Resident Evil 4 HD review

  • Intense, gripping gameplay
  • All previous content updates
  • Unforgettable atmosphere
  • HD updates seem slapdash
  • No new content
  • No updates to sound

With Resident Evil 4 HD, Capcom had the opportunity to take one of the previous generation’s greatest games and update it to a modern masterpiece as well. This summer’s Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time for 3DS proved that, with enough extra effort, even years-old titles can seem fresh and relevant. Sadly, Resident Evil 4 HD has not received the same level of enhancement – upscaled textures are about as exciting as this facelift gets. The survival horror shooter is still classic and worth playing, of course, but not as worth replaying as we’d hoped.

Above: Leon and Ashley return for one of gaming's longest escort missions

Leon S. Kennedy's bloody mission to save the U.S. president's daughter from a creepy European cult (and other assorted horrors) has aged well since it first appeared in 2005, and its charmingly hammy script and heart-pounding boss fights impress every bit as much as they did back then. The inventory system and basic controls might seem a little clumsy by today's standards, but it's still easy to see why Dead Space, Gears of War and dozens of other shooters followed Resident Evil 4’s lead in over-the-shoulder third-person combat. The atmosphere is still stellar, too – even now, a few passages in the game’s gothic villages make the hairs of your neck stand up.

We just wish Capcom had done more. This may be the highest-definition version of Resident Evil 4 to date, but that's not saying much. The character models and water effects obviously received some attention, but the rest of the update amounts to blowing old textures up to 1080p. This is most apparent in the little details, such as how boxes for ammo cartridges in your inventory still look like pixelated scans and the paintings on the wall look like Minecraft creations photographed from above. It's sharper, no doubt, but it's hard to shake the uncomfortable feeling that slightly softer textures may have actually worked better. The sound appears to be completely unchanged.

Above: It never occurs to Leon to just ask this guy to help with the shooting

None of these criticisms will matter, though, if you're one of the three people who have never played Resident Evil 4. For $19.99 or 1600 Microsoft Points, you're getting more than 12 hours' worth of some of the best videogame content ever made, along with every bit of bonus content from the previous outings. You'll especially enjoy the additional "Separate Ways" missions featuring Ada Wong, the spicy Chinese secret agent who manages to kick ass without ever ripping her slinky, split-leg wardrobe. Just don’t expect anything brand new, aside from Achievements, Trophies and a return to the GameCube’s difficulty setting. 

More Info

Release date: Feb 28 2014 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Other Games/Compilations
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
Franchise: Resident Evil
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language

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  • camiwaits - September 24, 2011 1:39 a.m.

    I'm one of the three people who haven't played it. I bought it and i'm loving it so far.
  • mckillustrator - September 22, 2011 6:17 a.m.

    I wonder how hard it would have been for capcom to take the re5 engine and assets and recreate re4. Probably 2 years at most. Course then it wouldn't really be the "same" game. On the other hand they could have charged 40 instead of 20 like halo anniversary. Oh well, I'm happy to play this game fresh again, it will be like the tenth time but I'll still love it. Gears of War 3 can wait it's f***ing turn on my shelf!
  • Corsair89 - September 22, 2011 12:47 a.m.

    I completely agree with the review. Capcom didn't upgrade the whole thing in HD. Sure the characters and water effects look nice, but the fact that textures on walls, weapons and ammo carts are still very pixalized is a huge distraction. And remade audio would have been nice. That being said, RE4 is still one of the best games ever.
  • marioman50 - September 21, 2011 11:32 p.m.

    I've already played the Gamecube and Wii versions plenty of times. I'll buy this version after a price drop, probably. Next week belongs to Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection :)
  • vza004 - September 21, 2011 5:34 p.m.

    That's why I would rather have the PS2 version new and 10 bucks less while having the same amount of fun.
  • HumorTumor - September 22, 2011 7:24 a.m.

    eww, why not the superior NGC or Wii versions?
  • d0x - September 21, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    My problem with a "remake" like this one is that it really hasnt been redone in HD. In order for it to be actual HD they would need to do HD versions of all the games textures which the clearly didnt. I'll still buy it because finally I'll be able to play this classic with a decent controller but im disapointed they didnt use all high resolution textures and effects.
  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - September 21, 2011 6:04 a.m.

    I was quite looking forward to this, I always get excited when a game renowned as a classic that ive never played gets a remake, but unlike the metal gear solid and silent hill collections which see value for money by including multiple titles, im less inclined to spend £20 on this....maybe when the summer game drought kicks in next year, and I have nothing to play....ill give this classic a go
  • mdiaz033 - September 21, 2011 5:06 p.m.

    wait, you HAVEN'T played it? forget the combo value of silent hill and metal gear, mon ami. GET THIS GAME it'll turn every other game you thought you loved into crap
  • HumorTumor - September 22, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    I still love almost every RE game out (aside from RE5) more than 4. But it's a good game
  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - September 22, 2011 10:48 a.m.

    man, I am very does look really great, but I just dont have £20 to spend right now with big titles like skyrim coming out, ill take your advice though and I will make sure i give it a go at some point
  • AuthorityFigure - September 21, 2011 1:16 a.m.

    So Ashley's rear-end hasn't been upscaled?
  • EroticInvisibleMan - September 21, 2011 12:58 a.m.

    RE4 is probably my favourite game but this just seems par for the course for Capcom lately: Just throw some old crap together or don't change anything at all and call it a night. They need to go back to REmake or Bionic Commando Rearmed instead of sort of crap.
  • EroticInvisibleMan - September 21, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    Oh, so it's a downloadable/cheap title? I guess that's not too bad.
  • shawksta - September 20, 2011 9:17 p.m.

    Yeah, see this is why Remakes and HD ports are 2 different things, Im still buying it, its Resident evil 4, i need something horrorific before RE: Revelations comes
  • thatblindgamer - September 20, 2011 9:14 p.m.

    I'm the third person who hasn't played this game. I'll probably get it, after Gears and Batman though. And possibly Dead Island if it drops in price. It does seem like a missed opportunity that they didn't improve anything besides the graphics. Still, for 15 bucks in HD, this is a definite buy for me.
  • garnsr - September 20, 2011 8:37 p.m.

    I'm also one of the three people who haven't played RE4. I didn't like the first one that much, so I never bothered with the others. And at this point I can't imagine getting into another series with irritating Japanese game limitations, I'm already committed to the Yakuza series.
  • Errrrbo - September 20, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    The lack of new content doesn't bother me at all. The game is simply a remake of Resident Evil 4 in high definition. That's all it claims to be. Next to one of the greatest games of all time, minute extra content seems irrelevant.
  • quincytheodore - September 20, 2011 8:07 p.m.

    This game will sell by the nostalgic and classic value alone, it's a shame about the lack of improvement though. I mean, at least give it bonus concept art or different remix of the songs, I think it's plausible. I agree about the stellar atmosphere, just what I had in mind. And you're right about the unhelpful mercenary. At one point I was thinking, "Man, can I just pay you to charge at the crazy villagers who are waiting for me beyond the door? No... how about just run around and be a bait so I can safely... No... how about you baby sit this chick? No.. Come on!!"

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