Resident Evil 4 sound design
Screenshot by Destructoid

Resident Evil 4 remake’s atmospheric sound design deserves praise

The sounds pull you in

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The creaking of the boards, the screams of the infected, and the winces of the rats beneath your feet all add to the Resident Evil 4 remake experience: I’m spooked and intrigued at the same time! The Resident Evil 4 sound design is immaculate and stands just as tall as the impressive graphics on display.

That’s thanks in part to the sound designers from Resident Evil 4 remake. Here’s why.

Resident Evil 4’s sound design adds a lot to the gameplay

Resident Evil 4 remake sound design
Screenshot by Destructoid

The Resident Evil 4 sound design in the remake adds so much to the game.

With a great headset on, it points you toward a dangling piece of treasure. It can be shot down from a wire as it rustles from the wind. The crisp and satisfying reload of the shotgun makes me anticipate the fight ahead. Once the trigger is pulled, an explosive shot can be heard around the quiet village of our favorite protagonist Leon. The boom ups my heart rate with every weapon sounding different from the other. It also stings more as the infected villagers stab me with their axes and pitchforks as an excruciating sound plays. I cringe, grit my teeth, and try to continue the battle before Leon suffers a horrible death.

One of the most chilling moments from the beginning of Resident Evil 4 is how I heard banging and screaming from an infected in the same house as me. I was cautious with every step. As I got closer and closer, I determined which direction its coming from and get ready for the battle ahead with a slight quiver of self-doubt. Resident Evil 4 proves that jump scares aren’t the only way to scare someone. They can effectively do that with atmospheric sound design.

Perfect use of music

Something else to keep in mind is the tranquil elements of Resident Evil 4It doesn’t need a rosy victory theme to illustrate peace in the area. Instead, the solemn wind and the way the tree branches sway to and fro give brief comfort before heading back into danger. It feels like a wave of relief.

In addition, the use of musical restraint adds so much to the Resident Evil 4 sound design. It lets the game’s environment speak for itself. Leon’s journey is isolated in the beginning. Only hearing the environment adds so much tension as you imagine Leon having second thoughts. The battle music, while admittedly buggy at times, has more effect because it stands out more. I’m tense and trying to fight off the waves of scary, infected villagers.

A brilliant use of the DualSense

Resident Evil 4 church
Screenshot by Destructoid

It’s a shame that everyone playing on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC can’t experience the audio capabilities of the DualSense. The haptic feedback adds…a lot. It’s neat how the game utilizes the speaker on the PS5 controller. You can hear your gun reloading and clicking. You also can listen to your representative from STRATCOM Ingrid speaking to you through an intercom in impeccable detail. It adds more depth to the game and pulls off an immersive experience for the player.

Overall, the Resident Evil sound design should be praised. It points out the location of rats or treasure, it adds tension and finally gives you a relaxing drop of tension as you hear the trees swaying in the wind. Hopefully, it wins Best Audio Design at The Game Awards this year because Resident Evil 4 certainly deserves it. Thank you, Hiroshi Tamura and the rest of the sound team.


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Author
Chris Penwell
Chris is a writer for multiple outlets, including Destructoid! He loves narrative games like Kingdom Hearts, Life is Strange, and Beyond Good & Evil. However, he does enjoy Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from time to time.