When Capcom announced its Resident Evil 2 remake, I was overjoyed. This was a game I missed when it first came out and was an important part of the series I grew to love. However, his outdated gameplay meant that he was almost impossible to return comfortably, and his age meant that he was difficult to play legally. If I wanted to play Resident Evil 2, I’d either have to turn to emulation (which I have no patience for) or rely on a remake. The latter, as it turned out, was ideal.
You’ll find remakes in all media, so the idea is nothing new. But video games are in the midst of a remake boom with studios spending a lot of money picking up existing IP and looking back at a seemingly more frantic pace. Cynically, it’s just another way for them to cash in on a beloved series, but it’s also a way to bring older, important games to a newer audience.
Now that we’re a few years into this quest, new trends are starting to emerge. For a while, video game remakes were mostly faithful recreations of the original games with some modern upgrades. Consider switching from fixed camera angles to a third-person over-the-shoulder view Resident Evil 2 or adding more accessibility features to The Last of Us Part 1. But with this year’s Resident Evil 4 remake, we begin to see a different path forward. Capcom shows players why sometimes it pays to throw out the old to bring in the new.
Resident Evil 4 remake changes the game
Announcement which Resident Evil 4 getting a remake was a foregone conclusion due to its success Resident Evil 2 and, to a lesser extent, 3. At first it seemed unnecessary. This isn’t the smoothest gaming experience these days, but Resident Evil 4 it’s still playable and much easier to find digitally than others that get the remake treatment. It felt more like a cynical cash grab than an attempt to create a great gaming experience. Then Capcom started releasing announcements to show how much it had changed, and fans began to worry.
But to the surprise of many, Resident Evil 4 is one of the best video game remakes because of these changes. Not all are perfect, but most are for the better. It gets what it’s made for Resident Evil 4 his combination of action, horror, camp and elaborate scenography was great. It’s silly and suspenseful, sometimes in the span of a few seconds, and throws the player in so many different directions throughout its duration. Other than that, it’s simply iconic. So many aspects are steeped in pop culture; even if you don’t know Resident Evil 4, you probably know “what are you buying?” But he understands that he could grow up a little.
The combat was one of the most important parts of the original game, and Capcom made sure to keep most of it. But it is refined, with small changes that make big changes. Many of them are just responses to trends. Players aren’t fans of quick events, for example, so the remake has cut out most of them. However, he created a new parry system that not only changes up the regular combat, but still manages to challenge the player’s reflexes. This is most obvious in settings like Krauser’s fight, which is almost entirely defined by the fast-paced events of the original. You still have to press a button to avoid some attacks, but it’s less focused on whether you can press different buttons in quick succession. And it’s not instant death if you fail.
The Resident Evil 4 the remake is a cavalcade of moments from the original, but done better or with more self-awareness. It’s full of jokes for older players (like climbing a tower in the first village area, only to have it collapse on you instead of letting you stay up there and actually cheat the encounter) and callbacks. Sometimes they are taken almost beat for beat from the first, but often they are refined or with new details.
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Take Ashley, for example. In the original, she was constantly carried away by her enemies, calling out for help and wailing when times got tough. In the remake, she’s still getting carried away a lot, but Capcom cut out a lot of the sexist jokes and made her less of a victim. She is a child in a difficult situation and despite moments where she is clearly out of her mind, she toughens up because she has to and because she doesn’t want to burden Leon anymore. She’s still the president’s daughter Ashley, who Leon has to save, but now she has layers. There’s a reason he reacts the way he does, and it’s so impressive.
The Resident Evil 4 the remake is a different game than its predecessor, but also… kind of not. The gameplay is better, characters have been tweaked or moved, and features that haven’t aged well have been removed or changed. But this is still Resident Evil 4. It’s still the story of Leon Kennedy and his mission, the ridiculousness of Umbrella and the hideous horror of Las Plagas. It was just made in 2023.
New version Resident Evil 4 it stands out because it charts a somewhat radical new direction that studios should consider. Before that, many studios opted for faithful remakes (with only occasional tweaks such as Final Fantasy VII Remake). Original dead space it came out in 2008, so it didn’t necessarily need to be changed. It’s still easy to find for modern consoles thanks to Xbox Game Pass. But it cleans up the gameplay, upgrades the graphics, and makes small changes to the dialogue and text to flesh out certain characters. Its biggest change is giving protagonist Isaac Clarke the voice he had in the sequels, allowing him to comment on events he never did before and to build relationships with other characters. But otherwise, the game has a simple mission: to remind you why the series is worth playing. He doesn’t try to repeat anything, which was the right call.
Even the other Resident Evil remakes weren’t as radical as Capcom’s latest. Residence Evil 2 goes a little further than dead space1:1 approach, but has the same philosophy. It takes the essence of the original, along with all the important story beats, and brings it to modern trends. Of course, it brings significant changes, such as increasing the role of Mr. X, more interaction between the heroes Leon and Claire, and moving from fixed camera angles and tank controls, which have fallen out of fashion, to the standard third-person, over-the-shoulder shooting that Capcom developed starting with Resident Evil 4.
The System shock The remake, which was showcased at PAX East this year, seems to be heading towards a similar goal. As one of the earliest 3D shooters, it clearly needs an upgrade for a modern audience, but it’s still very retro-inspired. The plot is still simple, the pace is fast to get you into the action faster, and there are details like slightly imprecise weapon handling that give the game a real “jank”. Graphics and animations have received the most improvements, with more detailed models contrasting with pixelated backgrounds to create a beautiful effect. From my brief review, it still seems like the developers wanted to keep the essence of the original, but had to take into account decades of game design trends.
These games might play differently, but you still get the same — and, in many ways, better — experience compared to the original. Developers understand that what makes a game iconic isn’t 1990s game mechanics. Story, atmosphere, a certain level of difficulty, and a host of other undefined characteristics can make a medium seem unique.
Resident Evil 4 The remake contains much more drastic changes, especially for a game that is much newer than System shock, but still strikes a good balance between old and new. It represents the idea that a studio can do a major overhaul of an existing game, but still have it be similar to the original, and that will change the game in the future.
We will get new types of remakes
Resident Evil 4 it is not a perfect template for every game. The dead space the remake takes a strangely novel approach by changing very little from the original because it doesn’t need to. Final Fantasy VII Remake is almost a completely different game. But the best video game remakes are there to remind you that the original exists and is being remade for a reason, whether it’s big changes or very little.
Capcom has shown that it is possible to remake a game that will appeal to a newer audience with updated mechanics while creating love letters to older players. It reminds you that the new version could not exist without the original. And while studios want to invest in more remakes – Silent Hill 2, Lollipop Chainsaw, Knights of the Old Republicand many others have already been announced — you can look at what Capcom has done to understand how to do it right.
Resident Evil 4 is now available on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.