Revisiting Resident Evil 4 is like revisiting an old friend after a zombie apocalypse. You still recognise them as your friend, but they’re now trying to take big chunks out of your arm with their teeth. There’s something deeply unsettling about their behaviour…
That is Resident Evil 4… A game so packed full of terrifying survival horror action, that you will still have reoccurring nightmares about its boss battles for years afterwards. Whether it’s “El Gigante”, or the huge fish monster in the lake, or – by God – that horrible skeletal monster right after the chair lift section… And those bloody vampire dogs at the church! Bah. Fuck them! The list of classic protagonists is endless in this game. In fact, all the boss and sub-boss battles in Resident Evil 4 really make your palms sweat. And if that wasn’t enough, Resident Evil 4 also features a number of hugely scary “siege” set pieces, whereby you’re basically surviving an onslaught from a mass of infected, human villagers attacking you from all angles. You can push furniture up against the doors and windows, and you can kick down ladders to slow them from reaching you, but they’ll manage it eventually. Thankfully the developers give you just enough weapons and ammo to keep the bastards back, if you’re a good enough aim and have a cool head on your shoulders.
Like most classic games do, Resident Evil reveals its many layers of dark detail gradually and cleverly, such as when it surprises you with set-piece reaction games during special “live or die” situations (like avoiding a rolling boulder, or a killer move from an enemy), or when you discover the joy to be had from shooting sticks of dynamite out of the hands of your assailants (it basically explodes it in their faces, saving you some ammo in the process). Resident Evil 4 is a linear, story-driven game – yes – but the combat does have some surprising ‘sandbox’ elements to it. And, as a survival horror game, there is little to complain about here. We’re talking “top ten best games ever” territory. Still.
Originally available exclusively for the Nintendo Gamecube, Capcom’s seminal Resident Evil 4 is a horror survival classic of such high regard that you’d be hard-pushed to find anything better. Of course you can now buy and play Resident Evil 4 on Steam, and on loads of other formats. The only people who don’t know how good Resident Evil 4 is are the ones who’ve yet to experience its chilling delights. If that’s you, then what the hell are you waiting for?