Franco coins and Spanish villagers with bad tempers in the return of the video game
The horror video game returns set in Spain and with a more than satisfactory result
A car driven by two very Spanish-looking national policemen, with a mustache and a folksy attitude. A slip that Capcom is forgiven since the town would be a demarcation of the Civil Guard and not the Police. The protagonist, Leon S. Kennedy, pays attention to the conversation, since the agents speak English. They stop and one of them gets out of the vehicle because ‘nature calls him’, he doesn’t come back. Thus begins this review of the classic zombie game whose action takes place in an unnamed town in Spain and which is on sale starting today on PlayStation, Xbox and PC.
resident evil 4 It was quite a revolution in the 2000s, horror video games had opted for the formula of fixed cameras, thus requiring less power and providing a gameplay very close to the cinematographic experience. However, in 2005, Shinji Mikami opted for a twiststandardizing a third-person camera following the action, together with an increase in the importance of foresight when shooting.
At the time, many survival horror and Resident Evil fans didn’t like it, but with the perspective of a couple of decades, that change made history. Once again Capcom comes to put all the meat on the grill, presenting a remake like few others, giving rise to a game of ten with very few buts.
The truth is that the formula may not surprise so much if details of the original 2005 game are remembered, something that is also appreciated since fans will see the essence and moments of the game without altering it, although it offers sufficient graphic improvements, enough gameplay and design to be worth returning to this not very peaceful town in Spain.
Francoist coins, a wolf dog that returns the favors, a Luis who is a bit more of a rascal, who is from Madrid for that (and with more Mediterranean looks) and a nocturnal aura, coarse and oppressive in the purest ‘As Bestas’ style. Because it is impossible not to have reminiscences of the Spanish film awarded with a Goya for best film while visiting the different settings with Leon.
This remake it’s on another level, it is a round game even for newcomers, even if you have no idea of the Resident Evil saga and even if zombie-themed games are not your thing. Obviously it is a horror video game but it tends more towards action than survival, which were, for example, Resident Evil VIII Village or Resident Evil VII.
The essence and narrative are maintained. Resident Evil 2 government agent Leon S. Kennedy is given a mission to smuggle the president’s daughter, Ashley Graham, out of an isolated town in Spain. Instead of encountering traditional zombies, he confronts a religious cult that has infected the locals with a mind-controlling virus called The Scourge. It does contain enough twists and turns to make it feel different, but it’s still a classic damsel in distress story.
Although this time, Ashley is less annoying and its artificial intelligence is much better implemented, although it is true that as soon as you lose track, they are already kidnapping it, but it does not feel like the typical horrible bodyguard phases that video games usually have. Even some dialogues that aged quite badly, with the occasional sexual allusion, have been rewritten without changing or altering the personalities of the characters. No longer reminiscent of your typical slasher victim, Ashley and Leon are more like Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us.
More Spain than before
The locations feature much more detail, keeping the inspirations of yesteryear. The forests are clearly inspired by the Galician lands or northern Spain, while the El Pueblo area is inspired by the towns of Castilla y León. Taking as a reference municipalities such as Montejo de Tiermes, in Soria. Adobe structures located around a church, the corrals with the animals and even the clothes of the villagers.
Without leaving this community of castles, the imposing fortress of Resident Evil 4 Remake looks a lot like Alcazar of Segovia, a building marked by different historical periods that have shaped its particular form. The fortification has Roman foundations, probably the remains of an old castle, with later remodeling, such as the slate roof that Philip II ordered, which gave it a more palatial European style. Hence that aesthetic halfway between a medieval castle and a royal palace, just like the fortress of the Capcom game.
One of the most surprising details of the recreation of Spain have been the game currencies, the pesetasquite anachronistic since the game takes place in 2004, when Francisco Franco was already there, next to the inscription ‘Caudillo de España por la gracia de Dios’.
A noticeable improvement in gameplay
Leon doesn’t feel clumsy, he’s not a Fortnite either, but it’s not hard to get a decent aim when it comes to targeting enemies in vital areas. In addition, the enormous customization of the weapons and the different options that there are, adjust to the type of player you are. Pistols, shotguns, automatic weapons, plus knives and a bit of stealth, the game gives you the freedom to go sack or try to save on bullets and life. It includes things like the ‘Batista bomb’ style grapple that Leon can do if he knees an enemy from behind and stealth. A point of comedy that gives a little breather in such a scenario.
Using the combat knife this time is a joy and the emphasis on improving melee is noticeable. Like shooting and reloading feel fluid, when in the original game, Leon stood still before aiming and already pulling the trigger. It can now be done while moving and even dodging, going so far as to parry the knife into a chainsaw.
Special mention to Spanish characters from the game, such as Ramón Salazar, whose redesign for the remake may be reminiscent of Hasbullah, and Luis Sera, an ex-policeman from Madrid turned scientist, whose ability to make out-of-place comments exceeds all expectations. His style, halfway between a Spanish gallant and Antonio Banderas in ‘Desperado’, has also been a victim, for the better, of the redesign of the remake. Showing off features and a nose that are much more homeland-Mediterranean.
The RE engine makes the game shine with much more realistic scenarios and despite the linearity, it doesn’t feel like a corridor. It maintains what worked in 2005, has listened to the criticism that the title had during these years and has added enough to point out this Remake as a work worthy of a ten. Yes, you can rest easy worth getting this game despite the prohibitive prices that games have lately. Its duration is more than enough to feel that each one of your euros, or pesetas, invested in the title has been worth it.
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