Here Are Some Things Resident Evil 4’s Remake Could Have Done Better
- Resident Evil 4’s remake has a few issues despite being a phenomenal achievement. Thankfully, these issues don’t significantly impact the experience.
- Some of the systems dropped in Resident Evil 4 make less sense the more you think about them. The most prominent of them is the precision aiming system.
- The greatest surprise in the remake of Resident Evil 4 is the economic overhaul. Item prices, money drops, and the treasure system rework change the perspective of money acquisition.
Before I dive into the depths of the issues I have with this game, I want to say that these problems don’t detract much from the overall experience. Resident Evil 4’s remake is an absolute masterpiece, not because it lived up to its legacy but because it did so with comparatively fewer performance issues overall. In 2023, this is a rare achievement. Can’t imagine getting a functional product that I paid my hard-earned money for.
But nothing comes without a package of shortcomings and the same can be said for Resident Evil 4’s remake. While some of these points can be considered as me nitpicking, they’re issues that I came across during my 100 hours in the game. I’ve previously talked about my thoughts on Resident Evil 4 after spending a good chunk of time with it. This piece, however, is going to be about the problems I couldn’t talk about before.
Most of you may have noticed these during your playthrough and might even agree with it. However, this is more about asking the age-old question—why? A lot of these issues pertain to systems that logically should have been in the game. Rather than detracting from the player’s experience, they would have provided more options instead.
Resident Evil 4‘s remake sought to modernize the 2005 classic and bring it to a wider audience. The mission was a success as we can see from its glowing reception. Having sold over 3 million units within two days and is the biggest launch on Steam for the series. But it was obvious from the start that this reimagining will be excluding certain systems. To what extent, however, was not quite clear until now.
Resident Evil 4 Doesn’t Play The Waiting Game
Capcom decided to drop the Wait command for Ashley in favor of a “Light” formation in Resident Evil 4’s remake. You tell her to stay at a distance which helps in combat but adds extra pressure overall. In theory, this is not a problem, but when you have AI that can be unpredictable, it’s most certainly a problem.
Many have pointed this out but Ashley’s AI tends to body-block the player at times. During tight combat segments, this can often lead to unwanted accidents. Such accidents will result in an instant game over as you can’t let Ashley be taken away or killed. The inconsistency here is that you can’t voluntarily shoot her out of combat. However, during combat, it’s a free bullet.
Now, if you use the Light formation, Ashley stays at a distance. This tends to give the enemies an advantage as the AI actively chases after her. It does emulate the intensity of an escort mission which is great, however, the unpredictability of AI combined with the haphazard use of resources and ammo is a bit irksome.
Furthermore, you no longer have dumpsters in the game. Capcom was generous enough to provide us with lockers at certain points and I’m honestly glad that they did. I just can’t imagine how it would have been to fight Dr. Salvador, The Bella Twins, and the Regenerators with Ashley out in the open. Leon’s death cry from the original put Dark Souls to shame but the voice acting in the remake drives a dagger deep into your soul.
I actively avoid dying in Resident Evil 4. Not because it will impede my progress but because hearing those cries just hurts. Huge props to the voice actors for giving a stellar performance. The recent controversy surrounding Lily Gao stands in contrast to the rest of the performances. Gauging her skills from just a few short cutscenes and comms is unfair but I digress.
Coming back to the lockers, their strategic placement made my life easier, but it begs the question, why not just add those to more sections? In fact, having the Wait command would be even more realistic than lockers. I can’t imagine a trained agent not telling a high-profile, unarmed civilian to hide when he’s about to engage an entire battalion of deadly mobs strapped with axes, chainsaws, dynamites, pitchforks, and all other sorts of weaponry.
Resident Evil 4 Has A New Flavor
Next on the menu is “the flavor” and no, I’m not talking about the campiness present in the original. Contrary to what some people have been saying about Resident Evil 4’s remake, I believe it sets a serious yet moderately humorous tone in certain situations. An example of this is every single encounter with Luis. The depth added to these characters is just too good.
The flavor I’m referring to is style. Reload animations for certain weapons are lackluster. Look at Broken Butterly and Killer 7. Compare their animations from the original to the ones we have in Resident Evil 4’s remake. If you can seriously say that they aren’t bland compared to what we had, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not that this breaks the deal but these small things just add up at times.
One can argue that the animations feel more realistic but as long as we can remember what was, it’ll be difficult to accept what is. It certainly doesn’t take much from the experience, but it would have been nice to have them. Moving on, another problem I have with the game is the delay in switching weapons.
It takes a good second or so when you open your attaché case to equip something. You have limited slots on the wheel, so this is something that can’t be avoided. Having this delay creates a certain degree of jank, which I am not a fan of. Parrying is responsive for the most part, but at times it feels like you press the key, and it doesn’t activate. Now, this can either be a skill issue, bad timing, or maybe it’s an actual problem.
Furthermore, the enemies we face in the third act are unusually sturdy. A fully upgraded Killer 7 with the exclusive enhancement took 3 headshots to down a brute (enemies with bull heads) on Assisted difficulty. This is just straight-up absurd. I know players who dump ammo when playing these games. People doing that are not only putting themselves at a disadvantage but bullet sponge enemies aren’t doing them any favors either.
Buying It At A Higher Price
The economic overhaul, though, came as a surprise. You now have to actively seek out treasure and gemstones to have a consistent flow of Pesetas. If you don’t obtain treasure and fail to capitalize on gemstone color bonuses, you’ll run into issues with upgrading your weapons and repairing your knives, etc. It would have been better to just make Spinels a regular item like Velvet Blue instead of what they did but more on this in a bit.
The only inconsistency in the treasure system is the bonus you get from gemstones. The monetary value of each color is different. Yellow diamonds, for example, have a value of 7000 Pesetas while a Ruby has a value of 3000 Pesetas. If you obtain a Butterfly Lamp, you’re essentially incentivized to inlay 3 Yellow Diamonds for the maximum return.
The highest gain is earned by getting a 5-color bonus on the Elegant Crown which brings its value to 100,000. You also get an achievement for selling a treasure for 100,000 to the Merchant. It would have been better to keep this system simple while making the standard money drops the same as the original. El Gigante used to drop 15,000 Pesetas in the original Resident Evil 4 but in the remake, it drops a Yellow Diamond.
Another problem is the price value for not only upgrades but other weapons as well. It was infinitely easier to load up on Pesetas in the original, yet it cost less to buy items and upgrade your weapons. A rocket launcher costs 30,000 Pesetas in the original Resident Evil 4.
However, in the remake, it costs 80,000 Pesetas. And the funny thing is that you can’t buy the rocket in every chapter. Furthermore, the price is doubled for Hardcore and Professional difficulties. Considering these factors, a reasonable price point would have been 50-60,000 Pesetas overall or enabling the purchase of a rocket launcher in every chapter.
I managed to max out three of my weapons on the first playthrough since I was actively looking for treasure and playing the min-maxing game. That doesn’t mean the system wasn’t a bit inconvenient at times.
Hasta Luego, Laser Sights
Perhaps the biggest blow was dealt to Laser Sights and by extension, the hit detection. Resident Evil 4’s remake will mention the phrase “target acquisition” whenever it talks about laser sights. I initially thought that this would improve the critical and stagger rate to how it was in the original. One bullet to the head was all you needed to stagger an enemy in the original Resident Evil 4.
This led to an easy melee and knife tactic. However, in the remake, you actively have to shoot more than once almost the entire time before it staggers an enemy. This is because of the reticle system. You may have noticed one of the tips shown on the loading screen. The reticle needs to shrink for maximum critical and stagger rate. I believe that this, combined with high enemy poise, is probably my greatest issue with the remake.
The reticle system isn’t inherently bad but laser sights are severely limited. The precision aiming which defined Resident Evil 4 is not here. You can now only use them on three specific handguns. Keep in mind that one of them is part of the deluxe edition. Aside from that, Killer 7 is the only gun with a default laser.
Having a system that incentivizes staying in place in a game where the combat has been revamped to allow the opposite is a weird decision, to say the least. Thankfully, none of these are dealbreakers, but I wholeheartedly believe they are worth mentioning. Despite these issues, I consider Resident Evil 4’s remake to be a pinnacle of achievement.
The Future Of Resident Evil
Nothing is without flaws but it comes down to weighing the pros against the cons. Some of the improvements in Resident Evil 4’s remake outshine the original by a huge margin. Most notable is the enhanced narrative. Without adding any spoilers, the final chapter in the remake was a phenomenal improvement in terms of storytelling. The boss encounters and expanded lore is another win.
I gave a more detailed breakdown of my thoughts in a previous piece. While I may be putting Resident Evil 4’s remake on a pedestal, it just goes to show how stale modern gaming has been in recent times. Games like FromSoftware‘s Elden Ring and Tango Gameworks’ Hi-Fi Rush along with Capcom’s latest remake are some of the few games that embody the spirit of gaming.
I’m excited to see where Capcom goes from this point on as the ending of Resident Evil 4 clearly referenced some elements of RE5. Time will tell if this streak of remakes will continue and whether we’ll get a fresh take on the mainline’s only weak link—Resident Evil 6.
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