Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition Hands-On

Feel like playing Resident Evil 4 again? How about with Wii-specific controls? Here's your chance.

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Resident Evil 4 is one of the best action games ever made. We feel that enough time has passed since the game's original GameCube release to justifiably make such grandiose statements. Apparently, Capcom is just as confident as we are that the game still has legs because it has been working on bringing RE4 to the Wii for a release in the third quarter of this year. We're sure anyone who really wanted to play Resident Evil 4 has done so already, but from the little bit we got to play of the new Wii game, this looks by far like the best version yet. So if nothing else, Wii owners can add this one to their collections simply for the sake of posterity.

But don't get your hopes up about any new content. This is simply the original game (along with the extra content produced for the PlayStation 2 version) with new controls developed for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. After a few minutes of hands-on time, we felt like this is probably the most ideal way to play RE4. You walk with the analog stick on the Nunchuk, hit the B trigger to go into aiming mode, and hit A to fire your weapon. The aiming works just as you'd expect, with the Wii Remote acting as a pointer that lets you move your crosshair freely around the screen. (It really is a crosshair now, by the way, instead of the laser sight in the original game.) However, moving the cursor to the edge of the screen doesn't control your view; you still have to do that with the analog stick as usual. We were able to score headshots on those relentless Ganados with greater ease than on the GameCube or PS2, thanks to the more precise, easier aiming.

The "knife search" option will also make the game play a little more smoothly. That's just a fancy name for using auto-aim with your knife attack, which was pretty unwieldy and hard to use accurately in the past. Now, you can bring up your knife by holding the C button on the Nunchuk, and attacking with it will automatically strike the nearest viable target. But you can turn knife search off if you really want the hassle of having to manually aim your strike. Rounding out the Wii changes, you'll occasionally have to use motion (such as waggling the remote) during the interactive cutscenes that occasionally pop up and threaten poor Leon's life.

There's not much else to say about the Wii edition of RE4, other than: If you never played RE4, and you have a Wii, you should get this game. (And if you never played RE4 and don't have a Wii, maybe you should get a Wii to play this game; it really does look like the best version.) Unlike on the GameCube, RE4 on the Wii will run in true 16x9 with progressive scan, though the graphical assets are taken straight out of that previous version. Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition is slated to hit shelves at a modest $30 price point, which seems like a fair price to us for what's potentially the defining version of a true masterpiece.

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