It’s Resident Evil 4 – what’s not to love?
Resident Evil 4 made a huge splash when it was originally released on GameCube in 2005. With its breathtaking graphics, break-neck action, and overhauled camera system, it was heads and shoulders above just about every competing title at the time. It’s been two and a half years since then, and now, with the Wii port, we’re seeing the visually superior build augmented with the added content of the watered-down PS2 version. Exclusive to this edition are motion controls, which use the Wii Remote as a reticule, and its sensitivity in place of buttons for quick-time events. So allow me to answer the question on most gamers’ minds: is this the definitive version of RE4?
Yes. Yes, it is.
If you’ve never played the game before, it tells the story of Resident Evil 2’s protagonist, Leon S. Kennedy, now working for the government, on a mission to rescue the President’s daughter from a group of terrorists in an undefined European nation (read: Spain). After his two escorts are captured and savagely murdered, Leon finds himself caught up in much more than a simple kidnapping, as far more is afoot than what meets the eye.
The biggest improvement RE4 brought to the series was its control system. Instead of the fixed camera of previous iterations, it’s now placed behind Leon’s back (and zoomed up to his shoulder while aiming). This makes manipulating the character’s movements infinitely easier, and although Kennedy isn’t the most agile guy out there (when did the government stop teaching its agents to strafe?), he’s still leagues beyond his predecessors.
The Wii version’s motion controls aren’t too obtrusive to the old formula. You still move Leon with the analog stick, and you still fire with the A button. But instead of pressing the L button and moving the analog stick around to aim, you instead press the B trigger, which allows you to aim with 1-1 motion to your hand. In case you’re a bit twitchy, Capcom included a huge reticule in place of the laser pointer of the original version, which makes shooting much easier.
Also tweaked are the quick-time events. Instead of mashing A, B, L, or R, you’ll shake the remote back and forth or press A and B at the same time. While I’m not a huge fan of shaking the remote, it’s a minor concern, and since they only occur in small bursts, it doesn’t make much of a difference.
Should you completely hate the new layout, however, you can still revert to the old scheme with a GameCube or Classic Controller. I gave the latter a shot, but found myself wanting to go back to motion controls almost instantly. This should only further prove that the Wii can indeed handle hardcore action games, sometimes better than its traditional cousins.
Also improved are the visuals, though you might not notice it at first. While the original had fake widescreen via letterboxing, Wii Edition offers true 16x9. And though gaming’s come a long way graphically since 2005, this is still one of the better-looking titles on the system. You’ll see the game showing its age every now and then (particularly in the character animation), but if you play a lot of Wii games, you’ll likely be impressed by the lighting techniques and sheer amount of action on-screen.
So is this worth a pick-up if you’ve already played through it on the GameCube? That all depends on whether you’re interested in playing as Ada Wong. While everyone was able to play through Assignment Ada, only PS2 owners were able to access Separate Ways, which expands her storyline and sheds light on certain questions posed in the main campaign. It lasts several hours, and though I prefer Leon to Ada, I still had a lot of fun trying it out. So, if the aforementioned plus a superior control scheme appeal to you, the budget price of $29.99 will certainly seem appetizing.
If you’re an avid listener of Radio Free Nintendo, then you know I wasn’t a big supporter of this game when it was announced, saying that $30 was too much for what it offered if you’ve already played through the game. Well, as a former hater, let me tell you: I was wrong, and the game is totally worth it. I had a ton of fun playing through RE4 again, and I’d never go back to the GameCube version now that I’ve used the Wii remote and nunchuk. RE4 was already an exemplary game it was first released, and now it’s even better. Pick it up as soon as you can.