Even though he was only a work­ing cop for one day, Leon Kennedy’s aim im­proves dra­mat­i­cally when he faces off against… Span­ish vil­lagers?

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - RESIDENT EVIL -

“Where’s ev­ery­one go­ing? Bingo?” Leon Kennedy quips, as the horde of Los Gana­dos, Span­ish vil­lagers in­fected with the mind-con­trol­ling par­a­site Las Plagas, re­treat to the sound of a ring­ing bell. As they swarmed him he had to take a lot of them out with his weapons, cre­at­ing space in the vil­lage – avoid­ing traps, bot­tle­neck­ing the in­fected at­tack­ers in one of the house’s top floors, and flee­ing out of the win­dow him­self. He even chanced death with one wear­ing a bag on its head, revving a nasty chain­saw. This spec­ta­cle all hap­pens within the first 15 min­utes or so of Res­i­dent Evil 4, af­ter Leon stum­bles upon the in­fected vil­lage fol­low­ing a moody and omi­nous walk through a Span­ish for­est. Leon brings the ac­tion movie quips in full force, but that’s not all – with a com­pletely re­vised take on the core me­chan­ics, this is a Res­i­dent Evil filled with ac­tion, and a pro­tag­o­nist with all the tools to fight back, and the abil­ity to be darn sassy while do­ing so.

Six years af­ter the events of Res­i­dent Evil 2, Leon’s now a se­cret ser­vice agent, come to the Span­ish coun­try­side in search of kid­nap vic­tim Ash­ley Gra­ham – she’s the daugh­ter of the US Pres­i­dent and kind of a big deal. The per­pe­tra­tors are mem­bers of the Los Il­lu­mi­na­dos cult, who are us­ing Los Gana­dos as their ser­vants. Ra­mon Salazar, one of the cult’s lead­ers, is al­most com­i­cally evil, and makes a great foil to Leon, who teams up with a lot of friends in this one – in­clud­ing re­turn­ing agent Ada Wong, ex­tremely suave ex-Los Il­lu­mi­na­dos re­searcher Luis Sera, and Ash­ley her­self, who you need to pro­tect through­out some of the harder parts of the game. While pro­tect­ing Ash­ley can some­times feel like a chore, it’s a nice dy­namic, and Leon’s in­ter­ac­tion with ev­ery­one is a def­i­nite high­light of the en­tire se­ries to date.


While the fo­cus is much more on ac­tion than in pre­vi­ous Re­sis (there are even QTEs to dodge rolling boul­ders and the like), there’s still plenty of hor­ror to be had. It’s just a dif­fer­ent kind of hor­ror: a bit less low-key, to which you can re­spond vi­o­lently with more ease. Even so, there’s a lot about Res­i­dent Evil 4 that is haunt­ing, from the creepy, un­re­lent­ing vil­lagers them­selves to the gross par­a­sites that have run ram­pant on the pop­u­la­tion. You can eas­ily get caught out by things like bear traps or chain­saw-wield­ing bad guys who’ll kill Leon in­stantly. It’s a faster-paced

sur­vival hor­ror. Shoot­ing en­e­mies in cer­tain spots can make them stum­ble or drop their weapons. The at­taché case in­ven­tory sys­tem still makes jug­gling items a con­sid­er­a­tion – while item size al­ways mat­tered to an ex­tent, it was never as spe­cific as it is here. The now-iconic Mer­chant can help you up­grade your case and weapons, too.

Gone are the fixed cam­era an­gles; your point of view now fol­lows Leon from a third-per­son over-the-shoul­der per­spec­tive. Aim­ing with a va­ri­ety of weapons is quick and easy, and you’re able to tar­get wher­ever you want with the aid of laser sights – a step away from the stiff shoot­ing in pre­vi­ous games. While mov­ing Leon him­self still uses tank con­trols, he is more mo­bile than you might ex­pect, able to nav­i­gate the more com­plex en­vi­ron­ments with ease, ham­pered only by the sheer tenac­ity of Los Gana­dos. Leon can also stun en­e­mies with close-quar­ters com­bat, and use fin­ish­ing moves when they’re low on health. When you first set foot in the vil­lage, you have no idea of the com­plex web of events you’re about to get caught in. Go­ing from the T-virus zom­bies of the pre­ced­ing games to creepy vil­lagers is just as un­set­tling as you’d want from a new Res­i­dent Evil. When it re­leased, the game was scary in a dif­fer­ent and un­pre­dictable way. While the dras­tic changes were di­vi­sive, Res­i­dent Evil 4 is rightly con­sid­ered to be one of the best of the bunch. It took a chance in mu­tat­ing the se­ries, and the ex­per­i­men­ta­tion paid off, re­vi­tal­is­ing Resi.


Leon Kennedy’s back and bet­ter than ever – he’s the dream celebrity Span­ish va­ca­tion part­ner. Well, he’s ours.

If you thought zom­bies were creepy, you ain’t seen noth­ing yet. Las Plagas will give you night­mares.

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