Resident Evil 4 was the first Resident Evil (and subsequently Survival Horror) game I ever played. As a young teen I was absolutely terrified of anything even remotely spooky, and even The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and its ReDeads were too much for me. I’m not sure what possessed me to play an actual horror game given my nervous disposition, but I’m glad I did. It instantly became one of my favourite video games of all time, and now eighteen years later I’m almost embarrassingly excited for the upcoming remake.
I was fortunate enough to get access to a video showing just shy of twenty minutes of Resident 4 Remake gameplay for this hands off preview, and in that timeframe got to see some really exciting parts of the game. I got to see Ramon, Krauser and even the merchant, as well as a whole load of new and returning mechanics.
The most exciting new element of Resident Evil 4 Remake that I can’t wait to experience is the melee combat. The knife plays a much more vital role in Leon’s adventure this time around, and because of this the combat as a whole seems much more fluid. Gone are the days of slowly walking backwards and hitting headshots with a pistol, now fighting Las Plagas features badass knife parrying and stylish gun and melee combos.
The first stop on our tour of Resident Evil 4 took us to the lake, and saw Leon exploring the area, checking out some puzzles and picking up a side quest. You read that right, new to the remake are requests that ask you to bring items to certain people. The one featured in this presentation asked for a Golden Egg, so I guess those chickens had better watch out.
Next Leon met with The Merchant, who is just as iconic as ever. His new, less gravelly voice will take a bit of getting used to, but while shopping in his store and upgrading weapons there were a ton of new voice lines that really helped show off his new and improved personality. While shopping we also stopped off at a typewriter where Leon can now store his weapons and customise his case. The inventory management will be familiar to fans of the original game, but there are options to change up your carry case and the charms attached to it for additional little bonuses. The amount of modernisation of this classic feels like just the right amount, and will hopefully make the game more palatable for new players while adding new mechanics to try for veterans.
After finishing his shopping, Leon wandered headfirst into the second act of the game and to the castle. It was here that the visual beauty of the game really became apparent, with the dramatic lighting of the fiery torches really amping up the atmosphere. We also got to spend some time with Ashley, who’s new design really suits the remade game, and see what protecting her is going to entail this time around.
I think most people would be willing to admit that keeping Ashley safe was one of the less enjoyable aspects of Resident Evil 4 back on the GameCube, so I was glad to see that a small but significant change has been made on that front. Seemingly at the push of a button you can tell Ashley to either stay close or keep her distance from our floppy haired protagonist, enabling you to either dive into the action without worrying about her getting mauled or keep her close and away from the baddies. It seems like this change will mean that one of the few less appealing parts of this survival horror masterpiece is no longer a hassle.
The final segment of the Resident Evil 4 Remake video featured the knife fight with Jack Krauser. What was once a slightly outdated quick time event marathon is now a full fledged one-on-one melee boss fight. Thanks to the new knife mechanics this new updated battle looks like an intense standoff, and one I’m excited to experience for myself.
I can’t recall a hands off preview ever getting me as excited for an upcoming game as this Resident Evil 4 preview did, and as far as I’m concerned March 23rd can’t come soon enough. With modernised gameplay, spectacular visuals and more than a few new additions, I wouldn’t be surprised if this remake is one of the best games of the year.
Resident Evil 4 is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox Series S|X, and PC on March 23rd, 2023.