5 Things I Was Indifferent About
1. The Combat System – Here’s where we get serious, because the stuff that I am indifferent about is what ultimately is barring this game from a place in my favorites list. I think that the reason that I didn’t care much for the combat system in RE4 is that I have been spoiled by the amazing combat systems in similar games such as Uncharted and Gears of War (my 2 alltime favorite video games.) RE4’s combat system is based around the fact that enemies take a lot of hits to kill, and your goal is to wisely apply your ammunition, the firepower that will work for the occasion, and your shooting skills to taking down an opponent.
This system works well enough, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of strategy beyond deciding which guns to use and ammo management (which I’ll get more into below). In most of the game’s major gunfights, I would stand near the door that I came into the area from and lure enemies to me. For instance, in the first area in the game when you have to fight a whole village-worth of enemies, you have the option of running around the village and taking them out, but if you do so, they will get at you from all sides and it’ll be hard to keep tabs on all of your enemies. Instead, I stood at the front gate, which left only a very narrow passageway for the enemies to get to me, and I took them out one by one as they approached. I got so used to this as the most efficient battle strategy that it started to get a little funny when I’d kill all the enemies in an area, then walk through that area to find that there was a pretty elaborate fighting ground that I’d ignored.
It’s not that the game designers didn’t try to find ways to force your hand – if you didn’t have enough ammo, then you’d be bound to run out and try to get your hands on some and take a bit of risk, but more often than not I could take out a room before really stepping into it. This is not so in a game like Uncharted, where the cover system and the presence of enemies on all sides forces you to move around and consider different cover and strategies for taking out enemies in whatever sequence, but I think the lack of that sort of system in RE4 relates to my next indifference.
2. The Difficulty/Fear Factor – Both things Baka-Raptor was quite happy about, but I was a little more wary of. I will say two things first – Resident Evil 4 is certainly difficult, and never unfair. It is also definitely scary, as there were plenty of sequences that put my nuts in my throat. However, both the difficulty and the scares came entirely from the placement of ammunition.
A guy with a bag on his head and a chainsaw in his hand isn’t really all that scary. What is scary is shooting him five times in the face with a shotgun and him not dying. My fear in RE4 was always based on the fact that I was running out of bullets, and it’s also true that the difficulty of any given segment was directly proportionate to my ammo stock. The parts that killed me the most were when I was trying to fight with bowmen on all sides, enemies approaching, and my only weapon is an almost-empty shotgun, or that time I had to fight the blind prisoner the first time and all I had left was rifle bullets. These are not bad things – it was my fault that I was low on bullets for having shitty aim, and it’s not like the game was unfair, since I still did eventually beat those situations. However, I did think it was kind of lame that while I was sometimes killed by the real challenge of the game, I sometimes died in otherwise piss-easy firefights just because I’d been shooting at something stupid minutes before.
By the way, I transcribed my death list (didn’t bother with other stats) for comparison with Baka-Raptor’s. As you can see, mine is a lot less balanced, skewed during levels where I was low on ammo or with lots of QTEs.
- 1-1: 2
- 1-2: 0
- 1-3: 1 (leviathan)
- 2-1: 1 (Gigantor)
- 2-2: 4 (three in the house struggle)
- 2-3: 6 (almost 2 were thanks to the stupid lift.)
- 3-1: 15 (killed Ashley at least twice, 1 controller malfunction, the rest was because it was a long level that I spent low on ammo and healing items)
- 3-2: 4
- 3-3: 0
- 3-4: 1
- 4-1: 15 (took me 7 tries to beat the fight with the two blind soldiers. Easily the hardest fight in the game for me.)
- 4-2: 2
- 4-3: 2
- 4-4: 8 (mostly against Salazar’s punk ass)
- 5-1: 1
- 5-2: 6
- 5-3: 15 (almost every death attributed to QTEs)
- 5-4: 1
- 6: 1 (on the jetski)
- End Scores: Hit Ratio: 66%, Enemies Killed: 926, Number of Times Killed: 85, Clear Time: 22:18
3. The Length/Replay Value – At 22 hours, Resident Evil 4 is by far the longest action game I’ve ever played. I played it nonstop for 2 days and still had to wake up on a third morning to finish off the last couple of hours. However, it did not feel ‘too long.’ It was fun, and the constant changing-up of the action kept it lively, so I never felt like the game had lost it’s luster. However, once I was done with it, I realized that I didn’t have a whole lot of inclination to play it any more (this being the reason it is barred from my favorites list.)
While RE4 was always fun, and there were so many memorable moments and places in it, there was no part that was so awesome that I feel like I’d want to play that part again. When I beat Uncharted, not only did I instantly feel the need to beat it on the next two higher difficulties, as well as find all of the hidden treasures in the game, I even went back and played some of my favorite firefights just for the hell of it. Another great example from RE4’s own console generation was Halo 2, one of my favorite games, even though out of it’s 13 hour-long levels, there are only about 4 that I care for, but I love those 4 levels enough that I can replay them again and again. Looking back on RE4, there is no particular chapter that I feel like I’d want to go through again, except for maybe the full battle with Krauser.
When I first thought this, it occurred to me that maybe this is why RE4 had so much extra stuff to encourage further playthroughs, be they the infinite rocket launcher to make it so you can explore all the stuff you missed in the main game without having to really replay it, or the higher difficulties, or, more importantly, the minigames Assignment Ada and The Mercenaries. However, I gave both of those games a brief shot, and found that I just didn’t care enough. RE4 was fun as an experience, but it didn’t fill me with the need to keep playing it after it was over. Years down the line, I could see maybe playing it through again, but as it stands, the only games I’ve ever beaten multiple times were my top favorites, and not even the short one-afternoon action games, so who knows if I’ll really ever pick it up.
4. The Inventory – I felt like I was constantly micro-managing my inventory. I was opening the menus up to switch between guns every other couple of seconds during major fights. I sometimes fretted about what I might have to throw out in place of something else. Thankfully, constantly selling all of my flash and incendiary grenades to the merchant took some space off my hands. The inventory was all-encompassing, but that wasn’t a problem. I can’t say that I loved it or anything, but it was a better alternative to just about anything else.
5. The Plot – As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of things I liked about the RE4 story. I liked that it was unobtrusive, full of fun characters, and didn’t take itself seriously. Of course, none of that means that it was actually good. The dialog was still a whole lot of silly and the plot was so linear it was actually surprising. The only thing that got to me about this was that about halfway through the game, any scenes not involving the vaguely mysterious Ada or Krasuer were entirely pointless because it was already very clear where this all was going. It didn’t give me much of a reason to feel like what i was doing was important or anything but, then again, who cares, it’s a fun video game. That’s why I’m just indifferent about it.
Resident Evil 4 – Finished (9.2/10)
And there you have it, my incredibly overlong review of Resident Evil 4, an excellent game, no doubt a classic, and probably one of the best Gamecube games of all time, if not one of the best games of it’s whole console generation. That said, better stuff has been made since then using these ideas, and while I had a lot of fun playing it, I don’t feel so inclined to continue that I think it can go down as one of my alltime favorite games. But I still highly recommend it.