Article written by: cvxfreak


Discuss This Article
Other Special Features

Media >

 




biohazard 4 (
バイオハザード4): Wii Edition Review
"The Definitive Version of a Classic"

Since its release over two years ago, fans of Resident Evil 4 never had what could be considered the "ultimate version" of the game. The two versions released for consoles were on GameCube and PlayStation 2. The GameCube version, released first, contained superior visuals, audio and controls, but it lacked the extra features that were only in the PlayStation 2 version, released nearly one year later with inferior graphics, sound and controls. Depending on one's desire for either graphics and sound, or content extras, both versions were just about as good as the other and which was the better version was debatable.

The Wii Edition of Resident Evil 4 (indeed as has been renamed) solves the debate and takes the title as the definitive version of this classic game by Capcom. Capcom's taken the best aspects of both versions of Resident Evil 4 and combined them into one neat package at a discounted price ($30 in the U.S.) with new Wii Remote controls that work very well. So in Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, you'll get GameCube quality visuals and audio with all the extras features of the PlayStation 2 version.

As an overview, Resident Evil 4 is an action game and a departure from the previous games in the series. Rather than adopt the pure survival horror elements characterized by third person angles, zombie shootouts, slow movement and puzzle solving, Resident Evil 4 begins after the off-screen (until Umbrella Chronicles, that is) destruction of the Umbrella Corporation and is much more action oriented and takes a behind-the-character perspective. Controlling Leon S. Kennedy, protagonist from Resident Evil 2, we search through villages, castles, and island fortresses for the U.S. president's lost daughter, Ashley Graham, while wading through violent formerly-human creatures called Ganados. These creatures, more intelligent, aggressive and faster than the old zombies, will do anything to stop Leon: wield weapons, strangle him, blow him up and electrocute him. As the game progresses and Leon meets other people (or creatures), the story of the game's circumstances unfolds. You won't find a brilliant storyline like you might in the Silent Hill games, but Capcom's gone to lengths to make sure the B-story is coherent and well written.

Leon has an array of weapons, available both throughout the game's worlds and through a mysterious merchant; he can upgrade the speed, power, reload speed and bullet capacity as he progresses and earns PTAS, the game's currency, by killing monsters or finding them about. All Leon has to do is survive and move throughout the game worlds, progressing from area to area. Occasionally he'll be accompanied by Ashley, which turns the game into a bit of an escort affair, but the game's well-programmed AI and availability of hiding spots makes escorting Ashley no trouble at all. Movement is a bit slower than other action games, but a step up from survival horror games. The enemies are killed by aiming an equipped weapon, which causes the camera angle to move up behind Leon, and shooting them. The game recognizes areas of the enemy's body that are shot and enemies, most of the time, react appropriately. Still, shooting doesn't become predictable, as the game is designed so that you don't go for damaging headshots or crippling leg shots the whole time, forcing you to take on a variety of shooting tactics. The environment can help or hinder Leon; if sees a barrel full of oil, he can shoot it to explode, taking out a group of enemies, but he may get injured himself if he is too close. The whole gameplay dynamic of Resident Evil 4 works very well and makes for a fun experience with a reasonable difficulty.

Leon S. Kennedy isn't the only controllable character. You'll control Ashley for a short segment, and you'll have two different adventures to control Ada Wong, a female agent also from Resident Evil 2. One of the adventures is a mini game collectathon with the same gameplay as the main game, Assignment Ada as it's called is a fun and short experience, but Separate Ways, the name of the other adventure and previously exclusive to PlayStation 2, offers five chapters, some short, some a little longer. Ada is faster and more versatile than Leon, being able to access different areas, operating under different objectives. Another mini game called Mercenaries is also included, which focuses on the action. Points are rewarded for killing many enemies within a time limit. The availability of a Professional difficulty mode after beating the game once, unlockable weapons, and all the side games gives Resident Evil 4 tons of replay value, although not nearly as cool as the previous games in the series with different endings and multiple paths as an incentive of replay.

The mere combining of the two versions alone does not make the Wii Edition the definitive one. Rather, it's the inclusion of the well-executed Wii Remote controls that push this version over the top. The new Wii Remote controls feel much more natural and accurate than the old control pad. The Wii Remote, combined with the nunchuck, is used for multiple functions.

The first and most obvious change is aiming. In the GC and PS2 versions, aiming was done with the analog stick guided by a laser, which was somewhat accurate but not completely so. Now, just move the Wii Remote around, pointed at the TV screen where the Wii sensor bar should be located, and guided by the new crosshair that's replaced the laser, shoot enemies by holding B and pressing A. The result is much more accurate aiming and less lag time between targeting enemies. While aiming wasn't truly a problem in the original versions, the Wii controls make them seem rather archaic and clumsy in comparison.

That's not all the Wii Remote adds. From the controller's speakers, you can hear weapons as they are reloaded (by holding B and shaking the remote lightly), a subtle but welcome addition. Also, by holding no button and shaking the Wii Remote, the knife is automatically called and targets the nearest enemy, a very seamless transition from gun to knife. In Resident Evil 4, some cutscene and action sequences required buttons to be tapped either repeatedly or within a very small timeframe in order to avoid dying, for example mashing the A or X buttons in the previous versions to avoid a rolling boulder from running Leon over. The Wii Edition keeps a few of the button presses, but replaces most of them with side-to-side shaking of the Wii Remote, which isn't necessarily a better change but certainly not a worse one either. The Wii Remote also rumbles when the reticule targets an enemy or object (along with the reticule turning red), which is good so the gamer will know when to shoot.

The Wii controls are very natural and accurate, and allow for the best possible immersive experience. Unlike many other games in which Wii Remote controls were tacked on that were otherwise traditionally controlled, Resident Evil 4 is quite a natural fit. The stunning accuracy provided by the Wii Remote and the surprisingly interesting functions with the knife are a welcome addition.

Despite the excellent Wii Remote controls, there are small imperfections that prevent them from being 100% perfect. The game does become considerably easier thanks to the super-accurate aiming, despite Capcom's efforts to offset this by adding more enemies than were in the previous versions. In a few segments that required the accuracy of a sniper rifle in the previous versions, in the Wii Edition's accuracy precludes the necessity of a sniper rifle in this version, bringing the difficulty down somewhat. In gameplay segments that built themselves on the limitations of button schemes, such as the mashing of buttons periodically to defeat an enemy with the knife, the Wii Remote's swings register far more than button presses did, adding to the decreased difficulty. In portions in which the gameplay difficulty was based upon an enemy's distance, once again the Wii Remote eliminates that difficulty. Weapons such as the sniper rifle, for whatever reason, are still controlled with the analog stick, providing a slight inconsistency in accuracy. Still, the Wii Edition's exclusive controls are quite fitting of the game and it's still quite enjoyable. While the game does become considerably easier, new players will find a reasonable challenge, a lengthy (in a good way) and entertaining experience. If anything, these difficulty changes caused by the Wii Remote signal the change of difficulty driven by controller limitations to ones based purely on good AI.

For those who want to continue using the traditional controls, the Wii Edition is still right for you. Just plug in a GameCube or a Classic Controller and the game will automatically detect them (assuming you don't have a nunchuck plugged into the Wii Remote). The game, in that respect, controls just like the GameCube version, using the laser to aim. The Classic Controller works nicely, especially for those gamers who prefer to use a D-Pad to move the characters, but there is no rumble capability in the Classic Controller.

Graphically, you'll find almost the exact same graphics as the GC version, even in Separate Ways, which was previously on the PS2 only. This means the Wii Edition has the more complex geometry, far superior lighting and lack of slowdown that were absent in the PS2 version. The game looked stunning and was easily one of the best looking games on both GC and PS2, and even on the Wii it looks spectacular. The characters and environments are modeled very well, and the fire and water effects are stunning. The art direction is top notch, and the game uses the capabilities of the GC and PS2 well.

As for the Wii, which is marginally but still noticeably more powerful than the GC, the game doesn't quite push the system and no upgrades were made to take advantage of the Wii's extra horsepower with the exception of eliminating the very few spots that slowdown on GC. For one, the 16-bit color that lowered the image quality of the GC version is back, and in 2007 is more noticeable than ever; on an HDTV the 16-bit color really sticks out, making the game's textures dither. It's unfortunate Capcom couldn't, for whatever reason, bring the color depth up to 24-bit like the PS2 version to eliminate dithering; therefore, the PS2 version still has the best image quality of all versions, despite the better graphical prowess of the GC and Wii versions. The Wii Edition, like the PS2 version, runs natively in widescreen, unlike the faked widescreen on GC, but there doesn't seem to be any visual optimization for true widescreen; it seems as if the image was stretched to be widescreen, hence the 16-bit color much more noticeable and annoying in the Wii version than on GC. Still, the game looks very good, but in the era of next-gen graphics, it doesn't quite hold up as well as it did in 2005.

The cutscene movies on PS2 were not realtime cutscene movies, unlike the GC. By being realtime, cutscenes would reflect changes in the game's environment as a result of the gameplay, such as costume changes or environmental damage. On the PS2, the cutscenes, alongside looking less sharp than the GC's cutscenes, would always feature Leon in his standard costume despite the possibility of him wearing an alternate costume. The Wii Edition, oddly enough, uses both PS2 and GC non-realtime and realtime cutscenes. In Leon's game and Assignment Ada, the GC realtime cutscenes are used, so they blend seamlessly with the game. However, Separate Ways, previously PS2 exclusive, uses the non-realtime cutscenes just like on the PS2, so the cutscenes in Ada's Separate Ways adventure look noticeably worse than the ones in Leon's game or in Assignment Ada. Likewise, when using the costumes in the main game previously exclusive to PS2, the cutscenes won't reflect the new costumes and revert to the standard costumes (the scenes will still be in GC quality realtime). Oddly enough, the Movie Browser available after beating the game once seems to use the PS2 non-realtime scenes, thus making them look lower quality than the ones in the game themselves. Overall, the inconsistency of the presentation in the Wii version is a bit disappointing, but thankfully the best possible combination or cutscenes was used.

Audio quality is the same on Wii as it was on GC, which was, superior to the mysteriously muted audio in the PS2 version. Therefore, the Wii Edition is the first time gamers can listen to Separate Ways without the PS2 audio downgrades. The game's soundtrack, while not as memorable as the other Resident Evil games, fits the game's theme and is well composed. The voice acting is well done, with the voices showing the appropriate emotions, somewhat uncharacteristic with the older games in the Resident Evil series. Sound effects, such as bullets being shot, Ganados screaming, grenades exploding and creatures being stabbed and crushed, are all top quality and sound very realistic and gruesome.

To conclude, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition is the best version of one of the best games ever. Capcom solves the debate of whether the PS2 or GC versions were superior by taking the best aspects of both and releasing it at a low price. The new addition to this version, the Wii Remote controls, improve the game and make it more immersive despite slightly undesirable dips in difficulty. The graphics and audio are high quality, although the visuals on the Wii are disappointingly still in 16-bit color and have aged somewhat since 2005. For only $29.99 USD, especially if you never played Resident Evil 4, you're buying an entertaining game at a great value. If you own a previous version, you might as well sell those and upgrade to the Wii Edition; the new controls are worth experiencing.

 

 



Copyright Biohaze.com 2005-2013 / Designed by George Melita (YamaINK)
Biohazard / Resident Evil are property of ęCapcom Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.