Resident Evil 4 remains a beloved favorite in the fandom over 16 years after its release, and for good reason. It was a turning point for the series, a gateway to Resident Evil games for many, and like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it’s been ported to platforms enough times to transcend generations. It’s no surprise then that Capcom is apparently remaking it – though that remake is supposedly having some trouble – but like many others, I wonder: Do we need that remake to release anytime soon?
The question’s asked not as a Resident Evil 4 Remake naysayer but rather as someone who adores the game as it is. If the game were to come out tomorrow, I’d already have it pre-loaded now and ready to go at midnight. There are certainly justifications for a Resident Evil 4 Remake, but when you put it up against other games in the series, it’s clear it shouldn’t be at the front of the line.
The Case for a Resident Evil 4 Remake
To be totally fair to Resident Evil 4, there would definitely be things to look forward to in a remake. After playing through Maiden, the first playable Resident Evil Village “demo,” the fragment of Castle Dimitrescu we’ve seen is enough to stir imaginations. If that castle can look that foreboding and detailed, what would a remade version of Resident Evil 4’s own castle setting look like? What about the village in Resident Evil 4 where players first realize the game’s zombies are more coordinated and advanced than expected? Resident Evil 4’s settings are diverse and memorable enough to be remarkable vehicles for a remade version of the game.
From the remakes for Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 as well as the new first-person perspectives taken in Resident Evil 7 and Village, it’s evident Capcom isn’t afraid to reimagine a game from a different perspective. Player-made mods have granted Resident Evil 4 players a way to view it from the first person in the past, but Capcom handling that process itself alongside remade visuals would be one of the most appealing ways to experience Resident Evil 4 in a totally new way.
Resident Evil 4’s “Mercenaries” game mode is another draw for the remake, but a modern version of that mode is a 50/50. It was a superb add-on to the game’s main story and has room to grow, but nontraditional Resident Evil projects like Resident Evil Resistance haven’t inspired much confidence in a Mercenaries remake.
Is Prettier Better?
The scenery, animations, and character models would look superb in a Resident Evil 4 Remake, but would that honestly improve the game overall?
Each Resident Evil game exists somewhere on a spectrum with “Horror” at one end and “Action” on the other. Resident Evil 4 finds itself closer to the middle of that spectrum by blending jump scares with campiness – one minute you’re fending off zombified dogs jumping erratically and the next you’re outrunning a boulder.
Though the controls of Resident Evil 4 aren’t as outdated as the tank controls from the first few games in the series, they’re not as fluid as what we’ve seen in the remakes. Less rigid movements lead to quicker response times and counterattacks which may, in turn, diminish the tension felt in the original Resident Evil 4.
The boss fights against the trenchcoat-wearing Bitores Mendez as well as the dual against the Chainsaw Sisters are perfect examples of the risk of smoothing things over. Both battles take place in claustrophobic places where it’s easy to lose sight of the bosses until they’re right on top of players. Limited camera control and loop-like paths to follow mean moving forward is typically the better option instead of trying to outmaneuver the foes. The stop-and-go nature of the enemies where they’re always at either 0 or 100 creates a sense of unpredictability, too, and makes them seem more erratic. Would more evasion mechanics and fluid animations elevate these fights to levels greater than their current ones? I’d love to be proven wrong, but I worry they’d lose what makes them special.
What About the Other Resident Evil Games?
Capcom’s own extensive library of past Resident Evil projects is itself one of the best arguments against a Resident Evil 4 Remake. If Resident Evil 4 is held in such high regard still, should it really be next in line for a remake? What about Resident Evil – Code: Veronica? Playing the older Resident Evil games can feel like a chore after experiencing the newer ones, and with Resident Evil – Code: Veronica already so well-liked by those who played it upon release, remaking it would fulfill the requests of many and would give others an opportunity to engage with it for the first time.
Games released after Resident Evil 4 are also prime candidates for remakes despite them not being as old. Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 fall among those options with each of those games about as actiony as Resident Evil games get. Co-op remains largely unexplored in Resident Evil games outside of Resident Evil 5, and the prospect of seeing Chris Redfield fight a boulder on next-gen platforms is an enticing one.
Watching Leon roundhouse and bulldog zombies into the ground when he wasn’t dual-wielding weapons in Resident Evil 6 was entertaining to a degree, but the way the game deviated so much from the typical Resident Evil experience created a dramatic, bewildering dark spot in the franchise. Recommitting to its appeal of multiple campaigns and leaning even heavier into the action movie aesthetic could yield a surprisingly enjoyable remake.
Should Resident Evil 4 Be Remade?0comments
It’s not really a question of “should” Resident Evil 4 get a remake as much as it is a question of when that remake should happen. The reception to the game and its longevity over the years are enough to guarantee an eventual remake even if there hadn’t been any reports alluding to that project being in the works.
That’s all well and good that it’ll happen, and as I mentioned previously, I and many others will have the remake pre-installed and ready before launch day. For the sake of other Resident Evil games and perhaps Resident Evil 4 itself, however, maybe that release date shouldn’t be pressured to arrive anytime soon.