Resident Evil 4 is the latest modern classic to receive a remake treatment. While the original has seen dozens of ports in its 18-year lifespan, this iteration aims to keep the spirit of the original while bringing a new look and feel, similar to what Capcom did with resident evil 2.
The original, especially in later ports like the Nintendo Switch version, plays quite well to this day. But if you’ve always wondered what a modern take on Leon S. Kennedy’s journey would look like, the Resident Evil 4 remake is here to answer that question. There are plenty of changes in different scales though, so if you’re wondering if your favorite aspect made the cut or all the new the remake has to offer, this list will clear any doubts.
Fragile objects and points of interest are now yellow
In the original, fragile objects – from crates to barrels – were all signaled by higher contrast. It was easy to know what you could destroy with your knife to get money and items. The remake builds on this by replacing the contrast difference with yellow highlights, which look like paint covering the object. This also applies to points of interest, such as structures you must destroy to fall off a bridge or ledges you must use to progress through a section.
However, the reasoning behind it is clear. The fidelity is much higher in everything around you in the game, so having a bright and clear color to highlight objects in the background is quite useful. However, there is an exception regarding the vases that replace crates and barrels in the castle area. They do not have a yellow marking, but they are still quite recognizable.
Horror elements are prominent
The Resident Evil 4 remake is pretty much an action game through and through. But overall, the tone leans towards darker environments, which often require Leon to use his flashlight, as well as grittier sequences centered around familiar enemies and story moments.
One scene in particular, which I won’t spoil, strongly represents this new horror influence. If you are not used to the genre, there is no way to avoid it as it is part of the main story. Prepare accordingly. This guide on how to beat the anxiety of the Empty space redo can certainly provide some guidance here as well.
Autosave is now a thing
Great news! You will no longer be sent back to the last typewriter you used every time. While the original had a fairly limited save function when entering certain areas, there is now a true auto save slot. It’s definitely a welcome addition, especially in places with large enemy groups or even boss encounters. That said, some difficulty options, such as the professional mode, remove the option entirely – in case you want an experience more akin to the original in this regard.
Expect to meet new enemies
If you’ve already memorized the patterns of all the classic enemies, I’ve got some good news. There are a handful of new enemies to take on in the RE4 remake, which includes a bulky man who looks like a minotaur carrying a sledgehammer.
There are others I won’t spoil for you, but just in case you’re skeptical about the idea, it’s worth mentioning that they all feel quite grounded with the rest of the enemies. None of them look like they belong to a completely different game, and they’re always fun to fight.
The trader is more talkative
The trader is quite talkative in the Resident Evil 4 remake, and he’ll often comment on your purchases with derision, gratitude, or a bit of both. His voice is also very different, which may or may not be a shame if you’re an avid fan of the original. Still, most of his iconic lines remain, and the new ones fit his attitude well – bearing in mind that we don’t actually know much about the character.
There is a gacha style reward system in the shooting range
Remember the shooting range minigame in the original Resident Evil 4? Well, it’s back in full swing with quite a few changes behind it. You now take down pirate cards and dodge sailors instead of villagers. There are specific challenges to complete and the rewards vary quite a bit.
Instead of redeeming rewards for cash, you now receive different types of tokens based on your performance in each challenge. After getting at least three, you can interact with a dispensing machine that will drop charms for your diplomat’s briefcase. Essentially, these are buffs that become active once you equip the talisman (you can have up to three). For example, some include receiving more healing from green herbs or having a 15% chance of getting extra ammo when crafting a specific type of weapon ammo.
As redundant as it may sound, no, there are no in-game purchases at all. This is pretty much an optional mode, but it makes for a nice diversion. As a few extra tips, I recommend visiting the shooting range while being accompanied by Ashley or Luis. Also, if you have Spinels lying around, you can trade them for tokens in the merchant’s shop.
Leon can parry now, and it rules
A substantial and interesting change to the use of Leon’s blade is that it can now deflect attacks. The action is useful for many things, and getting into the heat of battle can be quite satisfying. Parrying can help you avoid a number of deadly attacks, including the chainsaw, but it can also deflect crossbow bolts, dynamite, and more.
Keep an eye on the bottom right corner of the screen where you will see a knife icon appear when the action is possible. It may take some time and practice to learn exactly in which cases you can use it, but there are plenty of them.
You can find Clockwork Castellan figures
If you’ve ever wondered what a Ramón Salazar figurine would look like, it’s now a collectible gift in the remake. There are 16 of them scattered throughout the chapters of the game, and finding them all will grant you a new blade. Essentially, they are related to the Mr. Racoon collectibles in the resident evil 2 redo.
The Water Hall isn’t so bad now
If you weren’t a fan of the Water Hall section of the castle, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, the remake does not replace it with another series, but at least the whole thing is much friendlier. The corridors that Ashley has to traverse on her own while you cover at a distance are much closer to Leon, and you don’t have to rely almost solely on your sniper rifle to keep her clear of damage.
There are no more QTEs… sort of
Capcom made a big fuss about removing fast time events in the Resident Evil 4 remake, and true to its word. To a certain extent. You still have to parry in certain sequences to avoid a lethal attack, and there are sections where stomping or holding a button is still the only option available. But at least you don’t have to worry about trying to guess what QTE combinations you’ll get before a cutscene plays.
Fortunately, there are fewer sexist comments
Ashley Graham was the subject of some pretty horrible and sexist remarks in the original, and thankfully those have mostly disappeared in the remake. Luis tends to keep such jokes to himself, and Leon is less flirtatious, even with Ingrid Hunnigan. In return, Ashley generally has a stronger personality; By the time I reached the credits, I had grown very fond of her company. If you were disappointed with the way she was treated in the original, the remake may be in for a pleasant surprise.
There’s stealth, but it’s easy to ignore
Don’t worry, there are no stealth-exclusive sections where you get game over for being detected or anything like that. While the game encourages you to use the new crouching mechanics and take down enemies from behind at some points in the story, you can ignore this altogether and just start shooting.
Did someone ask for side missions?
Introduced as Requests, the trader has a few extra tasks for Leon. While in the original you could shoot Blue Medallions in exchange for rewards, which is also present in the remake, there are now a few extra targets in addition. They are implemented in such a way that you know what to do before entering an area, or you are encouraged to go back to certain points in a region to tackle them. Sometimes you need to get an item or fight a stronger version of an enemy you’ve encountered in the past.
Requests are by far the best way to get Spinels, which you can then trade in the merchant’s store for items that aren’t part of the regular list.
Ashley has several action commands
You can no longer ask Ashley to hide in dumpsters (although lockers are still a thing). Instead, there are two main commands you can use right now. One of them always has her stick right behind Leon’s back, which is useful for quick escapes, while the other has Ashley take cover to stay away from enemies.
As you might expect, neither is exactly flawless, and it will always depend on the situation you find yourself in, as well as the enemies you face. That said, it’s quite practical after spending some time with Ashley.
You can move while shooting
The original Resident Evil 4 plays fine on modern consoles, but if there’s one aspect that feels dated, it’s the way Leon aims his guns. While aiming, you can only move the camera, not Leon himself. This takes some getting used to, as it hasn’t been the norm in third-person shooters for years. However, the remake lets you move freely.
There is also a weapon wheel
You don’t have to open your inventory all the time (unless you really want to!), thanks to the newly added weapon wheel. It has a total of eight slots, corresponding to the D-Pad, and an additional slot in each direction. In addition to weapons, you can also have grenades here, but health items are excluded.
Leon now loots a lot faster
In the original, every time you grab an object, the action is interrupted with a screen showing what you just got. This wasn’t a problem in itself, but it did interrupt what you were doing over and over again. Now, every time you grab something, you’ll see a message in the top right corner telling you what it is and the amount.