When Resident Evil 4 Released in 2005, it revolutionized the third-person shooter genre and, for better or worse, redefined what it meant to be a demonic resident play. It’s considered one of the best games of all time, memorable for its fun action, cheesy self-awareness, goofy cutscenes, and fantastic replayability. So it’s no surprise at all that Capcom has announced a Resident Evil 4 remake, and after the recent success of the two new demonic resident games and remakes of other titles, I think it’s safe to say this game will be good. However, I think it’s also safe to say that no matter how good this remake is, it won’t be as good as the original game.
One of the inherent charms of the original game was its attention to detail. if you boil RE4 Down to its most basic elements, it’s a shooting game where you have to rescue the president’s daughter and you need to kill a lot of people to do it. It’s a family premise. It was all the little things that made Leon’s journey through Spain so captivating: the way he had unique animations to reload all of his weapons. How he could kick open a door or gently open it and then go through it to damage the enemies on the other side. How could he shoot an enemy carrying a torch, making them drop the torch and get burned and save ammo. Those details still stand out today.
There was also a self-awareness that Resident Evil 4 it had that separated it by miles from every other game in the series. There were still plenty of horrifying moments within the game, like the gruesome transformation sequences of its villains and the various villagers being infected by Las Plagas, but the game was absolutely ridiculous and never took itself too seriously. Moments like Leon running away from a giant Ramon Salazar statue or dodging obscene amounts of lasers don’t make any sense, but they were absolutely a joy to watch. This may not have been the original Leon S. Kennedy of resident evil 2but it was better. He was basically an action movie star who was too cool for school.
However, the reveal trailer for the Resident Evil 4 remake completely lacks that charm. Capcom seems to be doing everything they can to make the remake more horror-oriented. The trailer is shot almost entirely at night. Evokes images and landscapes associated with Resident Evil Village. We see a terrified Ashley running through a dark forest. Everything points to a tone more in keeping with recent installments in the series than with the original game.
On some level, I’m fine with that. If a game is going to be remade, I’m all for adding unique touches to it to distinguish it from the original release. That version is always going to be there, so why not try something a little different? It’s one of the reasons I loved Final Fantasy VII Remake. The remake and the original complement each other. But that remake is not better than the original final fantasy VII, for reasons that not only include its scope. The same is probably going to be true of the Resident Evil 4 Redo. If Capcom makes significant changes to Residentevil 4, you will lose what made the original so good.
Final Fantasy VII Remake it made sense as a remake because it was something that many fans felt was necessary. The original game is clunky to go back to, at least visually. Resident Evil 4 it’s a bit different because it’s not like Capcom rarely re-releases the game; is available on more than a dozen classic and current platforms. That includes most recently in Oculus Quest 2 last year, and these releases have minor improvements, like tweaking controls or updating textures. It’s still the same game from 2005, but every release is still as fun as it was in 2005.
Capcom has been known to test out new game ideas and scenarios in their RE remakes to distinguish them from the originals. the remake for resident evil 2 it expanded the role of Mr. X into something truly terrifying and also made several adjustments to Sherry Birkin’s characterization, among many other changes. the remake for Resident Evil 3 it removed the decision-making mechanic from the original and greatly changed how Nemesis worked. Interestingly, there are those who argue that the changes made to the RE2 remake did better than the original release, while changes to the RE3 remake made it worse.
While the Resident Evil 4 The remake trailer served as a mission statement that this is not going to be the same. Resident Evil 4, we can only speculate what changes are actually coming for now. Hopefully the quick-time events will at least go away. However, if Capcom radically changes the fundamentals of Resident Evil 4runs the risk of manipulating the secret formula and repeating what happened with the Resident Evil 3 Redo; it could feel like a change for change.
It’s an especially precarious situation this time. If Capcom is going to try to remake a game that many consider to be one of the most influential games of all time, how does it do it successfully? The game is “reinventing the story of the game while keeping the essence of its direction”, which is quite ambiguous. Would the team cut some action sequences to pick up the pace? Would this Leon be a more consistent continuation of his remake counterpart? God help them if they remove the briefcase!
All of those changes would come with inherent risks. Change the story and you could remove a lot of the cheesy charm of the original game. Cut out some action pieces and that would inherently mean that certain levels will need to be cut out. If this is the same Lion as the one in the RE2 remake, so I can’t see this Leon posing dramatically on Saddler’s throne or joking with Salazar in his castle.
I am not opposed to change in any way, but this new version of Resident Evil 4 has an uphill battle to outshine its predecessor. I’m not even the biggest fan of Resident Evil 4, but I know enough that trying to mess with something that isn’t broken or out of date isn’t the best idea. It’ll make a lot of money anyway, but if Capcom messes it up, you’ll never hear the end of it. Even if Capcom doesn’t do it, the Resident Evil 4 The new version has some gigantic shoes to fill, and it will be incredibly difficult for it to live up to what the original achieved.