Since Capcom have just announced the impending arrival of Resident Evil 6 later this year with the help of a pretty damn cool trailer, I thought it was high time I took the chance to play some of the older games in the series. Of course, I say “some of the older games in the series” but I really just mean Resident Evil 4, because there are just too many Resident Evil games for me to really be able to give a shit about all of them. 4 struck me as being the most popular in the series and since it had recently been re-released in high definition on Xbox Live, deciding to give it a go felt like a no-brainer.
The game began with the protagonist, Leon S. Preston Kennedy, being trundled out to the arse end of nowhere by whom appears to be a 30-something Jean Reno and his bespectacled twin brother, but they’re soon set upon by, surprise, surprise, hordes of the undead. I doubt I’d be far off the mark if I was to say that the big draw for this game is that the undead aren’t actually undead at all, instead it’s the entire cast of The Beverly Hillbillies infected with some kind of mind-control parasite.
Soon enough, Leon is parted from the Reno twins and takes off on his invisible Segway – let’s face it, why the fuck else does he walk like that? – and eventually stumbles upon the peaceful village of “We Will Fucking Burn You On A Spike”. At least, going by the signpost in the middle of the village, that’s what I think it’s called. Considering the welcome I’d received earlier, I figured that a character with a fashion sense as garish as Leon’s might stick out a bit too much so I decided I’d try and keep a low profile.
Oh, but Resident Evil 4 wasn’t really meant to be played stealthily, was it? Silly me. Here I was thinking I could slither about undetected, when in actual fact I might as well have been a luminous yellow trout trying to slosh past a starved cat. Naturally, the villagers took to me like a rabid pack of teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert – my only option was to find somewhere easily defendable. These buggers were quick, so I took refuge in the closest building and repeated my earlier strategy of camping in the corner of the room with my gun aimed firmly at the door.
Now, I’m mystified at what point the “horror” aspect is supposed to come into this. Here I am standing in the corner of the room, weapon trained on the only doorway, waiting for the grey goons on the other side to come traipsing in single-file. Am I supposed to be doing this out of fear? I’d do the same if I was playing a modern shoot-em-up, but then the difference between this and the likes of Battlefield 3 is that in the latter my enemy is going to be wielding something a bit deadlier than a rake.
However, my battle plan was working. I was dispatching infected villagers left, right and centre, with the sort of murderous vigour that one would assume was generally only reserved for rogue gunmen that had found their way onto the set of The Jeremy Kyle Show during filming. As such, it was almost disappointing when the nearby church started ringing its bells, causing everyone in the village to drop everything and immediately fuck off to an impromptu Neighbourhood Watch meeting – of course, this was the perfect opportunity for me to get the fuck out of there.
To where, I can’t quite recall, though I do remember an encounter with some kind of lake-bound shite monster. Del Torro? Del Taco? Del Lago? One of those three. What I remember most vividly was having to feed it sweetcorn and then pan its fucking face in with as many toilet rolls as I could, before flushing it away to its much-needed demise. That bit I can remember as clear as day.
Having now played into Resident Evil 4 up to about chapter 2-3, I’ve yet to see what all the fuss is about but realistically I think I’m just scratching the surface of it. I feel inclined to return to it before October when the 6th game in the series hits stores shelves, but from what I’ve played I don’t really feel like there’s any reason to do so other than finishing it for completion’s sake. After all, it’s very difficult to justify playing a game that enforces an arbitrary control method that really equates to nothing more than the protagonist handling like he’s got a potted plant rammed up his arse, especially when other more desirable games like Dark Souls and Rayman: Origins are available. Perhaps if I soldier on, my mind will be changed? Perhaps it’s all downhill from here? I guess there’s only one way to find out.