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Videogames-To-Flix #42

10.01.2007

VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!

RESIDENT EVIL 4

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Developer: Capcom Entertainment
Publisher: Capcom Entertainment
Systems: Wii, PlayStation 2, and GameCube

INTRODUCTION:

RESIDENT EVIL 4 is the quintessential single player game of the last generation. For both the GameCube and the PlayStation 2, RESIDENT EVIL 4 revolutionized the first person experience. It was a breath of fresh air for a series that had staled due to perpetual poor design. However, with the arrival of the XBOX 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, can a savior from the last generation match up?

This review is of the Wii version of RESIDENT EVIL 4. Capcom revisited the entire game and adjusted the gameplay so that the Wii controller provides control similar to the original version. Motion control was added for cut scenes and close combat. Also added to this version are the extra levels previously only available on the PlayStation 2.

GAMEPLAY:

When RESIDENT EVIL 4 first came out, the big hoopla was about this title's innovative over-the-shoulder perspective. In prior incarnations, RESIDENT EVIL games used a removed third-person perspective that is standard issue nowadays. The difference between the perspective of RESIDENT EVIL 4 and the third-person perspective is only about eight or nine inches in camera distance. This might not seem like much, but in a horror game like RESIDENT EVIL 4, it adds a tremendous amount of control and keeps the action up close and in your face. Enemies have an easier time sneaking up on you and the movement speed of your character is slower. This control scheme shift still resonates as one of the best new gameplay designs in years and that is supported by copycats, such as GEARS OF WAR and TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON ADVANCED WARFIGHTER. This change in angle also helps RESIDENT EVIL leave behind its reputation as a great thriller but with frustrating aiming capabilities. Now players can actually aim and kill enemies without struggling.

Central to this version of RESIDENT EVIL 4 is the inclusion of special Wii-mote controls. Instead of using a control stick to aim at enemies the player uses the IR end of the controller. Instead of pressing a button to stab an enemy, the player can just make a slashing motion with the controller. Compared to the limited number of shooters available for the Wii, RESIDENT EVIL 4 is nearly flawless. Compared to computer games and standard FPS games on consoles, RESIDENT EVIL 4 is good but nowhere near a HALO or GEARS OF WAR.

Also integrated into the Wii experience is using motion to interact with cut scenes. While cut scenes in normal games require some kind of button mashing or analog stick twisting, the Wii-mote makes these events different. The player will use the controller three-dimensionally instead of two-dimensionally. Nevertheless, these cut-scene events are still gimmicks. It's a fun use of the controller but nothing so innovative that you'll want to do it for hours.

Overall, because the original incarnation of RESIDENT EVIL 4 was such a giant step forward for the series, the Wii version could only keep status quo or slip backwards. Lucky for us, this game still provides excellent gameplay. For Wii owners this should be quite a relief after living through crap like RED STEEL.

Gameplay: 9.1/10

GRAPHICS:

The biggest complaint about this game is the graphics. When RESIDENT EVIL 4 first came out on the GameCube it was lauded as one the best looking games in an otherwise ugly lineup of titles; two years later this game looks like mud. Next to contemporaries on other consoles (like GEARS OF WAR and RESISTANCE: FALL OF MAN), RESIDENT EVIL 4 doesn't stand a chance. Next to contemporaries on the Wii, like THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS and EXCITE TRUCK, RESIDENT EVIL is still not as good, but at least in the same ballpark.

The real problems with the graphics are three-fold. The textures in the backgrounds are muddy and pixelated, the protagonist and enemies have jaggies, and the console itself is underpowered. Because the Wii was not made to be a graphical powerhouse like the XBOX 360 or the PLAYSTATION 3, the ability to re-imagine RESIDENT EVIL 4 with fresh new graphics isn't possible. That's why current gen consoles willl be seeing RESIDENT EVIL 5 instead of another RESIDENT EVIL 4 rehash.

For the price of this game and for the system it is on, gamers will accept the graphics in this form; however, in no way can this game be considered pretty. Wii owners interested in graphical integrity will be better served waiting to play SUPER MARIO GALAXY or MARIO KART Wii.

Graphics: 7.7/10

SOUND:

Finally, the sound in RESIDENT EVIL 4 is rightfully creepy and atmospheric, but not enough to have me screaming from the hilltops. The score is subtle throughout most the gameplay and appears more ambient than interactive. That was a safe decision but I enjoy horror games that aren't afraid to risk using the score to ramp up the tension.

For a game designed originally for the GameCube, RESIDENT EVIL 4 includes a lot of dialog. While many old school games are still sticking with text-based storytelling, it is refreshing to see that this game invested some time into recording dialog. Even more refreshing is that the quality of the acting is at higher level than many video games. There are bits of over-acting here and there but nothing that turned me off. This game also includes its fair share of corny dialog and for video games, that is pretty much par for the course.

Sound: 7.8/10

FINAL VERDICT:

Overall, the best parts of RESIDENT EVIL 4 are the story and the gameplay. They continue to exemplify how a traditional series can be reborn and revitalized with just a bit of innovation. Games like MEGA MAN and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG could benefit a lot cribbing from the RESIDENT EVIL 4 playbook. If you're a grown adult looking for an enjoyable horror experience on the Wii, despite last gen graphics, RESIDENT EVIL 4 is your best bet.

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

STATUS OF THE MOVIE:

RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION just opened to poor reviews but better box office than the previous films in the series. While nothing has been confirmed, I'm pretty confident that a fourth movie will be made, even if it goes straight-to-DVD. Surprisingly, RESIDENT EVIL may wind up being the most successful game-to-movie series.

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2:27AM on 10/02/2007

NO

I posted a longer, more explanative comment, but the site keeps logging me out. This review makes NO sense and is at odds with almost the entire gaming community in general - both players AND critics!
I posted a longer, more explanative comment, but the site keeps logging me out. This review makes NO sense and is at odds with almost the entire gaming community in general - both players AND critics!
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4:05PM on 10/01/2007

umm wtf with the grapics?

how could you give the graphics a 7.7. I completely disagree with you.
how could you give the graphics a 7.7. I completely disagree with you.
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