It's no exaggeration to say that Resident Evil 4 was one of the most influential games of the early 2000s. Its popularity served to standardise the over-the-shoulder third-person camera and precision aim feature that became ubiquitous in almost every action game that followed for decades to come. It also marked a turning point for one of the most popular horror franchises in gaming, as it leaned into fast-paced action and interactive cinematics to create a truly unique and exciting experience as it assuredly danced players from one dazzling set piece to another. There are moments from that game permanently etched in my memory. A corpse dangling silently from a pitchfork inside an abandoned shed. A dog that knows how to repay a debt. "There's no time for resting." The bitch in the red dress. Bingo?
All that to say, there's a lot riding on the Remake of what is widely considered one of the best games of all time. After two and three, we more or less know what to expect from Capcom's Remakes - rebuilt from scratch to a high standard, they've generally excelled at capturing the spirit and style of the original games, keeping what works and modernising what doesn't while utilising the RE engine to make gore glisten and chiaroscuro of piles of trash pop. Resident Evil 4 Remake follows this formula and builds on it, displaying a confidence in both the original game's strengths and its own innovations to deliver something that feels at once intimately familiar to old fans and excitingly fresh for newcomers.
In the Resident Evil 2 Remake, large sections of the RPD, as well as other memorable locations, were redesigned and reshuffled to work cohesively with the updated gameplay and to make sense in a more photoreal world. In Resident Evil 4 Remake, large sections of the game - particularly in the earlier chapters - are essentially completely unchanged from the original, so much so that, scene to scene, I knew exactly which part of the 2005 game we were up to. It's that funny thing about remakes and remasters; done right, the new and improved version tends to look exactly like the original does - in your head. But having gone back to the 2005 iteration since completing the RE4 Remake, I can decisively say it has aged far more than you probably realise, and the Remake does an incredible job of capturing all of the details, moments and mechanics that matter, while bringing everything else up to a standard modern players will enjoy.