Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Resident Evil 4 HD

Review: Resident Evil 4 HD

1:00 PM on 09.20.2011 // Jonathan Holmes

I've met a lot of different folks in my life: genitalia-lacking asexuals, people who eat glass, people who have sex with broccoli, guys who hate pizza, women who braid their ear hair; the list goes on. That said, I've never been more freaked out than when I met a fan of action-horror games who hated Resident Evil 4. It just didn't compute. 

That's because Resident Evil 4 is a near-perfect game. You've got the "keep-away but with guns" gameplay hook, the relentless but never overwhelming pacing, the art direction, the enemy variety, the extras, and more. There is a reason why the game is cited as one of the primary inspirations for Gears of War, Dead Space, and multiple other extremely successful third-person shooters -- Resident Evil 4 reinvented the genre. It did for the action-horror genre what Super Mario 64 did for 3D platformers and what Ocarina of Time did for 3D action-adventures. It's easily one of the most important games of all time. 

The question here is if it is important enough to buy again on PSN/XBLA for $20, sans any new content. Read on to find out. 

Resident Evil 4 HD (PlayStation Network [reviewed], Xbox Live Arcade)
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Released: September 20, 2011
Price: $19.99 (PSN) / 1600 Microsoft Points (XBLA)

Playing Resident Evil 4 again for the first time since I picked up the Wii Edition in 2007 was a really interesting experience. Seeing the game again over four years later reminded me just how much gaming has changed since then, let alone since the game was first released on GameCube in 2005. It felt a little like going back to Super Mario Bros. 3 after playing hours of Ms. Splosion Man, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Super Meat Boy.

Like Mario 3, Resident Evil 4 has a simplicity that exemplifies elegance in game design mixed with an unapologetically subdued look (at least by today's standards). In Resident Evil 4, there is no co-op partner to cause chaos, no cover system to worry about, no psychic powers to manage, and no immediate signs of giant freaked-out mutants or crab-faced devil people. For the first few hours, it's about a normal-looking guy doing his best to survive in a normal Spanish village against regular people armed with pitchforks, chainsaws, and other rusty implements of mayhem.

Remember that scene in Gymkata? Well, that's basically how Resident Evil 4 starts off (except with much less gymkata).

The game proves that sometimes all you need is a simple gameplay hook, as well as the bravery to stick with it, in order to drive home a compelling experience. Like the Pac-Man series, Resident Evil 4 is the pressure of escaping from enemies, conserving resources, and launching an expertly planned counterattack at just the right moment.

The game utilizes the infamous "can't run and shoot" control system that frustrates the crap out of many action-loving gamers, yet it makes perfect sense to those who appreciate the tension that comes from a little powerlessness. You want to keep enemies away from you in the game, so you're tempted to run. However, in order to eliminate any of the threats constantly advancing toward you, you have to stop running and take aim. You better make those shots count because you only have so many bullets, whereas your enemies have unlimited strength with which to strangle you and bottomless tanks of gas for their chainsaws. 

Score some perfectly placed hits on your moving targets and you'll stun them, giving you a limited amount of time to run over and lay into them with some brutal fisticuffs of your own. This allows you to do more damage, save ammo, and perhaps most importantly, feel like you've finally turned the tables on a game series that has always been about keeping enemies as far away from you as possible. It's essentially the "Power Pellet" moment of the game -- you have a limited time to eat the ghosts who are normally the ones who'd eat you on contact, but in this case, the "ghosts" just happen to be middle-aged Spanish guys (and ladies) with really bad skin. 

It's not too far along into the game when Capcom flips the script on this gameplay hook. For reasons too good to give away here, your old strategy of shooting guys in the face and then running up to them with a roundhouse kick will completely backfire on you later on, beginning with a scene that only foreshadows the endless surprises awaiting you in the rest of the game. I'm still shocked by just how many incredible gameplay ideas this game has while retaining the central "run, stop, and pop" rhythm that quickly becomes second nature after sinking your teeth into the game for a few hours. 

If you're like me and you play videogames largely to see how imaginative and inventive game developers can be, you'll love Resident Evil 4. If you've never played it before but have played and enjoyed its much less creative and compelling sequel, or any of the Dead Space or Gears of War games, I'm going to ask you to stop reading this review now and just buy Resident Evil 4. You're really wasting your time reading about it when you could be experiencing the game for yourself. 

Note that I didn't say you should buy this version of Resident Evil 4. While the value of the game is not up for debate, the value of this particular repackaging is definitely something worth a second look. 

After the amazing load of new features and extras that Capcom included in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, I don't think it's unreasonable to have hoped that we'd get some new content in this HD release of Resident Evil 4. Sadly, that didn't happen. This is the game as it appeared on the Wii, with all the great features of that version of the game, only in HD. That's still a lot of content, but the lack of even a new costume, let alone PS Move support for the PS3 version, is a little underwhelming. 

As for the HD graphics, there is almost nothing to say about them. These are Resident Evil 4's original polygon models and textures, just with less jagged edges and better color separation and saturation. For some, that will be a big deal. For me, it is perhaps the least important visual upgrade I've ever experienced. I did feel a sudden sense of "whoa, the game does look slightly better" for approximately three seconds when I first booted up the game. Then, after my eyes were accustomed to the higher definition, I didn't notice it anymore. Just to be sure, I popped in the Wii version right afterwards. Sure enough, I felt a twinge and thought, "hey, that's a little more mushy and edgy," then three seconds later, I didn't think about it anymore. 

It really makes me sad that so many people let these tiniest of visual differences deprive them of enjoying games from the PS2/Xbox/GameCube era, especially when there was a time when they were very impressed with what those machines could do. It's great to have standards, but when those standards cause you to dismiss wonderful experiences because they have a slightly less colorful or slightly less sharp picture than you'd like, you're not doing yourself any favors. Anyway, that's a topic for another time. For now, let's wrap up this review.

Resident Evil 4 is a 10 out of 10 game. This repackaging of the game is not a 10 out of 10 product. If you already own Resident Evil 4 on the Wii, there is absolutely no reason to buy it here other than the HD-ness, which did nothing for me. Fans of HD-ness should adjust their own levels of interest accordingly. Additionally, if you only had the PS2 or the GameCube versions before, this is a nice way to get the extra content of the PS2 port along with the superior graphics of the GameCube original. Still, $20 is pretty steep for a digital copy of a game this old.

Aw, who am I kidding! This is Resident Evil 4 we're talking about! How could I give it anything less than a...



Resident Evil 4 HD - Reviewed by Jonathan Holmes
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Ju... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Resident Evil 4 HD

  Feb 28

Xbox Live Sale: Jill Sandwich Edition

More zombies than you can stuff in a bathtub

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

Things I'm Thankful For

Cblogs of 11/25/15 + Turkey N Stuff

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.
Lawman avatarLawman
Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....
Shinta avatarShinta
Wii U, top selling black friday item on Take that you anti-Wii U people.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.
Confuseddalek avatarConfuseddalek
I found this weird game called Samurai Heroes for 8 dollars today. Its not bad.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Got Deadpool, Arkham Asylum and BioShock 1 and 2 all for 30$. Not to bad for going Black Friday shopping late.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
If you haven't played Tales from the Borderlands yet, GO BUY IT! By far the funniest game I have ever played, and the characters and narrative are incredibly well written. Very few memes unlike BL2 by the way.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Played all of Life is Strange today in one sitting. Bloody hell. You should all play it. Only game this year to make me cry. Bravo developers. Possibly the most valuable thing I've ever bought for £10.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, got farther than ever in Wasteland 2. This is my third playthrough-once thru beta, once through the orig version, now on Directors cut. Worth the restart, and it speaks highly of the game that I like it enough to do this. DAMONTA HERE I COME!
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO. Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho.
TheGwailo avatarTheGwailo
I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -