There’s a reason Resident Evil 4 is still talked about to this day. The game marked a massive departure from the traditional Resident Evil formula, heralding a new approach to survival horror from which developers have been taking inspiration for years since. It’s slick, scary, and as fun to play now as it was when it was first released.
Now, nearly 20 years after Leon Kennedy first went in search of the president’s daughter, Capcom has remade and rebuilt the entire experience from scratch, bringing a familiar setting and story and twisting it slightly to make one of the best horror games even better than ever.
Fundamentally, this is still the same Resident Evil 4 that launched in 2005. But with a revamped knife, a new approach to the attache case, new AI for the deadly Ganados, and a heap of other gameplay tweaks, it feels like a brand-new game. Here’s what you can expect from the new and improved Resident Evil 4 Remake when it launches on March 24.
Knife to meet you
Leon’s knife in Resident Evil 4 was an integral part of your toolkit. Not only was it useful for smashing open crates and barrels when searching for ammo, but it could keep Ganados briefly at bay when you got cornered, and even get a few good attacks in when an enemy was knocked down and you needed to save ammo.
You’ll be glad to hear that Leon has kept his knife for the remake, but it’s not quite as formidable as before. Instead of slashing wildly at everything that comes near, you’ll need to conserve your knife usage alongside your ammo, as each knife attack will cause its durability to drop. And once it’s broken, you won’t be able to use it at all until it’s repaired.
It’s not all bad, though. For one, ammo-carrying boxes can be broken with a swift kick instead of a knife swipe, saving you from having to make a repair just to get some bullets. On top of that, your knife is now even more powerful, capable of parrying enemy attacks – yes, that includes the incoming chainsaw of the infamous Dr Salvador. And you can even stealthily kill the Ganados, stabbing them in the throat for a silent one-hit-kill, which can save you a lot of bullets.
You’ll also be able to upgrade the knife when trading with the merchant, increasing its durability, and saving you from having to repair it quite so often. So don’t worry, the knife will still be your best friend – you just need to treat it a little better.
Attached to the attache
Ah, the attache case. Resident Evil 4’s inventory system is absolutely iconic, offering a small puzzle element to break up the terrifying action of the rest of the game. And it’s back for the remake, with some slight twists.
This time around, instead of just increasing the size of your attache, you’ll also be able to pick new styles. These styles don’t just look nice either – different cases will offer different gameplay perks to help you on your journey. The silver attache, for example, will increase your chances at finding handgun ammo, which will be handy in a pinch.
You’ll also be able to unlock new charms for your case, which confer other bonuses. The Chicken Charm, for example, gives you full health when eating a chicken egg – an extremely useful perk to have in the Village section of the game, where chickens can be more abundant than herbs. These charms are unlocked through side quests, so you’ll need to explore to get them all and give yourself a fighting chance.
Behind you, imbecile!
The Ganados weren’t exactly dumb in the original Resident Evil 4 – it’s hard to keep track of how many times one would duck out of the way of your perfectly-aligned headshot while another snuck up behind you to axe you in the back. But in the remake, these infected villagers have gotten even smarter.
You’ll see some familiar faces among the crowds of enemies, but they still won’t be happy to see you, and they have some new tactics for killing you. Unarmed Ganados can grab you and hold you in place so that an armed friend can deal bigger damage, for example, so staying out of arm’s reach has never been so important. Like we said in our Resident Evil 4 Remake review, every single encounter feels like a set-piece, thanks in some part to these improved enemies.
There are some new enemy types to contend with as well. Expect to run into a particularly creepy new Ganado who likes to wear a cow head and attack you with a hammer. If that doesn’t instil fear in you, nothing will.
A local’s way of breaking the ice
That’s not all that’s been changed, of course. A number of smaller adjustments have come to Resident Evil 4, remixing the experience you know and love to keep it fresh and interesting, even for players who’ve completed the original version multiple times over.
Anyone who’s played the Chainsaw Demo can tell you that the Hunter’s Lodge has been dramatically overhauled, with a new layout, and a much scarier conclusion. Expect to see your favourite locations expanded and altered in ways that you won’t see coming.
There are smaller adjustments too. Crouching is no longer contextual and instead has its own dedicated button – perfect for all the stealth kills you’ll be performing. Mixing herbs will still be a key part of the game, but crafting as a whole has been expanded, so you can make your own ammo and more. And we haven’t even touched on the graphical improvements, which you can see for yourself. This is the best Resident Evil 4 has ever looked, and the best it’s ever performed.
You don’t have long to wait until you can step back into Leon’s shoes and set out on your horrifying adventure. Resident Evil 4 launches on Steam and Epic Games Store on March 24, with a demo available right now. Grab your knife and put on your nicest jacket – you’re gonna need them.