While Shadow of the Colossus was the reason I bought a ps2, RE4 was the reason I bought a gamecube. The first time I played it I was really enjoying the atmosphere and feeling of the game. I liked how it felt gloomy and lonely I enjoyed the way Leon walked by default. The sound effects captured the feel of the game from the crows to the eerie music. When I first entered combat I had some difficulty adapting to the new style of gameplay and I died fairly early by walking into multiple traps and then into a tripmine. There was a bit of a learning curve but while I was still very bad at the game in the beginning I was having loads of fun.
The gameplay is a little slow paced but heats up pretty quickly once the zombies start pouring in. Basically you press the trigger to aim and press "a" to fire. It may sounds a little weird but it works pretty good. If you hit an enemy in the balls or the legs they will crouch over and if you get close to the and you press "A" you will do a kick that will either knock down, or kill nearby enemy's and kill the person who was crouching over. Leon has a pretty bad ass kick.
The story is pretty simple in the beginning then gets more complicated as you go through. Basically you are Leon Kennedy, former member of the Raccoon City Police. After the incident at Raccoon City (anyone who played the previous game would know what the indecent was) Leon becomes a special agent under the presidents orders. When the President's daughter is captured you are sent into Spain to retrieve her. You soon find that the villagers are very aggressive and hostile Leon ends up finding the President's daughter pretty early in the game, but getting her out of the place you are stuck in will turn out to be alot more difficult than actually getting her.
As you progress through the game Leon will be able to buy new weapons, upgrade old ones and sell unwanted ones. You can also find herbs to increase and restore your health. As well as herbs there are other items you can find that can restore your health such as fish. While these additions add to the survival horror essence of the game it doesn't come off as enough to make this game a true survival horror game. It ends up coming off more as an action game with survival horror elements. There is no real puzzles, or super scary moments. There are a few scary moments but they don't make this game scary enough. One of the multiple extremely fun bosses.
As much as this game is not a Survival Horror game it is an excellent action game. The fights are tense and you need good maneuvering as well as headshot skillz. The game really gets good once you get the shotgun because that's when things start getting really fun, because shooting off exploding zombie heads are always fun. Later in the game when your weapons are upgraded really high, this game become ZOMBIE HOMICIDE BLOOD N GORE DELUX and that's a good thing.
Overall this is a great game, best game for the gamecube hands down. If you do not have this game get it now. It is also for the Wii, and the Ps2.