When we thought that no more versions of Resident Evil 4 could come out, a new way of traveling to Spain arrives to fight Las Plagas. How does Leon S. Kennedy operate in virtual reality? We found out in the Resident Evil 4 VR review.
Although it has had many throughout history, you cannot think of a port when talking about this new edition of Resident Evil 4, because it is not. It is difficult to explain the feeling of playing the new title in Oculus Quest 2: it is an experience as familiar as it is new. And that is perhaps its main attraction for a player like me, who has already surpassed the Capcom classic a couple of times. Putting yourself in the shoes of Leon, arriving at the famous town, castle and island, is almost like embarking on a theme park attraction, or visiting the Hobbiton that was left in New Zealand after building the Lord of the Rings set. One is used to the plans that the game showed when visiting these mythical places; however, the new VR and first-person perspective changes everything. And that is, basically, the grace of the matter.
The experience is therefore curious for a veteran. The new perspective reveals details you may never have paid attention to. From the hundred-peseta coins with the face of Juan Carlos de Borbón on them, the pieces that make up the reload of each weapon, the overloaded clothing of the peddler and even the ornaments of any of the treasures that you find in your path. All with textures that, no matter how much they have wanted to revamp since their original preparation back in the distant 2004, offer a weirder sensation in VR, because they are closer to you; and therefore, everything looks a bit more cardboard. Especially in the town, where the representation of more natural scenes is more expensive. Once you get to the castle, its stone walls, candles, and chandeliers do a better job of immersing the player.
Everything good about RE4 now in VR
It has been a unique experience, this Resident Evil 4 VR. Thanks to him, I have discovered secrets that I always missed no matter how much he consulted the game map; since it is much easier to turn the neck in all directions, than to fight against that original camera that had an extreme fixation to focus. Resident Evil 4 VR walks on the back of a very special giant: what the original did well, therefore it works here. The shooting sensation in the Capcom classic is one of the most liked in all of video game history. Firing all his weapons gives an incredibly rewarding feeling. Therefore, doing it now with the helmet and the controls of Quest 2 is also very good. Aim for enemies’ legs or pop their heads. Take a shot at the right moment, even to deflect that sickle that is thrown at you … Everything works as you expect it to.
And still, there are many surprises. Remember how Leon reloaded all his weapons like a military expert with the push of a button? Well then here it is not so simple. You will have to replace each pistol and machine gun clip, and cock the weapon. The shotgun at least only needs you to insert one shell, but you will have to manually pull the bolt each time. Easy? Wait to see you surrounded by cattle and tell me. The same happens with the first rifle, where we have to pull the bolt on each bullet and the sight shakes as much as our pulse does, which unfortunately is not very good as we do not have anything heavy in our hands. Come on, I do not recommend at all that you use a new weapon for the first time in a confrontation, if you have not practiced with it before. And this, in itself, is very interesting.
Even so, the adaptation of a work that was not thought of at first brings certain problems that are difficult to solve. Therefore, Resident Evil 4 VR is not the most physical game that you will find in the virtual market. Certainly, it is not so much if we compare it with exponents like The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, Half-Life: Alyx or Boneworks. Yes, we can do the odd juggling with the knife, but making the typical attack on an enemy when we knock him down does not produce any of the physical sensations that Saint and Sinners gets, for example, when we stick a screwdriver in the skull of a zombie and gets stuck. The same happens when destroying all the barrels and boxes on the stage. Let’s say the game prefers to keep the original physics of the title, than to create a new one for its VR edition. You notice it in detail here and there, when opening doors or interacting with some objects. The typewriter, however, is super successful and allows us to type manually to save the game.
This is also a very cinematic work, full of video sequences that teleport us to a closed area where we can see a screen … and little else. The solution was not easy not to break the immersion, since it would have been perhaps too difficult to maintain the perspective in the first person and capture the essence of the cinematics and what they intend to tell. Yes, some other actions have been adapted, such as the moments when we climb stairs or jump, even reaching replace contextual kinematics so as not to break that perspective, Although all these options can be chosen or removed from a fairly complete menu that adapts to all the ways of playing that the game offers. From play standing, sitting, with natural movement or teleportation, in a more immersive or automatic way, taking all the equipment of our body or through a menu. You can even disable QTEs, which I appreciate because I was never a big fan of this system, much less RE4, where sometimes failing it was very punishing.
There is a crucial and iconic aspect that has been completely modified: move and shootThere are many things that have had to be transformed. The inventory itself is faster; now allows you to quickly switch between one handgun and one of two, as well as having the grenades and sprays on hand. The briefcase remains, yes, and moving objects is easier than ever, especially for people like me who have a bit of OCD and need a lot of order. The peddler’s shop has been radically transformed to be able to make all our purchases and improvements of each one of the weapons. Even the puzzles they have been altered a bit so that we can interact with them in a more organic way. These are still details, however: but there is a crucial and iconic aspect, even, in Resident Evil 4 that has been completely modified here: move and shoot.
Indeed: Now we can, by default, move and shoot during the adventure without any type of restriction. I say by default, because in the menu we can always change this configuration, but it shows that the soul of this VR version is created so that we can move while aiming. After all, everything is a bit more manual than before and our vision is also more limited by the first person. But still, this feature alone also makes things a lot easier. In a normal mode, you will notice that the difficulty peaks that the game had (those moments in which we were ambushed or the confrontations with some final bosses) are somewhat more affordable; be able to keep shooting to stop the cattle’s advance, or dodge that Dr. Salvador’s chainsaw or those Bella Sisters, while still doing damage.
I would not recommend starting with Resident Evil 4 VR to anyone who wants to understand why this game is a classic.And yet, I have loved approaching the world of Resident Evil 4 from another perspective, since I have not come so much to this version looking for an extreme challenge as looking for a different and fresh experience. Due to its somewhat outdated graphics, especially in those textures, it is not a game in which you can affirm so widely that “it seems that you are there”. But I have appreciated details of the game that I had never noticed before. I’ve even had a few jolts turning around before the classic enemy blurts out that “behind you, asshole.” My nerves got the better of reloading the shotgun when they were too close. AND those are the right feelings you should have in a VR game. Yes, there are things that can be improved. Sometimes the sound is not as immersive as I would like. Interaction through buttons or kinematics has not always been solved in the most immersive way. The game, by the way, has modified some dialogues, although this bothers me less because some scenes from the original (like the classic line of “has equipped his little daughter with good missiles”, which was quite regrettable or some somewhat embarrassing flirtations of Leon).
In conclusion, perhaps I would not recommend starting with Resident Evil 4 VR to anyone who wants to understand why this game is a classic. The original (and its thousand editions) will always be the experience that proves that. But it does not mean that the work that Armature has done with this edition is not very valid and brilliantly accomplished. It is a great way to experience it that brings with it your own personality and your own feelings. With it, virtual reality continues to grow stronger.