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BIOHAZARD 4 PC REVIEW

A little over two years ago Biohazard 4 was released for the Nintendo Gamecube. Shocking the entire videogame world with stunning 3D realism, new gameplay mechanics and an engaging story, it became one of the untouchable titles of the generation. Just months before it's initial release, a PlayStation 2 version was confirmed for later next year.
This caused some shock around the Biohazard community, considering Shinji Mikami, father of Biohazard and director of Biohazard 4, promised exclusiveness to the Gamecube. Mikami-san went as far as to say he'd cut his own head off if this were to happen. Luckily he didn't go through with it.

Included in the PlayStation 2 version was an entirely new scenario, Separate Ways. This expanded the story of Ada Wong, further explaining her motives. Separate Ways also introduced valuable plot information for upcoming Biohazard titles. This was never released on the Gamecube, so player would have to buy the PlayStation 2 version to experience this.

A few months after the PlayStation 2 version was released one of our own members discovered Biohazard 4 may be coming to PC. Reactions everywhere were the same, doubtful. However, it ended up being a reality. Most players were excited to see how well the game could look on a high end PC and today we have the answers, as we are one of the first to get our hands on a import copy.

Graphics
The graphics in Biohazard 4 were always one the games stronger points. The Gamecube version was highly detailed and ran everything in real time, including cut scenes. The PlayStation 2 version was a drop in quality, a noticeable amount of detail was lost in the translation and the cut scenes were not in real time, thus taking away costume visibility. Sadly, the PC version is the worst out of the three.

Running at maximum resolution the game has a welcomed sharpness to it, considering the other two were a bit grainy, even in (480p). However, that is where it ends. First off, the port itself is from the PlayStation 2 version, so any details left out for the PS2 are missing here as well. On top of it, it is missing more detail and textures, thus giving off a flat look. Surrounding structures look flat and vegetation looks like a jagged mess, it's almost hard to see at times.

The cut scenes are not in-game and run at a set 512 x 336 resolution. No higher feeds are available, so prepare for blurry scenes to compliment your overall sharp play through. This definitely takes the player out of the game even more so than the PlayStation 2 version.

The character models have a small drop off, but running in higher resolution they are actually the one thing that looks acceptable. Maps and text look better, but there are a ton of small details that were never updated for the PC version and remain running at very low resolution, thus sticking out like a sore thumb. The best example would be the life bar. The frame rate is locked at 30fps, but remains solid throughout the game. There is little if any noticeable drops.

Sound
The sound in the game has also dropped from the Gamecube version, with missing tracks and compressed audio. It doesn't have as many sound pops and pitch errors as the PlayStation 2 version though. It's certainly deal able and even nice at times, when everything is in place.

Controls
Playing any console game on the PC without a game controller usually results in disaster, this one is no different. The keyboard and mouse method is barely playable. More effort could have resulted in an enjoyable control scheme, but the time was never utilized and it shows. With a game pad it works well. The configuration takes a minute or so and offers various schemes. Played the game with two USB controllers, each worked about identical.

The sensitivity was lessened, feeling less responsive and the aiming mechanic was noticeably tweaked. Sometimes the laser will go through items or enemies and out the other side instead of stopping, which resulted in some painful memories. Either way, I actually credit the group in this area. Building a game around hundreds of compatible controllers and finding one medium that works well with them all is a tough task and it actually worked very well. A few more options for unique customization would have helped, but otherwise it was fine.

Overall
While the door was open to make a fantastic game even better, the opportunity wasn't taken advantage of. The PC version of Biohazard 4 is playable, but does not do the game justice in any area it originally excelled. Aside from better resolutions and having all of the PlayStation 2 extras, it is a downgrade in every other way.

 


 



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