For those few of you that play video games and have somehow NOT played Resident Evil 4 yet, know now that it’s a game with more ass-kicking than every Bruce Willis film ever conceived mixed with fresh extract of Rambo. No other game makes you feel like more of a bad-ass as you plow through zombie horde after zombie horde with all the efficiency of a disassembly line.
[image1]Resident Evil 4 was a spectacular game when it first came out, with amazing graphics for its mother system, the Nintendo Gamecube, contextually sensitive buttons and controls, and interactive cutscenes involving awesome knife fights, portentous plot points, and main-man Leon doing body shots off of hookers in Mexican hell-holes. Or at least, he’s that consistently amazing.
Resident Evil 4 still holds up as a Wii game, looking substantially better than it did in previous editions, but also better than some of its contemporaries on the system. The Wii edition has brighter and more vibrant colors, with some extra little effects like fog hanging in a few areas. As an extra, objects dropped by the murdelated zombies now have actual models on the ground as well as pillars of light, giving you a little extra help knowing what to grab and what to skip.
[image2]However, for the most part, everything that you can get your hands on in Resident Evil 4 is worth grabbing and holding onto for sale to the creepy, magical, curiously British merchant guy. Among the host of tweaks to the Wii edition, is a little extra stuff that gets dropped around, a couple extra bits of treasure, and generally more affluence for the player. By the game’s end, you’ll not only have enough pesetas to deck yourself out with a ton of amazing weapons, but you’ll also be able to buy that summer cottage you’ve been dreaming of, as well as tickets to Hunk’s Neck-Breaker Ballet in the fall.
In addition to cash, however, the game only feels different in a lot of subtle little ways. For one thing, zombies’ heads seem to pop more frequently. At first, I thought this was just a random adjustment, but it occurred to me that it was heavily related to the control scheme. The new pointer makes it impressively easy to catch zombie after zombie in the face with your crummy little pistol from quite a distance.
What’s better than shooting a zombie between the eyes from 200 yards with a pistol? Doing so 98 out of 100 tries. My accuracy went through the roof when compared to the prior editions of RE4, but the controls do well in more ways than just shooting; reloading by pulling the wiimote up and back is an interesting break in the combat, and add in an extremely easy to use knife-slash control – just wave the wiimote wildly back and forth – and you’ve got a surprisingly engaging and fun way to execute the not-strictly-living. The new control scheme for the Wii edition of Resident Evil 4 draws you into the game, and more than ever before, I feel prepared to defend myself against that coming zombie apocalypse called ‘the Rapture.’
[image3]The Wii edition of RE4 also comes with all the extras that were put into the PS2 version of the game; extra costumes for the main characters, the ‘Separate Ways’ side-game starring Ada ‘flip-kick’ Wong, and the unlockable laser gun, the ‘zOMG zombie toast’ PRL 412. It’s truly entertaining to put Leon in his new extra costume (which makes him look like a 1920’s mobster) and have him run about with a Chicago Typewriter in his hands. Nothing says “I’m gonna bust ya legs if youse don’ pay ups” like Leon with a tommy gun.
As an extra, there are a few unique weapons available only to Ada in the ‘Separate Ways’ side-game – a new shotgun and a bowgun that basically fires bombs. It’s a fair chunk of new content if you didn’t play the PS2 version, so these extras make the Wii edition more valuable to folks what only played the game on the good ol’ ‘Cube.
So how does all of this hold up? At minimum, RE4 for the Wii is a good example of what ports should be; not just a disc that works on the system, but with additional thought and game tweaking put into making the whole experience work properly on the system. Given everything that’s gone into this edition, and the $30 bargain pricing, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition is a great game; on the other hand, if you own a copy of the PS2 version of the game, apart from the slightly better graphics, there’s not really anything new to see. All the same, RE4 for the Wii is the definitive edition of the game to own.