Resident Evil 4 review

No more rotting, plodding zombies; say hello to heart-ripping, insectoid cult members

GamesRadar Editor's Choice

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Pros

  • +

    Visually stunning theme park of violence

  • +

    New control completely revives the series

  • +

    Minigames and other goodies

Cons

  • -

    Still some implausible puzzles

  • -

    A few more bosses would have rocked

  • -

    Leon's head popping off

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Anyone turning their nose at the GameCube for being a kiddy console intended for pint-sized brats is a madman. Sure, you could say it's home to a lot of baby games, but spend ten minutes with Resident Evil 4 and you'll walk away a changed person. The series' tank-like controls and limpy zombies have been replaced by adept, agile cultists that actively hunt your ass down. Running won't cut it anymore. You've got to swim through their bloody ranks to see the end of this evil tale.

And press on you will, as the game's focus has been shifted from flight to fight. Instead of running for the door with your tail between your legs, you%26rsquo;re carving a path straight through the horde with a healthy supply of ammo and plenty of options for dismembering your foes. Knife on a collision course with your face? Shoot it out of the air, or just pop the thug in the arm before he can hurl it at you.

Instead of the typical, sluggish RE control and robotic movements, you perform quick, context-specific actions. It may be opening a door, jumping out a second story window or kicking the head off a raucous villager. The up-tempo gameplay also makes for nail biting boss fights that range from giant mutant fish to a pair of rejects from a Lord of the Rings cave troll audition. Every single boss you face will make you question Leon's sanity. Anyone else would say, "Screw the President," and call it a day.

Even the cutscenes, normally a time to catch your breath and watch the story unfold, are intense. If you set the controller down you may miss input cues that directly affect Leon. The first comes as you quietly stroll though the woods. Out of nowhere, there's a runaway boulder barreling down the path. If you miss the "RUN!"commands, you're a pancake. These sudden, interactive cinemas keep the intensity flowing, while other games would be content to have you sit and watch.

There%26rsquo;s even a surprise boss encounter that plays out with nothing but these types of button commands. It's a very hands-off way of orchestrating a fight, yet it still manages to be one of the most memorable scraps in gaming.

More info

GenreAdventure
DescriptionA great game made good. Resident Evil 4's excellence gets slightly undone by a sloppy PC translation.
Platform"PC","PS3","Xbox 360","Wii","PS2","GameCube"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature","Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"","","","","",""
Alternative names"RE 4","Resident Evil IV","Resident Evil IV"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
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Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.