Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 marks a radical shift in Capcom's survival horror series. After five games with the same formula, the genre was changed to an action game with over-the-shoulder camera while the controls remained largely the same. Of course, due to the new perspective there's an increased focus on aiming. The progress structure has become more linear, puzzles are easier and the player now carries all weapons and items with them. Inventory space is still limited, but is much more modular than before. Weapons have to be reloaded in real time; they can also be upgraded many times. Exploring any given area is beneficial for your wallet, because treasure is hidden in many spots. Enemies drop money as well, even the non-human ones. That's not a complaint, it's merely video game logic that is welcome because it makes the game better. What Capcom can be scolded for is that a story that takes place in Spain in the year 2004 should use the Euro as currency.

Resident Evil 4 uses adaptive difficulty. It's a design trick that allows the developers to keep ammo both high enough and low enough throughout the entire game. It doesn't feel like there is an abundance of ammo, but at the same time the player doesn't run out of it either, because enemies drop more if the player's inventory demands it; similarly, if the player has no healing items left, the drop rate increases significantly. Of course, all of this has certain limits, so the game has to be played properly regardless. What this adaptive difficulty means though, is that there's no need to use the knife to save ammo; you are only going to decrease the drop rates, so it's all in vain.

GameCube

Leon S. Kennedy, the male protagonist of Resident Evil 2, now works for a special agency of the government and is tasked to travel to a remote part of Spain to save the American president's daughter. The zombies of previous games are nowhere to be found, so the enemies are more intelligent and dangerous in Resident Evil 4. Since the player can't move and shoot at the same time, the foes have a habit of running towards you and then slowing down to give you a fair chance. This doesn't mean that the game isn't intense, and the intro section in the village proves as much. Resident Evil 4 doesn't fool around and quickly demonstrates that players are in for a ride. The game even manages to pull off escort missions in a satisfying manner, a gameplay element that usually suffers from an AI that wants to die.

Controls 10 You can't move and shoot at the same time, but the game is
designed accordingly. Intuitive control scheme.
Gameplay   Third person action game. Kill enemies, solve simple puzzles,
look out for treasure and upgrade your weapons.
Story   Resident Evil's over the top B-movie attitude with corny
dialogue hits all the right notes.
Single-player   Every time you think that it couldn't get any more intense,
Resident Evil 4 manages to up the ante yet again.
Multiplayer   Not
available.
Graphics   Impressive on a technical level with convincing
special effects. Great animation.
Sound   The music intensifies the action.
The enemies' screams are disturbing in the good sense.
Value   15-20 hours for the campaign, less than an hour for Ada's
mission, several hours for the Mercenaries bonus game.
Replay Value   A higher difficulty setting and plenty of available weapons
allow the player to shake things up.
Score 9 The new direction for Resident Evil kept the series relevant
after the survival horror episodes grew stale.

PlayStation 2

The PS2 version received a necessary graphics downgrade. Polygon counts of character models were reduced, special effect don't look as good, one section in chapter 5 has an additional loading screen because the RAM isn't big enough, and the cutscenes are prerendered instead of being done with the in-game engine. What the latter results in are short delays in the quick time events that play out during cutscenes. Yes, you can die during cinematics in Resident Evil 4. None of the aforementioned things have a notably negative impact, but where the PS2 version falls short is in the controls department. I am not 100% sure if it's a hardware issue or if Capcom is incompetent, but aiming is a lot more challenging than in the GC version. Since this is a fundamental part of Resident Evil 4, it results in a docked point for the score. Of course it's possible to get used to this shortcoming, but that doesn't excuse it. Neither does additional content make up for it, because the control issues obviously extend to Ada Wong's mini-campaign.

Controls 10 While aiming, the laser pointer can only be moved at slow
or fast speed without any nuances inbetween.
Gameplay   Third person action game. Kill enemies, solve simple puzzles,
look out for treasure and upgrade your weapons.
Story   Resident Evil's over the top B-movie attitude with corny
dialogue hits all the right notes.
Single-player   Every time you think that it couldn't get any more intense,
Resident Evil 4 manages to up the ante yet again.
Multiplayer   Not
available.
Graphics   Polygon counts and special effects are reduced compared
to the GC version, but it's top notch for the PS2.
Sound   The music intensifies the action.
The enemies' screams are disturbing in the good sense.
Value   In addition to the content of the GC version, Ada Wong gets
her own mini-campaign that lasts around four hours.
Replay Value   A higher difficulty setting and plenty of available weapons
allow the player to shake things up.
Score 8 The inferior controls make the PS2 version of Resident Evil 4
notably less enjoyable. Still great, but better elsewhere.

Wii Edition

The Wii Edition of Resident Evil 4 combines the strengths of the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions and adds Wiimote+Nunchuk support for faster and higher precision aiming. The GC and Wii Classic Controller can also be used, so people who don't like their games to control as good as possible have that option. On the Wii the knife has semi-automatic aim, so a quick flick with the Wii Remote makes short work of all those crates and barrels in the game. Resident Evil 4 feels notably less difficult with Wii controls, because the game wasn't designed for them. "The controls are too good," that's nitpicking that I don't have to make often.

Controls 10 GC and Classic Controller support, but the Wiimote+Nunchuk
combo is the go-to option. Perhaps it's even too good.
Gameplay   Third person action game. Kill enemies, solve simple puzzles,
look out for treasure and upgrade your weapons.
Story   Resident Evil's over the top B-movie attitude with corny
dialogue hits all the right notes.
Single-player   Every time you think that it couldn't get any more intense,
Resident Evil 4 manages to up the ante yet again.
Multiplayer   Not
available.
Graphics   Identical to the GC version, but with an actual 16:9 mode.
One of the best looking third party games on Wii.
Sound   The music intensifies the action.
The enemies' screams are disturbing in the good sense.
Value   The Wii port includes all content of the Gamecube and
PlayStations 2 versions.
Replay Value   A higher difficulty setting and plenty of available weapons
allow the player to shake things up.
Score 10 More content and superior controls make the Wii Edition
of Resident Evil 4 better than the original version.


Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club