Resident Evil 4 (GameCube) Preview

By James Temperton 01.01.2004 2

When Resident Evil Remake was released on the GameCube there was one thing that stood out, the graphics. This was perhaps the closest gaming had ever come to looking like real life, and with this new tool Capcom have been able to make Resi even more scary, if that's possible. The photo-realistic backgrounds and lighting effects were simply too good for words, gamers just stood their and incoherently spluttered in admiration, this was as good as it was going to get. Shadows, lightening, flapping curtains, it just looked so real and it was so damn frightening that it proved to be one of the most intense games ever. This feeling is still unparallel in gaming, but we think Resident Evil 4 has a chance of doing something just a bit special.

Of course, this was never going to be enough. The man with the mind, Shinji Mikami wanted to improve on his latest masterpiece and make something, bigger, better and with more pant-wetting possibilities. May we introduce Resident Evil 4. Everything that was achieved in previous titles under the franchise has and will be bettered here. Chop off a zombie's head with an axe, and it will roll off and bounce on the floor, shoot the thing in the head and you will be greeted with an explosion of claret that adds a new look to the room. Whilst the original on the GameCube, and indeed most of the Resident Evil games, featured 2D, pre-rendered backgrounds, Capcom have gone for the full on 3D approach this time round.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4 on GameCube

Now this should mean that the game looses some of its visual finesse, but amazingly, and somewhat seemingly impossibly, Resident Evil 4 is the best looking yet. To say it is a pretty title would just be stupid, there is nothing pretty about having your eyes pecked out by crows, this is just polygon mastery at its very best.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4 on GameCube

For those of you that aren't up with all the techno-mumbo-jumbo might not know what real-time lighting is, so allow us to explain. This very special effect allows lighting to be created in-game, and for that light to adapt to its surroundings as you move about. Rather than just having a set shadow, with real-time lighting shadows will wrap around other objects and change depending on your physical surroundings.

Now this is clever stuff with simple 2D pre-rendered background, but bring in 3D and you have a whole load more problems. Shadows wrap around you as you creep and shuffle down the very atmospheric corridors as the camera pans in and out to take in new views, following you all the time from behind.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4 on GameCube

Capcom love to use an excessive amount of detail on their game characters, and they have really gone to town here. There is just so much precision with breathtaking detail on hair and skin, you can almost touch it.

Another effect worth noting is the use of reflective surfaces in the game. One example that we personally love are the mirrors. Set at the end of a dimly lit hall, covered in dirt and possibly cracked when you come along shining your torch all over the place, the mirror will shine it back at you, you might think you've seen something, you might jump or let out a little squeal, it is all part of building up a glorious atmosphere.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4 on GameCube

Final Thoughts

If you enjoyed the previous Resi titles, you will no doubt love this. If you were always annoyed by the fixed camera, or poor controls, there is a fair chance that this will appeal to you. There are numerous reasons for owning a 'Cube, most of them tend to be, rather annoyingly, associated with Nintendo; but with Resident Evil 4 Capcom have a real title on their hands. This is the one of the best reasons to part with forty notes that we have seen on the console so far...

Also known as

Biohazard 4

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (140 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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