Resident Evil 4 remake was my comfort game last year - and no, that’s not a red flag

Character talking
(Image credit: Capcom)

At face value, the Resident Evil 4 remake may not seem like a very comforting game. Left to fight off hordes of zombified villagers and other grotesque monstrosities like gigantic trolls and skeletal beasts in a remote Spanish town, it would be easy to get quite stressed at times in the third-person horror survival game. 

However, suppose you persevere in this horror game and forge through the village into the cavernous mines and finally to the fortress. It’s here that you’ll quickly realize that this survival horror game is more fun than you may expect. Even after several months and some fantastic horror games like Amnesia: The Bunker and Alan Wake 2, the Resident Evil 4 remake is still able to hold its own and earn itself a rightful spot high up on our Game of the Year list. 

One of the elements that make the Resident Evil 4 remake so terrifying is its chaotic fights that can seem out of control, and the strict combat rules that apply throughout said fights. When it takes so much concentration and effort to prevent the various monsters from tearing your throat out, things seem a lot scarier.

The first big clash new players will encounter is at the village courtyard; here, you must survive attacks from an entire populace as they chase you down with pitchforks, knives, and chainsaws. My first encounter with this mob was not a pretty sight; after a lot of screaming, swearing, and getting stuck in shacks, I finally outlasted the horde to hear the bell ring. But after a couple of close encounters, I managed to figure out the best way to fight off the attackers, and after that, I never looked back. 

A great payoff 

several villagers approaching to attack

(Image credit: Capcom)

If you haven’t played many survival horror games, let alone Resident Evil games, then the combat and controls of the Resident Evil 4 remake can seem restrictive and tricky to master at first. The third-person angle can also seem disorientating, but that just takes some time getting used to. 

This consistency is one of the reasons why the Resident Evil 4 remake became my comfort game in 2023

There’s also a considerable emphasis on saving supplies. This means you have to be on top of how much ammo and health you use up and save your breakable knives. The best way to do this is to learn how to combo your enemies; kicks, pushes, and environmental kills are essential, but this, too, can be hard to master at first. 

However, once you do figure out the best patterns, killing off your attackers becomes a piece of cake. You know how many shots it takes to down enemies, where it’s best to stun and stab them, and, importantly, how to make quick work of them with a suplex. Mastering these actions early on means that the Resident Evil 4 remake can soon become an enjoyable game to play; as long as you know your stuff and hit the right buttons, your chance of success is almost 100%; there are no surprises waiting to catch you out. 

This consistency is one of the reasons why the Resident Evil 4 remake became my comfort game in 2023. While surprises can be fun, sometimes the chaos and unpredictability of games like Blasphemous 2 and Amnesia: The Bunker wore a little thin.  

The right amount of flair 

Count standing next to candles

(Image credit: Capcom)

The Resident Evil 4 remake also had a great personality that kept me coming back. Those who have played the original game from 2005 know that the characters in this horror game, namely protagonist Leon Kennedy, and the villains Salazar and Saddler, have quirky yet memorable characteristics. 

While these characters were toned down slightly in the remake, I still got to enjoy Leon’s flair in the face of danger, backflipping out of the way of oncoming threats, as well as the eccentricities of local count turned cult member Salazar. Despite encountering terrifying monsters, having moments that made me chuckle was refreshing and enhanced that pleasing sense of comfort

Honestly, if you forget about the decaying zombie villagers, the horrific trolls, and the grotesque transforming monks, the Resident Evil 4 remake is actually a pretty relaxing amble around the Spanish countryside. Just remember to suplex zombies and save on ammo.  

For more fantastic yet terrifying games, check out the best indie horror games as well as the best survival games, which are available to play right now.

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.