The popular “Resident Evil” series of zombie horror games desperately needed a facelift. The first three games were excellent for their time, but time kept moving.
“Resident Evil 4” changed everything, not just for the series, but for the genre as a whole. What was originally a Nintendo GameCube exclusive has since been re-released on every platform imaginable, with a spruced up HD version coming out on PS4 and Xbox One this week.
In “Resident Evil 4,” you step into the shoes of Leon S. Kennedy, one of the heroes of “Resident Evil 2.” The former cop has to rescue the president’s daughter, who has been kidnapped by a cult and taken to rural Spain.
Instead of fighting zombies, “Resident Evil 4” changes things up by having Leon fight the local populace. Thanks to a mysterious virus, they’ve all become mindlessly hostile towards Leon.
The virus also has some…unfortunate side effects on its host. Along the way, you’ll explore all sorts of creepy environments, such as a destitute village, underground caves, and ruins — and even a castle. There’s some pretty incredible architecture to be seen.
The big innovation in “Resident Evil 4” was removing the top-down perspective of the old games and putting the camera directly behind Leon. When you aim your gun, the camera zooms in over your shoulder, which is commonplace in games now.
Since you could freely aim your gun for the first time, it meant the game had more of an emphasis on action than straight-up horror. But since you can’t move and shoot at the same time, the hordes of angry villagers and monsters running at you make the game wonderfully tense. It doesn’t help that ammo is pretty scarce.
You can play “Resident Evil 4” for dozens of hours, as well. There are tons of secret weapons, costumes, and more that will encourage you to play through the story multiple times. There are even side modes where you play as other characters.
When it’s all said and done, it’s one of the most tense and satisfying action game experiences around. It’s on PS4 and Xbox One now for $20.