This Wii edition makes it the fourth time this game has been released, the first version appeared on the Gamecube way back in 2005. It was then given a second lease of life on the Playstation 2 later that same year and more recently has seen a PC version hit the shelves. So after all this time does Resident Evil 4 still make a good game, and more importantly what does it offer to gamers who have already completed it on another format?
Before this review can go any further, I have a confession to make. This is the first time I've ever played a Resident Evil game properly. I've had a go with older games, but I was never able to grasp the awkward control mechanics so just didn't bother. This version of Resident Evil has ditched the control scheme of yore though, and heralds a new direction for the series. You now play from a third person “over the shoulder” perspective which makes the whole thing a much more enjoyable experience.
For those who haven't played Resident Evil 4, here's a brief overview of the game. You play as Leon S. Kennedy who is a secret agent working for the President trying to locate his kidnapped daughter. You end up at what I can only describe as a ramshackle village somewhere in Spain, where as you soon discover the population are not very welcoming of outsiders. It's difficult to go into any more detail without giving away plot-spoilers, so I'll leave it at that. Suffice to say the story is interesting and the plot is deep enough to keep you playing to completion and on the edge of you seat. The game moves at a nice steady pace and takes you through numerous locations that are never boring to be in.
What really sets this version of the game apart from the others is the control scheme. It makes full use of the Wiimote and Nunchuck, with the movement being taken care of via the analogue stick and camera and aiming controls on the Wiimote. This provides a whole new dimension to the game play because now you have a cross-hair instead of the laser sight and have to aim the Wiimote like a gun. One aspect that remains intact is that to aim you must be standing still, it can feel awkward for the first few minutes but that quickly subsides and it all becomes second nature. To have it any other way would have destroyed the tension that is inherent in the game play. It is all so intuitive that it is hard to imagine how you ever played it without!
Graphically this version brings nothing new the series, it has support for progressive scan and true wide-screen support. But that was present in the PS2 version and apart from that it is hard to tell them apart, other than the Wii edition renders the cut-scenes using the in game engine providing a smoother transition. That said, the visuals in this game are stunning and it is probably one of the best looking games available for the Wii at the moment.
If you haven't played Resident Evil 4 yet, or have been put off by the controls in previous versions like me. There really is nothing to discuss, you simply must play this game. If you have already played an earlier version then you have to ask if the new control scheme is enough to warrant a purchase. For myself, I think the controls add so much to the game you'd be missing out if you denied yourself the opportunity to play this game again. Also, if you played it originally on the Gamecube you have the extra mission to look forward to that comes with this version, Separate Ways. This is a bonus episode that is designed to show you another side to the story and is a great addition.