Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 10

Overall: 10


While pushing a record for time between ports, the Wii edition of Resident Evil 4 is no less a competitor for major awards than its predecessors. Capcom has masterfully translated this title to the unique platform, ignoring the sloppy translation of numerous other dual analog based titles to craft a control system that is significantly more effective and open once mastered. This is on top of game play that will easily be remembered as a true landmark for the industry.

With an experienced development team at the helm, having worked on everything from the Darkstalkers and Clock Tower series, Resident Evil 4 is a culmination of previous efforts that keeps both the atmosphere, intrigue, and style fans love, all the while addressing the core issues that were rapidly becoming a problem.

Gone is the clunky, sluggish movement, replaced with smooth running and effective shooting. Pre-rendered environments with forced camera angles have been displaced, leaving the player with backdrops equally as detailed as those that came before it, only now with far more control and immersion. The over-the-shoulder camera system is the first to eliminate nearly all problems with line of sight, and will undoubtedly become a standard for third-person action.

The lengthy adventure is fully intact for first (Gamecube), second (PlayStation 2), or third time players on the Wii. Nothing has been changed at the games core, and even with two years between releases, the graphics engine still renders stunningly detailed character models en masse without even a minor frame rate skip. Puzzle sequences remain fun to solve even for the experienced crowd, and still carry their original feelings of tension. Resident Evil 4 never feels as if it's stalled while you're in the thinking process. It's a flawless extension of the action.

Played with both the Remote and Nunchuck attachment, the development team has taken the time to properly devise a control scheme aimed squarely at the mechanics the console provides. While it will take some time to adjust (possibly even a full chapter) once the player grasps the concept, they'll never want to go back.

The analog controls all of Leon Kennedy's movement. This includes forward, turning, and backpedaling. This initial shock feels like an ugly throwback to the early days of first person shooters such as Doom. Once mastered, it's second nature when used in sync with the Remotes impeccable aiming ability.

Drawing the gun zooms in the standard view, and the analog stick serves as a mean to quickly survey the area. While this could be used for targeting, the minor adjustments added by the Remote are staggering. If this isn't your first play through, you'll immediately notice your statistics in terms of accuracy are drastically higher at the end of each level. Hitting both critical headshots or a specific body part has never been handled better by either of the previous two consoles that allowed Resident Evil 4 to stick around.

The sole downside to this set up is looking when not holstering a weapon. The Remotes digital pad handles viewing vertically, and it's a jarring switch in terms of movement for anyone to comprehend. Thankfully, there's no downside to grabbing a gun and using the analog stick to perform this task.

As for motion controls outside of aiming, a few minor bullet points are present. Swiping the knife with a quick flick of the wrist can also be performed with the attack button, rendering this addition somewhat pointless. Cinematic movements such as being chased by a boulder are performed by rapidly swinging the Remote left and right. This is unobtrusive and an effective way to give the player a jolt when something unexpected happens. All close up attacks with the on-screen prompt such as kicking are still button activated.

Once you've finally experienced the Wii Edition, you'll come away knowing you've played the finest version of one of the greatest titles this industry has ever received. On paper, the motion controlled aiming is nothing to be excited about, and given the numbers of games that have failed in this regard, that's not a surprising reaction. In execution, literally and figuratively, it's a significant step for the Wii in terms of third party software.


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Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2007 10:13 PM