Review

Resident Evil 4 HD Edition Review

  • Game release: January 11, 2005
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Renovated evil.

by

Nine years is a long time to wait for a proper port, even for a game as celebrated as Resident Evil 4. Its release on the GameCube in 2005 ushered in a new era for the franchise, as well as a different perspective and play style that its sequels quickly inherited. Capcom capitalized on its immense success, porting the game to multiple platforms, and the game was graciously welcomed by the succeeding console generation on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Though nine years is indeed a lot of time for a second PC port, there is a reason it may be warranted. Resident Evil 4 has been available on the PC since 2007, but its release was less than stellar compared to its console brethren. The horror it unleashed was more on a technical level, given the lack of mouse controls and the option to adjust visual settings. Dubbed Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD Edition, the game has returned in an attempt to set past wrongs right. The game has received substantial upgrades, and may be the best version yet released, even if "ultimate" might not be the right word.

Resident Evil 4 has returned to the PC with a fresh purpose. Unlike the original port, this latest edition comes complete with a host of welcome enhancements. The game has been adjusted for widescreen and 1080p resolution fixed at 60 frames per second. There is also native keyboard and mouse support with options for custom key binding, anti-aliasing, a bevy of high-resolution textures, and greatly reduced loading times. Resident Evil 4 HD contains the original game, complete with all prior additional content, including the Separate Ways side campaign.

The evil has returned and is sharper than ever.

The story of Resident Evil 4 is nearly common knowledge at this point. Ashley Graham, the daughter of the president of the United States, has been abducted, and series veteran Leon S. Kennedy has been dispatched to a remote, undisclosed village in Spain to recover her. There, he discovers that the religious cult responsible for the kidnapping has unleashed an ancient, mind-controlling parasite called Las Plagas onto the Spanish countryside. The game differs from its predecessors, detaching itself from the series' staple enemies, zombies, and favoring multifaceted foes that display cunning and a dark intelligence. As Leon progresses, enemies grow more grotesque, shedding their humanity and replacing it with a cold, insectoid carapace.

Leon travels across varied and fascinating environments as he searches for the missing Ashley. Adhering to the franchise's history of creepy atmosphere and dark locales, Resident Evil 4 features misty forests, rundown houses, musty caverns, a labyrinthine castle, and military facilities. Enemy types vary greatly and include pitchfork-wielding farmers, chanting cultists, and horrifying genetically engineered monstrosities that can force even the most stalwart players to turn heel. But Leon isn't alone against the infected horde. He is joined by a cast of interesting characters, some newly met and others appearing out of his history, teasing past romantic entanglements and bitter rivalries. The dialogue and some later sequences get goofy at times, but the story's somber overtones keep things intense, from the slow trek through creeping fog, all the way to the explosive finale.

Play as agent Ada Wong in two unlockable side campaigns.

The main attraction of Resident Evil 4 HD is the graphical upgrades, and what Capcom has done to breathe new life into its aging thriller is impressive, mostly. Leon and his assortment of allies and foes have never looked shaper or better defined. The wide-screen support with high-resolution textures running at a crisp, smooth 60 frames per second should be enough to get even the hearts of most veteran Resident Evil 4 fans pumping with adrenaline once again. And, yes, it all performs beautifully. Trees and shadows are imbued with realistic grace, text featured in menus and passing notes is clean, and even the fine-stitched lettering on Leon's alternate Raccoon City Police uniform is easily legible. However, the new textures have an unintentionally negative side effect.

One of the reasons behind Resident Evil 4's launch into stardom was the game's unequivocal attention to detail. Capcom took special care in crafting a realistic and believable world with a gloomy ambiance. While Resident Evil 4 HD boasts high-quality textures, they aren't universal, meaning the original textures that have lingered since 2005 stand out more than ever, ironically making the game feel more aged than ever. In the game, you may stumble across a stone wall composed of realistic cracks and earthy green moss. But in the same area, you could find a wooden box leaning up against the wall that still retains the archaic textures, resulting in a blurry, brown object strikingly out of place.

High-resolution textures are not universal, causing some objects to stand out.

It can get distracting, considering it's difficult not to notice a stark contrast between a building and the ground it stands upon. Many of the new skins feel too clean, scrubbing away rotten wood and rust, robbing the game of its dingy flavor. Castle walls look sharp, and research laboratories feel uninviting and sterile, but the caverns between them look muddy, with textures that are warped and stretched. Texture glitches also pop up from time to time, and measure in intensity from flickering to, on a rare occasion, getting replaced by what appeared to be the image designated for text, because the enemies turned black and were covered in lettering. The game lets you switch back to original textures if you like, but the heavy pixelation may not offer abatement.

Benefiting from the graphical overhaul are all but one of the cutscenes during Leon's campaign, which play out in real time. Capcom gave far less attention to Separate Ways, which still includes low-quality full-motion video cutscenes that look even worse due to the game's higher resolution. There is also a grievous error that occurs following nearly every video. As the game transitions from the clip back to gameplay, there is a strong chance the screen will turn bright green for up to five seconds.

This passing annoyance quickly treads into frustrating territory. The game occasionally challenges you to complete a quick-time event between scenes. This transition alone, which takes you from a blurry clip, to sudden action, and onto the following clip, oscillates with enough force to threaten whiplash. Being asked to press a pair of buttons between the scenes comes as a jolt, and the lag produced may decrease the amount of time allowed to complete the move, ending in failure. In one such moment, I missed my cue and had to try again. Except the second time, the green screen overlapped the brisk moment of gameplay and cleared only after it was too late. To continue my game, I had to press the appropriate buttons right as the green screen appeared.

Texture glitches are rare, but still exist.

The loudest complaint befalling the original port of Resident Evil 4 to the PC was the lack of mouse support. The squirrely, nauseating user-created aim mods that followed only exacerbated the issue. During that time, PC users had to either get used to it or opt to play the game using a controller. Though aiming with the mouse is finally possible, it is far from perfect. When you're fighting at close range, the laser sight has a chance to twitch, making fights against advancing ganados more strenuous than necessary. At long distance, aiming a weapon's laser pointer has a slippery, unnatural feel, making shots difficult and unnecessarily taxing on your ammo supply. There is also a short, but noticeable, delay between holding out the knife and being able to look around.

Like before, your best chance is to equip yourself with a gamepad. The most preferable choice is the Xbox 360 controller, since the game has been updated to support it; gone is the need to memorize the cryptic numbered buttons from the old PC port, because the game includes appropriate onscreen graphics for the device. When you have a gamepad in hand, the controls are roughly comparable to the GameCube experience. The camera floats behind the protagonist's shoulder, creating a third-person view. When an enemy is spotted, the game requires you to first hold your aim, while the camera flies down closer, enlarging your field of vision. Combat favors strategy, offering different ways to dispatch enemies based on the current situation. Going gung ho and blasting away may leave you scrambling for ammunition, and the optional knife does only so much against tougher foes later down the line.

The story's somber overtones keep things intense, from the slow trek through creeping fog, all the way to the explosive finale.

Shooting enemies in the head stops them in their place, causing momentary disorientation. Going for the legs is often a better choice, because it causes your targets to drop down, giving you ample opportunity to either deliver a bone-crunching spin kick or momentarily escape and create some distance. There are many crowd-control options, from shotguns to a variety of grenade types, as well as long-range weapons such as sniper rifles, which add a bit of stealth to the mix. Though the game is more of an action adventure game than survival horror, it is not without tense moments and jump scares.

Aiming locks you in place, forcing you to carefully position the laser sight before taking shots. The choice behind this method of combat is done with purpose in mind. By keeping you grounded, the game challenges you to take your shots intelligently, all the while staying aware of the environment around you. No matter how far into the campaign you have gone, you perpetually suffer from a tingling sensation at the back of your skull as you fearfully wonder if someone, or something, will pounce from behind you. Enemies range from regular fodder to the deadly special types, who carry fearsome weapons like chainsaws and miniguns, and are able to stand up to a lot of abuse before falling. And don't forget the infected dogs, with their strained panting heard even above the thundering sound of their pads hitting the dirt, forcing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end even after all these years.

Environments include dank buildings, caverns, and an ancient castle.

Such moments are a constant reminder of the excellent gameplay at the core of Resident Evil 4, which set the benchmark for action adventure games. It has been many years since I delved into Leon's quest, and I was delighted by the visual upgrades, from the lovingly retouched Amenhotep typewriter to the finely detailed garbage bins I gleefully tossed Ashley into at every given opportunity. Texture gripes aside, Resident Evil 4 still has the chops to stand up to the test of time thanks to its moody atmosphere and tight, edge-of-your-seat gameplay.

It took longer than it should have, but PC players finally have access to a proper port of the game. It may be showing its age, but Resident Evil 4 HD stands as the best version available. There is about 30 hours of content in this edition, which runs for a reasonable $20. So if you have waited this long to try the game out, or if you feel the urge to give it another go, there is no better time than now. From its humble beginning, Resident Evil 4 has taken a long journey to get to this point.

The Good
Fully optimized for widescreen, 1080p, and fixed 60fps
Characters are sharp and highly detailed
Fantastic atmosphere
Tense action and exploration
The Bad
High-resolution textures cause low-resolution textures to stand out
Ada's missions use poor-quality cutscenes, causing irritating issues
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Resident Evil 4

About the Author

/ Staff

Cameron Woolsey is no stranger to zombies or any sort of infected folk, and keeps a fire axe near his desk at all times---just in case. For the purposes of this review, Cameron played about 25 hours, completing the main campaign and unlockable side missions.

Discussion

102 comments
gothsalvation
gothsalvation

I don't get it, there are plenty of fixes and mods to make the first PC port quite playable and they added nearly all this "shinny and new features" of this "new" port. Is Capcom seriously expecting money for this crap?
At least release some other games with this port, like the HD version of Code Veronica or maybe Resident Evil Remake. 

I will even take RE4-5-6 if they offered a good deal.

BillMarz
BillMarz

RE4 is an absolutely fantastic game. I've played through six times, a few on Game Cube and a few on Wii. Forget the PC/HD port, stick with the old-school setup. It's still a hell of a ride (and once you get that infinite rocket launcher or Chicago Typewriter, you can sit back and let the infected body parts fly!).

antpm
antpm

My game crashes constantly on the area near the lake where Del Lago lives in. Specific name is probably "Lagoon". Unplayable for me. After the sixth freeze I have stopped trying.

Resident Evil 4 HD isn't stable on 3000$ computer! Infamous Battlefield 4 is the only game I've ever had any problems with but that's almost common knowledge.


System specs

1) Intel Core i7 4770K

2) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

3) GeForce 334.89 Driver

4) 16,0Gt Dual-Channel DDR3

5) Windows 8.1 64-bit

6) Finnish

7) ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. Z87-PRO

Phelaidar
Phelaidar

By all the problems the review tells and given the age of the original game and that it's the second time they port it to PC, the score is just too high.

mkdms14
mkdms14

Separate Ways also had low resolutions for the PS3 and Xbox release.  It was literally the same resolution found on the PS2 version that they just threw in at the last minute.  Pretty lazy on there part if you ask me.  I honestly prefer the PS3 and Xbox version of the game because although it looks visually better it doesn't look soo clear that characters models and area feel out of place like they do quiet a bit on this newer version.

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

are getting this for ps4 and x1?

daniellokie
daniellokie

The reason why RE5 and RE6 flopped where because they weren't Directed by Shinji Mikami The Original Creator for the RE Series. S Mikami is Directing The Evil Within with Tango GameWorks and Bethesda so Fans from this Masterpiece should be very happy to here that if you don't already know :)

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

I loved this game on the Wii with the motion controlled reticule.


That is all...enjoy the rest of your day. 

wdk89
wdk89

I love this game, but how many fucking re-releases does it need?

hyperzr
hyperzr

Huh, I guess I shouldn't expect a lot from Capcom with graphic improvement. I'll just be happy with 60fps and controller support for PC. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

"keeps a fire axe near his desk at all times---just in case" Isn't a blunt weapon better against zombies? Sure, it's great to be able to chop off grasping arms, but with an axe you risk getting lots of blood all over you and might get infected in turn from that.

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

That feeling of hearing the chainsaw man in the background without knowing his precise location never gets old. Releasing HD version after version of RE4 is getting old though.

unreal101
unreal101

Darn, I was hoping for improved controls. I enjoyed this game overall (played first time on 360), but the first few hours were frustrating as hell because the controls felt dead.

PcGamingRig
PcGamingRig

wonder if you can add any of the mod textures from the old port to this one to clear up the low res remainders. :)

Abdulrahman1981
Abdulrahman1981

This game is much better than RE5, RE6 is the worst.

anja1234
anja1234

"Capcom gave far less attention to Separate Ways, which still includes low-quality full-motion video cutscenes that look even worse due to the game's higher resolution. "
srlsy? lol so lazy, they are trying to get more money on the same game, and they can't even do it right.

d-man
d-man

the Wii version is the best version. great game in general except i hate that you can't change the difficulty for newgame+. Also that slider puzzle halfway through the game just kills the momentum. besides those things and the godawful writing it's a solid 3PS

Ash2X
Ash2X

The Controls are still as bad as in the original?Sorry,but the horrible tank-controls ruined the whole game for me...no feeling for the Character,no fun.

Bryjoered07
Bryjoered07

This is one of my favorite games ever, no it's not survival horror per say, but it's still creepy. The action and upgrade system are way ahead of it's time and they are frickin' awesome. Best resident evil by a long shot and Capcom really has overdone it as of late. THIS is the perfect balance of horror and action, this game it has a slow pace and gives you just enough firepower to be powerful, but not to be the type that wastes bullets.


You want survival horror? Play amnesia, outlast, or even slender. Nothing makes you shit your pants, like not being able to fight back and having to run. Personally, I can't even handle games like that I can play them for awhile, yeah call me a wimp or whatever. Weird thing is that I can watch any movie, no problem, but the immersion factor of the game is what gets me.

PeetBurton
PeetBurton

The very first game I ever pre-ordered. I own the original Gamecube version and it's a perfect game as far as I'm concerned. I played other versions of the game, but in my personal opinion the Gamecube still has the best version. I remember the first PC port and how horrible it was. I still play it from time to time, on my good old Cube, but I might get this version on steam. Seems like a decent update, and the price is just right.  

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

resident Evil remake for gamecube HD , for STEAM make it happen Capcom, love to play Code Veronica and the RE remake on PC.

tomservo51
tomservo51

So having never played this game all the way through, it might be time to pick up this PC version, if the price is right.

Foxhound1982
Foxhound1982

I know i will be in a minority here but i hated Resi 4 (to my own surprise), i found it cumbersome and frustrating. I can honestly say after a lengthy play i didnt enjoy any aspect of it.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

"There is also a short, but noticeable, delay between holding out the knife and being able to look around."

It's not a short delay, it's a massive delay, one which is totally absent in every other version of the game.  For someone like me who does most of the damage with my knife while they're on the ground, this makes the game almost unplayable, as I might only get a single slash in instead of 4 or 5, taking 3 times longer to kill each enemy.  A huge deal on the professional difficulty.

On the whole, I'm not super impressed by the Ultimate HD Edition.  I don't know why, but I had this crazy idea that if you're releasing a game for the *second time*, you do it right, *really* right, not with screwed up texture glitches, unfinished, warped textures, no option to adjust any kind of audio, no option to quit the game, gameplay screw ups, low-res cutscenes, no real button configuration options for the 360 pad (*none* of the 3 preset options even matching the original control scheme).  Heck I tried playing with different resolutions yesterday, and as soon as I changed them, I found I was only able to view the upper-left 25% of the image, making changing the resolution back an impossibility.

I've Googled the problems but right now you can't find anything in the results but the same story hundreds of times that the game is being released again on PC.  I seriously hope the modding community come up with something for this and official updates come through Steam soon from the dev team.

I gave you a second chance and you blew it.  Not impressed, Capcom.  You need to check yourselves.

andres_ak47
andres_ak47

nobody checked the game hub? people are having trouble with disappearing textures, flickering lighting, slowdowns with off-sync audio, blurry text, green flickering between certain cutscenes and subtitles option is locked,
I'm only exp slowdowns and off sync audio. It turns out that for a full hd version they would have to recreate the whole game from scratch. so this HD thingie is bs.

sagkud
sagkud

Better late than never I guess, but Raxyman makes a good point, the modding community has already allowed us to use high quality textures, mouse/keyboard support along with the option to replace the gamepad buttons with the corresponding keys of the keyboard. Yes the mouseaim mod isn't perfect but according to this review, neither is the built in mouse support provided by this game.


Maybe it would have been better if they had remade the game using the RE6 engine. 


Well let's hope Capcom stays true to their word this time and have the next Resident Evil game stick close to it's roots. That goes for another franchise starring a certain brash individual who has white hair, a giant sword, two guns and a red duster.

Saidrex
Saidrex

Same half-baked PC port as it was, riddled with problems. Capcom made minor changes and sold same game twice, yet fanboys bought it anyway. I guess some people are just to stupid to realise that.

miser_cz
miser_cz

This is by far the best RE for me. 

Raxyman
Raxyman

Hm, i'd like an option to use RE6 engine, i know it's not Resident Evil and blah blah blah blah blah, but i don't care, it was fun to play and that's good enough for me.

cnx2022
cnx2022

Had fun with this on the Wii

iMpLuX
iMpLuX

When I went to install this last night after unlocking, I was shocked to see that the game is almost 16GB's. Obviously more than half of that is the Bink cutscenes.


Suffice it to say, I'll have to wait for Monday after ESO and WildStar's beta weekends to free up some space on the SSD.

DEATH775
DEATH775

I don't understand, a lot of my friends were already playing this on their PC 5 years ago.

TheKrustaceox
TheKrustaceox

@BillMarz Way to go to be such a brainless fanboy. The UHD PC version is superior to the GC/Wii or ANY version by miles. Graphic wise, Soundwise, Extra Content wise, Performance wise, Control wise, you name it. 

You consolists idiots will never enjoy this game at 60 fps, which is a shame. Because it's like a completely new game.

You should pop your head out of your mother's anus and realize that being a gamer doesn't mean sticking to one shitty console/brandmark and being ignorant for all other platforms.

camachine
camachine staff

@Hurvl  This is true. At least it's a better option than a chainsaw, which, we should all agree, is a terrible weapon for fighting zombies.

wm3sv
wm3sv

@unreal101  The controls are fixed, just change it to mode III. And if you really want to see something diferent go to Postprocess 3 it shows more smoke and have adventage in overall game quality, is very bright so adjust it to -7 at least that worked in my tv

wm3sv
wm3sv

@d-man  I disagree with your comment because i tried it some years ago in a 50" screen and looks awful. This one has issues but looks nice and allows you full hd

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

@PeetBurton I didnt own a gamecube, but I bought RE4 just so I could play it on my friend's gamecube. It is a fun game to come back to.

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

@nyran125tk I love REmake! Its one of the few games where I beat it, and immediately start a new game. I wish Capcom would give the same treatment to RE2

curiousarman
curiousarman

@Foxhound1982  i don't think it's "cumbersome", but the frustating part is really what make this game better than it's successor. it's not how you enjoy the game, but the feeling left after you play is really priceless.

Chronologo
Chronologo

@naryanrobinson  Looks like a little cash in to recover from the awful RE 6 and ORC, you spend less resources than making a new game and expect a better profit from an already acclaimed game.

koospetoors
koospetoors

@DEATH775  In a nutshell, the previous port was terrible, didn't even have mouse aim, you had to use arrow keys.

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

@TheKrustaceox @BillMarz  Wow, way to be obnoxious.  Yeah, the new PC version is the best, my maybe @BillMarz remembers playing the original GameCube or PS2 version and prefers it for the nostalgia?  Fuck off.

Resident Evil 4 More Info

First Release on Jan 11, 2005
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Resident Evil 4 marks a new chapter in the Resident Evil series. You'll rejoin Leon S. Kennedy six years after his first mission as a rookie cop from Resident Evil 2.
9.4
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Developed by:
Capcom, Ideaworks3D
Published by:
Capcom, Capcom Mobile, Ubisoft, Typhoon Games, ak tronic
Genres:
Action, Adventure, 3D, Open-World
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
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Blood and Gore, Intense Violence