At this point, we can safely say that especially when it comes to remakes, Capcom knows what it’s doing. Time and again, the Japanese giant has proven that it’s got a knack for overhaul and reimagining classics to turn them into modern masterpieces, and in March next year, with the Resident Evil 4 remake, we’re all hoping Capcom will do that yet again. That isn’t going to be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination though, given the series’ pedigree as well as the original RE4’s legendary reputation. The remake has monumentally high expectations to live up to, of that there’s little doubt. Of course, the upcoming RE4 has plenty of lessons it can learn from recent Resident Evil remakes, both in terms of what it should and shouldn’t be doing, and here, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE THINGS UP
Capcom’s approach with its Resident Evil remakes is never to stick to the script and make a game that just does the exact same things it did in its original form. That the Resident Evil 4 remake is going to be very different from the original release is something of a given- but it’ll be interesting to see if that’ll be as true as it has been in the past. Resident Evil 2 and 3, for instance, were both third person over-the-shoulder titles as opposed to the fixed cameras and tank controls the originals employed, which inherently made the remakes feel significantly different. RE4 isn’t going to have that going for it off the bat, so it’ll be interesting to see if Capcom tries to compensate for that in some other ways.
BE SMART ABOUT WHAT TO CHANGE UP
If there’s one thing that both Resident Evil 2 and 3 have taught us in different ways, it’s that any new remake has to be smart about what it chooses to change up from its source material. Resident Evil 2, for instance, largely got those changes right, but there were more than a few people who weren’t huge fans of how much was left on the cutting floor in Resident Evil 3 (or hell, even 2, for that matter). That’s why Capcom needs to be extra careful about what it’s taking the machete to in RE4. The original game is easily one of the lengthiest mainline games in the series, which means there will be plenty of trimming and alterations- we just hope Capcom makes the right decisions there about what it adds, removes, changes, or abridges.
TWEAK THE STORY FOR CONSISTENCY’S SAKE
This is also almost guaranteed to happen. Even going back to the Resident Evil 1 remake, Capcom has proven beyond a doubt that it loves making narrative changes to games when remaking them. Resident Evil 4 is almost definitely going to follow that trend. Series fans would love to see tweaks to the lore or the story to see the game have stronger connections to the overarching series, while certain characters could also benefit from either having expanded roles (like Luis, for instance) or completely overhauled portrayals (like Salazar).
CHANGE THE TONE
Resident Evil has never been afraid to be more than a little campy and corny, and while that’s true even now, it’s not as true as it used to be. Starting with Resident Evil 7, the series adopted a new approach that was much grittier, darker, and more subdued (though things do still go a little insane now and then). Resident Evil 4 is likely going to be changed to fit into that style- as it should. The original was, at the time, probably the corniest game in the series (perhaps with the exception of Code – Veronica). It reveled in its B-movie charms and cheesy writing. The remake is probably going to drop that veneer and look at RE4’s story from a much more grounded perspective- which we’re quite excited about.
Ada Wong was always a crucial part of Resident Evil 4, but after the original game’s initial launch, Capcom also ended up adding plenty of new content focused on her to the experience with the “Separate Ways” campaign and the “Assignment Ada” scenario. We fully expect that content to be integrated into the base experience itself, rather than being them being separate experiences again. Or, at least, that’s what we’re hoping for. The RE2 remake is the perfect and obvious model for how to do something like that, and we’d be very surprised if Resident Evil 4’s remake doesn’t take cues from that.
TURN THE CHAINSAW MAN INTO A STALKER FOE
In their own ways, Resident Evil 2 and 3 reinforced the value of a good stalker enemy. Mr. X proved that a well-designed and properly used stalker enemy can elevate a horror game to new heights, while Nemesis showed how a poorly used one can dampen an experience. The original Resident Evil 4 did not, of course, have any stalker foes, but one excellent way to shake things up, to deliver something new and expected, and to make the remake more focus on horror than the original, would be to add a new stalker foe. For something like that, Dr. Salvador a.k.a. Chainsaw Man would be the perfect candidate. He’d make a terrifying stalker enemy, and the expanded role and screen-time that would come with that would be another bonus for fans of the original game.
OVERHAUL BOSSES THAT NEED IT
Both Resident Evil 2 and 3 also had plenty of good examples of how to overhaul bosses. Mind you, I’m not talking about adding or removing boss fights- but rather, overhauling existing ones to make them better one way or the other. Whether that’s the excellent boss fights against Nemesis in RE3 or how RE2, say, made the alligator encounter much better by streamlining it and turning it into a quick and dramatic set-piece moment. Resident Evil 4 should make similar changes where they’re needed as well. One boss fight that could do with a major reimagining would be the one against Jack Krauser. In the original RE4, the vast majority of that fight was QTEs. Hopefully we’ll see a new take on that encounter in the remake.
FOCUS ON REPLAY VALUE
This, of course, isn’t just something that applies to the Resident Evil remakes, but to the series as a whole. RE games have traditionally always emphasized replay value, with difficulties, playthrough grades, related unlocks, ancillary modes, and what have you. It’s a crucial component of any major new game in the series, and we’re not expecting Resident Evil 4 to be any different. The original Resident Evil 4 was, of course, a hugely replayable game for so many different reasons, and hopefully the remake will look to some of those ideas well. Which, incidentally, brings us to our next point…
DON’T REMOVE MERCENARIES
This is where RE4 should look to the Resident Evil 3 remake for what not to do. RE3 ended up removing the fan-favourite Mercenaries mode, and replaced it with the far more underwhelming Resistance, and it’s fair to say that most fans weren’t happy with that trade-off. Mercenaries’ arcade style makes it a much more replayable and popular mode, and Capcom needs to make sure that the RE4 remake has its own offerings on that front. Mercenaries was a big part of the original Resident Evil 4, so to see it removed from the remake would be a bit of a bummer.
IMPLEMENT A PROPER GORE SYSTEM
There probably aren’t many genres out there where gore is as important as it can be in a horror game. Resident Evil 2 had a spectacular gore system, and was lauded for it, and seeing it so toned down and pared back in RE3 was honestly quite disappointing. Resident Evil 4 will hopefully see the pendulum swing back. Just look at fellow upcoming survival horror game The Callisto Protocol if you want an idea of how much a solid gore system can contribute to that kind of an experience.
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