Resident Evil 4
by Vanor Orion

Everybody on Earth has pretty much commented all that needs to be said about Resident Evil 4. People have hailed it as the Second Coming of Survival Horror, and some have even hailed it as revolutionary. And there's even been some backlash at it's popularity. Because I guess it's cool to hate what's "in" at the time. I personally think it's a damn fun game, and to this day I continually have a blast playing it. It definitely made me feel good to be a Game Cube owner, even after they ported it to the PS2 and Wii. But I have my own unusual little take on this game, and I wanna share it with you, because it's not something I've seen a lot of people talk about, at least I think. But with that said, don't consider this so much as a review but more like an examination of the criticisms that people have levelled against RE4 in general. But let's begin. At the beginning. Right now! Okay?!

Before Resident Evil 4

It's actually kinda funny when I think about it. There was a period for about two or three years that almost every game I bought was by Capcom. Games such as: Devil May Cry 3, Resident Evil 4, Killer 7 (DAMN good game, and probably the best game I played during 2006), BoF: Dragon Quarter, Mega Man X Command Mission, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, Haunting Ground, Okami, God Hand. And let's not forget Mega Man Zx or Phoenix Wright. Or fuck, Monster Hunter.

I was pretty much raised on Mega Man as a child, and Mega Man X was the reason my parents I got a SNES to begin with. Mario wasn't even a fucking variable in that particular equation. But then ultimately I graduated to a Nintendo 64 and sold my soul to Star Fox and Goldeneye for some of the most memorable gaming experiences in my life.

And then came Resident Evil. I never gave much thought to the Playstation at the time. The games just seemed too "edgy" for me to take seriously. Of course, when I say that, I mean the games tried to sell themselves on their mature content (read: blood and cleaveage), rather than their gameplay, which is why I didn't get on the Mortal Kombat bandwagon as a kid. That and I hate fighting games. But that didn't stop my cousin from getting one, and ultimately one night, he rented Resident Evil.

"Yeah, a knife... that'll work."

Up to that point in time, we had never seen anything like this in video gaming. And yes, I know that PC games had been doing stuff like this well before RE, but we were too poor to afford computers. Anyway, the game blew us away. The dialogue may have been bad, and in general the plot was just kinda there, but back in the day, this game had us screaming like little girls. Fuck, we probably made screaming girly-girls look dignified in comparison. The idea of this random mansion in the middle of the mountains hit us especially close to home because we in fact live in the mountains ourselves. In fact, you could take about 50 paces from my cousin's house and be hopelessly lost in the fucking woods. Oh? Where in the mountains do I live, exactly? Well, I'll give ya a hint:

"This makes for some interesting conversation starters in most social settings. 'My town hung an elephant'"

We spent untold months trying to finish the original Resident Evil. We had no internet, and no game guides to go by, so we got completely stymied near the heliport where you needed to use the Wolf and Eagle Medals to open the way forward to the lab. I alone spent months renting and re-renting RE and fanatically searching every room in the game, desperately searching for something I had missed that held me back from finishing the game.

But eventually that fell to the wayside as Resident Evil 2 came out. As much as the first game left an impact on us, it couldn't hold a candle to the sequel. It improved everything. The graphics were better, the character models and the monsters were more detailed and better animated, the pre-rendered backgrounds were more colorful and less repititious than they were on the last game. And the weapons, ho ho ho! The dialogue and voiceovers were also vastly improved over the original game, as was the plot. Of course looking back on it now, the game still feels somewhat dated, but not nearly as much as the original RE.

"I always thought he looked like Will Smith."

There were just so many awesome moments I can conjure up when playing RE2. Me and my cousin spent an entire weekend with a newly purchased Versus game guide going through the game, him playing it entirely cuz I was too much of a wuss (I was still scared of horror movies at the entire, not like now where I make fun of them), and screaming our way through Leon's Scenario, and then curling up in the corner and wetting ourselves during Claire's 2nd Scenario. Ya know, when Tyrant-103 appears (aka Mr. X). And let's not forget Dr. William Birkin's body constantly mutating in even more outlandishly inconceivable ways. Growing two sets of arms, a fucking Sarlacc growing out of his chest, and then ultimately just turning into an amalgamous, fleshy blob of teeth, eyes, tentacles, leaving an unmentionable trail of fluids in its wake. And the kickass fucking song they played during the credits. But hands down, Chief Irons was far and away the most memorable thing about RE2. "And to think, taxidermy used to be my hobby."

"Yeah, fuck you too, Japan."

Oh, and who could fucking forget, "Ada! Wait!" Then again, at least she had a gun for the brief times in the game you controlled her. Poor Sherry was nigh useless. Especially when she had to deal with rabid dogs, rather than braindead zombies when retrieving the Club Key for Claire.

And that's when the Resident Evil rain cloud finally swept over videogame land, and the torrential rainfall of sequels and spin-offs would soon follow. I ultimately purchased a Playstation when the price had gone down considerably, and the first two games my parents I bought along with it? Resident Evil (Which I had finally finished, THANKS GOD DAMN DOOM BOOKS FOR MAKING ME MISS THE BLATANTLY FUCKING OBVIOUS FOR OVER A YEAR!!!) and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

"I just sod my armor."

Although I agree that you would probably be better off simply calling RE3, Resident Evil: Nemesis, because it's more of a Gaiden than an actual sequel. Though, despite this minor gripe, overall, 3 was a vast improvement over 2, and the graphics were greatly improved, and featured lots of little gameplay tweaks that made it at once much more convenient in terms of navigation with the 180 degree turn, and vastly more difficult thanks to (somewhat) randomly-generated items, different paths to choose, and the title character himself.. Also, more guns, more monsters, and that chicken wuss Brad gets tentacle raped in the face (serves him right for being more of a pussy than me). Overall 3 was a solid entry into the series, and did introduce a lot of little improvements that would actually find their way into RE4 (exploding barrells, 180 quick-turn, timed dodging of enemy attacks).

"I fucking hate spiders."

Then came Code: Veronica, which was probably more fitting of the number 3 entry in the series. This game brought Wesker back from the dead, and resurrected him as a fucking badass, and with a much better voice actor (Richard Waugh) to play the part. So good, in fact, that they've used him for the role ever since Veronica. I do love Veronica, and it has its moments (that creepy Psycho moment where we learn that one of the villains is pretending to be his own sister) and the fact that they stopped using pre-rendered backgrounds, but at this point most people were probably beginning to feel as though the series had hit a creative wall, a point further driven home when they completely remade the original Resident Evil for the Game Cube.

"All you need to know is that Wesker's a badass and that Steve is a whiny little bitch."

Now it was a really pretty game, and much more atmospheric than the original, but for some reason, I just didn't like it as much. Though they changed up most of the environments in the mansion considerably, the lab itself was scarcely touched, and that part of the game went by the quickest and easiest in terms of progression.

"Why don't they replace Chris with Danny Trejo, since he seems to like knives so damn much."

Then came Resident Evil 0, a game originally slated for the N64, but then was scrapped for the Game Cube when that system was first announced. This one was more of a prequel that explored the events that precipitated the accident in the Arklay lab and how the T-Virus came to be. This game was unique in that you controlled two characters, and you had to use them cooperatively to solve puzzles. I guess like The Lost Vikings, only with zombies and mutant leeches. The magic inventory box was done away with in favor of allowing your character to drop items off anywhere they wanted to come back for later. I wanna say this was a good idea, but it kinda made the game more tedious and drawn out that it should have been, since you'd have to run back and forth and lug your junk (hur hur) around whenever you progressed to a new area. Despite this, I still liked the game more than the REmake and it had better balance in terms of challenge level.

"Two bad it wasn't too player, har har!"

And it was around this time that Shinji Mikami had announced that RE4 was gonna be a Game Cube exclusive title, and that they would be completely scrapping the control scheme that every Resident Evil title had used. The game took its sweet time coming out, as they seemed to have a shift in how they were gonna design the gameplay elements. Eventually the release date was announced, and for preordering RE4, I got to have a free demo of the game. Sweet.

"This was from the demo."

Now I wanna talk about the demo a little, because it kinda bridges the gap between the older RE gameplay mechanics, and the new ones that they introduced on 4. First off, you had a more traditional inventory screen like the older games, however items for each inventory slot did stack. The interface was pretty efficient, yet bland, and the onscreen text was kinda hard to discern against the actual gameplay. The two biggest things to note is that you had to equip your knife in order to use it, just like all the games before it, and you could use your binoculars at will by pressing Z. Aside from that, the demo was pretty, and showcased the new gameplay engine and controls, and not long after that, at the beginning of the new year, where game releases are few and far between, RE4 was unleashed on the world, and I had the game the day it came out.

Resident Evil 4

While some people would call RE4 overrated, I vehemently disagree with this in terms of the actual gameplay. While the changes to the gameplay forumla from the prior games may seem almost daftly simple, the impact it made to the gameplay itself cannot be overstated in the slightest. While in terms of movement the game really still controls like all of the prior games (tank controls), the camera stays firmly over Leon's shoulder, and affords him a slight view to his immediate left, right, up, and down through the C-Stick. The somewhat redundant binoculars are gone, instead the Z-Button is used as a shortcut to access the map, a very convenient change from the demo. Even more convenient is that the knife is now its own seperate weapon, always ready for the player to use by pressing the L Button, whereas the R Button naturally allows the player to use their firearms.

And that's really the most important alteration in terms of the gameplay. Along with only being able to reload your weapons in real time now (instead of the inventory screen like the older games), you could now freely aim your weapon anywhere. In the prior titles you had very little control over where your shots went. This was either due to technical restraints, or because Capcom knew that being able to kill every zombie with just a single handgun bullet to the head would have probably made the game too easy.

"Being able to freely aim changed everything."

But now that limitation was gone, and the player had the freedom to make their shots go wherever they wanted them to. You could aim anywhere on a monster's body, and get meaningful results. And this is probably in part what necessitated the change of venue in terms of the enemies from mindless zombies to ancient parasites infecting and mutating human beings and other lifeforms. Apparently some people were miffed that they were no longer fighting zombies or that the entire storyline from the prior games had seemingly been discarded. But as I stated before, being able to freely aim your weapon now opened a new can of gameplay challenges that the developers probably had to face.

"The cast of Deliverance is easily more frightening than zombies any day of the week."

If they had done the game up with zombies, it would have probably made the game too easy, because as I said, a single handgun bullet to the head would deal with a zombie. Even without a lock-on mechanic, the player would have had a very easy time dealing with even a large handful of single-minded, shambling, uncoordinated zombies. And that would have brought up issues with gameplay challenge. The biggest threat a zombie poses is in numbers. In the older games it was nothing to get by a single zombie, but when faced with multiples, it required a bit more finesse. Now with the ability to take out a zombie efficiently in one hit, the challenge would have been to raise the number of the zombies considerably to make them more of a threat. And how many zombies would that take? A dozen? Two Dozen? Over a hundred? How many zombies could you put in a single room with your character before you started having performance issuing or having to make graphical sacrifices to accommodate more enemies? Just think about this for a minute and you can easily see how this could have been a major issue for the developers to overcome. And the best way to balance out this new-found freedom on the player's behalf, was to not only rebuild the gameplay from the ground-up, but to scrap the continual story from the prior games and start a new one. One which would conveniently allow the developers to get away with the fact that headshots are not always fatal in RE4.

"Oh yeah, forgot about you. God you're ugly."

A whole other ball game

So now when you first begin the game, it tells us right off the bat that the Umbrella Corporation is no more and that Leon is now working for the US government. He's been assigned to track down the President's Daughter who was abducted and her whereabouts have been pinned down to a village out in the middle of some vast wilderness European wilderness. Upon arriving, we encounter a villager who seems menacing, but clearly human. Then after speaking some Spanish gibberish, he tries to kill Leon while a few others outside drive a jalopy to run down the two cops that accompanied him to the village.

When you get control of Leon back and examine the dead Spaniard, he clearly states that he is NOT a zombie. This is the game's way of telling you that everything you know about the series until now officially amounts to dick. You are about to both figuratively and literally venture out into unknown territory against an enemy unlike any you have ever faced before in a Resident Evil game, or in any game, period.

Among the slew of changes made is that now the player has more freedom to interact with his environment. You get prompts to hit the A buttons at many places to do any number of things. Either to search your surroundings, to pick up ammo, or to interact with the environment by vaulting over obstacles, climbing ladders, kicking down ladders, raising ladders, leaping through windows to escape an enemy inside only to find yourself confronted with more enemies outside. And it extends to combat. If you can make an enemy flinch either with a knife slash, or a well-placed bullet, you can rush up and do things like kick or suplex enemies while they are off-guard. These additions help to make the gameplay far more interactive and involving than any of the prior titles by affording the player multiple options to deal with a given situation. Let's talk about when Leon first enters the Ganados village and see how all these things finally come together.

As soon as you get spotted by the villagers, you have to wait for a fixed amount of time or kill a certain number of them in order for the game to progress. In the meantime you can tackle this challenge in any number of ways. Naturally you can take cover in the house, which causes a cutscene where a chainsaw-wielding villager wearing a potato sack appears to emulate his favorite scenes from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The player can then begin barricading the door and window on the bottom floor, buying them time to gather items and take refuge upstairs where they have to fend off villagers who use ladders to climb through the windows on the second floor. You can either opt to shoot them or knock the ladders over if you can reach them before the villagers can get inside.

"I wonder if the merchant was a nod to the Felynes from Monster Hunter. They were fourth-dimensional, too."

In this situation, the player has to defend himself and cover three potential avenues of attack from the villagers upstairs: Either from the stairs, or from the two windows. The player can choose to find the (relatively) best position to cover these avenues of attack, or simply escape the house and seek shelter elsewhere, or continually evade Leon's persuers until the game automatically moves things along. In this one situation alone the game gives the player a large degree of freedom to do whatever they want. They can stand and fight, or take refuge in a tower where the player doesn't have to be worry about being ambushed since there's only one way up. Or they can just flee the entire time, bouncing from building to building, picking up items along the way, while dodging villagers who aggressively chase you down and try to do you in with farming implements such as pitchforks and sickles. And chainsaws.

And that's when and where it should really sink in that everything you know about Resident Evil to this point in time can't help you against what you're facing now. We eluded zombies for so long that they stopped being scary. They became a routine occurrence in the series. They were familiar, and we knew how to deal with them. Now we are dealing with an enemy that at least on the outside appears to be human, and that's what makes RE4 far more intense than any of the prior games in the series. The enemy is smarter, faster, more clever and more resourceful. They know they don't have to mindlessly rush in a straight line to get at you. They'll take the long way around and cut corners to blindside you and they'll sidestep to dodge your gunfire. They'll use weapons to try and kill you, and most importantly, they don't seem to mind being hurt by yours. They'll flinch, but then they're back after you in a heartbeat, and although headshots do sometimes result in an instant kill, they do not always.

And that's the tone that the game instills and maintains for its entire duration. That feeling of never knowing what to expect. Just when we begin to think we're getting the hang of things, the game throws something new at us, keeping us on our toes, and making us relish the few moments in the game where we can cool our heels and think about what the next course of action should be. And that by far is the game's greatest strength.

"Whatever the government is paying you, it wasn't nearly enough."

That's really all I have to say about Resident Evil 4 as a game. Sure I could talk about the merchant who spends the entire game repeating the same four or five lines over again, or the fact you can upgrade your weapons, or carry them around in an attache case, or how they elimnated pointless backtracking and annoying puzzles from the game. How it went to having a more action-oriented slant compared to the prior games. How pretty it looks (for the Game Cube) and how well animated and detailed everything is, and how vast and impressive the environments look, and how they go a long way of creating a truly atmospheric experience that hightens the level of terror the player feels as they progress. I could talk about the plot, or that you can save as many times as you want now at a typewriter.

"If you had to go up against a giant mutant beast, which would you choose to use? A puny little handgun or a rocket launcher? That's what I thought."

I would talk about these things, if they hadn't already been talked about a million times before by everyone else on Planet Earth that played RE4.

But what I want to discuss now for the remainder of this...diatribe or whatever you would call it is the few grievences people have had with Resident Evil 4. The game's detractors state that the game has a very kitchy plot and that the player can't identify with the characters, and that the characters themselves have no development, among other things. So ya know what? I'm gonna go down a small list and address every single one of these things, starting now:

Complaints about discarding the story from the prior games and starting over again:

I've already stated in terms of gameplay why they probably had to reboot the story. But there's also something else that a good friend of mine pointed out to me that should be taken into consideration: In Japan, it's called Biohazard, not Resident Evil. The game can't be called that over here in the States apparently because of some band that goes by the same name or something.

So with that in mind, understand that the term biohazard involves dealing with something like a biological outbreak, which can be anything. From a virus that turns people to zombies to mutant worms that take control of someone's body. The series wasn't simply focused on zombies, or do people forget the Hunters, the Lickers, the Tyrants, and all the other mutant shit that tried to kill them in the prior titles? The games dealt with biological outbreaks, and RE4 is no different. There might not be any zombies, but that doesn't change the fact that what you are dealing with in Resident Evil 4 is still a biological outbreak, no matter how fucked up it is.

The plot and the characters.

The biggest complaints towards RE4 are with the hackneyed plot and the laughable dialogue, and the lack of character development. And ya know what? I completely agree.

When I first played RE2, that game had me by the balls right until the very end. The game really sucked you in, and didn't let go. Despite how dated it might be now, it still had an earnestness to it that can't be denied. I think I might have been expecting that when I began playing Resident Evil 4. As soon as the game starts you begin communicating with an agent named Hunnigan through radio transmissions. And these conversations have absolutely zero impact on the game. You could excise them completely from the narrative and you wouldn't even miss them. Later on you have conversations with two of the game's antagonists via radio, but like Hunnigan, these little quips that the characters exchange contribute nothing to the game and could just as easily be left out.

As the game progressed, and Leon conversed with the game's villains, especially Salazar and Saddler, the dialogue made me do double-takes and wince. The plot just seemed totally ancillary, along with the characters, who didn't develop, and whose motivations and reasoning behind their actions never manifested. The characters themselves are one-dimensional cliches of a cliché:

"Leon is a tough guy protagonist and nothing will stop him from completeing his mission. This really hinges on the player's ability to not get him killed."

"Luis is a ladies man who says he's a cop but is actually a scientist and the comic relief of the game. Until he dies, that is. On a totally random note, for some reason him using the Mauser Red9 really made me think that the devs were trying to pass him off as a sort of European Han Solo. Until he died, that is."

"Ada is still voiced by the same actress from Resident Evil 2. She's also there to titillate young, lonely males with her unbridled sexiness and cool demeanor. And unlike the other aforementioned characters, when words come out of her mouth, it doesn't make the part of my brain that processes syntax want to commit hari-kari. Odd."

"Hunnigan is useless."

"Ashley has big tits, a loud mouth, and a short skirt."

"Mendez might as well not be in the game save for the fact that you need to fight him to progress."

"Salazar might as well have been called Napolean"

"Krauser might as well not have been in the game, save for the factt that you need to fight him to progress. That's why I got a picture with Ada in it too."

"Saddler might as well have been called Jim Jones. Oh yeah, don't drink the Kool-Aid."

But ya know what? None of that even matters. Why? Everyone makes the assumption that the developers cut corners on the writing or the acting because they were lazy or they were pressed for time to launch the game. But no one has even remotely considered the possibility that they made it that way on purpose. Yes. I am about to make the argument that the producers of Resident Evil 4 made the story, the acting, and the writing kitchy deliberately. "But Vanor! Why the fuck would they do that?!" Simple, really.

When I first played Resident Evil 4, while I was gradually noticing that the plot and dialogue were getting a little hackneyed, I was also beginning to realize something else: Despite this, I was still having a blast. I was still having fun. Despite what people might nitpick with what Capcom could have/should have done with the controls and gameplay, it doesn't change the fact that the game plays well, controls well, and is fun to play.

And that's when I really began to enjoy the game on a far more sublime level. I began to understand that the developers had decided to make a fun game. Not some cinematic experience where you play the game for like 5 minutes and then sit through 3 hours of cutscenes. Seriously. The cutscene-to-gameplay ratio in RE4 is probably significantly less than your average Metal Gear Solid. And even then, on RE4 when there are cutscenes you are an active participant. As much as people like to whinebag about quicktime sequences, at least the player is still involved in the game. At least you are still a participant.

To better illustrate what I'm getting at, let's discuss for a brief moment, Silent Hill 4. I played this game upon its release in late 2004, and I have to say, it was a huge disappointment. The game was the total opposite of Resident Evil 4. It had an interesting plot, but the gameplay drug all that down to the bottom of the Marianas Trench to join Lester the Unlikely in videogaming obscurity. Now, I LOVE Silent Hill. I love the first three games. But you could clearly see that the gameplay formula had gotten stale, and they had done nothing to really change it up. They tried in 4, but it backfired badly because some of their design choices slowed the game down and made it more of a chore to play than it should have been. People forget that video games should be games first. It's cool to use them as a storytelling medium, but don't try to make some epic tale at the expense of epically horrid gameplay. Lots of games seem to try and sell themselves on having epic storylines these days but fall flat on the gameplay delivery, and that is when a game is worthy of being called overrated.

And I think Shinji and his fellow developers knew this going into Resident Evil. They knew that all they really had to do was deliver on the gameplay and the rest would attend to itself. Seriously, ask yourself (if you've played RE4), what do you remember most from the game? Watching some cutscene or remembering a part of the game you actually played. The game's defining moment for me was right after Leon got dropped through Salazar's trapdoor, and then Salazar sent his "right hand" after him. THAT WAS THE MOST INTENSE FUCKING THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED IN ALL MY YEARS OF VIDEO GAMING!!! I didn't know I could kill the thing, so I spent the entire 5 minutes waiting for the elevator dodging the thing until I was able to escape to the next chapter.

"It's the cast of Hee-Haw if they got infected by mutant worms."

Despite how easy it was to die in the game sometimes, it was still a blast and I enjoyed every single minute of Resident Evil 4. I stopped being overly-critical of the voice work and the storyline and just realized it was more of an ode to old-school video games that had plots that were, at their core, just an excuse to justify going from Point A to Point B while kicking ass and enjoying yourself the entire time. I smiled to myself and rolled my eyes everytime Leon traded poorly-worded quips with everyone in the game, and laughed my ass off when he finally shut-up that Napoleon-looking mother fucker with a knife to the hand, only to have a WHARGARBL moment when his "left hand" threw it back at Leon, causing me to have a "HOLY SHIT!" moment and nearly earning me a game over.

"Awwww, does it hurt wittle baby? Here, let daddy make it all better...with a shotgun shell to the face."

Stuff like this is what I remember from RE4. Not cutscenes or one-liners. Not characterization. Not how pretty the game was, but how fucking crazy, intense, and unexpected it all was. The entire game is making mockery of what games have today become: Interactive movies, with a lot of emphasis being put on the latter, and gradually less being put on the former. In that regard, I actually think that deep down RE4 is a sublime jab at Konami. Sure there's the little easter egg where Leon plops down on that throne ala Castlevania. But then those radio transmissions between him, Hunnigan, Salazar and Saddler are all definitely reminiscient of Metal Gear Solid.

And if there was ever a single indictment that Silent Hill 4: The Room, sucked harder than a woman of ill-repute with a singularity stuck in her throat, it lies with both the main characters having to lead another character around a good portion of both games.

In SH4, you have to lead this woman named Eileen around for the entire latter half of the game. The problem is, despite having a cast wrapped around one of her legs, and one of her arms, you have absolutely zero control over what she does! That's right. She's totally computer-controlled, and her programming is very, VERY, terrible. It can't be fucking overstated. You can give her a weapon, and /facepalm as she meanders over to a bunch of enemies and starts whacking them with her purse. Yes, her first weapon is a purse. And an unlockable weapon in the game is a machinegun....that only she gets to use. What a fucking joke. Even worse is that you spend a good portion of the game running from unkillable ghosts that chase you all over the place, and a Nemesis-like enemy that is constantly pursuing you and trying to murder you with dual-wielding pistols. You can run away just fine, but Miss Crippled-In-One-Leg here just kinda pitifully limps away from danger. It's just totally horrible both in terms of gameplay, and in dragging an already slow game to a near-fucking-standstill.

"If the game let me, I'd kill you just so I didn't have to worry about slowing down for your dumbass!"

Resident Evil 4, by contrast, has Ashley, the walking Japanese big-titty fetish, who is the total and absolute fucking opposite of Eileen. You have total control over what she does. Unlike Eileen, who Henry has to constantly slow himself down for to let her keep up, Ashley is Leon's second shadow. She's a ghost, and she has a fucking brain! Whenever Leon has to shoot something and Ashley is standing between Leon's gun and a clear shot at his enemy, she immediately ducks down. You can hit a single button and make her stay somewhere out of harm's way while you scout ahead and clear the way forward. You can tell her to take cover in dumpsters and mow down countless enemies without ever having to worry about her safety, because in RE4, dumpsters might as well be nigh-fucking impervious to asteroid collisions, let-alone grenades.

"Better than Eileen because you do what the fuck I tell you!"

Ashley's very existence in RE4 is like Capcom telling Konami: "Yeah, you got there first, but we did it better.". I don't know if that's really the case or not, but for some reason it strikes me that way. Capcom and Konami were both making games ever since the 8-Bit era, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest that the entirety of Resident Evil 4 might be poking fun at the over-bearing self-importance that Silent Hill has built up over the years. Maybe the ultimate indictment of this in the fact that Resident Evil 4 was an awesome game, and changed up a lot of things to get that way, whereas Silent Hill 4 stuck to a lot of the tried-and-true gameplay (and some new things that ruined the game badly), and seemed to feel completely irrelevant even before RE4 came out.

But that's just my opinion. And that's why I wrote this. I love both Silent Hill and Resident Evil, and grew up playing both. Just as I have grown up playing Castlevania and Mega Man, and can say that the former's more recent entries in the series blow the latter's away for the most part. I love Resident Evil 4, and I wanted to talk about some of the game's complaints, and how they really don't matter in the end. Resident Evil 4 is the total antithesis of what games are becoming today, which is more movie than game. And that's why out of all the Halos, Mass Effects, Final Fantasies, First-Person Shooters to come out in recent years, the games I play the most are still on my DS and PSP:

Because only in Monster Hunter can I get annihilated by a Super Saiyan lion-bull that knows every ki attack from Street Fighter. And enjoy every minute of it.

"Golden Lion Rajang. showing gamers that they are in fact pussies for over 3 years."


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