Rightly or wrongly, Nintendo has picked up a reputation for being the “kiddies’ choice” when it comes to console gaming. This opinion developed mainly from the cutesy characters associated with Nintendo in big games such as Super Mario and Zelda. That’s not to say that these games aren’t good, because they are, very good to be precise; but a lot of prospective gamers have been put off by the younger look and feel of these games. However, the cutesy Nintendo image is about to take a battering, because Capcom has released Resident Evil 4 and made it a GameCube exclusive – at least until the end of the year when a PlayStation 2 version is rumoured.
Now I dare say that many of you won’t be that excited about a new Resident Evil game, since the franchise had started to get a bit stale. Even though Resident Evil: Code Veronica on the Dreamcast was a great game, it didn’t feel like much of a step forward from the previous PlayStation 1 titles. I’m therefore happy to report that Resident Evil 4 isn’t so much a step forward, but more of a giant leap!
As with all the previous games, Resident Evil 4 has a strong storyline that carries the action along. But coming as a big surprise, is that there are no Zombies and even more amazingly, the evil Umbrella Corporation has nothing to do with the proceedings – well the latter isn't entirely true, but you’ll have to play pretty far into the game to find out what I mean.
What will be instantly recognisable to Resident Evil fans, is the character that you control. Leon Kennedy, the rookie cop from Resident Evil 2, makes a return although he’s no longer working for the police. Leon has been through a few changes and is now a government agent on a mission to rescue the President’s daughter (Ashley). Following sightings of Ashely in a remote European village, Leon heads out (alone of course) to find and recover her.
So, the storyline has taken quite a twist, but ultimately it’s the gameplay that will make or break any major title. If you’ve been playing Resident Evil games for a while, there are probably a few things about the gameplay that you hate – those stupid inventory boxes for one, and the fact that aiming weapons was always a pretty random affair being another. Well, if you made a list of all the things that annoyed you about previous Resident Evil engines, you’d probably find that Capcom has addressed them all.