‘Resident Evil 4’ remake modernizes a classic masterpiece


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Lydia Lutchman, Staff Writer

Hailed as one of the greatest and most exhilarating games in the franchise, the original “Resident Evil 4” is a masterpiece. Unlike its predecessors in the game series, “Resident Evil 4” did not focus explicitly on just survival-horror escapades, but rather turned the series into a new direction that put more of an emphasis on action and combat.

Released in 2005 on the GameCube, the original was a success and won multiple awards. Since it was adapted to numerous gaming platform systems and generations, it did not come as a surprise when the developer, Capcom, announced last summer that they were working on a remake. The “Resident Evil 4” remake came out on the PC and next-gen consoles on March 24 overseas and was quickly acclaimed, earning 10 out of 10 reviews on media sites like IGN and carrying an “overwhelmingly positive” review on Steam.

The plot follows 27-year-old Leon S. Kennedy, a new agent for the United States government, working directly under the President. He was introduced in the second game, in which he was a rookie police officer in Raccoon City. The area, plagued by a virus released by the infamous Umbrella Corporation, turns the citizens living there into bloodthirsty ravenous creatures trying to get their hands on any living human. Leon managed to escape, but not without suffering intense PTSD and survivor’s guilt for those who were left behind.

Afterward, he retired from the police force and was inducted into a rigorous training program that ushered him to be where he is currently. In the present day, the President of the United States sent him on a mission to find his daughter, Ashley Graham, who is stranded in a remote village in Spain. Upon arrival, he finds that the villagers are infected with some sort of parasite and have ties to a cult. Leon is once again tasked with surviving a massive outbreak while having to save Ashley and escape the village, all before the cult takes him down with them.

New games are still being made in the franchise, such as “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard” and “Resident Evil 8: Village,” which were released in 2017 and 2021, respectively. These relatively new installments follow similar storylines, but include different characters of varying skills compared to the previous games. By doing this, Capcom can attract new audiences of a younger age range while also ensuring their current audience is still intrigued and invested.

“I sadly did not have a chance to play any of the ‘Resident Evil’ games, but I do have the nostalgia of seeing my uncles play ‘Resident Evil’ and other types of games they have got for both PC and the PlayStation in the mid to late ’00s,” said University sophomore Mikhel Castillo. “I think the remakes are necessary for the series… since they are nostalgic for people who played the game firsthand 18 years ago.”

The remake is true to the original source material down to the music and plot points. It also made improvements to the gameplay and animations. Graphics have changed immensely within the past couple of years due to new technology. Capcom used their phenomenal gaming engine known as RE Engine, which was originally made for the seventh installment of the franchise, to shade and render the new graphics for a more realistic look. Using this, Leon’s movements are more detailed, allowing him to dodge enemies’ attacks while also showing off his top-tier knife-wielding skills while throwing a couple of his famous one-liners into the mix.

University sophomore Ive Chowdhury mentioned firsthand how they experienced the new game: “I watched someone else play it, but I really liked the remake! The overall graphics were amazing as well as all the monster upgrades really made it scarier. I thought that it was a perfect mix of combat and story and the whole plotline really followed the ‘Resident Evil’ vibe, so I thought the remake was really well done.”

Chowdhury concluded, “I am looking forward to seeing if there is going to be any DLC or spin-off games on some of the other characters’ stories that have not been explored yet!”

While Leon is the main star of the game, the other characters were given way more personality and structure. Ashley’s character has immense improvement. In the original, she is seen as being an annoying liability by some, but in the remake, she holds her own and acts as a great aid to Leon. Overall, Capcom knocked it out of the park, providing a remake of an action-packed, third-person shooter that surpasses even the original version.