Resident Evil 4 - PS2 review

Resident Evil 4, found on GameCube’s everywhere at the beginning of the year has made its way to the PlayStation2. Capcom, creator of the Survival horror series has bought more ghastly horror for gamers to revel in. But is the latest offering fright night or sleep tight? We turn the lights out and find out.

In Resident Evil 4 players are reacquainted with Leon S. Kennedy, Raccoon City Police Department's idealistic rookie cop from Resident Evil 2. It has been 6 years since the destruction of Raccoon City and in that time, the US government has been able to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation. Six years later and Kennedy has been tasked to look into the abduction of the President's daughter and his investigation has led him to a mysterious location in Spain.

Cue being left in the countryside with no support and ten bullets in your gun. The action is non-stop from there on.

Although Nintendo’s GameCube technology under the hood is better than the PlayStation2’s, the developers have done a good job translating the game across to the platform. Graphics are top notch and although certain touches like the lead characters hair might not be as good overall the graphics are impressive for the PS2.

As for Gameplay, it is fairly intense if not a little frustrating at times. While the camera angle has been changed to a third person perspective the evil villagers who would all be comfortable in the Texas Chainsaw massacre film have a tenacity to appear our of nowhere and strike you with a big pitch fork. It's something that is a little annoying, but luckily the game doesn’t fall into the usual problems where the camera only acts as a hindrance rather than a benefit.

This combined with hordes of villagers means that you’ll have to be on your toes to avoid getting killed. Gunning them down isn’t as easy as you might expect even if your handgun is fitted with laser sights and depending on where you hit them will depend on how fast they go down.

Run out of ammo (which is very easy as each villager takes at least three bullets to take down) and you’re left with a knife and your swinging action. The problem here, is that moving is rather clunky with no strafe available. In addition to this, you can’t move and swing your knife at the same time and it’s a case of hope and pray as you fight that pitch fork guy, the end result normally that you take a couple in the face.

Those looking for a challenge will be pleased to know that there is one here. The monsters and bad guys throughout the game are fairly intelligent when it comes to making sure you end up dead - at one point trying to catch our breath we hid up a tower only to be inundated with flaming bottles from the villagers below.

Verdict

While fans of the series will love the graphics, the game play, storyline and the more focused approach to action rather than puzzles, for the rest of us the game may come across frustrating compared to your usual hack and slash horror game.

This is like a George A Romero horror film - good but will take a time to get going and past the initial frustrations.

Stick with it though for the payoff is worth it in the end, if you survive that long...