It’s been fourteen years since the original release of Resident Evil 4 for the Nintendo Gamecube, yet when people talk about the game you can see the glint in their eyes as they recall the first time they played this epic adventure. It was such an iconic release for Capcom that they’ve made it available on pretty much every console since it’s initial release, as well as phones and tablets, this game literally cannot die (ironic, right?)! This time around, Capcom has taken the legendary game to the Nintendo Switch.
I want to assume that most people have played Resident Evil 4 at some point or another in their life, but then I have to remind myself that it is so old now that young gamers may have not even been born when the game first released. To them I say, grab a can of Surge and some 3D Doritos and get ready, because you are about to have an experience like none other.
It has been 6 years since the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, aka the infestation and bombing of Raccoon City. Since that event, the government shut down pharmaceutical company Umbrella Corporation as they were the company behind the Zombie outbreak. Resident Evil 4 sees you taking the role of ex-Raccoon City police officer Leon Kennedy as he is sent to Europe on a rescue mission to save Ashley Graham, who is the daughter of the President of the United States. The game never specifies where you are in Europe, which seems kinda strange in hindsight as that is a MASSIVE land mass that can be startlingly different in weather patterns and whatnot, but hey, I won’t complain. The game is set in a rural community that upon reaching, does not come off as a friendly town that was raised watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I don’t want to go too far into the story as I don’t want to spoil that game series for newcomers, but it gets crazy pretty quickly and the overall story of the game is nothing short of amazing.
Resident Evil 4 was a bit of a departure from the first three entries in the series and to this day we still see the changes used within the series. Resident Evil 4 was the first game to use the “Over the Shoulder” camera angle that we see used in almost every action game released today. The game even opted to use quick time events during boss fights to save Leon from 1-Hit Kills or to do major damage to an enemy. Also this time around, you are not just facing mindless zombies that can only grab and bite at you, the enemies of Resident Evil 4 can use weapons as well, adding to the challenge of a fight. Do you shoot at their legs to try and slow them down, or do you fire at their arms to try and make them drop their weapons? You have to think fast, otherwise, you are going to die fast.
But ok, many of you already know WHAT Resident Evil 4 is already, what is the game like playing it on the Nintendo Switch?
If I step back and remove my love for the game out of the equation, I can see why some people may think the visuals are a little dated or not quite up there with AAA games released today. Here’s the deal though, when it first came out on the Gamecube it pushed the console to the limits of its power and honestly, it still looks fantastic to me. This release is, of course, the HD remake that we have seen released over and over now throughout multiple consoles, but if there is nothing broken, why fix it? I personally feel like if this was a “New” game released by an Indie developer, nobody would complain about the visual quality – don’t forget how old the game is, graphics are only a small part of what makes a game.
I understand that with most of the Resident Evil 4 ports that it was impossible to do this, but I am surprised that with the Nintendo Switch port, Capcom didn’t try to bring back the motion controls that many fans loved from the Wii. I will not try to say that I am an expert in development or hardware, though I’ve heard that the technology between the Wii remotes and the Switch controllers is vastly different. I feel like this feature would’ve been welcome from fans of the game that played it on the Wii originally.
I was surprised to see that the in-game achievements that have been in the game since the game was ported to PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 are still present. Though I do admit that I wish they were at least somewhat different as they continue to be the exact same from port to port. Even so, this still gives players reasons to replay the game to try and collect all the achievements.
As far as playing Resident Evil 4 on the Switch screen versus playing it docked, I personally didn’t see any difference outside of the resolution. I did talk to some people who felt that the graphics didn’t look as good when playing in portable mode, with a few of them spotting the odd glitch here and there and a few framerate dips, although it was not a game breaker for them as it never impacted their gameplay. As I never encountered any of these hiccups throughout my playthrough, I’m thinking that maybe those issues are on all versions of the game, with the weaker Switch unit triggering them when the action gets heavy?
As I personally never experienced any visual or obvious slowdown issues, I can’t really hold it against the game via hearsay.
Should you buy Resident Evil 4 again? If portable Resident Evil 4 is something you are even mildly wanting, then yes. If you have never owned Resident Evil 4 before, then yes. If water is something you can’t live without, then yes. See what I’m trying to say here? Sure, there is nothing new added to the game, but does it really need anything new?
This may be the eleventh time that Resident Evil 4 has been re-released, but that’s fine. The game still holds up great today and plays perfectly on Nintendo’s console, albeit without motion controls.