Innovation & Design

Resident Evil 4


After suffering through numerous $49.99 mini game compilations, Capcom gives Wii owners something to gnaw on with Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition. This terrifying excursion through Europe's nether regions immediately grabs hold of the player and shakes him or her like a blubbering child, plunging them into a macabre adventure filled with intense, bone-chilling moments. It also includes all of the content from the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions, making it the ultimate, or as Capcom calls it, Wii Edition. Even better, it costs $29.99.

Leon S. Kennedy, far removed from Raccoon City's disaster in Resident Evil 2, travels to Europe to save the president's daughter from a mysterious "interest group". These fellows, a collection of twitchy villagers, mutant dogs and other beasties, seek to make his life less than pleasant, throwing scythes at his head and chasing him with a sputtering chainsaw. The best part is, Capcom never misses a beat. Expertly crafted, the game always throws something new and exciting at the player. It could be a flash of lightning, a run in with a bizarre creature or a simple chord of music. Gamers will always feel like something bad, or cool, will happen, thus keeping them on edge. At the same time, it blends traditional adventuring (finding items, solving puzzles) with addictive, arcade quality gunplay. Firing a weapon feels so immensely satisfying, gamers stop running from an enemy to kick its ass, something that doesn't happen much in the previous Resident Evil games.

With the Wii Edition, Capcom took the original GameCube adventure and combined it with the PlayStation 2's exclusive content, allowing gamers to enjoy the new costumes, weapons, 16:9 widescreen, Dolby Pro Logic II support and Ada Wong's five chapter adventure, "Separate Ways". As expected, the company didn't give Resident Evil 4 a visual boost, which is a shame considering the once jaw dropping visuals look noticeably outdated just two years later. The game's far from ugly, however. Characters animate well, weather and explosive effects look realistic and all of the gore; from brain splattering headshots to bubbling piles of slime look outstanding. Combine that with an eerie graveyard, superb lighting effects and creepy audio, and Resident Evil 4 has more than enough weapons to torture and delight people with.

To breathe life into the game, the developers adapted it to use the Wii's motion sensitive remote and nunchuk, and this makes it so much more enjoyable. Instead of using an analog stick to aim, players point the remote at the TV screen and press A to fire (an odd decision, considering the remote's B button feels more like a trigger). This adds a tremendous amount of fun to the experience, making headshots significantly more satisfying. In addition, gamers can slash enemies with a knife by shaking the remote, or break boxes using the same action. As s a nice touch, Capcom made the device vibrate whenever a reticule lands on an enemy, and its speaker emits a sweet reloading sound whenever someone performs the action. Later in the adventure, players shake the controller to dodge boulders and escape enemy's clutches, and it is just outstanding. Everything works amazingly well.

Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition's timeless adventure, coupled with the unique controls make it a must buy regardless of whether someone's played it or not. Like a favorite movie, it belongs on a shelf, prominently displayed and immediately accessible. Gamers don't buy this game for Wii. They buy a Wii for this game.

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