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Resident Evil 4

by Max Lake - May 16, 2004, 3:03 pm PDT

We played the game on the show floor, and the contents of the short demo revealed quite a lot.

Although Capcom only had a rather brief demo level available on the show floor, there were some interesting things in it.

There is now more specific information about where exactly the game will take place. From what we've seen in the context of the game, and taking in to account the previous information about the game taking place in Europe, it looks like Leon will be travelling to Spain. Evidence of this is found in that when the zombies (or whatever they are) communicate to each other, they speak in clear Spanish. Additionally, the readable signposts in the demo are in Spanish as well.

Another tipoff to this fact can be found in the pesetas (Spanish coins) that Leon occasionally finds among the usual ammunition, herbs and precious gems lying around. Some of the zombie villagers (or whatever they are) also drop them from time to time, and in high amounts. This is the first time that any form of collectable currency can be found in a Resident Evil game, so perhaps there will be items shops, or some other need to carry money around.

Like in previous RE titles, you can use first aid spray and green, red and blue herbs to heal yourself. As seen in the many screenshots, your health is clearly visible on screen. However, the demo version led to the discovery of a new, yellow colored herb. Like the red, alone it does nothing. Mix it with a green herb, however, and your total life gauge will expand to a larger length, giving you more total life. In this case, the level seen in most screenshots, which is about a third of the way around the circular bullets gauge, gets extended to halfway around it. Considering how important it is to not die in this game, having more life to work with is very good.

Another thing of note that was seen in the demo was a typewriter. Obviously, this is where you will save your game progress, but where it was might dishearten those who like the cool, soothing save room music. Along the way to the main village in the demo, there are shacks that contain a few items, a zombie or two (or whatever they are), and a dead woman with an axe through her head, pinning her up to a wall. One of them had a typewriter in it. Since the entire game is in real time, there is no isolated safe spot for you to save. The typewriter save point in the demo could be surrounded by those zombie things just as easily as anything else in the game, which could make for some terrifying memory card checks. Who knows if there's a crazed villager zombie thing sneaking up behind you as you're typing in your save file?

Nintendo had the E3 demo front and center in their booth, and a lot of people liked what they saw. With the radical changes that Capcom has made to the core gameplay of the series, and these new tidbits of information, Resident Evil 4 has the opportunity to be a huge success.

Last updated: 05/12/2004 by Daniel Bloodworth

Most of the info shown on Resident Evil 4 by Capcom at their pre-E3 event is repeated from events earlier this year, but they did show some brief details on later segments of the game.

About halfway through the game, you do meet up with the President’s daughter, Ashley Graham, and from that point on, not only do you have to keep yourself alive, you have to protect her as well. If she’s between you and a villager, you’ll need to maneuver around her or wait for her to duck before you can shoot him – which is a critical delay with the speed and numbers these enemies move with. Not only that, but you also have to be careful not to lose her when running away. She doesn’t have the agility or strength that Leon does, so you always have to keep that in mind. If you jump out a window, you’re going to need to catch her when she jumps out.

There are also some interesting story elements tied to Ashley. The video on Monday showed what looked like a member of S.T.A.R.S. and a long haired European having a conversation with Leon, and specifically mentioning that Ashley wasn’t showing any signs of being infected. Umbrella may be gone, but it seems that someone has cultivated a new type of virus that’s at work in these new “not zombie” villagers. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait yet again to learn more.

Last updated: 03/17/2004 by Chris Martino

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What originally began as a straightforward continuation of the storyline and gameplay that has made the franchise a success, has, under the re-assumed direction of Shinji Mikami, become something both strikingly different and eerily familiar. Capcom has kept a tight leash on the information surrounding this latest release and full details will likely not be known until this upcoming E3. Still, from the breathtaking visuals to the implementation of several new gameplay features, Resident Evil 4 is moving swiftly into the future.

The story follows Leon S. Kennedy and occurs six years after his initiation into the frightening world of Resident Evil. Operating as a U.S. Agent, Leon is hired by the president to guard his daughter. Unfortunately for Leon, she is kidnapped before he arrives and is smuggled to a European village. Hot in pursuit, Leon is confronted by the villagers who hunt him down relentlessly, caught in an unnatural trance. The evil Umbrella Corporation has been destroyed and will not be a focal point in the script, although it may have some relevance to the strange events. Throughout the adventure, Leon will also encounter other characters from the series, but there has been no clue as to who they will be.

Capcom has kept some of the staples of the franchise while simultaneously making some drastic changes. The game will only play in 16:9 widescreen. While this may be slightly bothersome to a few gamers, the decision was made in order to increase playability. Leon will take up the left side of the screen with the camera hovering over his shoulder. This will give players full aiming control and put them closer to the action than ever before. There will also be an option for a slightly different third-person camera along with a first-person view. The controls remain largely the same as previous Resident Evil games, but should operate much more smoothly considering the perspective change. Items and inventory will be handled as they have always been. For instance, you will still be required to access the inventory to switch weapons and you will still rely on those trusty herbs and first-aid sprays to heal your wounds. Thankfully, the health and ammo information will be displayed on-screen this time around.

If this still sounds suspiciously like the same old Resident Evil, then you should know that there won’t be any zombies. No zombies? Well, at least not from what we’ve seen so far. The adversarial villagers are still human, or at least mostly human, and are under a strange influence. Without warning or reason, they attack Leon unremittingly. They’re fast and smart. Armed with sickles, axes, pitchforks and whatever else they can get their hands on, they’ll attack in groups, avoid gunfire, and even deliberately lead you into ambushes. Should you be out of range, they will throw their weapons at you, attempting to kill you at all costs. They’ll open doors, break windows, and absolutely will not stop until you are dead.

Fortunately, Leon isn’t without a few new moves himself. Thanks to the manual aiming, you can target individual body parts, and enemies will react accordingly. If you’re low on ammo you might consider shooting a villager in the foot to hobble him. You can also shoot projectiles out of the air in order to avoid getting tomahawked. The game features a multi-purpose action button which can be instrumental in escaping the crazed hordes. After a quick shot, Leon can close the gap between his enemy and plant a firm kick to the chest. The action button will also be used for other tricks such as barricading doors and even toppling a ladder full of bad guys. Leon also sports a new pair of binoculars to zoom in on the action from afar, gaining valuable insight on upcoming areas and occasionally triggering a cut-scene.

Resident Evil 4 will include a few, traditional indoor areas, but the majority of the game takes place outdoors. The canopy shrouds the environment in darkness, occasionally with only the wan light of the moon to guide you. The classic door-opening scenes are gone, and the game should feature only a few brief loads. Gone are the pre-rendered, static backgrounds, and everything from the intro to the supposedly shocking ending is done using the in-game engine. The lush graphics aren’t the only real-time aspect. Apparently, the difficulty will adjust according to your performance, altering the amount of ammo and health as necessary.

Mikami has stated that horror will still be a central aspect of the game, but the overall experience will be quite different. The game tempo is much faster, and instead of facing a smattering of mindless zombies, players will be constantly confronted with throngs of intelligent foes. The feeling of claustrophobia should be intense as they hunt you in an unfamiliar environment with no escape. The word is out that even the developers get scared when playing the game. Taking the series to a new level, Resident Evil 4 will last at least ten hours and is due for release in late 2004.

Last updated: 05/13/2003 by Ty Shughart

Visually, Resident Evil 4 was quite possibly the best-looking game at Nintendo's press conference.

The footage features beautiful effects, such as rain and a glowing, ghostly entity that seemed to pursue Leon relentlessly. The camera angle shifted about and went to an over-the-shoulder view when Leon targeted an enemy; every area was full 3D; not static backgrounds. No more story details were given.

The way Leon stopped and turned seemed to indicate that the same RE control scheme is being used. The game seemed to be fast-paced for an RE title, especially considering how Leon was constantly pursued and attacked by the ghostly entity.

No release date was given. For those out of the loop, the game is still GC exclusive.

Last updated: 03/17/2001 by Max Lake

Capcom has recently announced another Resident Evil game, Resident Evil 4. Hey, with Capcom, we should have known there was another sequel coming. The only real detail of note is that the game will be released for virtually all next-gen systems, including the GameCube. This seems to reflect Capcom's newest strategy, releasing versions of the same game across all next-gen systems and having them interact online with network play. Whether or not an online aspect will be included in RE4, the game's announcement seems to mark the start of Capcom's plan.

To Nintendophiles, this means that the GC will be getting not one, but two games, RE4 and the GC-exclusive prequel Resident Evil: 0! One wonders whether to scream "WOOHOO" or "YIKES!"

Unlike Resident Evil: 0, which is a prequel to the RE 1, Resident Evil 4 will presumably pick up where Resident Evil: Code Veronica for Dreamcast left off. We'll probably see members of S.T.A.R.S and there will no doubt be plenty of zombies to blast. Other than that, we're clueless as what to expect with Resident Evil 4.

Incidentally, it's possible that the release of RE4 across systems will coincide with the release of the Resident Evil movie. Unfortunately, the Resident Evil movie has come to resemble very little of the original games and as such won't have any relation with the setting of RE4. Still, there is the likelihood of cross-promotion…

Even though RE is another franchise Capcom seems to be doing to death, games in the series are usually well done, so let's hope the ball doesn't get dropped for RE4.

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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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