Why Resident Evil 4 is the Best In the Franchise

There’s no doubt that the Resident Evil franchise has been wildly successful. There have 29 games, remakes, specials, and downloadable mini-games, in its 27-year history. Not to mention the movie franchise, television adaption, animated films, and comic books. There is a lot that gamers love about the series, and that is why it’s one of the best Capcom games of all time. 

However, one game stands above the rest. Resident Evil 4 originally came out in 2005 and set the gaming world on fire. Some consider it the greatest game ever made. While that may be a stretch, the gaming public loved it, and after the original release it lived on for many years in replays and in ports to other platforms. What is it that makes everyone love it? Here’s why Resident Evil 4 is the best in the franchise. 

It Redefined the Genre

Before Resident Evil 4, and certainly, with the games that came before, games used tank controls. This means that you control the player like a tank. It was clunky. However, Resident Evil 4 was the first popular video game to use the over-the-shoulder view that became the norm. This made it easier for players to move their characters and opened the game up to better action sequences. 

There were other innovations as well. For instance, this game has precision aiming. They were no longer guided by a fixed camera angle and could attack enemies from any position. Now, many action and adventure games feature the over-the-shoulder view and some version of precision aiming. 

Corny Lines

Any time you have a gore-fest, there needs to be some cheesiness to lighten the mood. There is plenty of that in RE 4. The franchise is no stranger to corniness. The first game was famous for the line “Jill sandwich,” after all. However, RE 4 takes it to another level. Leon, the protagonist, channels his inner Ash Willams with various one-liners, such as “hasta luego.” The character of Luis is the comic relief in many scenes as well. The cheesiness adds levity to the game and keeps players engaged. 

You Can Go In Cold

It’s always frustrating when a game comes out that looks really cool, but you feel like you’re missing something by not having played the game before it. You can still play it, but you don’t get the full experience. RE 4 does have returning characters, including the two main ones, but you don’t need to have played the previous games to have fun. It does feature a “previously on” type of opening, so it brings you up to speed quickly. Even Leon, the main character, has gone from cop to government agent in the 6 years since we last saw him, so he’s much different. 

It Has a Strong Story 

Prior to this installment, the Resident Evil games followed a pretty standard formula. There is an incident, you have a mission, fight monsters, and save the day. RE 4 has a completely original story from the rest of the franchise. It follows Leon as he searches for the President’s daughter. Yes, you fight monsters, but you follow Leon through his character development from a semi-competent police officer to a crack agent. Not only is there the question of who took the daughter, but there is also the mystery of the infected townsfolk who like to eat brains. On top of it all, there is even some romantic tension between Leon and the mysterious agent Ada, which is certainly a departure from the Resident Evil franchise. 

It Balances Scary With Exciting

If there’s one thing that the Resident Evil games are known for, they’re scary. That was originally the point of the first game. There are jump scares, eerie situations, and ominous music. At times though, it was almost like you became numb to the scariness, because it was constant. However, RE 4 does a good job of balancing the scary with the exciting. There is a lot more action and gun fights, as well as insane situations. However, it is still a survival game, so the action is interspersed with foreboding castles, foggy landscapes, and eerie buildings. There’s even a jump scare or two. 

Different Ways to Play the Game

Because they switched to the over-the-shoulder view, it opened up many possibilities for ways to play the game. This means better action, with different action set pieces and views. There were quick-time events that added an extra layer to the gameplay experience. There is a huge map with the game, so there is a lot to explore. You can also do missions over with different weapons and strategies so it is endlessly replayable. 

Resident Evil has been a beloved franchise for almost three decades, and with good reason. However, RE 4 stands head and shoulders above the other games in the series for the reasons listed above. Check out the remake in March that is sure to feature even better graphic and photorealistic characters and a whole bunch of other goodies. 

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