A fun, but stupid game. The controls are pretty bad, and the combat is pretty bad.
Resident Evil 4 may be a lot of fun to someone who has played horror games before, but even then, it's too unrealistic and clumsy to function as a game that is truly interesting and occupying. That is not to say that it is not fun, though. Obviously, games like this cannot be realistic, but there is a line between unrealistic and so excessively unrealistic that it completely distracts from the game itself. Maybe most people don't care (which is why the developers decided not to bother), but to those who want a bit more than randomly shooting stuff, it does.
Your name is Leon, and you are a US special agent charged with the rescue of the president's daughter. Quickly, you find yourself at the mercy of crowds of villagers which take awhile to kill but remain the exact same way no matter how many bullets you pump into them. Then you have stupid dynamics where if you pump a chainsaw villager full of shotgun shells to the face, their head does not come off and you cannot largely incapacitate them. Nonetheless, Leon is shown to be a well trained agent with amazing reflexes and acrobatics. The problem with this is that you cannot even USE them aside from several instances. Your head gets cut off by a slow, lumbering villager every time you get too close; you cannot simply perform a move to disarm them, you cannot use their weapons, only pump round after round into them until they at last die. I guess they did it to be scary, but if something is just so ridiculously unrealistic and stupid that is supposed to be SERIOUS, it takes away from the value of the game. I have no problem with that in GTA because GTA is full of humor and at least guns deal semi-realistic damage to enemies.
Obviously, some would say that the alien virus would make the villagers somehow immune to bullets. They still sort of act human though, and having a parasite in your body doesn't change the fact that a blast to the head will completely kill you. I wanted more flexibility with Leon, as in being able to commandeer chainsaws, dodge swipes, et cetera. What they could have done to do this better would be make the damage scale more realistic, but make the enemies more crazy and require more skill to kill them. The game is very easy because the enemies are quite predictable, but it is also very tedious. In essence, the game simply could have been scaled down a bit. Having to place a few shots effectively to kill a chainsaw wielding maniac is much harder than slowly switching to your shotgun and hitting him again as he gets up each time. They would even manage to brush off an entire grenade! It's just lame and takes away from the experience. Leon could take less damage overall because he would be able to dodge most attacks, but could take a lot when absolutely trapped and not able to dodge. I would have liked to see more martial arts in the game; and an ability to shoot an enemy after you kicked them off. I would have liked to see the villagers with gaping holes in their heads once you shot them in the face. I found it more than a bit stupid when the priest guy's metal mask could deflect bullets. It seems that the developers of this game tried to substitute quantity for quality.
On to the controls. If they weren't going to increase the realism and strategy of this game, the least they could do would be make better controls. You couldn't quickly back up, or really run that fast aside from in cut scenes, or furthermore move while shooting. That was really annoying and made it far too easy to be hit, especially when aiming.
Overall, I don't really recommend getting this game if you are not a fan of the horror genre or do not enjoy dumb 'shoot em up' type games. I acknowledge that stuff like Halo may be unrealistic but it's at least vaguely based on a realistic damage scale/combat dynamic. Not only have the developers failed to place any decent combat in this game, but they left good combat controls out. If they hadn't, at least one who knew what they were doing could outrun the stupidly designed enemies. They also leave much to desire in the story, which is full of holes. In the character, they also leave the player wishing that they could use the same tactics in all combat that were used in these small cut scenes where the player would have to activate a special move by waving the wand or pressing buttons, or die.
The guns are sort of fun to shoot, though, just completely underpowered. And to be fair, this is a good time killer. It's just really cheesy and doesn't contain much substance.
You find yourself wondering why Whesker can snap the Bella sisters' necks and they die, but if you shoot them in the neck with a shotgun point blank, they live. You can dodge lasers, but not some clumsy-ass villager wielding an old chainsaw. Your handgun is fun to shoot but does about as much damage as an airsoft. You end up wasting a ton of ammo, which is easy, tedious, and involves no strategy. Outside of certain scenes, you have about the acrobatic skill of a underdeveloped 12 year old, but in those scenes, you have cat like reflexes. The enemies are predictable and dumb. Thanks, lazy developers of Resident Evil 4.
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