This generation owes Resident Evil 4 a massive debt, so what better place for the original over-the-shoulder shooter to return than the Xbox 360? After six years and four ports, Capcom's seminal survival-horror game still plays like it's brand-new. RE4 HD is arguably the strongest HD remake we've seen, and the smooth edges and spiffy textures have little to do with why.
RE4 HD shows its age only in its uneven controls. The left stick handles walking, turning, and aiming (much as it did in the Gamecube original), which limits sight and mobility. And you can't strafe. This setup fueled our constant anxiety: the uncertainty of escaping what we couldn't see around the next corner made us perpetually uneasy. We were handicapped, uncomfortable, and uncertain.
We embraced the arbitrary restrictions that left main-man Leon Kennedy susceptible to overwhelming enemy encounters and instant deaths. We cherished every limited bullet, and every misfired shot blasted a hole through our pounding heart. Where would the tension and unpredictability fit if we could eviscerate groups of crazed villagers, religious nutjobs, and mutated freaks with easy headshots?
We've been so conditioned by the breakneck firefights of cinematic shooters that a dialed-back shooter felt foreign.
In RE4, exploration and adventure outweigh the action, and the unforgettable bosses and memorable moments are all the more meaningful because of it. This game is a testament to Capcom's genre mastery, and it's as incredible now as it's ever been.
Nice HD version of a genuine gaming great