Resident Evil 4 was first released in January of 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube. Since then it has been released on seven other platforms and is still touted as one of the greatest video games ever made. Resident Evil 4 HD marks the first time the game has been upscaled to high definition, but does the game you remember fondly hold up? Oftentimes, returning to a game held so dearly, one will be sorely disappointed and can even wonder if the initial love for the game was just naivety or an imagined romance. Thankfully, that is definitely not the case for Resident Evil 4 HD.
The six-year-old game still looks great. The art and graphics scale well and despite a few graphical glitches, it’s amazing how the game looks beside its standard definition counterpart. The graphical glitches don’t detract from the game, but do stand out, as they weren’t apparent in any of the versions before this. The game’s sound doesn’t quite reach the same level as the visuals do. Many of the in-game sounds (particularly pause menus and save spots) sound remarkably standard for this high-definition upscaling. All in all, though, the game’s look and sound are still mostly intact and won’t diminish a newcomer’s initial experience with the game.
Resident Evil 4 HD‘s controls feel a little dated, especially after playing Resident Evil 4 on the Wii. The one analog stick for movement and aiming definitely shows its age, but I did quickly sink back into the game after I got used to the six-year-old controls. If you’re not a fan of motion controls then this is the version you want, but if you are willing to use a weird controller and sacrifice the visuals for better precision in your aiming then go for the Wii Edition’s controls.
One of the great, big draws for veterans to the game is the implementation of achievement/trophy support. Unfortunately, since it’s a downloadable game, the trophies are few, and not remarkably creative. Seven out of the twelve trophies the game offers are based on story progression, and are unmissable on the first playthrough. The rest of them lack the extra challenge fans hoped for since the announcement of the HD version. Having played through Resident Evil 4 more times than I can count, I feel there are a lot of missed opportunities for trophies in this package. Achievements and trophies don’t usually fall into the category of “reviewable,” but for a game that presents them as if they are a bonus feature, it is an incredibly disappointing one.
The bottom line, though, is Resident Evil 4 HD is still Resident Evil 4. The mechanics are still great, the art and score are still mesmerizing, Ashley is still annoying and Leon’s dialogue is still awkward. It is a must-have purchase for series purists or die-hard fans of the game. Resident Evil 4 HD is a great title for anyone, but at the twenty-dollar price tag it’s hard to recommend it to players who only have a slight interest in it when there are so many other versions of the game at much cheaper prices. If said players have the necessary equipment to play this title on another console (besides the iPhone, Zeebo, or PC) and can live without high definition visuals, they may want to think about picking up a cheaper copy for the GameCube, the PlayStation 2, or, especially, the Wii. However, if you want the convenience of digital download and can spare a few extra bucks, this game is worth every penny because there is still a lot of fun to be had with it even after 6 long years.