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Monday, October 31, 2005

Resident Evil 4

Over the weekend I had a chance to watch someone play Resident Evil 4 on the PlayStation 2 for a few hours. I know what you're thinking: "Watched someone play? How can you review a game you didn't play?"

Actually, it's quite easy. Usually, this is where most reviewers would go into the back story of the game, and talk about prior games in the series. I've actually never played a Resident Evil game before. Well, I did play about ten minutes into the original when it was first ported to the PC, but I don't remember a thing about it other than how much I disliked the control scheme for it.

The good news is that Resident Evil 4 has finally gotten rid of that horrible system. Unfortunately, the new controls aren't all that and a bag of chips. The game now puts the camera behind your player, so that you can easily line up your weapon with your enemy. This is good. Trying to look behind you is quite easy to, thanks to quick-look buttons. Actually turning around to shoot an attacker approaching from the rear still feels sluggish, however. Also, there is no staffing, which means if you want to look into a room or building, you have to walk to the door, then spin around to point the camera into the direction you wish to look. And by walk, I mean, well, walk. There is no running in Resident Evil 4.

Another staple Resident Evil 4 did away with are the zombies. In their place are new "intelligent" enemies that carry weapons such as shovels and pitchforks. To tell you the truth, I actually thought these new enemies were zombies, as they look and move just like the undead. They even attack in a single file, which is nice. However, now they throw grenades at you! If that doesn't define intelligence, I don't know what does.

The game does look quite good however. I wouldn't go so far as to call it beautiful, as some other reviewers have, but it does look decent. The buildings in the beginning of the game all look the same, and everything is coated with a brown goo. The village designs are quite nice, although a bit small. The characters look fantastic, though the enemies tend to be the same model.

Overall, I wouldn't say the game is horrible, but I defiantly don't agree with the high ratings Resident Evil has received. If you are a die hard fan of the series, then you'll probably love the latest installment, but if not, I'd wait until it's cheaper. (**)