How Resident Evil 4 saved the streak from death (Topic)

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How Resident Evil 4 saved the streak from death


The story of how Shinji Mikami returned to his brainchild to set the Resident Evil series back on track. Resident Evil 4 was in many ways a completely different game that revolutionized the genre. Before that, by the early 2000s, Resident Evil began to resemble an annoying person at a party who simply could not take a hint that he was not welcome here, according to US Gamer.

Of course, the spin-offs had fans, but often the sun began to set for the series, and people were more interested in other games of the survival horror genre, which inherited and developed the ideas of the first cut of 1996. The embarrassing Resident Evil Zero, released in 2002, heralded a likely and unfortunate end to a series that was once one of the most exciting new events in the PlayStation era. Only drastic measures could save Resident Evil.

For Resident Evil to survive, players will need to be hit again; each subsequent game in the series just tweaked the original stuff a little bit, but by 2000, when Code Veronica came out, Capcom had done almost everything possible with the formula they created. Much of this self-repetition can be explained by the technical flaws of the PlayStation, but the new generation of equipment promised to completely free Resident Evil from the framework. The only problem that remained was figuring out the right direction and taking it.


Few commercially and critically successful games have the same troubled development history as Resident Evil 4. We cannot piece together all the pieces from the unfinished versions of RE4 shown to the press and public, but it is generally believed that the game has been restarted three times, and some unused portions ended up in other Capcom games, and Devil May Cry was born.

Before RE4 entered the world as we know it today, it changed several formulas, ranging from bouncy action to supernatural horror, and passed through the hands of current Platinum Games developers Hideki Kamiya and Hiroshi Shibata [the latter served as host designer in Okami and Bayonetta]. I think we will never know how many millions Capcom lost during the long evolution of Resident Evil 4 and the long reflections of its developers.

Ultimately, the game ended up in the hands of its creator Shinji Mikami, who last played a major role in the debut of the new title. And this time, pressure from Capcom's management served as a good incentive for him. With a declining reputation and low sales for the series, Mikami had one last chance to fix Resident Evil before Capcom tossed it in the trash heap and forgot. If the circumstances weren't so dire, Mikami and his team would hardly have been so willing to completely abandon the tropes and mechanics that made Resident Evil the very same Resident Evil.


Although it should be noted that the massive concept changes in the franchises came about because of the Game Cube. After all, it was the console that pushed major series like Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario to significant changes.

From the very beginning, Resident Evil 4 practically dances on the grave of survival horror. And although Leon Kennedy, who again became the main character, is still burdened with the control of the "tank" - he has become a more mobile character than Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine from the first part, and Leon himself from the second.

Rather than forcing players to walk through tight, dark corridors, RE4 throws Leon into a relatively open area and offers to explore it. Instead of showing us slow action, the game offers more action, sending Leon to climb stairs, jump over obstacles, press buttons in QTE and take a leap of faith while hordes of enemies bite his heels. And right at the start, RE4 abandons the key-finding and closed-door formula from previous games, offering a direct solution to existing obstacles here and now.

Naturally, some hardcore veterans of Resident Evil were unhappy with this change, although all the negativity seems to have completely disappeared over the years. If you think so, Resident Evil 4 is fundamentally different from the traditional formula: it is completely unrelated to the regular intrigues of Umbrella, focuses on killing enemies, instead of avoiding them, and gives the protagonist access to an arsenal of more powerful weapons unlike the past parts. However, even if the series took a radical turn, fundamental suspense and resource management - two of Resident Evil's most notable features - have not gone away.


Resident Evil 4 can be called a game for those who prefer intellectual action. Shinji Mikami has adapted the classic Resident Evil problems in a completely different format, providing a new context to focus on constantly solving incoming problems quickly.

If you play Resident Evil 4 as a standard game, you will most likely get your butt kicked. Encounters in the game are like "battle puzzles" [no better term] that tests your knowledge of a specific situation in which each weapon is superior to the other.


Locations offer wide, open spaces for tactical retreats at first, but later ones really test your skills: for example, when Leon is trapped on a tiny moving platform in the middle of the game, while enemies jump from the sides, giving him no room to move or time to reactions. Of course, this is all amplified by the typical lack of resources in Resident Evil;

While you will find much more than in previous games, in RE4 — AI tends to keep players on the brink of death.

On top of everything else, Resident Evil 4 stands out as one of the few games with a huge amount of ideas and mechanics that somehow work well, anything that can only be attributed to a long development period. The game constantly switched between intense combat and quiet exploration, and often throws players into uncomfortable situations. Each new chapter puts Leon in completely different conditions that test his abilities in new ways and this helps us not to get bored. In just a few hours, what begins as "Night of the Living Dead" ends with an exploration of a Gothic castle ruled by a dwarf trying to mow under Napoleon.


Mikami, unfortunately, could not come up with something better after RE4 [the author speaks exclusively about the further RE series, not taking into account The Evil Within]. As Joseph Heller said in a recent interview: “If Shinji Mikami never succeeds in overpowering himself, so be it: with Resident Evil 4 he created one of the most memorable, amazing and well-designed games

The Topic of Article: How Resident Evil 4 saved the streak from death.
Author: Jake Pinkman