Resident Evil 4

I went back and forth on whether I should talk about my experiences with Resident Evil 4 remake in my monthly post or in its own post. Originally I was going to make it its own post, but there is an aspect of it that ties to something kind of big that I want to talk about in April’s post. Ultimately though I felt that it would not only be easier to write separately, but it would also be a more comfortable read spread apart.

I had a bad relationship with horror. I think it all stems back to the 1994 Flintstones film. Not for the film itself (though looking at it now it does feel a bit horrific) but rather for a show that was on TV that night I caught after coming home from the theater that night (I was like 8 or 9 at this time) It was a horror show (no idea what it was called) and this particular episode was about controlling people as literal marionettes. But what freaked me the fuck out (to the point of sobbing) was the strings themselves would cut into the people’s flesh and there would be excessive amounts of blood.

My other early memory of horror came from playing the Silent Hill demo and Myst with a friend late at night. Silent Hill speaks for itself, I think, but the isolated atmosphere of Myst makes it feel scary. Not to mention that back then it wasn’t common knowledge that Myst has no character interactions. At least normally. I hear the bad ends get you killed, but truthfully I never actually finished Myst

Thus when Resident Evil was a thing in the late 90s, even though I was a big Playstation guy, I steered clear of it. Gaming to me was about being comfy, and comfy to me were 60 hour Japanese RPGs, humorous point and click games, and visual novels. I ignored anything else the best I could.

I learned a number of things about it through osmosis via the gaming scene that existed online and through magazines. I knew there was someone named Leon, Jill, Wesker, Chris, Claire, etc. I didn’t know who the fuck they were, but I heard about them. I also heard about the game’s notorious tank controls

Strangely, while I was averse to the idea of playing Resident Evil because I had this idea that it was a “horror game” I ended up renting and playing Parasite Eve back when because it was Square and I had such a strong relationship with their games. Which looking at it again recently watching a friend stream it on Twitch is quite similar to what I imagine Resident Evil must have been like (though obviously a bit less RPG) It didn’t scare me in the least back then though, I think because it was way too hard for me to understand at that age (It’s pretty fucking weird)

Parasite Eve wasn’t the only exception either. In visual novels, I was starting to run out of what was available in English that could be downloaded on a 56k modem. The only things left were super huge 1 gb+ games (which I would try to download piecemeal over many weeks) and a 112 mb horror vn called Divi-dead. Eventually after seeing the rather promiscuous art, I gave into my teenage horny and tried it.

It became my favorite VN back then. I can’t really tell you why since I don’t remember a lick about the plot and even if I did, the game was badly translated so I probably read it wrong back then. There’s been some desire to reread it again in Japanese (I even own a Japanese copy now) but that will be a future project. What I can tell you though is it didn’t scare me one bit despite some of it being a bit graphic (and I’m not just talking about the h-scenes ;p)

I found it to be a bit contradictory back then, but I think I quickly realized that it wasn’t horror that I disliked. On the contrary, I started finding that I loved dark stuff. The thing I disliked was not having control and being intentionally scared (ala things like jump scares) Things that a lot of other people seemed to flock to horror over.

By the time I came to this realization though, Resident Evil had already been out for many years and was considerably dated at the time. While I was a Playstation kid, I’ve since found it hard to go back to that era for games I have no nostalgia for. While there were newer Resident Evil games in the years since, I wasn’t as interested due to them seeming to focus more on the first person and scaring aspect (At least I think that was my impression of Resident Evil 7)

Instead, I ended up getting into the Silent Hill series. I watched my friend Mike playthrough the second game and after enjoying that decided to tackle some of the other games out of hope of bonding with my friend more.

I don’t remember if I did Silent Hill 1 before 3 or after. Like I mentioned before though, Playstation 1 games that I didn’t have nostalgia for tend to age terribly and I found the first Silent Hill to be kind of mid. Silent Hill 3 however became one of my favorite games though (Probably somewhere in the top 15) I couldn’t really explain why since it’s been several years at this point, but 3 made me love the Silent Hill franchise.

I even ended up playing 4 with my friend Mike. While not as good as 2 and 3, it wasn’t terrible by any stretch. Though it made me sad that apparently afterwards the franchise went to total shit and since then Silent Hill hasn’t had much good news. Even the remake of 2 and the new Silent Hill game by Ryukishi07 seem to be under heavy scrutiny.

Resident Evil at this point started to get remakes of the older games, and I thought about playing them. However other games just kept getting in the way and there just wasn’t enough to really grab my attention. Then RE4 remake was announced this past year.

I wasn’t too interested in the trailers I saw for it. Not because I thought it looked bad, but because I wasn’t familiar with the original enough to feel excited about it visually. Gameplay for someone that mostly play RPGs/VNs was hard for me to really wrap my head around whether I’d enjoy it or not.

Honestly, I was on the fence about it. I also was still in the middle of my readthrough of the highly anticipated Sakura no Toki when it was scheduled to come out. Thus I was honestly more tempted to just pass on it and pick it up at a later date if it was good.

I’m not really sure what changed. Just that one day I got an email from GreenManGaming saying they had an offer for the digital deluxe version on Steam. While not amazing, I guess I felt compelled to spend money that day because I went against my hesitations and preordered the game.

After a bit of a kerfuffle with the key being delivered 6 hours late, I started my RE4 remake journey.

Playthrough 1

I chose standard (normal difficulty) to start off with. While I’m certainly no slouch at video games (just look at time I’ve spent in Elden Ring and Dark Souls), it’s a type of game I wasn’t sure if I was even going to like right away. Thus I didn’t want anything that would cause too much of a headache.

You might expect that with a post like this that I’m going to say RE4 remake really blew me away, but I honestly can’t say that in regards to the first playthrough. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I hadn’t at this point really explored the game.

Instead it was more like I was trying to find my groove while playing. I didn’t know which weapons I should get or how to effectively deal with situations until very late in the game. I also was trying to mull over the story as someone who has never touched a Resident Evil game.

Upon beating the game, I unlocked the hardest difficulty “professional” and was prompted to make a save for new game +. I wasn’t initially going to play the game again, but upon learning that there was a new game+ I instantly wanted to play through again.

It might lessen the challenge, but I love when games offer an opportunity to play through them again with everything you got. I think it adds a whole other level of enjoyment being able to dominate areas you couldn’t before because you didn’t have the resources then.

Playthrough 2-??

I don’t remember what difficulty I started my new game + on. I don’t think it was professional simply because I wasn’t confident enough at that point. It might have been on assisted (easy) because I just wanted the most potential for curb stomping through the game as fast as possible. I don’t know

What I do know is that while playing my second playthrough, I became aware of a certain item that had been added to the merchant: the infinite rocket launcher. It cost 2 million but when I thought about how overpowered that would be, I set about saving all my money in my second playthrough so that I could buy one. It took me until close to the end of the game to afford one.

Of course, it’s no fun being able to buy a weapon like that and only be able to use it for the last 20% of the game. Therefore when I finished the game for a second time, I immediately started a 3rd playthrough, this time on professional (I figured I needed some challenge at least if I was going to be rocketing everything)

It was my third time through that I thought “I really love this game” Which might seem weird to some since I was mostly just using the rocket launcher to one shot things, and some would probably question where the fun is in a lack of challenge. But it wasn’t simply the gameplay I felt enamored in. I just loved the world itself. I loved the characters and everything just clicked with me at that point.

It’s times like these that make me want to go for getting all achievements. In Resident Evil 4 there’s two types of achievements. The steam/console achievements and the ingame unlockable shop achievements. I looked at them after finishing my third time hoping that it would somehow be doable.

It looked mostly doable until I came across two achievements that seemed like they would give me no end of trouble. Those two achievements were to complete professional without using any bonus weapons (ie no infinite rocket launcher) and to get S+ on professional.

For those not aware, you can only get S+ on a new game (can’t be new game+) It has to be done under 5 hours and 30 minutes and within 15 saves. Something that seemed impossible for someone like me who was only able to do professional with an infinite rocket launcher. Or so I thought.

Upon watching some guide videos, I learned that apparently some of the things you can unlock have effects in game. What I thought were simple costumes or models you could look at in models viewers, were actually special guns and equipment.

Two of the items I had unlocked, namely Ashley’s armor and the Chicago Sweeper gun, I found out had some special effects that would make the process a little easier.

Backing up a bit, one of the main mechanics in RE4 is having to protect this girl named Ashley from being kidnapped, or in other words RE4 is a huge escort mission. This might scare an outsider, but it’s actually not that bad in remake (though I have no idea how bad it was in the original) Still if you get too negligent it can be game over real quick

You can unlock a suit of armor costume for Ashley. I forget how I did it, but I thought initially it was simply a cosmetic skin for laughs. What I found out later was that the armor made her impervious to damage and made her too heavy for enemies to carry. Essentially taking out the need to protect her almost entirely (I say almost because apparently there are cases where she can still get kidnapped if you’re not paying attention, but I never managed to run into any of those)

Meanwhile, the Chicago sweeper gun is a bulky machine gun that at first seems pretty unremarkable until you manage to get to chapter 7 and are able to buy an exclusive upgrade ticket from the merchant (at the price of currency you get from doing side stuff) This exclusive upgrade gives the gun infinite ammo which once you unlock can really tear into enemies.

Now the Chicago sweeper could not be use to complete the game on professional without bonus weapons since it counted as a bonus weapon (as did the infinite rocket launcher) However, accessories/costumes did not count and you could use the Chicago sweeper to get S+ which would unlock the cat ears accessory which gave unlimited ammo to any gun (although you still need to reload) and those cat ears could be used to do that.

So my goal became getting S+ on professional with the strategy of getting an infinite ammo Chicago Sweeper by chapter 7. The problem was that even if it was easier than I thought it would be, it was still fairly difficult. So difficult that I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters the first couple of playthroughs.

It was then I learned of another accessory you could unlock by beating the game on Hardcore with S+ called the chicken hat. The chicken hat would cut damage taken by a huge amount, and the conditions for beating hardcore on S+ was a lot less stringent (same time requirements but no save requirements) I figured I could also use my hardcore S+ run as blueprint for what my professional S+ run would be.

I want to say that the chicken hat turned out to be less useful than the actual experience of playing on hardcore was. I learned so much about how parts of the game worked and the optimum timing for saves that when I tackled S+ professional it didn’t feel as big of an undertaking as it did before. Still it took me quite a bit

This got me the cat ears which allowed me to play through professional without bonus weapons, though it was bit dicier at points (Like I said the cat ears give infinite ammo but you still need to reload, whereas the Chicago Sweeper infinite can just shoot forever, but I can’t use it here because it’s a bonus weapon) Though I managed to do that too.

I then set about getting every achievement, upgrading every weapon (surprisingly not an achievement for this), and getting every charm (no achievement for this either) Mostly because I wanted to have a perfect save file with everything.

At this point I might have called it done (probably been 5-6 playthroughs by now) but upon collecting all the charms I noticed something. I was at 31/32 charms but all the charms I would get from the gacha machine (that you use tokens you get at the shooting gallery for) were dupes. Upon looking up the missing charm, turns out it was one included with the deluxe edition (which I owned)

The charm itself adds bonus for when you craft handgun ammo a certain percentage of the time. The reason I didn’t have it anymore, I figured out, was because I think I might have mistaken it as handgun ammo (it has the same icon) and sold it for money once I had obtained infinite ammo.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the DLC to see if that could bring it back. Unfortunately, it looked like the only way I could get it back is if I started a new game and got all the charms again. I didn’t want to have to gacha all the charms again, so I installed a mod that gives you all of them at the start. That however left me with a save with all the charms but none of the fully upgraded weapons or any of the stuff I had collected. Thus I decided to do another S+ professional run

I could have very easily just done assisted a couple times, but I wanted at least one playthrough on my master file to be an S+ one (not that they keep track apart from the latest playthrough) I also wanted the S+ playthrough to be the exact same as my previous one, so I forbid myself from using the cat ears even though they probably would have made it easier. I managed to not only get a better time, but I also did it in less saves

While you might think I’d be happy with that, after completing S+ twice, I started wondering what the fewest number of saves I could do S+ professional in. I also wasn’t entirely happy about having to use a mod to get back all the charms. Even if I originally got them legitimately in one file, it still didn’t feel right to have my master file to mentally have this asterisk of *Had to mod the charms in

Thus I disabled the mod and decided to start a new S+ run. This run would be the most nightmarish thing ever because I would be attempting to get S+ professional with 0 saves.

The game apparently works by adjusting the difficulty based on your performance. I didn’t know this at first, although I strongly assumed it after weird things would start happening in my runs (despite everything else seemingly running the same) I’d die in some of the stupidest ways imaginable one time and the next time (doing practically the same stuff) be completely fine.

Once again, I did not use the cat ears, although I did try a few attempts with them on to see if it made things better (it didn’t actually) I used primarily the things I used before in my other S+ runs (Ashley’s armor, chicago sweeper, gas mask [provides some aim assist on non assist difficulties], and chicken hat) It took over 3-4 days of playing and restarting runs.

I came really close to throwing my controller at the ground in a fit of gamer rage, but I did stop myself. I almost stopped playing the game, but then the next day I ended up starting again. There’s some stuff in regards to this I want to talk about, but it’s tied to what I want to talk about in my monthly post, so I’m going to have to ask you to wait for that instead.

I made what must have been 20-30 attempts. Out of those I had maybe 4-5 really close ones. I got to chapter 15 (out of 16) in one but was randomly gunned down by a boar (partially my fault for not having sound on) I died once to the Salazar boss fight because I didn’t realize he could 1 hit KO me. Most embarrassingly I died once on the minecart section (despite doing it perfectly every other time) because I couldn’t hit the track shift in time.

The other day though I finally achieved it.

One might think that after all that, I’d be sick and done with the game. Yet I still find myself playing it and trying out various challenges. I’m not quite at the level where I can do under 2 hour speedruns with no special weapons or doing knife only like some people. Nor do I ever think I’ll ever go for that, but who knows?

Needless to say, I love this game. I’m almost confident I could say top 5, but I would need to think a bit about what games beside Suikoden 2 and FF7 are up there (also whether vns count or not) It definitely would be in the top 10 though. No question.

Some other interesting tidbits about my experience:

  1. I played with Japanese audio for all my playthroughs. I’ve listened to the English audio multiple times watching peoples playthroughs of the game (I’ve watched like 2-3 people play through the game) Honestly, I think Japanese is better (even people who listen to the English seem to miss the old voices and tend to dislike Ada’s voice actress for being a little too flat)
  2. I recognized only two of the Japanese VAs. The shopkeeper is the same voice as the Japanese voice for Kuwabara (from Yuu Yuu Hakusho) Wesker, who you only get a few brief segments of, is the same voice as Kotomine Kirei (Fate)
  3. I was dreading the escort portions of RE4 just from all the memes about how terrible escort missions can be. I was pleasantly surprised to find it not so bad, and I really liked Ashley as a character (I even use a mod now to replace playing as Leon with Ashley)
  4. Chapter 15 is my least favorite part of the game due to it feeling like you’re just fighting a horde of enemies
  5. I liked the Castle parts the best
  6. For some reason my xbox one controller, which I played a majority of my playthroughs with, doesn’t actually work as well as my PS5 one. I’m wondering how much that had an effect on all the failed attempts I did for S+ professional 0 saves..
  7. I love Ada. People are saying she’ll probably get her own DLC, which if true I’ll be playing that to death (assuming it plays anything like 4)
  8. I didn’t like how the game automatically registered shortcuts for some weapons. I liked keeping certain weapons on certain shortcuts, but sometimes when starting new playthroughs they would end up on the wrong shortcuts due to how the game assigns them
  9. I looked into some potential Resident Evil merchandise, but most of the things I found are a little too rich for my blood. I hope they consider figures of Ashley and Ada in the future though
  10. I might pick up the other remade RE’s when they’re on sale. Same with RE4 remake on PS5 (to get achievements) Not sure if I’ll play any of the modern resident evils (especially when they’re in first person more) I’m hoping 9 keeps to the third person

I guess that’s about it. I didn’t really mean this be a legitimate review as much as me talking about my experiences and what I thought overall. Hopefully this got things across alright.

I’m going to warn people ahead of time that my next post is likely to be long. I don’t know how long yet, but from what I plan to talk about I can tell it’s going to be pretty massive. Which is why I wanted to get this RE4 thing out of the way first.

Expect it next week, although it could be as late as May due to some obligations I have at the end of this month (which will get talked about in as part of my May post whenever that comes)

Until then blaze it up!