|Release: February 27, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language|
by Angelo M. D’Argenio
Resident Evil 4 is the very definition of a timeless classic. It stands as a symbol of changing times, when Resident Evil games became more action than horror based. While we throw a fit these days when Leon Kennedy runs down a street filled with exploding cars, we just didn’t care back in the days of Resident Evil 4. Heck, you got to shotgun Texas Chainsaw Massacre clones in the face! Who doesn’t love that?! When it first came out for the Gamecube, it was nearly universally acclaimed. Then it came out for the PS2 and we got extra content, and everyone loved it even more. Then it came out for the PC and… it felt like a shoddy port and everybody hated it. Then it came out for the Wii with both updated graphics and controls, and everybody loved it again! Then it came out for the PSN and Xbox 360 and it suffered from multiple glitches and slowdown problems and everybody hated it again. Now it is coming out for the PC AGAIN In Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition. Is Resident Evil 4 timeless enough to warrant buying it a sixth time?
First let’s cut to the chase. No, there isn’t any extra content here, at least no extra content that you wouldn’t have found in the last four releases of the game. You still get all the PS2 content, so if you only ever played the Gamecube version, you might want to give this a shot. But if you are expecting extra characters, extra stages, extra costumes, or anything else to commemorate this game’s long and storied history, you won’t find it here.
Next, let’s talk about the audio. It’s the same as ever. There aren’t remixed tracks, redubbed voice acting, or even redone sound effects. The same sounds, exactly like the Wii version, so once again if you are looking for anything updated you won’t find it here.
Of course, the graphics have to be updated, right? Well, yes, this is technically an HD remake. However, it’s one of the more barebones HD remakes out there. The only thing that has really changed is the textures, and while their resolution has been updated they still look kind of flat. It’s really hard to tell what has changed unless you are looking at the old-school Gamecube graphics and the PC graphics back to back, and when compared to more recent versions like the Wii version or the PSN and XBLA versions, most changes aren’t notable at all.
You can also lock the game’s frame rate to 60FPS, but something tells me there’s something wrong with the encoding here, because every time I try to do so the game slows down quite a bit. This has happened on every rig I have tried the game on, from recently put together gaming rigs to old laptops. The whole point of this option is to make the game play smoother, but it’s pointless if you encounter slowdown because of it.
So the PC version has no new content, no new audio, and barely noticeable graphics upgrades on top of glitchy graphics options. So what’s the point? Oh I’ll tell you the point my friend: the controls! Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition is the first time that Resident Evil 4 supports native keyboard and mouse controls, and this is by far the definitive way to play the game.
Hear me out here. Were you ever frustrated by Resident Evil 4’s inventory system. Tired of shuffling around your items on a grid? Well that inventory system is still here in Ultimate HD Edition, but now shuffling your items around is easy. Simply click and drag, just like you would in World of Warcraft or Diablo.
Are you kind of a lousy shot? Not to worry! Keyboard and mouse controls turn you into Neo from The Matrix! You still have to do the whole “go into aiming mode and plant your feet to shoot” thing that you had to in every other version, but the ability to simply point and click at your enemies makes them go down easy. Remember, encounters in Resident Evil 4 were set up to be something of a shooting gallery because Capcom assumed you were going to be slowly pointing at them using an analog stick. But with a mouse you can headshot them with the greatest of ease. This particularly makes speed running the game a ton of fun to both do and watch! Keyboard and mouse controls are just so much more absurdly fast and accurate than analog stick controls, although the tank like movement scheme is sure to annoy you, especially if you have become used to strafing in traditional PC shooters.