Resident Evil 4 (2023)

First launched on the GameCube in 2005 and eventually delivered to any system on which Capcom could get their hands, Resident Evil 4 dramatically reinvented the franchise with more aggressive enemies, dynamic environments, and a brand-new camera angle. It has since gone on to be celebrated as one of the finest video games ever made, contributing to the ongoing success of the series. Capcom has taken up the monumental task of remaking this landmark game.

The story remains largely similar to the original with a few tweaks here and there. In the six years since Leon Kennedy survived the events of Resident Evil 2 in Raccoon City, he has become a highly skilled U.S. government agent. When the president’s daughter, Ashley, is kidnapped by a mysterious cult, it’s up to Leon to travel to a village to rescue her.

He faces overwhelming odds but receives assistance from his offside contact Ingrid Hunnigan, Luis, who has firsthand knowledge of the latest bioweapons, and an old acquaintance from Leon’s past. The game’s silly sense of humor remains present. However, there is a darker tone that enhances the tension overall.

A significant part of what makes Resident Evil 4 special are the environments, not just how they look, but also how you explore and combat in them. Combat is relentless, with a host of dangerous monsters that are much more ferocious and persistent than standard zombies. Enemies flood into locations from all sides, trying to surround and crush Leon with their unique ways of fighting.

Throwing axes, pitchforks, and explosives are just a few of their tools that force you to continuously adapt to each situation. Larger threats like chainsaw-wielding maniacs are thrown into the mix to create chaos and force Leon to remain mobile or risk a gruesome death.

Each combat arena also has a host of traps and defensive positions that you can take advantage of, like pushing bookcases in front of windows to gain much-needed breathing room. The composition of enemies and your environment helps to keep every combat encounter fresh, exciting, and unpredictable. And as you continue to progress, new barriers often reveal themselves.

One of Leon’s most important tools is his knife, which has been significantly changed from the original game. He can use it to parry enemy attacks, making them stagger if timed correctly, leaving them open for him to follow up with a powerful melee blow. Using the knife wears down its durability, and after it breaks, it can be repaired by the merchant for a small fee.

There are also weaker, disposable knives that can be used as a last resort. Additionally, stealth attacks and finishing moves can help thin the ranks, allowing you to conserve valuable resources and prevent enemies from transforming into more dangerous monstrosities. While stealth isn’t as pronounced as in other survival horror contemporaries, having the option adds some.