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North America

Resident Evil 4

by Daniel Bloodworth - May 12, 2004, 12:51 pm PDT

Bloodworth gets a little bloody before E3.

Capcom showed off a playable demo of Resident Evil 4 at their annual Producers’ Day Monday before the official start of E3. The demo appears to be the same as what was previously shown in Vegas or at least takes place in the same area right at the start of the game.

Leon S. Kennedy is brought to the outskirts of the village by a pair of local officers, and begins searching for the President’s daughter Ashley. However, the first villager he asks turns on him and tries to kill him. You then find evidence of numerous human remains, and hear the dying struggle of the officers outside – leaving you stuck without a ride.

You then traverse through a wooded area that’s relatively free of enemies, allowing you to get a handle on the controls. A is the main action button, allowing you to interact with various objects when an icon pops up. Holding B allows you to run. B + down lets you do a 180-degree turn. Holding R puts you into aiming mode, and pushing A while aiming allows you to shoot or attack. Being used to inverted controls in shooters, I found myself looking at the sky more often than I’d like, but this setup is certainly easier to work with than the old-fashioned RE controls. One sticking point though is that Y pulls up the menu and start pulls up the map. I was instinctively hitting Start every time I needed to reload or heal, despite watching other people make the same mistake for half an hour before.

Navigating through the woods begins to set the mood for the game. The amount of detailed objects is astounding with plenty of trees and underbrush, sometimes swaying in the wind, and a wisp of fog floating by from time to time. You encounter a wolf caught in a bear trap, only to find yourself trying to avoid some well-placed traps soon after. A particularly gruesome cabin along the way shows a woman pinned to the wall with a pitchfork through her face. There are a handful of villagers to fight, but they’re hardly a proper warm-up for what’s to come.

The only word to describe the village at this point is deadly. Several people played before me, and nearly all of us died at the same point – right at the beginning. As soon as you get noticed by the first villager in your path, you find yourself greeted by half a dozen or more villagers (with others quickly coming to replace them) armed with pitchforks, sickles, and hatchets. Compared to other RE games, it seems like ammo is in abundance, but the numbers of enemies in this RE are simply overwhelming. I tried hard to keep from falling into the same trap as all the others, but I quickly ran out of ammunition and health items, and found myself running into a building to look for more. I found some grenades and thought I could hold my ground long enough for things to calm down, but after a few dozen enemies burned in flames, my ammo was gone; I was irrationally flailing my knife in the direction of the closest foe, and a random farm tool flew through the room and caught me in the head.

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Genre Adventure
Developer Capcom

Worldwide Releases

na: Resident Evil 4
Release Jan 11, 2005
jpn: Biohazard 4
Release Jan 27, 2005
eu: Resident Evil 4
Release Mar 18, 2005
aus: Resident Evil 4
Release Mar 24, 2005
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