Resident Evil 4 Remake Hands-Off Preview: Excellence Revisited

I was given the opportunity to check out a hands-off preview of the Resident Evil 4 Remake. While Resident Evil 4 was never my favorite, until the recent VR version, it was on my lower tier. I attribute this to my not liking the action-oriented styling of Resident Evil 4 and the start of the turn that would take us to Resident Evil 6

 The VR version of Resident Evil 4 really turned my perspective around on this and made it jump to my top 3 Resident Evil games. Of course, this also translated to the flat version standing out to me a little more, and this time, I really enjoyed my time through Resident Evil 4. So, my excitement for the Remake has been growing, and with the release just around the corner, I am excited to share what I’ve seen.

Almost immediately, we can see a few significant changes. Graphically the game looks phenomenal, being in the REngine used for Remake 2 and 3. But, we start on chapter 4, seemingly after Leon has been out of contact with Hunnigahn for approximately three hours. It is now nighttime, and the effectiveness of the flashlight is stunning. How the world is enveloped in darkness adds a new sense of tension to Resident Evil 4 that was never there in the original. The other immediate change is being able to see other landmarks off in the distance really shows the sense of interconnectivity the landscape has. 

After a brief excursion through the forest, we encounter some villagers; after a few shots to the knee, Leon pulls out his old roundhouse kick. We see the REngine in all its gory glory again as the villagers’ head comes clean off. Being in the night-time section also comes with bursting viscera as the tentacle monstrosity comes forth from the neck whipping all over, trying to inflict as much damage as possible. We get to see a new mechanic at play here. As the knife comes whipping around, Leon can deflect it with his knife. 

Jump cut to Leon making his way through some caves, and it’s clear that Capcom has really stepped up their environment storytelling, something they have been good at for a while. It is escalated here with cave paintings and shrines telling a story all on their own. Another interesting note was Leon finding a letter by a dock asking him to find a golden chicken egg in exchange for some treasure. Interesting that there is a form of side mission allocated to finding specific items. While we did not see who this note was attached to, hopefully, it is our favorite merchant.

 Speaking of the merchant, we do get to see him in action here, selling Leon the necessary goods and upgrading some weapons, while he didn’t fire off a “ Whadda ya Buyin’” We can all hope that’ll be sprinkled in there somewhere. Note that there seems to be a stat grid that you can look at to compare your weapons overall. Another quality of life thing that jumped out at me was the ability to send something straight to the storage if your attache case was getting too full. 

The treasure system also makes its return, being able to inlay gemstones into crowns to increase their value. A fantastic design that is only made better here by having to specify where you’d like to inlay those gems.

After watching Leon fight through some catacombs and sell and upgrade some weapons, the scene changed gears. We were now at the castle with Ashley in tow. Sneaking past some infected church tenants, we are met with another variant of the Plagus virus. When its tentacle emerges, it attaches itself to the ceiling, raining attacks from above.  We get to witness Leon’s new takedown attack as well. Seemingly when you stun a weaker enemy, Leon can just knife them in the neck to instantly dispatch them. 

While Leon and Ashley are running around the outside of the castle, the scene is seemingly taken directly from the original as the castle plagas are using their catapults against you while you search for an exit. Ashley also gets picked up here for the first time in the preview. While help flashes over her icon on the UI, she lets out a bloodcurdling scream. After saving her, Leon finds a canon and takes aim, which is incredibly effective against the enemies surrounding him.

What I did not expect to see was the newer design for Ramon. I had missed that during past trailers. He isn’t a child anymore, which is fitting, and I think that was the right choice because, damn, he looked creepy as hell.

The last thing shown to us was the fight with the Wolverine-looking Garradors, which, built in the REngine, look just outstanding, with their battle having a bit of Leon having to throw some misdirection at them the hit their weak spot. And finally, the fight between Leon and Krauser. Initially just a QTE fight, it is now a fully-fledged knife fight with some lite QTEs thrown in. 

That was all the good I took away from the brief Resident Evil 4 Remake glimpse. There was a lot thrown at us and all good things! It looks like RE4 Remake will continue Capcoms’ streak of Remaking their games and bringing them to modern audiences with outstanding success. I’m excited to run around in this world without the threat of an overwhelming powerhouse constantly chasing us down. They have something exceptional here, and seeing all this made the three-week wait even harder. I can’t wait to get my hands on Resident Evil 4.

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