If someone was to ask me to name a game that I feel I could play annually, there is a high chance I feel I would say Resident Evil 4 every single time. As a game that I’ve probably played more than a dozen times in my life, I can honestly say that the thought of being able to play a version of Resident Evil 4 on the Nintendo Switch is still very exciting for me.
Going back to my teenage years, I can still recall my first time running through Resident Evil 4. I remember being unsure of what to expect. Sure, I had prior experience playing the other Resident Evil games back on the original PlayStation, and a few other titles on the PlayStation 2, but there was no other beast quite like the one that I experienced with Resident Evil 4. Capcom essentially took the survival horror wheel and gave Resident Evil 4 a much-needed blend of refreshing action-oriented gameplay. It worked out brilliantly, as Resident Evil 4 became an influentially high standard to look to for both action and survival horror games created after that point, with later games such as Gears of War and Dead Space showing elements that were clearly inspired being by the formula. To put it simple, I feel that we owe a lot to Resident Evil 4.
As I sit here and think about it more, I really feel that the Nintendo Switch version of Resident Evil 4 can’t get here soon enough. A Switch version will give me yet another reason to experience a game that I already find superb. Even comparing it to the later entries in the Resident Evil series, it’s hard to feel like any of them had come even remotely close to matching what Resident Evil 4 had achieved, with the story and gameplay of Resident Evil 4 both being memorable in their own ways. When I look back, I can still visually remember portions of the game, as well as some of the campy sounding lines. I also felt that the evolution of Leon Kennedy was very refreshing as well. So many characters in the Resident Evil series feel like they come off with overly serious tones, but Leon in Resident Evil 4… Well. He went from being a very serious sounding police officer in Resident Evil 2, to being a witty special agent in 4. It was always something I found to be fantastic, with the performance given by voice actor Paul Mercier to be nothing short of top notch. This all attributed to the Resident Evil 4 Leon S. Kennedy becoming my favorite video game character of all time. Even outside of Leon, I just found the cast of characters to mesh well together. Yes, even the ball and chain Ashley.
Whenever I think of any conversations I’ve had with other people when it comes to Resident Evil games, one of the most common things I feel that I hear is that Resident Evil 4 just isn’t scary. Scary. Well, I have to admit that I can’t really deny that. Aside for the Castle portion of the game with all the cultists, as I feel they do provide a bit of a psychological creepiness, there aren’t many moments of the game where you can say something induces any kind of actual fear. Maybe you could say the chainsaw fellows, or the U3 boss, but that could be pushing it. I guess it depends for the individual playing the game, but I guess in a way that I do feel that it’s hard to argue against this. I can still remember being a young kid playing Resident Evil 2 and coming across the police station interrogation room with the Licker jumping through the rooms mirror. This was a moment that absolutely freaked me out to the point where I couldn’t play Resident Evil 2 unless someone else was in the same room as me. I would even give some credit to the Crimson Heads in the Resident Evil remake. That first instance of seeing one pop up and claw at you was a pretty tense moment. Outside of the Resident Evil’s I mentioned, I don’t think I can say that there were any other Resident Evil games in the series that had ever come nearly close to being all that horrifying. I mean when I think about something like Resident Evil 6, which brought back zombies, all I can ever think of was the sliding zombies and the moment of finding myself openly laughing because of how ridiculously hilarious it looked. The reality of it all is that I don’t think Resident Evil 4 needed to be overly scary. It was a great game regardless of not having jump scares.
In closing, I feel that it’s hard to deny what Resident Evil 4 had accomplished. Maybe it would have been better served for a spinoff, with its more action toned gameplay, but it’s still a great game nonetheless. I’ve heard people blame Resident Evil 4 for causing the downfall of the series. I don’t know about that. Outside of Resident Evil 6 and Revelations 2, I don’t really think any of the games to come after 4 are really that bad. I guess if I was to say that if Resident Evil 4 did anything that was truly bad, it was that it raised the bar way too high for the later games in the series to even come close to matching. When you are exposed to something that was nearly perfect, it creates a standard that is hard to beat. These days I feel that the standard is a tossup between the Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 4. I really can’t wait to see how the Resident Evil 2 remake plays either. It could honestly end up being another bar raising game from Capcom, we’ll just have to wait and see for now.Until then… Give more me more Resident Evil 4!