I sure took my sweet time.
I did something I never did before: I finally beat Resident Evil 4 for the first time over the weekend.
Victory, At Last
I had a feeling going in, I would finally beat the game this time around. In the past I either got distracted, or just plain stuck. When the game came out in 2004-2005, it wasn’t as common to just go on YouTube and watch someone beat the section giving me trouble. This helped a bunch, and I did what I could not to spoil the parts waiting ahead.
So Much Crazy
The crazy doesn’t stop on disc 2 of Resident Evil 4, if anything it gets crazier. Much crazier. And that’s saying something, because disc 1 isn’t exactly a Thomas Kinkade paining.
Disc 2 brought unknown terrors and scares, although I knew about a few in advance accidentally when I was researching weapons for the game online. Then there was the frustrating first battle with Krauser, which is all “quick time” time moments. It took me too many times to beat that part, because the game chooses the button combo I need to press randomly each time. The A+B combo isn’t easy to do in an instant because of the different button sizes and their arrangement on the Gamecube controller.
Well That’s Handy
I rolled my eyes a bit at one point.
SPOILER ALERT FOR AN 11 YEAR-OLD GAME
The part in question was when Ashley and Leon find a machine which removes the plaga from their bodies. OK, then. I kept waiting for a quick time moment or a fight scene to start-up in the middle of the procedures, but nothing happened.
I feel like some sort of side-quest for an item to make the machine work, or a time limit, or something would have made the scene less eye rolly. There was plenty of time spent throughout the game building up the panic of the plaga taking control of Leon and Ashley, and hinting it might be too late to save either of them. Yet, when the time came to heal both, there wasn’t any drama. It felt like a missed opportunity.
Let’s Do It Again
Immediately after beating the game, I started a second round. If you do this, Resident Evil 4 lets you start a new game with everything you had when you finished: money, items, weapons—even the tactical vest which reduces damage.
I started this new game with a maxed out Red9 and Striker, and my semi-auto rifle and Broken Butterfly were maxed out after I scraped together some more money.
This, of course, makes a huge difference in the early sections. Villagers drop with a single shot from my Red9, and waves fell with a blast or two from the Striker. Having a rifle early the game changes things as well. It’s a whole different experience.
And, taking out a boss with just a shot or two from a fully upgraded Broken Butterfly is pretty great.
I have Leon wearing the unlocked RPD outfit, which also reduces damage. I’ve read conflicting articles saying this bonus stacks with the tactical vest to reduce damage by 60% (this might be a Gamecube only trick). I don’t really have a way of testing this on my own, so I’m still being careful.
Regardless of the stacking ability, I have a bunch of healing items left over and I still get the items found throughout the game as normal.
Leon isn’t the only one with a new outfit. Ashley gets a new look too, and it’s, uh, interesting. Gone is her schoolgirl outfit and sweater tied around her shoulders. Instead, she’s wearing a skin-tight white “pop star outfit” with a low-cut top. Yeesh.
Final Thoughts on Resident Evil 4
I’m glad I decided to dust off Resident Evil 4 and finally see it through. It remains a classic, for sure, and its influence on modern games is very obvious. The game still scares and gets my heart jumping, even in the parts where I know what’s coming. Does it hold up? Yes, aside from the graphics and playcontrol. By graphics, I mean an older standard definition game doesn’t look great on a high-definition TV. The art direction of the game is still impressive, especially as the game transitions from a small country village to a weird underground base and so on.
My next goal: getting enough money to buy the Infinite Rocket Launcher. BOOM!