Capcom is an interesting company. They are at the same time guilty of the same rehash tactics that have set many game fans against companies like EA, and yet every so often they release something that feels totally new and familiar at the same time. It's truly a precarious balancing act that oh so many publishers just get plain wrong. So when I originally found out that Capcom was going to make a new Resident Evil for Gamecube I was interested but cautious. When they reveled the change in perspective to an over-the-shoulder view, I thought "looks too arcadey." Then I played the demo and was less than impressed, it felt a tad slow and moving Leon felt like a chore, especially when a crazy villager is busy giving you a colonoscopy with a rusty farm tool and it's taking you half a year to turn around. Then Lunchbox played it and stated simply..."This sucks." So the initial positive reviews immediately raised an eyebrow and got the conspiracy theory motor running. "Exactly how much did Capcom pay these internet jockeys for this suckfest", I thought. So color me elated that I bit the bullet, picked it up, and found out I was completely wrong.
The learning curve on the new control scheme is probably about an hour until you truly grasp the concept of what Capcom was going for in the perspective change. They've given players a full aiming system with laser-sighted weaponry for pinpoint accuracy. Just pop a charging villager in the kneecap and laugh your ass off as (s)he plummets down a flight of stairs. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, a few well placed rounds to the legs and then chest can put a standing villager on the ground in seconds, long enough for you to get your ass to a safer, better, sniping position so you can shatter heads with a bolt-action rifle. Every single scenario in this game can be replayed numerous ways successfully. There's often high-ground places for sniping, short walls and overturned carts for a little hide-and-shoot (comes in handy against arrow wielding bastards), and an aresenal at your disposal for the right price.
All the of the game's many firearms are fully upgradeable, providing for more firepower, which is really what this RE game is all about. Enemies drop plenty of either money (good for purchasing and upgrading weapons and health) or ammo, making it much more action heavy than any other instalment in the series. There were a handful of times I felt like I was running short of ammo, but over the next hill would be a conveniently placed ammo cache and my villager slaughtering happiness would continue unhindered.
What's so familiar about this totally reworked Resident Evil is the enemy progression and "puzzle solving." If you were really so inclined you could parallel the enemies in RE4 with those from any of the past RE games. You graduate from bootlicking pushovers to nasty monsterish freaks to seemingly overpowered brutes in the end game. Those of you familiar with RE "puzzle solving" will once again find the same "insert lion relief into lion relief shaped hole" type obstacles throughout the game but they involve much less backtracking, and therefore, are much less irritating.
Capcom managed to maintain the essence, capture the flavor, if you will, of what a Resident Evil game has always been and infuse it with pinpoint accuracy and overloaded ammo for a monster greasing good time. Anyone with a Gamecube owes it to themselves to at least play this and there are enough extras to unlock and play to warrant a purchase (as if how fucking awesome the game already is wasn't enough for you). In a state of gaming when publishers cling to mascots and franchises hungrily, crapping out rehashed ports and the same moldy gameplay over and over Capcom deserves your praise for brushing off the sure thing and creating something memorable, that is incidentally much more fun to play. Shocking, coming from the house that a million Street Fighter re-releases built. This mother gets one beer from me. Just sit back, grab your favorite brew, choose your instrument of destruction and blast away...it's so damn fun!!!