1 June 2005 | JimD73
Best GC Game Yet!
STORY: 5/5: Leon S. Kennedy, four years after participating in the Raccoon City incident, is working for the Secret Service, and his first assignment is protecting the President's daughter, Ashely Graham. The day before he starts, she is kidnapped. Following a possible sighting, Leon is sent to what is apparently a small farming community in Spain. When he arrives, he is attacked by the villagers, and his two police escorts are killed. He must find Ashley, and unravel the mystery behind the village and its mysterious cult.
The length of it is good, as every step of the way uncovers new details and you are never left in an overly long sequence with no plot advancement. I am really surprised the plot was this good.
GAME DESIGN: 25/25: As you go through the plot, you are must go through five chapters, each with a certain number of subchapters. You will travel to three main areas, one of which is the village, one of which is a castle and a third which I will not reveal to you. The levels are somewhat free-roaming, as you can backtrack as you please, but eventually, areas will become cut off to you.
You will encounter many enemies along the way, of course. Don't think you'll ever be lucky enough to be one-on-one, however. Unless it is a boss character, chances are that the whole point of the encounter is to put as many angry villagers (called Ganados) in your path as possible, and make you go insane as you struggle to survive. The game is incredibly effective at making you panic, especially at times when you are inside a small house and surrounded by Ganados busting windows to get in. These are terrifying sequences, and they seem incredibly real.
The boss characters you encounter are very unique. Starting off with a battle with you in a boat, only able to use spears as a giant sea worm charges at you, sends you into driftwood, and opens its gaping jaws as you swim back to your boat, you are automatically given the impression that this game means business. The bosses that follow never quite live up to the uniqueness of that first boss, but still are all fresh and challenging.
Of course, with this many enemies there should be some cool weapons. The weapons are very traditional, which adds to the realism of the game. You will be equipped with pistols, machine guns, shotguns, rifles, magnums, grenades and the occasional rocket launcher, but it is never too far-fetched in terms of weaponry. Granted, you will encounter such odd weapons as the Mine Thrower and the Chicago Typewriter.
To give you due warning, never put down your controller. In the middle of some cinema scenes, a prompt will appear at the bottom of the screen for you to press buttons quickly to avoid death. In fact, one mini-boss battle is fought entirely in a cinema scene. This is exceptionally effective for keeping the gamer on his toes.
For much of the game, you will be with Ashley Graham, and be forced to protect her. If she dies, the game ends just like if you die. You will be only able to command her to 'wait' or 'follow' normally, though occasionally the need for other commands will arise. It is a working system, as anything more would distract from the fast-paced nature of the game. Luckily, before most big battles, you will be able to tell her to hide away in a dumpster, and once you progress further into the game, there will be more and more times where you will not have to worry about her.
The design has few if any flaws. The game is consistently heart-pounding, exciting, eventful and interesting.
PLAY CONTROL: 19/20: The controls for this game are very unique. It is from an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. You cannot move and shoot, but by pressing the right shoulder button, it will zoom in slightly and the control stick will move the gun you are holding. It is tough to explain, but while at first it seems very odd, once you get used to it, it is a wonder why this has never been used before. The only problem is that, because it is over the shoulder, most shots veer to the left. This may add to the realism and panic factors, but at times, it can be very annoying. Overall, fresh and original controls prevail, and this is a great flagship for this setup.
GRAPHICS: 20/20: The graphics are simply stunning. Looking over a village filled with insane residents carrying torches, pitchforks and the occasional chainsaw, is a very hard task to accomplish. It all looks completely real. You can sense the madness these Ganados carry with them just by looking at them. All the creatures look original and incredible. The environment has this kind of washed-out effect to it, and it seems as dreary as it could possibly be. This game is incredible at establishing a mood through the setting.
SOUND: 5/5: I never have much to say about sound, and this is no exception. The sound captures the mood perfectly, and the voice acting is spot on. But a single sound (or lack thereof) in this game can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight.
SATISFACTION: 24/25: This is a game that is as good as it gets. The single player is among the best I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and is very replay-able, especially once additional modes are unlocked.
TOTAL: 98%: There is very little wrong with this game. This is the best title there is for the Gamecube right now. Screw Metroid Prime, screw The Wind Waker, screw SSBM. Resident Evil 4 is the best gaming experience I have had since Ocarina of Time.