I anxiously trail around the basement of a disgustingly wet and moldy house in search of my girlfriend, but I can’t help but feel like there’s something else down here waiting for me. A scuttling noise echoes down the tattered hallways, and a sound reverberates off the broken walls as if someone is dragging something massive behind them.
I’m trying to figure out where the noise is coming from. I think it’s right above me. Suddenly, two elongated arms burst through the ceiling and grab hold of me; some half-human, half-spider hybrid stares at me, grinning its rotten smile as I dangle helplessly upside down from the ceiling.
Armed with only a shotgun and the knowledge that there are more of these things waiting for me in the depths of this unforgiving house, I take a deep breath, reach for my shotgun, and think to myself, “this is going to be a long night”.
I only came to this abandoned house in Louisiana to find my girlfriend, and now I’m here fighting off mutants and some furious family members. I am a systems engineer from Los Angeles, for crying out loud, I am not cut out for this.
Back into the action
After Resident Evil Biohazard and Resident Evil Village, a part of me had forgotten what it was like to have a capable protagonist in a Resident Evil game, one who didn’t get swept upside down by some mutated spider or helplessly chased by a bloated Fishman every other weekend. That was until I saw the extended gameplay for the Resident Evil 4 remake.
During the 18 minutes of footage, I saw a couple of central missions to the game. These centred on Leon, our returning veteran hero, who first made his debut in Resident Evil 2 as a trainee policeman in Racoon City. I see Leon enter a village inhabited by Spanish cultists and then later make his way to the infamous Salazar Castle to rescue Ashley Graham, the President's daughter.
At first, I wasn’t that impressed. While the graphics looked great, they’re so similar to the most recent Resident Evils games, Village and Biohazard, that I had to double-check that we were in Spain, not Romania or Louisiana. A lot of it left me asking myself what is so different about this game, and why I should buy a remake when it’s so similar to titles I already own. I had some doubts about this remake.
Then I saw Leon suplex one of the cultist members, and all my senses went out the window. This deadly move was one of my favorite melees from the original game, so I am thrilled to see it in the remake. But it wasn’t just the suplex that caught my attention. The gameplay demo was full of masterful combats; you could kneecap, karate kick, and parry weapons thrown by angry cult members like it’s second nature. As someone who loves melee and close combat in games, this is what will make the Resident Evil 4 remake stand out from the crowd.
Right up my ally
Having gruesome and fluid melee combat is a fantastic addition to Resident Evil. These horrific games relish in blood, guts, and gore, so getting closer to the action makes the fights 100 times more entertaining. Getting to kick someone's face in up close and personal just adds a bit of character to the whole battle.
But this isn’t the only reason I was happy to see some more advanced melee returning in the Resident Evil 4 remake. Truthfully, I had forgotten what it was like to play as a Resident Evil protagonist who was competent in fighting and killing. Don’t get me wrong; I love Ethan Winters; he’s a sweet character with an exciting story. Still, his baseline incompetence in the face of reality-bending monstrosities made Resident Evil Biohazard so much more terrifying than needed.
It was fun at the time to reach new levels of disturbing horror in a Resident Evil game, but it's safe to say I’m ready to return to being the scariest person in the room, and Leon gives me this confidence. So keep one eye open, cult members, because I’ll be coming to suplex the lot of you.