Resident Evil 4 VR, review: even better in virtual reality?

One of the best chapters of Capcom survival horror returns with a new perspective: this is how the exclusive Oculus Quest 2 fares.

Entering the sewers of Salazar Castle in Resident Evil 4 VR, you immediately understand how much the new perspective of virtual reality has changed one of the great classics of horror video games, dated 2005. After spending hours staring at rotting corpses, decaying walls and gory parasites in the first person, you feel you are playing a totally different title. One from which it is difficult to break away, at least until the Novistadors begin to flutter at the player, prompting him to hurl the viewer on the floor in fear.

Resident Evil 4 VR… davvero? —

When a classic like Resident Evil 4 gets a virtual reality version, the players’ first reaction is roll your eyes and snort. Most VR games, especially those that are based on established sagas, tend to provide watered down versions of the original titles, with playground-like gameplay and the sole aim of cashing in. They are generally products that leverage on users’ nostalgia, just reviving some great scenes from the history of gaming before putting them down and never touching them again. The most surprising thing about Resident Evil 4 VR is that it’s not like that at all. In this case, we’re talking about the 2005 game in its full version, with almost zero compromises. Here you can expect eggs, blue medallions and Ashley who will yell a lot of times: “Where are you going, Leon ?!”.

Comparison with the original –

The one in virtual reality, however, it is not the most recommendable version of the game. Anyone who has Resident Evil 4 on their catch-up list, and would like to tick it off now, should play it first on modern consoles or on a PC – the original is still pretty fresh and has been ported to just about every platform out there. Rather than newbies, Resident Evil 4 VR seems to offer itself to players who have already fleshed it out, who understand the quirks of the original and want to experience it through a new and surprisingly bright lens.

Resident Evil 4 VR draws you into the action in a way that the original game cannot replicate: Moments like the boss fight with the Del Lago monster, when you shoot him with the harpoon and hear the water rushing away at the edges to the view, benefit enormously from the new perspective. However, the mood collapses when the player is taken to a movie theater to watch an animated short or a pre-rendered cut scene. This is the most pressing problem of the game: there are so many sequences that have been lovingly recreated in virtual reality, but at the same time RE4 VR introduces very short and simple scenes that would have been better left to play, rather than forced to watch them.

Small burrs –

I quick-time event, cinematic moments in which you need to press specific keys that appear on the screen with the right timing, have been transposed well for the controllers of the Quest. However, they were made with sound effects and interface elements so tacky that they recall the days of the cabinets. These are some of the few things that remind us of a simple port rather than a full remake, although it’s easy to turn a blind eye in such cases.

Resident Evil 4 VR is, and remains even without these small smudges, incredible to play. With free movement, exploring the areas of the game firsthand, this is in fact one of the most successful titles in virtual reality. It’s not Half-Life Alyx, but the gameplay is so precise and lively that the only obstacle facing the user during their experience will be the battery life of the Oculus Quest 2 (two and a half hours per session, before a recharge is needed).

Resident Evil 4 VR… o GoldenEye? —

All items and weapons are handled in person, with the ability to easily grab ammo or rifles from Leon’s hips and shoulders. This is crucial when you find yourself involved in fighting to the death and you have to try them all in order to survive. The control scheme is simple but very effective, and manages to go beyond the traditional limitations of virtual reality shooters.

Among the game’s best moments is the road to the castle in Chapter 3, which might very well look like a GoldenEye mission, when played with a semi-automatic sniper rifle – here you can peek around a corner and silently blow heads. , all while dodging the blows of the catapults. Shooting on the fly or using the scope gives a feeling of great precision, it’s rewarding, and that’s important in a game where carefully targeting the enemy’s body parts saves a lot of (rare) bullets. Those who haven’t played Pavlov or Alyx should start on an Easy difficulty level, since Resident Evil 4’s difficulty has remained unchanged since the original release. The game can be truly brutal when free Order of Won, especially if you don’t use the movements that “teleport” Leon from one side of the settings to the other. The first encounters with enemies equipped with chainsaws are less tense now, due to the movements now much more refined, but for the most part the combat has not been affected by the change in format.

Resident Evil Village ante litteram —

You just have to get used to fighting the same enemies in a new way. Kicking people off a bridge or smashing shields with a rifle shot is, as you might imagine, even more satisfying in virtual reality. The dynamic physics of the enemies have been retained, so it is possible to drop the Ganados while trying to climb over a fence or detonate them by shooting the sticks of dynamite they hold in their hands. Boss fights have received VR enhancements, plus: El Gigante’s Shrek face it is even more imposing and the battle arena is even more claustrophobic. Jumping on his back to slice the parasite with Leon’s knife is one of the funniest things you’ve ever experienced in VR.

The scene where Leon gets stuck in a house and is gradually pushed upstairs by a wave of angry peasants is another one that really stands out. The first-person perspective makes it look a lot like some of Resident Evil Village’s best moments. Finding yourself locked in a corner by menacing parasites throwing grenades at random is certainly something that makes your heart beat faster. The knife is unfortunately a little crazy to use, which puts even more emphasis on good ammunition and consumables management: now the usual stabbing combo, overused to eliminate Ganados while saving bullets, is perhaps less useful than in past. As far as one can imagine that sooner or later it will arrive on other platforms, it’s a shame that Resident Evil 4 VR is currently locked in Oculus’ paddock: shooting and movement could be even more responsive on a Valve Index, thanks to Knuckles controllers capable of detecting individual fingers.

No effort –

Once the fights are complete, just pull a trigger to pick up the loot left behind by the enemies, and shooting nests or engaging in side missions feels less tiring than ever – now it really feels like you’re inside the rich world of Resident Evil 4 VR. Even fiddling with Leon’s briefcase inventory, attaching all accessories to weapons and arranging grenades as if they were Tetris blocks, it’s much less annoying. Even small details, like having to write your name on a really working typewriter to save, are a joy for fans. The longer memory-based puzzles (which probably weren’t exciting in the original either) weren’t translated in the best way, but it’s still nice to see they’ve been kept as they were.

It was shocking note how Resident Evil 4 VR wasn’t tiring to play like so many other virtual reality games. It’s a rare feeling not to want to quit after a few hours, but this presumably depends on the accessibility of the controls and how well both the story and the action sequences have aged. The seated play mode works equally well, which helps when you begin to feel tired.

Resident Evil 4 VR (quasi un) remake —

The game runs smoothly and looks great even in the closest view. The textures have been upscaled and therefore have a higher resolution, but have remained largely unchanged, which means that the spectacular artistic direction of the original has been maintained. Portions of the game such as the climb to the fight with Mendez are magnificent in virtual reality and great animations such as truck rollovers are presented with fluidity. Plus, you enjoy so many of the game’s beautiful sights in a new light. The castle cloaked in the glow of the moon and the open waters under a rickety bridge are things you wouldn’t have stopped for in the classic, but now you’re more than happy to stop for a moment to enjoy them in virtual reality. They are details, sure, but finally show the number carved into the wooden handle of the Red9 or the gem slots in Beerstein’s treasury is a nice touch.

Resident Evil 4 mantiene its superb pace also in this new guise. Enemies go from being farmers with no art or part to murmuring priests and grotesque beasts, and the settings are so varied that they all emit distinct and unsettling vibes. The church was terrifying in the original, but walking there now wearing a helmet and listening to the subtle soundtrack that accentuates the disquiet… well, that’s another story.

Conclusions –

Resident Evil 4 VR is an impressive port that offers a great classic to a whole new audience with very few compromises. Smart mechanical improvements, rock solid shooting, excellent boss fights, and palpable tension make it easy to recommend to anyone who owns an Oculus Quest 2, although this isn’t the best version for newbies. The new version focuses a little too much on cutscenes and an exclusive to the Quest, but is offered at the right price and with comfortable gameplay regardless of the level of experience with the headset. And that’s enough for Resident Evil 4 VR to be one of the best virtual reality games on the market.

Written by Jordan Oloman for GLHF

We want to thank the writer of this write-up for this amazing material

Resident Evil 4 VR, review: even better in virtual reality?

Mozart Dinner Concert