the Wii was also a pretty great experience for me. I loved the motion controls, but it did make the game easier than normal. The original controls of RE4 used tank controls, and limited how you aimed and shot at enemies. In other words -- before you could only turn left/right, and walk forward and back (with a quick turn around option), and if you wanted to shoot at something you had to hold down a button. Holding the button down locked you in place, and changed the movement controls into aiming controls -- something that feels a bit more clunky especially by today's standards. This added to the challenge of the game, and made it so losing your cool would prove deadly as you missed your targets. With the Wii release however? Tank controls remained, but aiming was changed to motion controls. Simply point/click at what you wanted to shoot, and you'd be pulling off non stop headshots like a pro. Not much different than using a mouse. Personally I prefer playing the game this way, but the old controls were still included for those who wanted the original experience.

RE4 was the game I would continue playing until the end of the school year that year. Also bought Code Veronica X at a GameStop sale, so I had plenty to keep me busy. That's when I started up the original Netto's Game Room as well (back in 2011), and got to work writing whatever was currently on my mind. I knew I was very late to the Resident Evil party, but RE4 has become such a special game to me, that I couldn't not post about it. (Especially considering I started this on Capcom-Unity, and Capcom Mods had to approve everything I submitted.) Looking back, it's the game that made me a complete fan of RE, and that's why I can't wait to give it another go with the remake. While I too get tired of the constant rereleases, I feel this remake is what we truly needed. It's what the game deserves, and is a great way to introduce it to a whole new group of fans as well. As great and as ground breaking 4 was back in the day, there's no denying that it could use some modern quality of life improvements. That's what I look forward to seeing the most.

It'd hard to believe it's been 12 years, but I'm more than ready to return to that village again. It won't be in VR this time -- but maybe someday.

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