Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition review. The modern-classic hit is reborn with motion controls

Resident Evil 4: Wii EditionResident Evil 4: Wii Edition is the definitive version of the critical and commercial hit, Resident Evil 4. Originally for the GameCube, then ported to the PS2 (as well as the PC), the Wii Edition has all the additions that were added to the PS2 version with none of the drawbacks (better graphics, better framerate, lower load times) and controls rebuilt to take advantage of the Wii Remotes features, particularly the pointer for your gun reticle and motion controls replacing button presses at certain points both in-game and during the interactive cut-scenes that RE4 is so famous for.

As a game Resident Evil 4 is a force to be reckoned with. Even though it is not new on the Wii, it hasn’t aged a day with fantastic graphics and incredible, pulse-pounding action from beginning to end that will keep you smiling the whole way through. The game has very few cons and a lot of pros, and is feature packed with unlockables and higher difficulties to keep you replaying through the single-player campaign as well as fun extra modes that make the game an outstanding value, especially at it’s budget price point (MSRP of $29.99 in the USA). Which is part of the reason it has sold over 1.15 million copies.

If you are looking for a great 3rd-person action/adventure shooter that delivers on all cylinders for the Wii, then you can’t go wrong with Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition. Read the full review to find out the gritty details on this top-notch action game that will make you froth at the mouth for the upcoming Resident Evil 5.
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition logo
System: Wii
Also On: GameCube and Playstation 2
Debut: GCN: US January 11 2005 – EU March 18 2005 – JAP January 27 2005
Release Dates: Wii: US June 19 2007 – EU June 29 2007 – AU July 5 2007 – JAP May 31 2007
PS2: US October 25 2005 – EU November 4th 2005 – AU November 11 2005 – JAP December 1 2005
PC: US May 15 2007 – EU March 2 2007 – AU March 1 2007 – JAP June 7
Genre: 3rd-person Action Adventure
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Creator: Shinji Mikami
Origin: Japan
Rating: M for Mature for Blood & Gore, Intense Violence, Language

Resident Evil 4 is critically acclaimed for taking the extremely popular zombie-infested survival horror series in a completely new direction. Previous Resident Evil games had used pre-rendered graphics to create largely static backgrounds (at last on the PS1-era of hardware) from which 3D modeled characters, items and enemies were placed on top, giving the games backgrounds an extreme level of detail that was unheard of at the time of Resident Evil 1 and 2. Also interspersed throughout were cut-scenes using full-motion video. These scenes were often a treat but were far removed graphically from the parts you actually played.

In 2000 Capcom tried to take the series in a new direction by offering completely 3D rendered backgrounds with Resident Evil: Code Veronica. And although the graphics were great, they still seemed to lack the high detail that pre-rendered graphics offered. In addition, the gameplay was kept the same with static camera angles, “tank-style” controls, and exploration that consisted of moving from room to room finding keys and solving puzzles. While all that was well in good, the shooting was also kept limited, only allowing you to aim straight, up or down.

Once the GameCube hit Capcom choose to remake the original Resident Evil, by this time they had perfected their craft though and the graphical punch was nothing short of mind-blogging. The backgrounds were still pre-rendered but no longer static, using a mix of FMV, pre-rendered and real-time graphics to create extreme detail that included moving shadows, swaying grass, dust that kicked up when you walked and other minute-details that made people wonder how graphics could get any better. That game was followed up with Resident Evil 0 in 2002, only months after the Remake of Resident Evil 1. It used the same graphical style of Remake and kept the core gameplay elements exactly the same . . . as they had been since the original game in 1996.

The one-two punch of two games with similar styles right after each other had some people complaining that the series had become stagnant. So Capcom finally decided to break the mold with Resident Evil 4, even though much of the core gameplay from before was kept in-tact, but the change in the gunplay and camera perspective made the game feel fresh and exciting.

Resident Evil 4 returned the series to the fully 3D backgrounds, but this time the power of the GameCube allowed the developers to include a high level of detail, high enough that the game still manages to impress when compared to the Resident Evil 1 remake, even if the detail is not quite as high and lighting & shadows are immediately as eye-popping. The game gets rid of camera angles altogether with a new behind-the-back perspective that zooms in when you hold the trigger to aim your gun. You can also move the camera in any direction, although it can only be pointed to look, you can’t leave it there.

And for the Wii version the game’s controls had to be completely remapped. The game requires the Nunchuck attachment and uses the Analog stick for movement. You hold the Z Button to run and hold the C Button to ready your knife. On the Remote, the A Button is the Action Button, which you use to shoot and interactive with objects and the environment due to the context of your situation. The B trigger on the back of the Remote is used to aim your weapon.

You can access your Item Inventory with the Minus Button while the Plus Button allows you to move your items around in said inventory. The D-Pad is the aforementioned Camera Look (and can also be used to turn pages in documents) while the 1 Button accesses your map and the 2 Button brings up the Main Menu.

Finally, the game makes use of a couple of gesture controls and the Wii Remotes Pointer. If you waggle the Wii Remote left and right you will do a quick knife attack that is weaker than holding the C Button. Waggle the Wii Remote while aiming with a weapon to reload. To aim your weapon anywhere on-screen you simply point the Wii Remote at the screen and the targeting reticle will move where you point. This gets rid of the laser sight from the other versions altogether but gives you the added benefit of being able to look in one direction while shooting anywhere on-screen. Although you still have to use the Control Stick to move around and see more of your surroundings when you are aiming a weapon.

Resident Evil 4 Wii Screenshot - Ganado Villagers

The controls are cumbersome and will take you quite a while to get used to which is one of the few drawbacks to the game. Although anyone who wants to play will get acclimated to them sooner or later, and once you do you will won’t have any problems with the controls, since they work well.

You cannot change the controls except for inverting them on the Options Screen. You can also turn Rumble on or off, adjust the brightness display and set the Audio to either Mono, Stereo or Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound.

Resident Evil 4 has you playing as Leon S. Kennedy, who series fans will remember as the young rookie cop from Resident Evil 2 who got involved in the Umbrella-unleashed viral outbreak in Raccoon City on his first day on the STARS police force. In that game he would also meet up with a mysterious Asian girl named Ada who was thought to have been killed (then again their was that silhouette . . .) and returns in Resident Evil 4 to play a pivotal role once again.

Resident Evil 4 Wii Art - Leon Being Chased By Chainsaw Guy

The game opens with an interesting cut-scene telling of the demise of the Umbrella Corporation, the creators of the virus in the previous games. Turns out that the U.S. government intervened to stop the company in it’s tracks, thus the company is no more. Leon goes to work for the U.S. government as a Secret Service agent and is assigned to protect the President’s daughter, who is subsequently kidnapped by an unknown cult group. When she’s sighted in Europe (likely Spain although the game never says specifically) Leon is sent off there to rescue her.

The gameplay starts with you getting off at a remote village after hitching a ride with two police officers. Naturally, the villagers attack the cop car and it gets driven off the edge of a cliff and the bridge knocked out, leaving you stranded, only able to get information via a linkup with Hunagan, a girl who will give you information as to where you need to go or what you need to do. This is conveyed via Metal Gear Solid-style conversation screens when she radios in. All cut-scenes by the way can be skipped by pressing the minus button, including the conversations with Hunagan.

Of course, the villagers turn out to be not-quite-zombies but just as dangerous, and Leon is quickly attacked by one, and before you know it crazed villagers (called Ganados) will come streaming in from all directions. Better have that pistol ready!

Ganado Fighting Gameplay (Note: This is the Japanese version which is censored; decapitation not shown)

The flow of Resident Evil 4 hasn’t really changed from the previous games. You’ll make your way through the various environments fighting enemies, encountering various characters and bosses, watching cut-scenes to progress the story, and searching for items in the environment that you’ll need mostly to open locked doors that you’ll encounter and have to open to progress forward.

If you’ve played previous Resident Evil games you’ll be surprised at just how well Capcom has managed to update the shooting mechanics. As previously described, the camera follows behind Leon instead of using set camera angles, and it zooms in when you aim with the B Button. This allows you to shoot enemies anywhere on their body, and they’ll react to it too. Shoot an enemies feet or legs while running and they’ll fall down. Shoot their knee cap and they’ll quickly buckle down on their knees. Shoot their heads and they’ll get dazed, holding their face. You can even shoot weapons out of their hands (or out of the air, as certain Ganados will throw knives and axes at you). And not only that, but the environments in Resident Evil 4 are a heck of a lot more interactive than anything you’ve seen in past games. You can shoot birds out of the sky and break open boxes and grates for items. You can also shoot out the glass of windows or break boarded up windows. You can even shoot out wooden doors, breaking parts of them to pieces allowing you to shoot through the holes. You can even kills cows and other animals . . . but you aren’t rewarded for it! In fact, killing a chicken won’t even net you an egg, so keep it alive or else you’ll be sorry, cause no eggs will be had.

But probably the most significant addition is the context sensitive situations where you can use the A button (called the Action Button) to perform a special move or interact with the environment. For example, if you shoot a Ganado in the knee as explained above, then instead of shooting them again to knock them over, you can run up to them and perform a special attack, from kicking them to performing a head bursting suplex. If you shoot one in the face, then you can also perform a kick attack which is extremely useful for knocking back a group of enemies. If you come to a low rail or an empty window, then you can press A to hop over it. You even use the A button to open doors. There are no more “door opening sequences” in Resident Evil 4, and while that may seem sad to the long-time Resident Evil fans, you’ll quickly realize it’s for the better. If you simply press A once Leon will slowly open the door, and if double tap A he’ll kick the door opened, which will even knock over any enemies that are on the other side!

You also use A to take items in the environment that you’ll find lying around or in boxes and barrels (that you’ll need to break open with the knife). These items that you’ll find all over the place include extra ammo and health items, as well as money and the occasional special item. You can even use A to open up drawers, cabinets and the like (as well as just sitting on desks and such) which goes a long way in making the environments feel more interactive since most rooms will have several items tucked away. Which I think is really cool because it rewards exploring since you’ll miss out on items if you don’t search all over.

The context sensitive Action Button really works great and it opens the game up in a whole different way. The situations you come across in the environments that use it range from climbing ladders and onto ledges or boxes, to jumping down or over objects to jumping through windows or avoiding attacks from boss enemies.

Melee Attacks Video

These context sensitive situations also pop up in scripted events that include both gameplay sections and cut-scenes. And these situations will sometimes use other buttons other than the A Button, including having to swing the Wii Remote back and forth or press a combination of buttons (Like A & B). They range from having to wave the Wii Remote to run from a rolling boulder, or having to cut a rope tied around your leg, even to hack at a boss with your knife.

As far as actual cut-scenes go, this is not a game where you can simply set the controller down and enjoy the scene! Because doing so can easily get you killed! This keeps you on your toes and really paying attention even during cut-scenes, because you never know when a situation will pop-up and you’ll have to jam on a certain button combination or wave the Remote in order to survive. And all these situations play into the story well, so it doesn’t feel like they were just jammed in there. And what happens if you don’t succeed at pressing the buttons when prompted? It means certain and immediate death, although you do get to see a cool death animation that you wouldn’t see otherwise (because, you know, you won’t have died)

All the healing items from past games return including first-aid sprays and herbs in various colors. Green herbs heal you, red herbs enhance the potency of green herbs, making them stronger and the new Yellow Herb raises your max health. Both Yellow and Red herbs cannot be used alone but must be combined with a Green Herb first.

Pressing the Minus Button will take you into your inventory, and this is where you keep all your items, and it’s been significantly updated from past games. Instead of the items just being displayed in slots, here you have a briefcase and within the briefcase are a number of square grids. Each item takes up a certain number of spaces and you can maneuver them however you like, which is great for those people that like their things organized. Organizing can sometimes be beneficial as well, cause you might find a combination that frees up more space. The controls in the inventory screen are a bit confusing though. You use the plus button to lift an item. Once lifted you can rotate it with the C Button on the Nunchuck. Press the Plus button again to set an item down.

Resident Evil 4 Wii Screenshot - Sprint Contextual Action Button

On the top of the inventory screen you’ll see tabs for the “Key Treasure”, Files and your map. Key Treasures is where you will keep inventory items that you will need to progress in the game (keys to open doors and the like) as well as special items that you’ll find throughout the game that you can sell to the Merchant.

The Merchant is a character you will find in certain locations through the game who will sell you new weapons and other items that you can buy with the money you’ve racked up. Whenever you kill an enemy (or even a bird) they will drop ammo, money and occasionally a health item. You will also find special items that you can sell to the merchant, as well as being able to sell whatever else you want (including ammo or health items). The special items you’ll find include stuff like small jewels, ruby’s, various crowns, brass watches, a golden chess set and other trinkets that you can sell to the Merchant for cash. What’s more, you can combine several of these items (typically with jewels you find) to make them even more valuable. Such as inserting three jewels into a crown. Examining the items will usually tell you whether jewels or other items can be combined or not, such as telling you that a crown has three divots where jewels were inserted.

The hilarious Japanese trailer for Resident Evil 4 (called Biohazard in Japan)

In addition to being able to buy all new weapons, as well as maps and upgrade your briefcase (allowing you to hold more), you can also “Tune Up” your weapons, allowing you to level them up in four areas: Firepower (how strong the weapon is), Reload Speed (how fast you reload), Firing Speed (How fast your gun shoots) and Capacity (How much ammo your gun can carry).

Certain weapons come in different forms including pistols, rifles and shotguns and you’ll also find a machine gun, magnum, rocket launcher, and even a mine layer. Although some weapons are a lot more useful than others and you only have space for about four weapons at any given time. This can be maddening but it also helps to extend the replay value because you’ll probably want to use a different set of weapons on your later play throughs. Take note that before you buy a weapon you’ll need to make space for it. A temporary space will allow you to maneuver items more easier but you’ll have to make space in your briefcase in order to purchase the item. However once you click on buy the weapon will not be purchased until you place it, and then press the B button to exit. So if you are on the buy screen and not sure if you can hold the weapon, then the game allows you to maneuver for space without having to be forced to purchase it, and if there isn’t enough room then you can cancel out using the B Button.

The ability to upgrade your weapon really elevates Resident Evil 4, especially from past titles, and makes it a lot of fun. Because now there is a point to killing enemies (since you’ll get cash or ammo) and a reason to search around for special items that you can sell to the Merchant. Thus you will go out of your way to search your environments thoroughly and even do some extra adventuring by wandering off the beaten path looking for special items. You can even shoot birds out of the sky and they too will reward you with items (ammo, money or health . . . don’t ask me what they were doing carrying ammo!)

And what’s also really cool is that special items that you can sell to the merchant can even be hidden up in the trees or on walls and ceilings, requiring you to shoot them to knock them down. This means that in addition to searching for items in the environments themselves at ground level, you will also always want to keep an eye above you so you don’t miss that nest in the tree (which hold items) or that sparkling jewel high up the cave wall.

Resident Evil 4 Wii Screenshot - Cultists

The storyline in Resident Evil 4 is pretty interesting although fans of past Resident Evil games may be initially disappointed by the fact that RE4 has an isolated story that’s pretty much independent of past games (Meaning you can enjoy it even if you are new to the series. No past experience is necessary). Even though you see the return of Ada, Umbrella is pretty much completely out of the picture in the main campaign.

The story itself though goes in some interesting details. While the initial area is the village the game actually covers an extremely wide swath of environments and by the end of the game you will feel that it is more true to the feel of past Resident Evils than initially thought.

Soon into the game you will also see another throwback to past Resident Evil games, this time in the form of a brand new virus known as “Las Plagas”. Naturally it is this that is causing the villagers to act so strangely and zombie-like. However the game takes an unsuspecting turn and you’ll find yourself having to deal with people that are more deadly than meets-the-eye, and it’s not just cause they want to take a piece of you or hack at you with a pitchfork. But to say any more would ruin the surprise.

The new villain in all of this is called Saddler and he makes a very interesting villain, although unlike Albert Wesker his intentions are pretty clear from the get-go. He leads a cult and has plans for world domination. Like past games you will find notes around that will give you more info on the story, although there are less of them and, to my dismay, they lack the “my-last-words” humanizing touch of past games.

Context Sensitive Action Button Gameplay Video

You’ll run into a few other villains as well and Ramon Salazar is easily one of the best and most original to come along in a long time. He’s a little guy who owns the castle you’ll find yourself in, and he provides some funny moments and quotes and is also just a fun villain in general.

Likewise, the new good guys introduced in Resident Evil 4 are also winners. First up is Luis Sera, a womanizing Spaniard who sort of fits in the mold of previous Resident Evil characters like Carlos from Resident Evil 3 and Steve from Resident Evil: Code Veronica except he’s a lot more likeable. Then you have Ashley Graham, the President’s daughter, who is a sort of air-headed annoying young girl who fills the void of the annoying Resident Evil character that Luis side-steps, although I wouldn’t necessarily say Ashley is a bad character. Then you have Leon himself, who is quite honestly one of the coolest game characters and in top form in Resident Evil 4. He looks cool, he sounds cool and he comes off as the noble American that you definitely are rooting for. He is by far the best incarnation of a Resident Evil character (much cooler here than he was in Resident Evil 2) and Capcom has their work cut out for them if they are going to make Chris, who is the star of Resident Evil 5, outperform Leon from Resident Evil 4.

Ashley plays a pretty big role in the storyline, as you can probably imagine, but she also plays a great role in the gameplay itself. Throughout the game you will have to babysit Ashley who will actually follow behind you. You can issue commands to her by pressing the Plus button on the Wii Remote. You can either have her follow you or tell her to wait. If she is in your way when you raise your gun she will duck, and you can also tell her to climb inside certain trashbins so she’ll be out of your way while you fight.

She is somewhat of a chore though and it can get kind of annoying, although the game does a good job of breaking it up (having many parts where you separate or she gets kidnapped, etc.). When you climb up something and jump down, you’ll have to press A for her to jump down and you to catch her, and you can’t enter certain doors if you leave her behind (even though you can physically leave her up there and ignore her whining at you “Leon, where are you going?” and just go about your business, but you will have to come back to get her at some point). She also has her own health bar (that can be raised higher using yellow herbs just like Leon’s) and CAN be killed by you if you aren’t careful.

Naturally a lot of the fun moments in Resident Evil 4 will involve Ashley. Generally if you are in a room fighting lots of Ganados you’ll have to keep your eye on Ashley who they will try to grab and haul off through a door. If they succeed then it is game over for you, but you can shoot them and they’ll drop her. Though she can also be attacked and like you she can die if her health reaches zero. You can heal her from any distance though (unlike in Resident Evil 0 where you had to be close to your partner to use an item on them) which makes things easier.

Probably the best part of Resident Evil 4 is simply how many awesome moments the game is filled with.

Some of the awesome moments include: Trucks barreling towards you (You have to figure out how to stop it), defending Ashley from swarms of Ganados with Luis, riding a tram and sniping oncoming Ganados before they can reach your or get close enough to shoot you with an arrow, stopping a roof full of spikes from crushing down on you (reminds me of the room in the original Resident Evil where the roof starts coming down), fighting off swarms of mutant insects called Novistadors, racing through a mine with a three-piece mine-cart as Ganados jump aboard from the sides, and running from a giant walking statue whilst avoiding obstacles in your path. And then there is the knife fight. Which is quite simply one of the coolest moments in video game history as a cut-scene plays out and you have to quickly hit the right buttons or waggle the stick to survive as the fight progresses. It is really cool and amazing to watch. So amazing that you’ll probably want to keep a save at that point just to relieve it.

Resident Evil 4 is filled with these memorable moments and while some are similar (defending Ashley from Ganados) they always provide some type of twist from the last and thus remain pretty fresh throughout.

You’ll fight a wide variety of enemies in Resident Evil 4, although no enemies from games past make appereances here. The main enemy type are the Ganados, who are similar to zombies in some ways but much smarter and faster. They also carry all kinds of weapons from pitchforks to axes to sticks of dynamite. And as you’ve probably seen Resident Evil 4 also features an extremely creepy chain-saw wielding dude who will chase you through various parts of the game. Although you never get the feeling that he is stalking you like you did with the creepy enemies in Resident Evil’s 2 and 3.

In addition to the bag-head chainsaw guy, you’ll also face off against some women wielding chain-saws. Later on in the game you’ll also encounter some cultists who are actually dressed like it, and they are much creepier, particularly cause they’ll laugh at you in insane ways.

One of the coolest enemies in the game are these huge hulking foes equipped with Wolverine-style blades that can only be killed by shooting them in the back. Their eyes are even sewn shut and they wear masks, and although they can’t see you they will react to noise. The first time you encounter these guys you will definitely be shaking in your boots. Other enemies include some flying insects that can cloak themselves and ravenous wolves.

But where Resident Evil 4 REALLY shines is in it’s boss battles, which are quite simply some of the best you’ll ever see against mostly massive creatures. You’ll face a huge Goliath of a beast (El Gigante) resembling a troll, who you have to hack at once you knock him down. You’ll fight a humongous Lake Monster (Del Lago) that you have to heave spears at while riding in a motor-boat. You’ll do battle with an insane creature in a fight that, let’s just say, resembles T-1000 from Terminator 2. And you’ll face off with a soldier who can match Leon blow-to-blow and then some, in what is easily one of the greatest boss fights of all time. You will NOT be disappointed in this game’s bosses. And that is definitely a breath of fresh air for these style of action shooters.

Resident Evil 4 Wii Art - Leon & Krauser

Resident Evil 4 doesn’t have much in the way of puzzles however, so if that was one of your favorite parts of the previous games then definitely don’t go into Resident Evil 4 expecting it to even come close to the previous games in that area. However there are a few, although they can be solved pretty much through trial and error and won’t really tax your brain. Some of them include having to highlight three symbols on a dial when you can only move three or four spaces each turn, having to match up a red, green and blue colored pattern by rotating each color (they overlap) to match the main symbol, and having to rotate a 3D symbol in various directions to match a 2D one.

I would’ve liked to see a bit more in the way of puzzles and tougher ones, but I reckon the reason Shinji Mikami opted not to insert many puzzles was to keep the flow of the action high and the action as the focus. Also inserting tough puzzles runs the risk of players getting stuck, and I think he wanted Resident Evil 4 to appeal to a wider audience, as it has.

In addition to all the run and gun action you’ll find in Resident Evil 4, you’ll also find a very cool shooting gallery mini-game hosted by the friendly Merchant, at certain locations. There are four different difficulties and you’ll be given a limited set of weapons with the goal of shooting as many Ganado targets as you can without hitting the Ashley targets. Your given more points for headshots (and lose points for shooting Ashley obviously). If you can manage to hit five targets without missing you’ll have a chance to shoot an extra small target in the background for big points. Score high enough and you’ll be rewarded on each difficulty level (A, B, C, and D). And what is that award? It’s a miniature Resident Evil character toy statue! Complete with a sound effect! I only wish that you could zoom further in on the statues. But it’s a cute bonus nonetheless (yes I said cute) although I wish you could read a description of the characters and enemies and it had more of a bio/bestiary feel. And there are no boss statues (Gah!) but I digress.

I also must mention that the later chapters of Resident Evil 4 start with a bang and end with a freaking atom bomb explosion. The game never lets up as you go from one thrilling chapter to the next and the later portions of Resident Evil 4 really sell the game as beyond great and just when you think you’ve seen the coolest part of the game yet, it continues to surprise with more blows to your face like a rabbid tribesman possessed by Satan himself.

The ending itself is also done extremely well and the graphics shine like an Angel’s light piercing through the darkness of hell. And you’ll be hard pressed not to smile particularly as the characters once again prove to be rather brilliant and end on a more humanistic note than what you’ve seen in any earlier portion of the game.

Unfortunately the last boss fight is somewhat underwhelming, even though it’s still looks pretty cool and can be challenging to boot. You still expect more though given how great all the previous boss fights have been. But that’s saying something given that the average boss fight in Resident Evil 4 is better than most ending boss fights in other games.

Extras in Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition include unlockable outfits and difficulty settings, unlockable weapons and several side-games and other modes. Such as:

Assignment Ada is the first mode you will unlock and it’s also the least exciting. The mode is similar to previous extra Resident Evil modes such as Hunk and Tofu in Resident Evil 2 in that the mode is set during a certain portion of the main game. In this case, you play through a lab portion that’s a latter part of Resident Evil 4, except as the name suggests here you control Ada herself. She plays virtually the same as Leon except with a few kick moves and a bit more grace. You are limited to the amount of weapons you have as well as how much you can carry, but you’ll pick up lots of ammo, healing items and grenades along the way just as you will in the regular game. Your goal in Assignment Ada is to pick up 5 Plaga Samples and then head to the extraction point, which will literally be the end of the road, as the game is pretty linear. Naturally, you will have to fight off swarms and swarms of Ganados along the way, and this mode can be quite difficult. Sadly, once you’ve gone through it once it becomes much easier and on your second pass you will be able to beat it in a matter of minutes if you can remember where the samples are and survive the onslaught of enemies. Your reward for all this is a further glimpse into a familiar foe from the past, and a bit more information on the story behind the story of Resident Evil 4.

Separate Ways originally appeared in as an extra in the PS2 version of Resident Evil 4 and is about as far removed from Assignment Ada as you can get in that it serves as five whole new chapters to the game and is much more than a simple side-game. The mode has you playing as Ada and you view basically the whole of Resident Evil 4 from her viewpoint. This allows you to get to see what Ada was doing while Leon was doing his thing, and it gives you much more insight not only into Ada but also into a classic Resident Evil villain who rears his ugly head once again. This mode is really cool and in some ways plays like a condensed version of the main game, complete with new bosses and one new area (in addition to being able to see previously unseen sides of areas you played through with Leon). Ada herself handles similar to Leon but with more grace and a few different moves for attacking enemies using the Action button and climbing up ledges. You can use her hookshot however to reach high locations, but you only use it in a few instances and it’s no big deal at all (they could’ve done cooler things with it). And it’s also interesting getting to use the crossbow in something that is closer to the main game than the Mercenaries mode. Graphically Separate Ways doesn’t look as good as the rest of the game since it was built on PS2, and that includes the use of CG cut-scenes instead of cut-scenes that use the in-game engine like the GameCube version used. It would’ve been nice had they spruced Separate Ways up some for the Wii version but it’s not a big deal.

Separate Ways will most satisfy those who were looking for more info on the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Resident Evil 4 storyline, those that have played the previous Resident Evils and were looking for more ties to previous games than what the main Los Iluminados storyline offered.

Finally there is The Mercenaries. This is flat-out the funnest mode of the three and the one with the most replay value. It’s also one of the best extra modes in Resident Evil extra-mode history as well as doubling as a throwback to previous games (Resident Evil 3 also contained a similar mode with the same title but it’s obviously completely different in feel given the Resident Evil 4 mold) in more ways than one. The goal is to score points by killing as many Ganados as you possibly can, and you rack up combos by killing enemies within a couple seconds of each other. Spread throughout the stage are ammo, health and extra time pick-ups that will add to your score, and you start with one character and unlock more by scoring a four-star rating on each one of the four stages, until you have five characters to choose from. This mode is extremely fun and will definitely satisfy those that like to try and beat their high scores. That offers the game a lot of replay value, even though you get better as you play resulting in your ability to likely score a four-star rating on your first go around with some of the new characters. Regardless this is an excellent mode.

Other Extras in Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition include a Movie Browser (let’s you watch all the cut-scenes in the game, although it lacks a “Play All” button . . .), Ada’s Report, which is simply the dialogue scenes with Ada narrating that you’ll see while playing through Seperate Ways, and that reveal more information on what exactly Ada is up to, who she’s working for, and where her agenda really lies. Also included is a trailer for Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.

As far as cons or complaints go, the few that I have are minor. First off, using the Wii Remotes D-pad to control the camera doesn’t work nearly as well as it did on the GameCube or PS2 where it was mapped to the extra joystick. Going from 3D movement where you look in increments or easily point the camera where you want to 2D movement (using the D-Pad) is really a step back, even though there was no other way around it given the controls the Wii offer. Although this doesn’t really effect the game, it can be an annoyance particularly because you can’t really walk in one direction and point the camera in another since the D-Pad is far up on the Remote. It’s annoying but there’s nothing you can do about it and it doesn’t effect gameplay so it’s simply a nitpick.

Another sort of complaint is that, in my humble opinion, Resident Evil 4 just isn’t as scary as the previous Resident Evil games, in particular the remake of the first game on GameCube. It lacks the haunting mood of those games to a large degree although I think the persistent action and your real ability to fight back is also part of it. Although it’s easy to die in Resident Evil 4 (You will die a lot) the tension of knowing you can die at any moment isn’t as pronounced.

The only other complaint also isn’t really a complaint, but it stems from the fact that the game on normal difficulty throws way too many items at you, since you can pick up ammo from enemies, and you’re almost certain to run out of space in your inventory or wish for more. And although you’ll get it eventually, you will come to a dead end near the end of the game after you’ve upgraded your inventory to hold as much as the game lets you, and you’ll still likely want more space. However this was also a trademark of previous Resident Evils, where you were only given so many slots to hold items and would have to backtrack to a Item Box if you didn’t have the space. Oh and for those that are wondering, no ink ribbons do not return, you can save at any typewriter as long as many times as you want, no ink ribbons necessary.

Overall Resident Evil 4 is easily one of the best games you’ll ever play. It delivers in every area and simply is a whole ton of fun with enough content to keep you occupied for over 30 hours or so. You really can go no wrong with Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition which is the premier version of the game to own, and a such a cheap price there is no reason every Wii owner shouldn’t have this game in their collections (unless you already played the heck out of the GameCube or PS2 versions).

Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Guy

Resident Evil 4 elevated the action game to a new level. The semi-first-person behind-the-back shooting perspective really opens the game up, allowing you complete control over where your bullets land. The Wii controls work great even if they seem cumbersome at first, you’ll get used to them. But overall Resident Evil 4 delivers the goods without breaking a sweat, packing more action into the first half than other games do throughout, and then ends on an extremely high note with a slew of awesome scenes that really show off how great of a developer Shinji Mikami and his team are. When you add all the additional unlockables on top of it, including the extremely fun Mercenaries mode and the extra story chapters carried over from the PS2 version, then even the most cynical person will be hard pressed to find fault. In the end though it’s fun factor that determines a game’s score at this site, and Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition can proudly hang with the best of them and keep you thrilled and on the edge of your seat the whole way through. It’s quite simply a blast, literally.

Graphics: 9.5
Resident Evil 4 looks very, very nice. Even though the textures show their age and there’s some ailising, etc., you’re really nitpicking at that point. The game’s environments are so impressive that I often found myself simply looking around to take in the view, almost wishing for a pure first-person perspective. The best part though is that the graphics get better as the game goes on and Resident Evil 4 has an extremely diverse collection of environments. You’ll also consistently be impressed with the cut-scenes that don’t even have to use CG, the in-game graphics are that good. It consistently impresses and proves once again that you don’t even need true next-gen graphics to wow the player.

Wii & GameCube graphical comparison (note: chainsaw decapitation does happen in the Wii version)

Music & Sound: 8.0
Resident Evil 4 has an outstanding collection of sound effects, from unique gun-shoots for each weapon to the creepy sound of the games enemies. The soundtrack meanwhile fits like a glove, even if it lacks greatness to the extent that you won’t find yourself wanting to play the music leisurely and just listen to it. That being said, it has a motion-picture quality to it, enhancing the mood fantastically, both with ambient effects and the music itself. Although actual tunes take a back-seat. It’s no Silent Hill. The voice work itself is outstanding although it does have some repetition in certain parts that really annoys.

Ingenuity: 9.5
Reinventing the way action games (and horror games themselves) work, Resident Evil 4 still manages to impress with all it’s context-sensitive situations and brilliant interactive cut-scenes that make you go “Wow!” The shooting perspective also adds a tremendous deal and makes the game extremely fun to shoot enemies. Resident Evil 4 won awards for a reason, and ingenuity was definitely one of them. It took the Resident Evil series in a new direction and succeeds brilliantly.

Presentation: 9.0

Clean menus, awesome cut-scenes, lots of modes, great graphics and a fitting soundtrack. The only complaint I’d lodge is the repetitive voicework which rears it’s ugly head when you are buying from the Merchant, and can grate on the nerves when Ashley is being kidnapped. Not a gamebreaker but they should’ve limited the Merchants comments.

Replay Value: 9.0
Resident Evil 4 offers lots to do and see. If you want to play the campaign more than once then you’ll be rewarded with new weapons, extra unlockable outfits and harder difficulty settings. If you want to do more after the game then it is offered with the extensive Separate Ways mode (which took me six hours on my first play through) and the Assignment Ada game. Then you have the Mercenaries mode which is loads of fun and a game you’ll that you can play in short doses for some quick fun. Finally the target shooting mini-game is there for those who want to top their high scores and aren’t satisfied with the Mercenaries mode. And although there’s no multiplayer, you can also try to beat the high scores of your friends in these modes or try for a higher ranking at the end of the main campaign, which ranks you after every chapter in various categories from deaths to kills to saves, like has been the case with every Resident Evil game. There are no multiple endings in Resident Evil 4 however.