After the success of last year’s Resident Evil 2 Remake, Capcom has been printing money with the franchise. Amidst the survival horror gold rush, two new titles are rumoured to be in the works: a Blair Witch inspired 8th installment and a remake of one of gaming’s most beloved titles, Resident Evil 4.
Announcements of remakes often ignite our imagination and fill our hearts with doubt. However you splice it, Resident Evil 4 is holy ground, not to be tampered with lightly. The general consensus of fans is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when discussing the project. Why should Capcom upgrade the game if it’s already a masterpiece?
Even in a masterpiece, there’s room for improvement. After replaying the game I made up a little list of things I’d like to see the upcoming Remake fix, add or tweak. These ideas all come from an honest fan of RE4 and won’t rob the game of its identity, just supplement the experience and bring it into the modern age.
1. Real-time Weapons Swapping
We’ve all been here before: Leon is picking off Ganados with his trusty handgun when a surprise Las Plagas enemy gets a little too close. No problem, this is why God gave us shotguns. If only the process wasn’t so taxing. Swapping to your boomstick requires you to pause, hunt through your inventory, and equip it. Constantly pausing to equip weapons was the only gameplay issue that irked me and real-time weapon swapping offers an easy fix. It keeps the player locked in the action and makes swapping between your toys a painless and inviting prospect. Bonus bad-ass points if we get to see Leon’s holstered weapons strapped to his back.
2. Clean Up The Visuals
15 years later and RE4’s art direction, atmosphere and character models still hold up. Its textures, on the other hand… not so much. If you boot up your copy of the recent HD remaster right now, you’ll see assets that look like this:
Yes, that’s supposed to be a wine rack on the right. Can’t you tell? This is obviously a cherry-picked example but after seeing Raccoon City re-imagined through Capcom’s ‘best in the biz’ RE Engine, my imagination boggles to think about what RE4’s world would look like with some next gen horsepower fueling it.
3. Let’s Shoot Some New Villagers in the Face
Bumping up the number of enemy models would be another way to enhance player immersion. In the opening third of the game you literally shoot the same six villagers over and over. Some attempt to hide their faces with hats, but I can see you Hispanic Ned Flanders! I’ve killed you and your brothers 17 times already! It’s a little endearing, but once you see it, you can’t un-see it. More Ganado variety would go a long way in the opening hours. Maybe we could roundhouse kick the village’s fishmonger or perhaps a long forgotten missionary – anything to give this village a greater sense of place.
4. Modernize the sexual politics
There’s a lot to be said about Ashley in Resident Evil 4. Many dislike the ‘escort mission’ vibe she gives to the gameplay, but we take umbrage with how she’s treated like a piece of meat. “I see the President’s equipped his daughter with ballistics too…” one character remarks while staring at her… assets, and if you look up Ashley’s skirt with a sniper rifle you’re ‘rewarded’ with the sight of her underwear while she labels you as a pervert. It was funny when I was 14, but in 2020, it just feels in poor taste. Ditch the lewdness and bring in some extra dialogue or banter between her and Leon, even a tiny bump in rapport could change Ashley’s role in the upcoming remake from damsel in distress to a respected partner.
5. Go Crazy with The Mercenaries Mode
The only thing that made the recent Resident Evil 3 Remake objectively disappointing was the lack of a Mercenaries Mode. RE4’s Remake would be the perfect place to revive this fan favorite distraction while expanding on the game’s original offerings. Let’s see a few more stages like the Village Cemetery or the Castle’s Waterway arena. Characters like Luis Sera, The Village Chief and Baby Napoleon are begging to be unlockables – hell, throw in Tofu while you’re at it! Fans are dying for a new Mercenaries mode to sink their teeth into, so we hope Capcom don’t let us down again.
There you have it. Five simple things Capcom can do to improve RE4 for the remake .
The most important thing to remember is this: the original RE4 isn’t going away. Humanity will still have access to the version of the game we all know and love but soon we’ll have another choice on what version to play. If the RE franchise has shown us anything, its that it has the power to evolve and innovate. If the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 are anything to go on, RE4‘s remake will be one to look out for.
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