Resident Evil 4 Review

As a mission-based shooter, RE4 offers up some fantastic stop-and-pop gameplay. Just don't expect the puzzles, storytelling, or exploration of the original console game.

Widely considered one of the greatest games of the last decade, Resident Evil 4 makes its way to the iDevice with its core gameplay intact, even if the overall experience is seriously abridged. More of a "greatest hits" collection of action sequences than an adventure game, the Story mode has been split up into 12 short missions that are inspired by the original console version.

These missions will take you to different locations you'll recognize if you've played RE4 before, fighting familiar enemies, like the huge El Gigante, and other monstrous foes wielding chainsaws and pitchforks.

Leon Kennedy is packing heat in the iPhone version of Resident Evil 4.
Leon Kennedy is packing heat in the iPhone version of Resident Evil 4.

But this isn't a problem because the game controls beautifully, all things considered. The virtual analog stick isn't quite as nice as a real one when aiming at enemies, but it's still easy to pop an enemy in the head, run up, and roundhouse-kick him in the face. If you've played the recent movie tie-in game, Resident Evil: Degeneration, you'll have an idea of what to expect, but everything here is much faster and less cumbersome.

A context-sensitive button will appear for picking up items, kicking enemies, and propping up ladders, so interacting with your environment is easy. During escort missions, Ashley (the girl you're trying to save) can be told to follow you or stay put, and she still ducks out of the line of fire as in the console versions.

The missions here only take about 15 minutes to beat, but the difficulty is high enough that many will take you quite a few tries. Luckily, the mysterious item-shop man makes an appearance before every mission, and you can upgrade your guns, body armor, and ammunition stocks if you get stuck. There are plenty of options for upgrading your weapons, and even your carrying case can be upgraded a few times to hold more items, as in the original game.

Between missions, the story is told through slides using screenshots from the console games and text that was poorly translated from Japanese. Unfortunately, the Story mode is completely unfinished. But this isn't a huge loss. There are so many gaps in the story as it's presented that it won't make sense unless you've played the original anyway.

Although the Story mode is incomplete, a separate Mercenaries mode is also available. There are 24 missions in this mode, and the goal is usually to kill the most enemies within a few minutes for a high score, using environments ripped from Story mode. Sometimes, you'll also have to escort Ashley or defeat some boss characters. These missions are enjoyable enough.

A carefully placed shot can set your enemies up for a vicious kick to the face.
A carefully placed shot can set your enemies up for a vicious kick to the face.

Luckily, the score you earn in Mercenaries directly translates into cash in Story mode, so if you get stuck (and you will), you can play a few Mercenaries missions and power up your character. You'll need to switch between the two modes, because new Mercenaries missions are unlocked by progressing in the story. Once you beat Story mode, you'll be able to play through it again with all your items and cash on a harder difficulty. Overall, Resident Evil 4 is a blast to play. The controls have been faithfully translated from the console versions, and most of the thrills are intact. The music and sound effects have been carried over, and the graphics get the job done with a great draw distance and smooth frame rate. Despite the seemingly incomplete Story mode, this game is unrivaled as an iDevice third-person action game, and the 15-minute missions are perfectly suited for playing on the go. If you're a fan of RE4 or action games in general, set your sights here.

This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner

The Good

  • Excellent controls
  • Runs smoothly
  • Lots of weapons.

The Bad

  • Story is jumbled and unfinished
  • No blood.

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