Resident Evil 4 VR Is The Perfect Way To Reinvent A Classic
Resident Evil 4 is more infamous than Skyrim when it comes to ports. Capcom’s survival horror classic has been ported to almost every modern platform out there. Whether it be iOS devices or the Nintendo Switch, Leon has waltzed in with his emo fringe ready to blast away some Los Plagas. I’ll play it again and again, it’s one of the best games ever made, but a new coat of paint certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
So, learning that Resident Evil 4 is being translated into virtual reality has me incredibly excited. It’s a new medium for the survival horror classic, and I think its existing formula would translate perfectly into such a mould. Leon’s adventure is all about blasting zombies, giant bugs, and the horrifying Regeneradors to pieces in the most creative ways possible. While the game is covered in survival horror elements, it’s a shooter at heart, and one I cannot wait to play in VR.
Even as it’s just celebrated its 16th birthday, Resident Evil 4 is an experience that feels deceptively modern. Sure, the aiming controls are a little wonky and you can’t move while firing your weapon, but this all lends itself to the overall sense of tension that permeates each firefight. Capcom revolutionised the shooter genre with this game, and its influence can still be felt today – I suppose that’s why re-releases and remakes are so rampant.
A complete remake is rumoured to be in the works at Capcom, which I personally have severe reservations about, but before that emerges onto the scene, Armature will be bringing the existing epic exclusively to Oculus Quest 2 in an entirely new form.
The reveal trailer is brief, but unveils enough details that I can say with confidence that many of the textures across environments, enemies, and weapons remain untouched when compared to recent HD remasters. This is likely a blessing, allowing Armature to translate the entire adventure into a more demanding space with little to no compromise. When you break down the core fundamentals, this is a Nintendo GameCube game with a few fancy upgrades, making it the perfect candidate for such a conversion.
Iconic moments such as the opening village scene would be a different kind of chaotic in virtual reality. Having to haul your ass into a nearby hut before barricading the door with whatever you can find sounds like a grand ol’ time, instilling a sense of tension that even the original wasn’t capable of. I hope some steps have been taken to implement bespoke world interactions, instead of just translating existing items and objects that can be triggered with a touch of a button. That isn’t what VR is about, I want to feel like I belong in the world, no matter how weird or fantastical it is.
Manually reloading your firearms as a horde of infected approach you, wanting nothing but your untimely demise sounds horrifying, with the screams and shrieks the Los Plagas are known for piercing your eardrums. You’ll also need to tilt your head to dodge the axes and pitchforks being hurled your way, ensuring that Leon’s emo fringe isn’t trimmed before the inevitable reboot rolls around. The trailer only shows the opening sequence alongside a brief glimpse at Salazar’s Castle, so it’s much too early to make a definitive judgement on Resident Evil 4 VR – but it all looks mighty promising.
I’m a little curious how escorting Ashley through the majority of the campaign will unfold in VR, and if such mechanics will prove a little fiddly in the new medium. The same goes for melee attacks and interacting with certain objects, Armature will need to rework major parts of the original game to accommodate not only virtual reality, but a shift to the first-person perspective. A number of lessons have likely been learned from Resident Evil 7, so I hope this is enough to ensure Resident Evil 4 VR is faithful to the survival horror classic.
But I have faith, and this is much better than Capcom coughing out a half-baked rail shooter onto virtual reality platforms and calling it a day. From everything we’ve seen, Resident Evil 4 VR feels like a conversion being crafted with care, one that fully appreciates the existing experience while updating it with intuitive ideas that mesh with modern technology. How its environments, characters, and other elements hold up is another matter entirely, but I’m happy to face those problems once my headset is on and I’m losing myself for hours.
In a gaming landscape where Capcom is digging through its back catalogue for gold, this is one project I honestly didn’t expect, but it’s something I’m already welcoming with open arms. Just please don’t make me face the Regeneradors in VR, those things are the stuff of nightmares.
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Jade King is one of the Features Editors for TheGamer. Previously head of gaming content over at Trusted Reviews, she can be found talking about games, anime and retweeting Catradora fanart @KonaYMA6.
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