12 July 2007

Resident Evil 4 for the Wii, a terse review

Resident Evil 4 may very well have been the best action/adventure game available for the Game Cube. It has some of the best graphics for the system, an OK story, and the gameplay is second to none. That's why I was so excited for RE4 for the Wii.

The basic idea is the same. They took the Game Cube version and updated it for the Wii. They also added a few extras from the PS2 version (Seperate Ways, a side-mission after you beat the game) and included a small amount of exclusive content like Leon's "gangster outfit". That said, that's not what this iteration of RE4 is about, it's about the controls.

The controls of RE4 Wii-edition are far better than the controls of any other action game on the Wii. So freaking good I could not put the game down and it is the primary reason I have not been posting as much to the blog lately. VS stopped posting in protest (or out of laziness), so you will have to excuse us. At least my excuse stems from having arguably the perfection of Resident Evil 4 in my TV room.

The controls are pretty much the same for movement and most everything else (button placement is of course a bit different), the only tweak is the aiming, knife-system and reloading. To reload, hold down the button to ready your weapon and shake your Wiimote up and down to get your Leon to reload. Shaking the Wiimote side-to-side results in Leon slashing with his knife. It makes it a lot more fun than simply hammering the A button with the left trigger pulled down like on the Cube. However, the real excitement is with aiming.

You have a cursor on your screen that you control with the Wiimote like a pointer. You point at an enemy with your Wiimote, prepare your weapon, and start shooting. While this may not seem like anything special, it adds tremendous depth to the game and it is way beyond a rail-shooter in terms of complexity. I am getting head-shots or knee-shots whenever I want and it makes the game much more exciting when you don't have to depend on freakishly huge guns to get through the game. It especially makes the game more fun when playing the Mercenaries. I am getting crazy scores playing the Mercenaries on the Wii. With Krauser, I got over 100,000 on all the levels with my first try! So if you enjoy the Mercenaries "game-within-a-game" on the original versions, I strongly recommend at least trying out the Wii-version, it is far more exciting.

Complaints? Of course. Not every gun is Wii-enabled. The rifles and RPG do not work with the Wiimote, you must use the analog stick. This is a gross disappointment as the rifle is necessary at certain parts of the game. I usually relied on the Red-9 pistol to get me through the game, so switching from a very entertaining gun to a rather boring gun to get the business done was quite lame.

Another problem is the game has not been remastered visually. It's the same exact graphics we saw on the Cube. Granted, the graphics were gorgeous for the time, but they put no effort into remastering the graphics for the Wii. I suspect this was a cost-cutting measure to keep the game as cheap as it is.

Also, the game may be too easy. I have not yet tried a fresh game on professional mode, but I got through normal mode in no time at all and got a 5-star rating on every Mercenaries mission inside a few days (normally a VERY difficult task on other systems, it took me over a month of on-and-off play on the Cube to accomplish this). I suspect professional mode can't be so difficult it stops the steam roller that is the Wiimote.

Bearing in mind that the game is by no means worse than any previous version and typically a vast improvement in game play, it gives us a high quality game that should be bought whether you never played Resident Evil before or are a big fan of RE4 and the other Resident Evils. You will not be disappointed with the fantastic game play and the depths which Capcom goes to ensure replayability with side-missions and unlockable content.

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