Developed and Published by Capcom
Yes it is more than worth $30.
What’s that? You want a whole review? Fair enough.
To save me breaking open a fresh box of eulogies, you should definitely check out the review of the original GameCube version of the game that we ran when it came out two and a bit years ago; the one where I called Resident Evil 4 the best game I’d ever played.
So do I still stand by that two and a half years later? Actually yes I do. There’s no question that the graphics are no longer as impressive as they were back then, especially if you’ve gotten used to this whole HD thing, but the strengths of the graphics remain the same as they were then.
Resident Evil 4 wasn’t a technical showcase even when it came out. A top tier game certainly, but what really made RE4‘s graphics so impressive were the attention to detail and art design. Those are still impressive today, and while the game would certainly look better running on a high end PC or a next gen console compared to other games on the Wii, RE4: Wii Edition is surprisingly still amongst the best.
No major improvements have been made from the GameCube version when it comes to the way the game looks and sounds. True widescreen rather than letterboxed widescreen is now an option, which is no small thing, but that is really the only change. The sound remains identical; not a polygon on Leon’s head has been adjusted.
It’s a little disappointing they didn’t go a little bit further with it, as despite not being a powerhouse, the Wii is more competent than its purple box like cousin. But as I said, the game has held up rather well.
Oh and yes, with an asking price of $30 it would be pretty stupid of me to expect more than we get for our money.
Without question, RE4: Wii Edition is the definitive version of the game. It has the best graphics of any version (including the PC version). It has the best sound of any version. It has all the bonus content from the PS2 release (which has seen some improvements). It has the much improved new control scheme. Hell, even if you hate aiming with the Wiimote you’re covered as the game supports both the GameCube controller and the Wii Classic Controller.
So how do those new controls work exactly and what makes them so great? Well for the most part they work exactly as I’ve been imagining RE4 would control on the Wii since long before a version was ever announced for the system. You control Leon’s movements with the nunchuck in your left hand. The stick moves him just as it did on previous versions, with the large Z trigger working as your run button. Down and run performs a quick 180 degree turn. The C button goes into knife aiming mode, though you’ll likely never use it.
So far so normal. Where it gets interesting is what’s going on in your right hand. The A button is your action button. The 1 button brings up the map. The minus button is your inventory. The plus button you’ll use to tell Ashley what to do when she’s with you. The B trigger brings you into aiming mode and this is where the key difference comes in.
Rather than aiming with the analogue stick as in previous versions, in aim mode you aim using the Wii’s pointer. If you aren’t familiar with the Wii controller, it works kind of like a 3D mouse, or a laser pointer. To aim up you point it up, and so on.
One thing you might not like, is that to turn Leon’s view you’ll still have to use the analogue stick. Leon turns quickly, and if you’ve played Zelda Twilight Princess you’ll already be used to the system. It does take a little bit of time getting used to it, but it works just fine. An option to have the screen turn when your crosshairs get near the edge would have been ideal, but I think I’d have found myself using the system in place.
Aiming this way transforms the game in quite a few ways. First of all, the laser sight of old is gone (though it’s back if you play with the Classic Controller or the GameCube pad). Instead you have a crosshair that floats on top of everything. Even when you aren’t aiming your crosshairs are on screen to help keep your bearing. Pull that B trigger and your crosshairs turn green, or red if you’re aiming at something that can be shot. Then you just hit A to shoot.
To make it even easier, while you’re aiming as you pass over something you can shoot, the Wiimote vibrates slightly which feels really good and helps you key in very quickly to the new aiming system.
After just a short while of getting used to the new system (a much quicker learning curve than the old one I might add) you’ll be pulling of rapid headshots in quick succession and other things that you couldn’t have done with the analogue aiming.
Naturally this makes the game slightly easier. You’ll have an easier time managing your ammo (something which wasn’t too difficult to begin with) and you’ll get out of stickier situations than before. To compensate the number of enemies you encounter has been increased, but there’s one other thing to remember: Resident Evil 4 always had an automatically adjusting difficulty.
If you’re flying through the game it’s going to throw tougher stuff at you than if you’re getting killed over and over again.
While the game is unquestionably slightly easier, that doesn’t harm the experience one bit as it hasn’t so much removed any challenge as it has removed some of the annoyances with the old aiming.
That isn’t the only change for the better. While you can use your knife just as you did before, by holding in the C button and aiming with the analogue stick and attacking with the A button, you’ll never need to.
Flick the Wiimote at any time when you aren’t in aim mode and Leon will turn automatically and swipe at the nearest thing. Again, this does make the game slightly easier, but it makes breaking open boxes and crates for ammo so much less annoying that there’s no question that it’s an improvement. Hell it just feels better to physically swipe the Wiimote to get Leon to swipe his knife. In aim mode the same motion works as reload which isn’t really an improvement one way or another.
One final little change is in the interactive cutscenes. Now, you’ll occasionally be called upon to shake the Wiimote or turn it like a crank rather than just repeatedly hammering a button, which is something I won’t miss.
There is one thing I do miss, though; in the original game there was a degree of randomization as to the buttons you’d be called upon to mash or hit in combination during these cutscenes. It always kept you on your toes as if you reacted incorrectly the game would often punish you for it. While there are still some cutscenes that have randomized inputs, a great number of cutscenes that used to have randomized inputs don’t anymore.
It’s a very small complaint, but it’s the only area where it feels like the change wasn’t for the better which is why I point it out. The motions are nice but why not ask me to swipe to the left instead of the right, or to shake the wiimote side to side instead of up or down instead of just letting general shaking do the trick.
“Separate Ways”, from the PS2 version, has been polished up a little, though you’ll definitely notice that it doesn’t look quite as good as the main quest, it has been improved from how the PS2 version looked. It still uses videos instead of in engine cutscenes, but it’s great to have the GameCube models and textures in there instead of the lower quality ones the PS2 had.
I feel I should say a little about “Separate Ways” for anyone who had the GameCube version of the game and is looking to upgrade.
“Separate Ways” has you playing as Ada Wong, the femme fatale who pops up a number of times during Leon’s main quest. The mission gives you a bit more insight into what she was doing as Leon was having his adventure, as well as revealing that Ada was behind one or two key occurrences that happen during the game.
It’s fun to play through the same environments with different enemies and usually taking a different route to Leon did, and it’s fun to use Adas grappling hook to get on top of things that Leon couldn’t get up to, but the overall quality of the experience isn’t quite up to the very high standard of the main game. One thing it isn’t is as big as the main quest.
Ada’s adventure is split into 5 chapters, with each taking around an hour on average. The next chapter usually skips ahead a little, so instead of carrying on from where you left off, you’ll usually skip ahead to a later area in the game meaning that you still won’t know exactly what Ada was up to the whole time.
It’s a great extra though all the same as it does give a lot of backstory to the main quest and while it’s lacking in new enemies and bosses, there is one brand new area you’ll get to play through which is probably the highlight of the experience.
So really the question it comes down to is this. Have you played Resident Evil 4 before? If you haven’t and you’ve got a Wii or plan to get one, this game is more than worth your $30 and is definitely the version you want to be picking up. If you haven’t played the game in a while and feel like you could play through it again, or if you only played the cube version, then I’d definitely recommend you consider picking it up as the Wii controls really do make the experience better.
It feels like there’s one less thing between you and the action happening on screen. It’s easier to get lost in the adventure as you join Leon and Ashley and Ada, even if it’s as familiar to you as it is to me.
5 out of 5
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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review
Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo
Directed by Colin Bemis
Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.
The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.
As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.
Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.
In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.
On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.
In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.
Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.
Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)
We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.
In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!
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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View
Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento
Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as
17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?
What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.
Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?
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