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Capcom made a lot of money on Resident Evil 4. It was a hallmark transition for the franchise that marked the first time that players were no longer playing the game from a fixed camera angle. It was also the first time that players were directly responsible for keeping another NPC alive throughout most of the entire game. The good thing about Resident Evil 4 on PC is that it’s open to a lot of interpretation based on the modding possibilities. The bad part is that Resident Evil 4 is by far the worst port of the game on any platform. Keep reading this Residnet Evil 4 review to find out how Ubisoft royally botched what could have been one of the best third person shooting games available on PC since Max Payne 2.
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Graphics And Sound
It’s a little tough to tell someone that the graphics in Resident Evil 4 are good because, well...they aren’t...not for the PC version anyway. Well, not at first. The problem with Ubisoft’s poor port of RE4 onto PC is that once the game gets installed and players go to boot it up, it’s horrible looking, about as bad as Saints Row 2 for PC. Not only are the in-game graphics lacking initial shaders and dynamic lighting, but all of the cinematic sequences are no longer in-engine, what this means is that it’s in-engine footage in a poor AVI format that’s fuzzy, blocky and terrible looking. The good news is that savvy PC gamers can download an update patch that adds lighting and dynamic shadow effects to the game. Still, there's more bad news on the way and it's that the game, pre-patched, looks like someone took digital snapshots of the game playing on an HDTV and then copied the textures in. There are even a few segments where the outline of where the tree textures were copied in can be seen. Amateurish at best.
To remedy the bad texturing the only alternative is to download texture patches made by PC gamers in their free time. On the upside, at least the patches and mods are free.
The sound, unfortunately, isn’t much better. It sounds like most of the samples were copied over from the PS2. What’s worse is that replacing the sound isn’t nearly as easy as overhauling the graphics, although some new sounds are included with some mods. That still doesn’t excuse the poor quality Ubisoft allowed in the PC port.
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A piss-poor port of a popular game usually means many – if not all – of its aspects are piss-poor in execution. Much like how Jedi Academy was neutered for the Xbox and Doom, in its many incarnations, was dumbed down for the SNES and Sega 32x, somehow so was Resident Evil 4 debased in its appearance for PC in every way imaginable, including the controls.
The initial release of the game seen a lack of support for the mouse, which made it nearly impossible to play with the keyboard alone. Thankfully, with a little patch work it became possible to play the game with the support of the mouse or gamepad. Of course, even with a gamepad there’s still lacking rumble support for some third-party controllers and if you’re not using an Xbox 360 gamepad you’ll have to fiddle around with customizing the controls in the control panel.
In the game itself, the controls are adequate but not great. As opposed to the Wii and GameCube versions of the game (ultimately being definitive on the Nintendo platforms) the aiming isn’t quite as accurate or sensitive as it should be using a gamepad. But I guess some support is better than no support.
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Thankfully, everything that made Resident Evil 4 fun for the GameCube, the PS2 and the Wii, is still what keeps it fun for the PC; good ‘ole zombie-style shooting. The third person effect, adopted to the recent Resident Evil 5, gives the game a more visceral feel in the action department and adds not only the element of scares (given that things can reach out and grab you from behind) but also adds to the game’s action elements of being able to shoot and react a lot quicker.
The puzzle segments aren’t too intrusive to the rest of the gameplay and the shooting…well, the shooting is some of the best in any third person shooter, even trumping Midway’s Stranglehold in the department of both realism and dynamics. The added difficulty of keeping Ashley safe while taking on hordes of Las Plagas also gives the game an extra layer of horror that was, unfortunately, absent from Resident Evil 5.
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If you have the GameCube, Wii or PS2 version of Resident Evil 4 there’s really no reason to downgrade to the PC version; it feels incomplete because it is incomplete. Poor graphics, poor sound and poor control support makes this one of the worst console-to-PC ports I’ve seen in a long time Nevertheless, the ability to add user made modifications to the game and extend the replayability with additional characters, weapons, sounds, textures, levels and the works gives the game a slight feel of appreciation for actually having a version of the game on PC rather than not having one at all.
If you can find a copy of the game for around $10 for PC I can’t say it wouldn’t be worth it if you can grab some of the game’s more memorable mods. However, for the average PC gamer it would probably be better to stick with finding a copy of Resident Evil 5, despite the compatibility flaws that come along with it.