Resident Evil 4 GameCube
Developed by Capcom
Release Date: Out Now
Resident Evil 4, an introduction.
The survival-horror genre is hugely popular amongst today's console gamers. The game that started it all is, for the most part, considered to be Resident Evil. The series has appeared on various platforms such as the PlayStation, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and most recently the GameCube. GameCube owners, of course, have been able to play those early titles as Capcom have released graphically enhanced versions of the first few games and after those released more or less straight ports of later versions. With Resident Evil 4 GameCube gamers have the chance to play a completely new Resident Evil game in more ways than one.
What's the game about?
The game is set six years after the disastrous Raccoon City incident. You'll begin the game controlling Leon S. Kennedy (now a U.S. agent) who has been assigned the task of finding the President's daughter, Ashley Graham, who has been kidnapped. The game is set in a mysterious European location but the scenery is far from quaint and the inhabitants are far from friendly. In past Resident Evil games you've had to deal with zombies. These slow and plodding enemies have usually given you a chance to escape and they rely on the element of surprise to get up close to you. In Resident Evil 4 your enemies are the lethargic zombies from the previous games and whilst some of them do move slowly, you’ll face some who rush in for the kill which makes the game all the more dramatic.
What's good about the game?
Almost everything is good about Resident Evil 4. Making the switch from a horror adventure type game to a third person shooter has done a heck of a lot for the series and even those who disliked the previous games are strongly advised to try the game. The old, awkward control scheme has been thrown out and an intuitive one has replaced it. It’s a testament to the control scheme that even those gamers who don’t usually like playing a FPS or third-person shooters on a console will be comfortable with the controls in no time at all. Aiming is made simpler by the use of a red laser sight which makes targeting your enemies a cinch. You’ll also have a melee attack either by using a knife or a kick when your enemies are very close. There are times when you need to jump or climb but you simply have to press the A button (you receive visual notification of this) so you’ll never struggle to make jumps and become frustrated. There are moments in the game when you need to avoid something (such as a giant boulder that’s chasing you for instance) and here you’ll need to press two buttons but again you’re notified onscreen of the buttons you need to press. You still need to find a typewriter to save the game but you don’t need to find an ink ribbon in order to use the typewriter like you had to in previous games. Once again you’ll have to find herbs to replenish your health (and increase the capacity of it too). There are many unlockable items in the game (there are a couple of extra modes too when you’ve completed the game) which makes for good replay value. Above all though I think the boss fights are the highlight of this great game because they are so enjoyable and challenging. It’s clear that Capcom went to great lengths to make sure the boss fights were truly memorable.
What's not so good about the game?
Very little is wrong with Resident Evil 4 there's a clipping issue and the game could have been more deaf gamer friendly, which we'll talk about later in the review. The clipping issue is a minor problem although it can prove frustrating at times. Should an enemy be too close to your character it's possible for the two character models to merge which makes hitting them virtually impossible. Should you be in a location where you can move away easily this isn't too much of a problem but if you are trapped in a corner it can prove a little annoying trying to lose your attacker so that you can then fire at them.
How does it look?
Capcom have done a great job in transforming the series and even though the action is now viewed from a third person perspective the graphics are still very good. The enemies within the game are more frightening in appearance than anything in the series to date. You’ll also notice some pretty impressive physics in the game too such as the ability to fire at enemies through doors and being able to fire at chains to break them in order to release other objects you need. The game appears to have been created to take advantage of widescreen TV’s and playing the game on a standard 4:3 TV set will mean you’ll have the borders at the top and bottom of the screen. However this doesn’t take anything away from the game and having played the game on a 21” 4:3 TV I had no problems with the borders. A 60Hz mode has also been included.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Previous Resident Evil games haven't been the greatest when it comes to being deaf gamer friendly. Unfortunately there still aren't any subtitles for the cutscenes in this latest title in the series which takes the shine off what is otherwise a top notch title. The biggest loss then is that deaf gamers will miss out on sections of the game's story. All important information is shown in text and communications which provide fresh instructions are also subtitled. I like the way your health indicator will flash when your health is perilously low. Any documents or help items you receive can be re-read at any time by accessing the files menu. Of course the game is more difficult for deaf gamers as you’ll be unaware of the audible notifications that enemies are present or the change to a more dramatic piece of music but these problems can be overcome and it is possible to enjoy the game, although as we’ve just said you’ll miss out on the content of the cutscenes.
In terms of how the game plays this is the GameCube's Half-Life 2. I don't think I've ever come across a sequel which has been so different to the other games in the series and yet actually managed to be a more enjoyable game. Best of all though Capcom haven’t just turned the game into a FPS and have actually managed to include many of the series trademarks into this new formula. The puzzle elements have been played down somewhat but there are still a few of them that will make you think and they all fit in seamlessly and don’t appear to have been forced in deliberately. In fact it’s great to seem how much of the old Resident Evil game concepts have been included into this new style game play. Even those who initially might be put-off from the shift in game style will probably be impressed with what Capcom have done with Resident Evil 4. Unfortunately Resident Evil 4 isn’t the most deaf gamer friendly game on the GameCube but it's most definitely one of the best games on the console and is easily the highlight of the series so far which is quite an achievement.
Overall Game Rating: 9.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
(Click the letter or here for details)
Resident Evil 4 probably deserves a 10 out of 10 rating but the lack of provision for deaf gamers prevents us from awarding the game with such a score. Despite the inadequacies in catering for deaf gamers though it's still a great game and if you're a fan of the series or of action games in general you can't help but be impressed with what Capcom have done with the series. Giving the game a D rating may seem a little harsh but it's one game where being able to hear the nearby (but out of sight) enemies is really a bonus.