Resident Evil 4 HD Edition Review

  • First Released Jan 11, 2005
  • PC

Renovated evil.

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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Back To Top
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
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Resident Evil 4

About the Author

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.
110 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for hoyholyhoy

How does that make any sense? The original got a 9.7 and this gets an 8 saying it's the "best version possible" huh? Clearly the Gamecube version was the best version possible..

Avatar image for NTM23

@hoyholyhoy: This is old, but still. Time comes into account, you should know that. This game is most likely the best way to play it, as it has the upgrades through visuals, and all the content that has existed. Also, RE4 got a 9.6.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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!).

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Arsyad00

are getting this for ps4 and x1?

Avatar image for 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 :)

Avatar image for gantarat

@daniellokie 5 not flop

Avatar image for sladakrobot

@daniellokie RE 5 didnt flopped,it was the most succesfull RE for Capcom ever.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide

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

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

Avatar image for TheKrustaceox

@Bread_or_Decide That sucks. Because i enjoy this game on a Mouse. Enjoy the rest of your Wii's life

Avatar image for DoomglooM

@TheKrustaceox: lol that sux....I enjoy it on the Wii version ^_^

Avatar image for wdk89

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for camachine

@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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for dethtrain

@unreal101 Those old tank like controls?

Avatar image for 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. :)

Avatar image for Abdulrahman1981

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for Ash2X

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

Avatar image for envoy23

@Ash2X right on bro, its impossible to play with a 360 controller unless as you said horrible tank control is your thing.

to release a pc game in 2014 with tank controls is bs (steam states full controller support pffffff), also I like many others rely on reviewers here to review games so we can decide to buy or not, reviewer here needs a ass kick, (like so many others), no where in the review did it state that > if you have played many pc games using a 360 controller and expect smooth walking control then this game is not for you, we need playing specs of the games not a story line, so please add to you review under bad > 360 controller is useless. and also you cant move when you aim/shoot pfffffffffff

btw if you use type 3 and use your left stick with d-pad it almost works, easy mistake I guess by the makers d-pad and right stick almost look the same and the noob buyers will not notice until they buy the game pfffffff,

please guys if you review a game then tell us eg for this game, cant move and shoot, 360 controller does not allow left and right stick working together for smooth walking like in all other games, no aiming cursor just a laser that takes for ever to target, btw I have play re5, re6 and rerev with no controller problems

Avatar image for Ash2X

@envoy23 @Ash2X Well,it plays like the original - thats ok at some point...but I really hated this game because it played like a early PS1-Game with good graphics.After 3 or 4 Chapters I stopped playing because even if you can live with the unfair enemys, lack of Character control you still get a game which is not really outstanding without the big name.

Why didn´t they make the Controls of RE Revelations optional?That whould have at least helped.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for nyran125tk

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

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for naryanrobinson

@BoozerX We really don't mind you laughing at your own terrible jokes, we're too busy enjoying "modern" gaming.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for nicecall

resident evil sucks

Avatar image for alien33

@nicecall You suck.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Penguinlord1

@BoozerX Whatever helps you sleep at night, I suppose.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for miser_cz

This is by far the best RE for me.

Avatar image for 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.

Resident Evil 4 More Info

  • First Released Jan 11, 2005
    • Android
    • GameCube
    • + 10 more
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • PlayStation 2
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    • Wii
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    • Zeebo
    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.
    Average Rating59402 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Resident Evil 4
    Developed by:
    Capcom, Ideaworks3D, QLOC
    Published by:
    Capcom, Capcom Mobile, Ubisoft, Typhoon Games, ak tronic
    3D, Action, Adventure, Survival
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence