The Resident Evil 4 the remake is off to a strong start. Updated aiming mechanics and a new injection of processing power make it the most exciting version yet RE4 Capcom has ever delivered and Leon Kennedy looks better than ever, even with his new chin implant. The remake performs well in the early hours as Leon shoots and stabs his way through the foggy Spanish village where las plagas has transformed the natives into murderous tentacles. These early scenes, set among crooked wooden buildings and on the banks of a twisted cave system, establish the game’s gory tone and provide a satisfying balance of asset management, puzzle solving and contemporary third-person shooting.
As the game grows in complexity, it becomes clumsy. Capcom’s modernization approach RE4 is to add more enemies, cramped environments, and less ammo drops – all of that could results in a high voltage action experience if the controls were consistent. As it is, the RE4 The remake is plagued by lackluster animation and disappointing fight sequences. Leon constantly feels underpowered, unable to dodge basic attacks or reliably land a shot.
Resident Evil 4 set the standard for action-horror games when it was released in 2005, and the remake shines when it embraces the innovations of the original: precision over-the-shoulder shooting and an atmosphere that combines combat and horror. However, the remake quickly loses focus, and it seems like much of Capcom’s effort was poured into upgrading enemies and environments, leaving Leon in the GameCube-era dust.
The RE4 The remake introduces new boss fights and head-splitting enemies, and also allows Leon to deal with powerful attacks. Sometimes. The offset is only available if Leon has a knife on standby, and when prompted, it is easily interrupted by environmental prompts, the actions of other enemies, and Leon’s own animations. Like most of Leon’s moves, the harass ability is just too inconsistent to be satisfying and generally does nothing to add to the intensity of fight scenes.
The remake often places Leon in the center of a swarm of enemies, with no option to quickly dodge incoming attacks. He has to shoot or push his way through the horde – but he runs like he’s knee-deep in mud, and even a bullet to the head doesn’t always stop a dashing cultist. Meanwhile, the enemies attack always interrupts Leon. The slow motion is authentic to the experience of the original four Resident Evil games and is something that the RE2 and RE3 the remakes cater specifically, offering updated controls and environments that feel right at home on modern hardware. Compared to these games, RE4 it feels incomplete, or at least not perfected.
A boss fight that Capcom redesigned for the remake is against Méndez, the mutant priest with the extra long spine. In the original, Méndez launches a repetitive series of attacks from the rafters of a burning slaughterhouse. In the remake, Méndez drops back to hurl flaming logs and exploding oil drums at Leon, before dashing forward for close combat and switching between these positions a few times. Although the environment in the remake is larger, it is surrounded by flames that interrupt Leon’s actions every time he touches them. Méndez moves fast and so do the items he throws, while Leon has a slow running ability, with no way to avoid fast and sluggish animations for reloading, item retrieval, fire touch, and stabbing enemies. Méndez seems like a completely rebuilt character here. Leon, not so much. This results in a frustrating boss fight.
I died a few times while trying to beat Méndez – and that’s when Capcom pranked me. I was playing on Standard and during Méndez’s death screens, the game started prompting me to enable Assisted mode, the lowest difficulty setting. I generally don’t do this during reviews, but a dozen exasperating attempts later and I gave in, hitting OK without reading the fine print. The assisted mode makes the game incredibly forgiving and I easily beat Méndez on the next run.
And then I couldn’t change my difficulty settings at all. Please note: Assisted Mode is permanent RE4.
I played a few more minutes on the lowest difficulty setting, but it really felt like a different game than the Standard version, with no tension or risk. Luckily, I was on the PlayStation 5, which only syncs cloud saves when you exit a game. I disconnected the console from the internet, closed the game and then downloaded the old save file from before I changed the settings. I then beat Méndez the old-fashioned way, on standard difficulty, and continued with a newfound fear of accidentally going into Assist mode on my soul.
Permanent downshifting is a standard feature in Resident Evil games, but I find it confusing. It is particularly confusing as RE4 actively encourages casual players to try Assisted Mode on loading screens and death menus. I asked Capcom why the team designed it RE4 In this way, and a spokesperson said: “The difficulty mode in which a player completes the game has implications for in-game achievements and trophies.” This doesn’t fully answer the question for me: Many action games have dynamic difficulty settings without disrupting achievements, and this answer doesn’t address my perception that Capcom is prioritizing trophy integrity over accessibility.
While we’re in the complaints department, I also want to encourage all PS5 players to turn off controller sounds in their sound settings. This applies to RE4 and literally every other game with this feature. Why is the volume on the DualSense so loud all the time? Please, someone, stop this.
This is what the RE4 The remake has reduced me to: a begging mess of unfulfilled nostalgia and disappointment. It’s not a terrible game, but it’s not seamless either. It adds enemy variety and fresh environments, but Leon’s bullets usually hit their targets without doing damage, his movements are clumsy, and his new harass ability is only semi-functional. The game clearly lays out combat strategies for each scene, but then its mechanics get in the way, punishing the player in the process. Overall, the word for it RE4 remake it is inconsistent.