Resident Evil 4 was launched in 2005 on GameCube and it ushered a new era for the franchise with its new perspective and play style, which were inherited by the sequels as well. Capcom ported the game to multiple platforms, and the game was welcomed by the already succeeding console generation on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Even though nine years is a lot of time for a proper PC port, there are reasons why we needed it. Resident Evil 4 has been available on PC since 2007, but its release was appalling when compared to its console brethren. The horrible impressions were created mostly by the technical details, given the lack of mouse controls and the option to adjust visual settings.
The PC is now welcoming once again the Resident Evil 4 game, but now in HD and with a lot of technical improvements. Unlike the original port, this latest edition comes with widescreen support and 1080p resolution fixed at 60 fps. There is also native keyboard mouse support with options for custom key binding, anti-aliasing, a bevy of high-resolution textures, and greatly reduced loading times. Resident Evil 4 contains the original game, complete with all prior additional content, including Separate Ways side campaign.
Now, some bad news come for the fan-boys of the series. You may not even read from the forward. But you should read an objective opinion of someone who is not hit by nostalgia when playing the game. Firstly, let me tell you why I wasn’t a fan of the game since the beginning of its life in 2005. I understand that it wants to be a slow-paced shooter survival. But there is a difference between slow-paced and plain stupidity. The controls were so heavy that they become frustrating. The protagonist sent to save the daughter of the president, Leon S. Kennedy is supposed to be a special forces veteran. So when you can not aim while you walk, when it takes longer to make a 180 degrees turn than to climb a one story ladder, when you can only walk forwards, not being able to strafe left or right, or when you can not actually hold a knife in your hand and walk at the same time, all these while some peasants kill you while they walk towards you with a speed of 2 MPH, the experience becomes much more frustrating than frightening. Many people say that it was advanced for its day. But Grand Theft Auto III was released in 2001, which is four whole years earlier, and it was much more technically advanced.
I didn’t like the first port, and as a matter of fact, I don’t really like ported games at all, but I will leave this for a future article. But when I heard that there was mouse support, now in the HD version of the game, I thought I should give it a shot. Unfortunately it was the same frustrating experience. The mouse is there just so you can move your camera around, not for actually changing the directions you are moving. So the left and right strafing problem (I see it as a problem) wasn’t solved. The laser aiming with the mouse is buggy, sometimes twitching at close range combat. At long distance, it is also annoying, the aiming having a slippery unnatural feel.
Now what is theoretically the most important feature of the re-release is it’s HD characteristics. You can play it in Full HD at 60 fps on a wide-screen. At least this sounds good. Well, it isn’t as good as it sounds. A lot of textures are sharper and you can’t see huge pixels when playing it on a big screen. But not all of the textures have been redefined. In the game, you may stumble across a stone wall composed of realistic cracks and earthy green moss. But in the same area, you could find a wooden box leaning up against the wall that still retains the archaic textures, resulting in a blurry, brown object strikingly out of place.It can get distracting, considering it’s difficult not to notice a stark contrast between a building and the ground it stands upon. Some glitches may appear as well when textures are replaced by a black background with white writing on it.
As a sum up, Resident Evil 4 HD Edition is merely a game for the melancholic fan-boys of the series. Even though, I think they would prefer to pop out their old GameCube and play it as it is and has ever been.
A verdict? Necessary? I think not. But it’s a review so I have to give one. And it gets this score just for its heritage, and because some people may still play it, even though it’s not a game that should be present in the list of 2014 launched games.