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Resident Evil 4

June 13, 2005 ・ Blog

I finally finished Resident Evil 4 yesterday, one of the best games I’ve played for ages. Intense, imaginative, surprising, and horrendously beautiful to look at, Resident Evil 4 is a massive evolution of the zombie game series.

But despite how good it is, I’ve taken a couple of months to complete it, playing through sections one at a time, bit by bit. The progression was so slow because of a few reasons. Partly it was because I wanted to draw the game out, not rushing those amazing set pieces, trying to note and savour every detail of this incredibly meticulously detailed game world.

But it took me ages more because it was such an intense experience. I found the constant pressure and sense that anything could happen – like two huge bosses set in rapid succession or a vicious attack by rabid, growling villagers with chainsaws – truly exhausting.

I can only play certain types of games for long single sittings – the sort of games in which I can switch off and achieve that continuous sense of flow. Games like Advance Wars, Civilisation or Gran Turismo. They’re challenging but they allow me to feel that I’m notionally in control of them through my skill.

Resident Evil 4 isn’t like that. The pressure, tightly scripted and unstoppable, comes from outside my talent at playing it. While individual battles in Resident Evil 4 are absolutely absorbing, the utter intensity of many of them would make me want to break away from the game for relief afterwards, even surpassing my curiosity at what will come next.

Here are a few things that are amazing about the game:

  • The weapons – so well designed and satisfying to use. I stuck with the original shotgun throughout because I loved the wooden stock and clunk click of the reload.
  • The fact that it isn’t even over yet, having now unlocked two new play modes, a harder difficulty setting and an alternate costume.
  • The way it never overplayed any element, such as playing as or defending Ashley, the character you’re meant to be rescuing.
  • The prospect of playing it through all over again. Slowly, mind.