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Resident Evil 4 Remake Preview: Quite Possibly Another Horror Hit For Capcom

Resident Evil 4 is shaping up to be a diligent remake of the original, with only one major concern that could hamper its exemplary reputation. Here is our hands-off preview based on 17 minutes of new footage.
Resident Evil 4 Remake Preview: Quite Possibly Another Horror Hit For Capcom

Resident Evil 4 is one of the most celebrated survival horror video games of all time. It paved the way for many iconic horror franchises like Dead Space and The Last of Us and continues to be a huge influence for many AAA third-person shooters and horror games to this date.

Now, 18 years after its arrival, Capcom is reimagining Resident Evil 4 for modern platforms and a new audience. At its core, it's still the classic swashbuckling adventure of the charismatic Leon Kennedy through the viral village in Europe. However, a lot has changed, not just visually and mechanically but also emotionally. 

Before its grand release later this month, Capcom showed us 17 minutes of never-before-seen gameplay of Resident Evil 4 Remake. Here's what you need to know about it. 

It's More Atmospheric Than The Original

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The environments in Resident Evil 4 remake looks more atmospheric and spooky than the original. (Picture: Capcom)

The gameplay footage is spread between four sections of the game. Cave exploration and combat, Salazar's castle exploration and combat with Ashley, Garrador encounter, and Krasuer's battle.

It kicks off in Chapter 4, which takes place at night as Leon heads towards the church via a forest pathway leading to a cave. The visual differences are obvious, but the environments look more atmospheric and spooky than the original.

 We see Leon encounter two Ganados on the way here as they eventually transform into their mutated selves. Like the original, these mutated Ganados do sweeping attacks with their sharp tentacles. However, this time around. Leon can parry their attacks with his knife, one of the key new gameplay additions in the remake, and we see him do that in action. 

Once Leon reaches the cave, combat takes a backseat for a moment, and the exploration kicks in. We see Leon interact with a shrine with a mysterious symbol. I don't recall seeing this shrine and the cave in the original. However, I haven't touched Resident Evil 4 since 2009, and my memories are a bit hazy, so pardon me if I'm wrong.

Moving on, we see Leon interacting with a small pamphlet that's requesting a Gold Chicken Egg. In the original, the chicken egg could be used as a healing item or sold to the merchant for points. Here, it seems the "request" is actually a side quest, and completing it will reward you with something called Spinel. 

Back in the cave, we also get to see how boat traversal works in the RE 4 remake. Like the original, there are only two options - Accelerate & Reverse. We get snippets of gameplay where Leon is traversing the cave on the boat. Another frantic encounter occurs with the Gandos as Leon uses a combination of melee and ranged attacks and parries to escape. 

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You can customize the Attache Case in Resident Evil 4 remake. (Picture: Capcom)

One of the most admirable changes to enemies I noticed here is how visually and mechanically detailed they are. When you shoot an enemy in the eye, they react to it but clutching it in pain. As they falter, you can take that moment to mow them down with melee attacks. It's not just about headshots now. You can even shoot an enemy's weapon, including explosives, to cause an area of effect. And yes, Leon can take enemies to Suplex City. 

After the cave, we meet the enigmatic merchant, who's unfortunately not voiced by Paul Mercier. He sounds somewhat British? I guess it makes sense since we are in Europe. Either way,  it's too early to predict whether veteran fans are going to like the new merchant or not.

The merchant's role, however, is similar to The Duke from Resident Evil Village. You can buy new weapons, upgrades, and resources. Every now and then, the merchant will have something new in stock.

The most interesting new addition is the option to customize the Attache Case. You can customize its color and add charms, which come with minor perks like an increased drop rate for resources. The options are limited, but it's crazy how Capcom never decided to add this feature in a Resident Evil game until now. 

Parry Everything

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Ashley is still pretty much defenseless in the Resident Evil 4 remake. (Picture: Capcom)

The next section focuses on Salazar's castle as Leon and Ashley navigate the rooftops and receive a not-so-warm welcome from the lord himself in a cutscene.

Like in the original, Ashley is pretty much defenseless in the Resident Evil 4 remake. You can, however, give her commands. There are two commands to choose from. These are 'Tight' or 'Loose.' During 'Tight,' Ashley will stick close to Leon, whereas during 'Loose,' she stays afar from Leon. Both commands are useful in different situations, and we get a glimpse of both in the gameplay.

If Ashley is captured, the enemies will carry her with them. The red carrying symbol on the left-hand corner of the screen depicts the same.
Ashley can also become incapacitated (which is also indicated on the screen) if she takes a lot of damage. You need to rescue her quickly, or else the enemies will carry her with them. Ashley isn't entirely useless though, as she will help you unlock some of the doors in the game.

The next section of the gameplay footage explores different sections of Salazar's castle, including dimly lit dungeons and prison cells. Here, we also get the first glimpse of Leon's first encounter with the Garrador, who somehow looks even more terrifying than the original. They are faster and far more aggressive, and you have to be more tactful. 

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The Krauser boss fight in Resident Evil 4 is about parrying not QTEs. (Picture: Capcom)

Between dodging, sneaking, stabbing, and shooting, you can now also parry Garrado's attacks. Compared to the RE 2 & 3 remakes, the shooting in RE 4 sounds more crispy. It looks as if there's more weight to it, though until we get our hands on the game, it's too early to say anything. Overall it looks and feels good, and I especially liked the smoke fizzing from the weapons effect.

The 17 minutes long Resident Evil 4 remake gameplay trailer comes to end with the encounter between Leon and Krauser. In the original, this iconic battle was all QTE. However, in the remake, Capcom has ditched QTEs altogether and made this a more free-flow battle.

You're still not gunning and shooting, however. It's more about parrying Krauser's moves and stabbing him with your knife. I'm, however, not yet sold on Krauser's new voice, who sounds very different from the original. 

Our Verdict

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Resident Evil 4 is shaping up to be a diligent reimagining of the original. (Picture: Capcom)

This short glimpse of the Resident Evil 4 remake has me really excited for the full game. Everything from the atmospheric visuals to the free-flow combat system makes it seem like another home run for Capcom. It's safe to say that Resident Evil 4 is shaping up to be a diligent remake of the original.

My biggest concern right now is the parrying system, which I think could rob that feeling of vulnerability that plagued every single moment of the original. You can parry pretty much everything in the game, including arrows and other projectile weapons.

While Capcom has confirmed that the knife would break after subsequent uses, we do not know how easily it can be acquired. If they drop frequently, maybe this would make Leon a tad bit too powerful for his own good, something that could eradicate the tension of navigating a survival horror playground.

Thankfully, we don't have to wait much longer to find out.

Resident Evil 4 arrives on 24 March 2023 for PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.