Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.
Game: Resident Evil 4
Release Date: 01/11/2005
System Released On: Nintendo Gamecube, eventually Nintendo Wii and Playstation 2
Genre: Survival Horror
Who Nominated The Game: Staff Writer AJ Hess
Why Was It Nominated: The Resident Evil series has been a mainstay of videogame culture since it was first released, and is still synonymous with Survival Horror. Resident Evil 4 gave the brand a modern day makeover in nearly every category. Gameplay, graphics, and sound were all updated, and brought this series in line with what modern gamers expect. Special Agent Leon Kennedy has been dispatched to a remote European region to save the President’s daughter. The result is a compelling story of headshots, explosions, and dismemberment culminating in a race to stop a mind-controlling virus from being released into the world. There are some out there who say that RE4 changed the formula too much, and altered the game into Tactical Horror instead of Survival Horror. Enemies were no longer unstoppable zombies, they were infected villagers meant to be mown down by the dozen. Resident Evil 4 added score multipliers, collectible treasures, and a controversial upgrade system to the series. What made it controversial? Let’s just say I’m inclined to agree with the idea that a big gun is a heck of a coupon when you’re fighting for your life. The adoption of an over-the-shoulder camera style meant that you could always see what was going on around Leon, instantly and permanently stopping the fixed camera angles of prior games in the series. On the down side, the game was fraught with quicktime events, and littered with instances of campaign padding. Rigged escapes for the villains in almost every confrontation extend the length of the game, and beg the question: “Why don’t the good guys ever just pull the trigger?” Will this game claw its way into our Hall of Fame? Let’s find out.
All in Favour:
Mohamed Al-Saadoon: Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3 are horrible games. There, I said it.
The horrible camera angles combined with horrible controls made a game, where the main strategy is to conserve ammo and run from enemies, nearly unplayable. I didn’t find the tongue in cheek B movie feel endearing.
Then comes Resident Evil 4 and changes everything (well everything but the B-Movie style). Suddenly I have a control scheme that influenced every shooter that came after it (Cliffy B. admits the control scheme was an influence on Gears of War). Suddenly I have an intense over the shoulder camera since copied by dozens of games and suddenly I have a huge arsenal of guns and enough ammo to defeat the waves of enemies that come my way.
There is literally nothing I can think of that Resident Evil 4 did wrong. Even the reviled escort mission was pulled off great. If RE4 isn’t considered one of the all time greats, I don’t what else could qualify.
Mark B: Welcome! What’re ya buyin’?
So, Resident Evil 4, at the time it came out, was a game that I pretty much argued was not only the best Resident Evil in the series, but was also one of the best games I’d played in the past five years. Five years later, I still feel that way, and as such, I’m perfectly fine with this nomination, even though I’m well aware that the game isn’t going to get into the Hall of Fame now or ever.
As such, I will say this.
Resident Evil 4 brought joy to my heart on a level such that a major internal staff fight surrounding the game has not extinguished it. It brought joy to my heart on a level such that the annoyances of the game (escort missions, instant death attacks, the inability to buy ammo) fall away as I upgrade my gear and take on the crazy weirdos in town one more time. It still brings joy to my heart on a level such that I have played all three of the versions of the game released at this point, and if Capcom were to release the game on the PS3 or 360 I’d probably buy the game for that system too. The story is corny as hell and Leon is clearly an idiot, and I don’t even care a little bit because this game brings such joy to my heart that I will probably always, on some level, secretly hope that the game manages to make it into the Hall of Fame, as it’s one of the very few games I can openly say would make my short list of favorite video games, ever.
Resident Evil 4 took the moribund zombie killing franchise and made it undead with this one. By listening to what gamers had been saying since all the way back in RE1 and changing the control scheme to something approaching human, they took the series and revived it like it was Frankenstein’s Monster. Not only did they revive the series they also made it an outstanding game, well deserving of a place in our Hall of Fame.
AJ Hess: I have always loved zombies, and have always been frustrated by Resident Evil games. Between the limited ways to defend yourself, forced camera angles, and maddening progression methods (Okay, I’ve got the eagle crest, but this door has a blue crank…) I had never been able to make signifigant progress in a Resident Evil game myself. Capcom abandoned the locked up gameplay of prior versions when they made RE4, and I say it’s all for the better. Resident Evil 4 wasn’t just the first game in the series I was able to beat, it was possibly the first game I ever completed 100%. Resident Evil 4 really nailed that combination of fun, challenge, and reward that the best videogames accomplish. Even after the Gamecube version seemed irrelevant in the face of more modern consoles, I still recommend the version on the Wii to people looking for the best game in the series.
Guy Desmaris: Sure, I enjoyed Resident Evil 4, just like I enjoyed the rest of the series. However, these games have always been plagued by flaws that will forever hold them down. I’m talking about escort missions, sometimes awkward controls and instant deaths that can lead to levels of frustration which no other games can make me reach.
For everything this game did right, it also did enough to make me think twice when I get the urge to play it again. Sure, the story is fun, and shooting the zombies is pretty cool too, but it’s what’s in between that keeps it from being Hall of Fame material in my opinion.
Alexander Lucard: Because if this gets in, we kind of have to vote in Pokemon XD by precedent.
Okay, seriously. RE4 is the best game in the Resident Evil series. The first three games had controls straight out of horrible Alone in the Dark console titles, which is a sin against nature in the first place. The voice acting was horrible, the plots were nonsensical and the games only got over with the general public because of Capcom’s marketing budget, leaving far better survival horror games (which was a niche genre at the time) to be overshadowed.
RE4 however was a drastic improvement. it was like the anti-Dino Crisis 3. The graphics were incredible. The controls were superior to any Resident Evil title before it and the plot…well, the plot was still something that wouldn’t qualify for a B movie, but it was better. RE4 was quite simply Capcom listening to fans and actually making a better game. A much better game.
But is that enough to give it entry into the HoF? No. Because it’s merely a good game. It’s not a great game by any stretch. More than half the staff didn’t even vote for it for the best GAMECUBE title of that year when it came out. Granted it won best horror game and most improved franchise of the year awards from us, but that’s still not putting it as a GOTY contendor or even close to a HoF contendor.
RE4 is what it is – good game that appears amazing because the three games before it were poorly made. It’s like comparing a sirloin to a cow pie. Sure the sirloin looks good by comparison, but when all is said and done, there are better cuts of meat out there and with clarity, RE4 is just another game where you kill hordes of monsters that still didn’t make my top thirty horror game list of all time. How could I even remotely vote it for the Hall of Fame with that in mind?
Ashe Collins: While I think Resident Evil 4 is a great game, I don’t think it did enough to bring the series into the Hall. I have issues with several of the shooting mechanics in the game, and found it incredibly frustrating that in an action game I stop to fire the gun I’m holding while the monsters are running at me.
The story went in the right direction after Code Veronica, but Code Veronica for me is the Resident Evil title I’d most like to see in here aside from maybe the first Resident Evil game. To me, while the mechanics and graphics were far improved over previous installments for Resident Evil 4 (depending on which system you played it on anyway) it just fell short for me and I lost interest in it too many times for me to give this a yes vote.
William Kaye: I like this game, probably more than I like any of the other Resident Evil
games. It does away with the awful control scheme of the previous titles, finally gets you out of Raccoon City after what seems like a decade, and the plot is serviceable enough for what it is. Having said that, it’s not a Hall of Fame game by far. Half the game amounts to an escort mission, any last pretense of survival horror is chucked out the window the minute you get to the first onslaught in the town, and Quick Time Events are really, really not something I
enjoy. Overall, the game is tons of fun, yes (I wouldn’t have played through it three times if it wasn’t), but not Hall of Fame worthy.
Result: 4 In Favour, 4 Opposed, 50% Approval = REJECTED
Conclusion: Split fifty-fifty down the middle by a meat cleaver wielded by a necrotic hand, Resident Evil 4 doesn’t make it into the Hall of Fame. This just goes to show that even a game that everyone loves doesn’t always do enough, or change enough, to become worthy of an entry into the Hall. Resident Evil 4 remains an amazingly good game, and is arguably the strongest entry in the Resident Evil series. Warm up the shotgun, I’m going hunting.
Next Week: Next week, we take a trip around the globe to track down the most wanted criminal in the world. See you next week, when we ask the hard questions.