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Monday, April 04, 2005

Resident Evil 4

... is officially awesome. I spent a bit more time playing it on the weekend, and I'm dying to get back to it. I stopped playing late last night once it all got a bit intense for my tired brain - I was trying to winch this cannon up to the top of a tower, and some giant horned religious fanatic bastard lobbed a steaming great big ball of flaming pitch at me out of a catapult. That's hardly cricket, is it?

Anyway, the game still has some of the clunky bits that let you know that it's a Resident Evil game, but they actually seem really endearing now that they've fixed up the more substantial problems that had been starting to bog the series down. I always liked the series (particularly the second one, which I played through about five times), but the controls, camera, inventory system, crummy puzzles and worse acting were really starting to get on my nellie. This time around, however, it's a hoot. It's still got the feel of a Resident Evil game, in terms of its setting, pacing, characterisation, etc, but it plays almost more like a Metal Gear Solid title - you can actually move and aim and look around and all that fun stuff.

Upshot? It's a more enjoyable, more skill-based game, without the frustration and the clunkiness. On the downside, it's not as creepy as the previous ones, and I haven't really had a "jump out of my seat in fear" moment yet. It's still dripping with atmosphere, but having a more capable character at your command takes some of the edge off the terror. Whatever sort of creepy giant human centipede thing comes crawling out of the darkness, you at least know that you can have the muzzle of your shotgun in its face in under a second this time around, rather than having to slowly rotate on the spot while it gnaws at your ankle.

Probably game of the year so far, bearing in mind that I still haven't been able to play MGS3, so I can't make that comparison. Those of you with Gamecubes should pick it up the next time you're at a game store. Those of you with PS2s should be able to wait just a little bit longer, and then do the same. It's a little ripper.


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