Friday, October 05, 2007

Resident Evil 4 (Wii)

"Resident Evil...
...Four!" - The guy who talks in the Wii menu.

First off, this game is insanely fun. I'm tired of regular first person shooters where you sport weapons and run and gun everywhere shooting loads of enemies who take hit points and fall as long as you keep shooting them. Finally I have to use my brain to take out fewer, harder, and smarter enemies, instead of shooting loads of dummies who will die from any gun blast.

Also, every single aspect of the game has a strategy element to it.

- First off, shooting zombies can be done in a variety of different ways, depending on your ammo situation, your weapon situation, your enviroment, and the types and number of enemies.

- Inventory management was suprisingly fun to me, and mixing herbs created another layer of strategy.

- Simple situations, such as the first village fight, were made interesting by having many ways to complete them. You could run in a house, barricade yourself, and do all sorts of things.

I also noticed how fun a game is when a new core-gameplay mechanic is in action. I had never played a "zombie" game before and it's fun to try and learn how to take out the zombies. You can shoot them in different parts of their bodies, with different weapons, and different strategies. Only when you have a good core-gameplay mechanic, is the frosting of a game fun. The frosting being extra add-on features, such as: side-quests, upgrades, RPG elements, etc. Without the core gameplay mechanic being good, everything else will just fall flat.

The graphics do their job without being overly noticable or shiny, and the same goes for the audio. The only real negative issue with the game was the pacing. The story and gameplay progress well in the village, then the story is seemingly put on hold during the Castle and the final 10 hours of the game. During that time, all you do is rescue ashley, watch her get captured, rescue her again, watch her get captured again, and repeat 3 more times.

Small things that could be improved:

- A side-stepping feature would be nice, although it does make you feel claustrophobic when you don't have this feature, which is kind of a good thing.

- The cinematic sequences where you have to press buttons or wave the remote to complete an action just feel corny. They are still a little fun, but they just feel tacked on, and you don't know whether to watch a cut-scene or hold your Wii remote waiting for the screen to tell you to do something.

- Random sound effects for simple actions would be nice, for example

- The merchant using different lines, but who cares, because it's funny to hear him repeat the same stuff.

- Different voice commands when Leon orders Ashley to wait and go.
That would spice the game up a little more.

Overall, it's a very well executed game, with a strong integral gameplay design, with tons of optional features and side-elements to spice it up. The only negative issue is the pacing, which felt like they dragged the game on for too long without any story progression, only backstory revealing.
But in the end, it's easily the best single-player game I've played in the past year, or maybe even 2 years.

Resident Evil 4 (Wii)



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