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December 2022

Resident Evil 4 Remake

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: March 24, 2023


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PS5/PS4/XSX/PC Preview - 'Resident Evil 4 Remake'

by Adam Pavlacka on Oct. 20, 2022 @ 4:42 p.m. PDT

In Resident Evil 4, players rejoin Leon, who is now a U.S. agent with a top-secret mission, looking into the abduction of the President's daughter, now with modernized gameplay, a reimagined storyline, and vividly detailed graphics.

Heading over to Capcom to play an early version of Resident Evil 4 isn't exactly something I thought I would be doing in 2022, but after spending about 20-30 minutes with a trial version of the new remake, I walked away impressed. If the rest of the title has this level of care, the upcoming version of Resident Evil 4 may end up as the definitive version of the game.

Resident Evil 4 has been ported and re-ported to nearly every platform under the sun since its debut on the GameCube back in early 2005. Resident Evil 4 has appeared on the Oculus Quest 2, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Switch, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Zeebo, as well as various mobile platforms. If you want to play it right now, you can purchase and download a copy from your favorite digital shop. While it may be in HD, the version you buy today is still a port based on that original GameCube version.

Next year's version of Resident Evil 4 should be the same game at its core but rethought and rebuilt from the ground up.

This was most evident from the visual and audio upgrades. The demo started out in the forest, a short walk away from the hunter's cabin, and the first thing I noticed was the detail. Resident Evil 4 isn't defaulting to higher-resolution textures. Everything, from the UI, to the bushes, to the dead, decaying animal along the side of the path is presented in glorious (and sometimes disgusting) detail.

Lighting is used to help set the correct outdoor ambience, but the difference is highlighted once you venture inside the cabin for the first time. Seeing the moonlight cut through the air or the flashlight beam coalesce is impressive. The demo appeared to be using baked lighting instead of ray tracing, but it looked good.

As for the audio, Capcom has put a great deal of effort into positional audio, and it shows. Resident Evil 4 may be one of the few games where playing with headphones is the recommended way to go unless you have a full Dolby Atmos setup running at home. Walking through the woods, I could hear voices and movement in the brush, even if I couldn't see them. Slowly the noises got louder, and I was very aware they were off to the front and my right. Turning toward the noise, I slowly moved forward with my gun out until I came across a small group waiting to ambush me.

Having the positional audio is great for environmental sounds and tracking enemies, but it also ramps up the adrenaline when a heavy threat is bearing down on you. Hearing the chainsaw revving as I was being hunted near the end of the demo was a constant reminder to keep moving.

Movement is one of the subtler areas of upgrades, and I didn't really notice it at first. In part this was because it felt so natural and we tend to look back at past games/memories with rose-tinted glasses.

Areas of note include being able to crouch (that wasn't really a thing in the original release of the game) and stealth attacks. That's right, you can play it Solid Snake-style and eliminate enemies from behind, if you can creep up without them noticing. I played around with this in the last section of the demo as I wandered around the village before triggering the chainsaw man.

The demo was a short but enticing look at the upgrades we can expect to see in the remake when it releases in March 2023. Capcom was silent as to whether the demo build would be made available for general customers, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. What I played was clearly a polished, stand-alone demo. It wasn't just a random level from a full game build.

Capcom was also silent on whether this remake is intended to be generally faithful to the original story or if the company intended to update or change any core elements, similar to what Square did with Final Fantasy VII Remake. For that, we'll have to wait and see.

Either way, playing the demo of Resident Evil 4 made me remember how much fun I had playing the original, and it managed to get me excited about the remake. This is so much more than a simple port.

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