Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition (PC) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 11.04.2014

Review for Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition on PC

Suffice it to say that the Resident Evil series has been tremendously successful since its initial release on the PlayStation in 1996, being responsible for not only popularising the then-nascent genre that is survival-horror, but also for pioneering the third-person 3D action game as everyone knows expects it to be today, through the release of Resident Evil 4 back in 2005. The latter has indeed done a lot to popularise the series even further by completely revamping its control system, becoming more accessible for the masses and helping it sell millions of copies worldwide. Of course, it also helped that the game was, at the time of its release, a visually stunning piece, as the sixth generation of consoles was coming to an end, and remains to this day probably the most technically impressive GameCube title, so much so that it still stood the test of time a few years later when it got re-released in its Wii edition in 2007. The game got ported to the PlayStation 2 as well, and that's where it achieved most of its sales, before being ported first to PC and then to numerous other platforms, including the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2011, with a HD edition. The game at hand, Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition, released back in February of this year for the PC, and is, simply, the latest of this long series of re-releases over the course of nine years since its original appearance.

Those who played the original PC release from 2007 may not remember it very fondly, for its numerous bugs upon release and its sub-par graphics that appeared to be simply using the same graphical assets of the PS2 version running at higher resolutions, which did nothing to improve how blurry it looked on the whole and made flaws that were invisible to the naked eye on the original releases running at lower resolution all the more apparent. High resolution texture patches were crafted by the community that did improve the look of the game, but not by very much.

Such reservations may be put to rest in Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition, however, as the game looks much sleeker this time around than it did back in 2007. Better yet, the game benefits from some graphical improvements never found before in any other versions, such as the ability to run at 60 frames per second. For this option, though, despite the game still not being quite on level with modern HD games on a pure technical level, it seems to not be optimised to benefit of high frame-rates on the kind of GPU that one would expect the game to run at butter-smooth speed. Rather, the game offers to manually aim for a locked 30-FPS frame-rate or the taunted 60fps one.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition on PC

Should the GPU used not prove beefy enough for the higher setting, the game will start running horribly slow, not attempting to drop any frames to achieve full speed at a lower level, like 40 frames per second, for instance, which is really annoying. A mid-to-high range GPU will definitely be required to run this old game at its new 60fps rate, leaving people with anything below mid-range GPUs forced to fall back on the 30-FPS option to enjoy the game.

Having mentioned that though, the game does indeed run incredibly well, it has to be said. Although the game still can't hide its GameCube lineage, in the absence of some modern shading effects and with most models still lacking a lot of detail that players nowadays have come to expect, the game still looks good enough to ensure a super effective immersion in its virtual universe.

Now, the game being designed originally with a controller in mind, and not a keyboard, the former should be the preferred control option here. The game supports the Xbox 360 Controller and has clearly been designed to take advantage of it, primarily, rather than PC controls. It supports generic PC controllers as well, but this support is, unfortunately, poorly implemented. Indeed, the game detects generic controllers and lets the player customise the in-game controls themselves.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition on PC

However, the controls for the menus themselves are not customisable from within the game! It's simply impossible to remap the controls used in the menus, and this leads to a ton of problems. One could open the *.ini file where the control settings are stored (for both the in-game controls and in-menu ones) but the names of the different actions are rather obscure and combine badly Romanised Japanese action names and others that point to the default Xbox 360 controls! This almost looks like it was done on purpose to discourage people not in possession of the aforementioned Microsoft controller from enjoying the game properly. A shame when the game actually controls pretty well using Nintendo's own Wii U Pro Controller connected via Bluetooth to the machine used for this review. However, this is not the last of the problems pertaining to the controls! During gameplay, there were instances when the quick-time action prompts, displayed on screen, were randomly showing the Xbox 360 buttons associated to said actions instead of those of the generic controller used, making the game pretty much impossible to play through without occasionally dying in the stupidest ways. These issues can be resolved, with a lot of patience, and anyone can get used to them to enjoy what is otherwise the best looking and best running version of the game to date.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition on PC

Moreover, owners of the advertised controller will obviously not run into the same problems. Put it this way, Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition will only give out the best of itself in the presence of a good GPU and a specific model of controller that not everyone necessarily owns, in which case the game can be launched right away and enjoyed fully without any tinkering required in the options. What remains to be said, however, is that it is unfortunate that aiming and moving cannot be set to the same joystick. Being forced to use a different stick to aim when the character is prevented from moving while aiming goes beyond the logic rooted in the minds of old time Resident Evil 4 fans and feels counter-intuitive.

Beyond any control and visual considerations, the game is exactly the same as expected if having played any previous incarnations, and offers the same content as the PS3 and Xbox 360 HD editions released back in 2011, which in themselves offered all of the content from the previous PS2, PC and Wii releases, including Ada's scenario, "Separate Ways." The only thing it does not include at the end of the day are the Wii controls; undeniably the best control option the game ever received, which may remain forever exclusive to the old Wii edition.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD Edition is the best looking and most fluid version of the old classic. The HD paint-over may not put it quite on par with modern games, as it shows that its nine years old status, but it still manages to stand tall and proud in the visual department, regardless, in the crowd of more modern third-person action games available on PC. The issues with setting up the controls on any controller that is not an Xbox 360 one are really the big negative points of this version, but those well equipped enough to have a decent GPU, and Xbox 360 controller, are in for the best version of the game available. It would score higher without such issues, and if it had any exclusive content to justify buying it again. Other than the slightly improved visuals and frame-rate that the PC allows, this version doesn't bring enough novelty when compared to the previous console HD versions.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (2 Votes)

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


Comments are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.