Anyone who knows how numbers work knows what comes next. Last year’s remake of Resident Evil 2 will soon be followed by this year’s remake of Resident Evil 3. Not including Resident Evil – Code: Veronica and Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil 4 would be the next logical place Capcom would start looking at doing the next Resident Evil remake. But do we even need a Resident Evil 4 remake? It’s a question that begs a few answers and stirs the pot for quite a few people.
Released in 2005, Resident Evil 4 is now 15 years old. By the time a hypothetical remake would release we’d be looking at close to two decades since the original launched. But is the simple element of “time” enough to warrant revisiting it? After all, ports of Resident Evil 4 are available on almost any platform people have now, so the excuse isn’t in giving more people the opportunity to experience it. You could go pick it up on PS4 and play it tonight if you wanted (as long as those pesky PSN download speed restrictions aren’t getting in your way).
Resident Evil 2 and 3 both completely change up the fundamentals of the gameplay, removing static environment screens and the old tank controls to give players a more modern experience for the classic games. Both also take some narrative liberties, changing elements of the original stories. The idea was essentially to take the playbook from the originals and make the games as if they were being made today, using the favored third-person control scheme from the second trilogy of RE titles.
See, Capcom considers every three mainline Resident Evil entries to be big changes for the series. 1-3 offered static environments with tank controls. 4-6 were third-person over the shoulder games with free-moving cameras. And Resident Evil 7 began a trend of first-person Resident Evil games (not to mention its VR support) that is supposedly going to carry over to both 8 and 9 (though whether or not those plans remain intact is unknown). While Resident Evil 2 and 3 have now been remade more along the style of 4-6, is it really necessary to do a Resident Evil 4 remake within the style that it already is?
The question really shouldn’t be “what” Resident Evil game Capcom should remake next, but “if” they should even remake another Resident Evil game quite yet. The original 2 and 3 preceded this century. There are people of legal voting age who weren’t even born when these games originally released. While 4 and 5 may eventually see their day with next-gen remakes (I rather loved Resident Evil 5 and its co-op gameplay) and Capcom may even one day do a mulligan with Resident Evil 6 (better than most give it credit for, but still a bad game in many aspects), perhaps we should wait a few years before we start toying around with bringing more RE games back.
If anything, the original Resident Evil deserves another remake, this time in the style of 2 and 3. The last remake was in 2002, years before RE4 even released. It’s been kicked down the sidewalk a few times, most recently releasing as an HD version in 2015 that is indeed available for PS4. It’s a good game, and arguably what set off this chain of remakes, but it’s far from the reimagining that the likes of RE2 and RE3 are. Perhaps it’s time for a new vision of the Spencer Mansion to be born.
One thing is for certain: I wouldn’t say no to a Resident Evil 4 remake. In fact, I’d welcome a return to that classic using the power of the PS5 to drive home the horror of what is possibly one of the best Resident Evil games ever. But being welcome and being necessary are two different things. Resident Evil 4 still looks fantastic and holds up today, even as a 15-year old game. We’re now three years on from Resident Evil 7, and while I’ve had plenty of fun with Resident Evil 2 and 3, I’m also ready for a brand new Resident Evil experience.
Or better yet, Capcom could just revisit Dino Crisis.
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