After spending a solid 15 hours navigating through a virtual world filled with infected villagers, thanks to my trusty Oculus Quest 2, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for Resident Evil 4. It was this game that introduced me to the Resident Evil series almost 16 years ago. However, as soon as I fired up this remake in VR, it became clear that Armature Studios had crafted something truly exceptional. Resident Evil 4 was already a fantastic game, but diving into it in VR reignited that sense of wonder from my initial playthrough.
The perspective may have shifted in this VR version, but the core of Resident Evil 4’s cheesy yet captivating action-movie plot remains unchanged. You still step into the shoes of Leon S. Kennedy, now a U.S. government agent sent to rural Europe on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter while battling waves of infected villagers and monstrous creatures. Of course, there are nods to earlier entries in the series, especially Resident Evil 2, but what makes Resident Evil 4 special is that newcomers like me can easily grasp the storyline without having delved into the previous games.
Unlike some VR adaptations of popular titles, like the somewhat diluted L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files, Resident Evil 4 in VR offers the full experience from start to finish. However, I couldn’t help but notice the absence of certain content that has become standard in modern re-releases of the game, particularly extra modes like Separate Ways and the Mercenaries. So, while it’s a thrilling journey, it’s not quite what you’d call “a complete VR game.”
Resident Evil 4 VR Gameplay Screenshots
Certainly, the story campaign is the main attraction, and it truly shines in VR. Resident Evil 4 was never the scariest game around, but in the VR version, the sense of unease becomes more palpable with all the action right in your face. Many of us have traversed this eerie yet strangely beautiful world countless times, yet Resident Evil 4 VR excels at capturing the gloomy and eerie essence of the setting. Take Salazar Castle, for instance – it left a lasting impression on me with its armored knight statues and the worn, rusty appearance of the armor. This is what truly elevates the experience.
There are moments in VR that feel entirely fresh and exhilarating. For example, battling Del Lago, you witness this colossal creature’s enormous maw gaping wide as it tries to swallow you whole. Then, in the Verdugo boss showdown, a creepy, almost xenomorph-like monstrosity charges at you with those eerie, glowing red eyes. Even encounters with regular foes like Garrador, Regenerator, and the Iron Maidens become much more nerve-wracking. Especially the latter two – you can hear their menacing, labored breaths before you spot these towering and eerie adversaries inching toward you. You scramble to pull out your rifle and aim through the infrared scope. Defeating them sent a rush of adrenaline through me, a feeling I hadn’t experienced since my initial encounter with Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube back in 2005.
A big part of the experience lies in how you control the action. Resident Evil 4 VR has undergone a complete overhaul to cater to various VR gaming preferences. You’ve got the Full Motion mode, perfect for seasoned VR gamers who are comfortable with moving the camera around. Then there’s the Comfort mode, a lifesaver if you’re prone to motion sickness. You can even fine-tune your movement options, like enabling teleportation, to suit your liking. Personally, I found a sweet spot with a custom setting. It allowed me the freedom of full motion, letting me turn my head to glance around, while also giving me quick angle turns with the right thumbstick. This made handling swarms of enemies a breeze, especially when my muscle memory momentarily forgot that I could physically turn my head.
Opting for full motion also comes with a bonus – it grants you control over Leon’s movement while you aim and shoot at foes independently. This decision might not sit well with die-hard fans who relished the added challenge of having Leon remain stationary while aiming, using his knife, or firing weapons. However, I found it to be a welcome change, considering how Resident Evil 4 can throw hordes of enemies your way. It felt awkward in VR when the game refused to let me move when my body instinctively wanted to. That being said, I mostly found myself using this feature during boss battles, especially the memorable showdown with El Gigante.
The real game-changer here is having full control over Leon’s hands, allowing you to physically reach for your weapons and items when you need them. Picture this: your trusty knife snugly tucked away in a holster on your chest, ready to be drawn at a moment’s notice. An herb or first aid spray? Simply reach over your left shoulder to grab it. There’s even an option to map all your items to the Quest 2 controller’s buttons. Hold the right trigger, and use the left thumbstick to select your weapon. Personally, I preferred this method, finding it much more convenient than fumbling around Leon’s virtual body to locate a specific item.
Reloading your weapon is a manual affair as well. Depending on how you’ve positioned your weapons, your ammo can either be stashed in a pouch on your left side or prompted with a button that sports a nifty little ammo icon. And when it comes to grenades, get ready for some physical action – you’ll need to yank that pin before hurling it at your foes. As for the knife, it behaves just as you’d expect – pointy end goes into the zombies.
When you opt for full motion, you open the door to some exciting possibilities, like the option to wield two weapons simultaneously. This not only helps you wriggle out of tight spots but also doubles your firepower as you take on swarms of Ganados. Even hefty firearms like the sniper rifle and shotgun can be handled with one hand, although with the shotgun, you’ll still need your other hand to pump it after each shell, and it’s generally more potent when wielded with both hands. (Now, picture trying to fire a rocket launcher with just one hand – that would be quite the comical sight!) Aiming becomes remarkably precise compared to the standard controller, and if you fancy honing your marksmanship, the shooting gallery offers a delightful, low-pressure target practice session.
These combat alterations inject a breath of fresh air into Resident Evil 4, setting this playthrough apart from my numerous previous ones. However, I must admit there’s a substantial learning curve to conquer. Reloading firearms, particularly when a horde of Ganados is closing in, triggered a genuine fight-or-flight response, leading to accidental knife switches or botched reloads. Moreover, grenades demand a fair bit of physicality – you must yank that pin before tossing them, and this can get tricky, especially if you’re playing in a seated position. Nevertheless, all in all, these new combat mechanics present a satisfying challenge, even for seasoned Resident Evil 4 veterans.
Beyond the realm of combat, Resident Evil 4’s puzzles offer a much more enjoyable and less vexing experience. In the 2D version, numerous button prompts govern the movements of puzzle components, which can feel rather laborious. However, in VR, you can physically interact with these objects, making puzzle-solving a more intuitive process.
One of my primary concerns when diving into Resident Evil 4 VR was how Armature Studios would handle quick-time events (QTEs) in a virtual reality setting. I’m pleased to report that these QTEs bear a closer resemblance to the ones in Resident Evil 4’s Wii version, rather than a random series of button mashing. Typically, you’ll find yourself shaking the controllers when Leon’s caught up in intense scenarios, like a chase sequence or hanging on a cliff, striving to pull himself up. Yet, some scenes, particularly the knife fight with Jack Krauser, demand different commands, such as pressing the triggers on both controllers or moving the controllers in various directions – up, down, or to the side.
There are a few areas where converting a 2D game to VR becomes quite challenging. One example is the cutscenes; they typically play out on a virtual theater-like screen in front of you, which is understandable but somewhat disappointing. Fortunately, in Leon’s case, the cutscenes on his communication device have been adapted for VR, and you even need to physically press a button to initiate the call.
While most of Leon’s actions are in a first-person perspective, you have the option to switch to third-person mode for these activities. Some actions, such as Leon leaping out of a window or pushing heavy objects like bookshelves, are exclusively in third-person view, and I believe this choice is for the best. It’s hard to imagine those experiences being very pleasant in VR. I did notice an option where you can interact with doorknobs to open certain doors, and you can also make Leon perform a third-person kick, adding variety to the gameplay.
- Resident Evil 4’s chilling world gains new life and intensity in the VR realm.
- The combat experience is flexible and exhilarating, maintaining its nail-biting tension.
- It solidifies RE4 as a timeless classic, an absolute essential for Oculus Quest 2 owners.
- The game’s construction from the ground up showcases remarkable attention to detail.
- A few boss battles lose some of their charm in the transition to VR.
- Handling hordes of enemies can sometimes feel clunky and overwhelming.
- While understandable, the absence of the Mercenaries Mode is somewhat disappointing.
Verdict: Score of 9/10
Armature Studios poured their hearts into crafting Resident Evil 4 VR into a thrilling action-horror adventure. With their revamped, highly adaptable controls and the delightful transformation of puzzles from tedious tasks into engaging interactions, these considerate improvements make it a must-have for Oculus Quest 2 owners. This holds true whether you’ve embarked on Leon’s journey numerous times on various platforms or if this is your very first encounter with this modern masterpiece. Considering the game’s initial design had no VR intentions, the seamless adaptation of Resident Evil 4 is nothing short of astonishing.
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