Friday, September 28, 2007

Resident Evil 4: Wii edition review

One of the biggest issues with playing 3D shooters on consoles are the ridiculously difficult controls. This is especially true for someone like me who was institutionalised with KB+Mouse combo since Doom was installed on our 486. Gamepads are the reason I did not like Goldeneye on N64 (despite its a-okay split-screen multiplayer); and is a reason why I always hoped that Capcom would release a decent Resident Evil 4 port on PC. Because while I liked the GameCube version enough, despite its obvious controller problems; I was sure I would love a PC version with mouse support even more.

Well they did finally release a PC port earlier this year, but like the typical anti computer gaming they are, Capcom (or at least the third party who did the porting) did not code in mouse support. Selling a PC game with no mouse support is like shipping a TV with no remote (trust me I know something about operating a TV without a remote because we lost the remote to our TV a long time ago - it is a chore) or a phone without buttons.

So when Capcom announced that they will be releasing yet another port, I cringed. Then I mourned for Shinji Mikami's headless corpse over how Capcom's execs defiled their GOD (Mikami, not the mythical ones). Later someone pointed out that this latest port would be for the Wii. My hopes raised. Capcom noted that Resident Evil 4: Wii edition would have the same code as the GameCube version but with support for progressive scan and 16:9 widescreen (but it does suffer from black lines on the side - so it isn't true 16:9) rather than the letterbox format on the GameCube version. It also contains previous PS2 exclusives such as Ada Wong's Separate Ways and other bonuses. But the real reason to get this new money spinner is Capcom has finally brought almost mouse-like precision to Mikami's finest through the inclusion of WiiMote and Nunchuck support, which I will be concentrating in this review.

As with any Wii game, there are gimmicks and an obvious one here is 'shaking the WiiMote around' for melee attacks. Stupidity aside, tacking on waggle control at least contributed a massive improvement on gameplay over to the GameCube version, which while graphically good, was a pain to play due to the unwieldy controls of the GCN controller. The WiiMote control does enable console third person and first person games a joy to play, though it isn't as precise as what you would normally get when playing PC shooters with a KB+Mouse setup.

The targeting system for one is different from FPS where the crosshair always remains in the centre. In RE4: Wii controls the , the WiiMote crosshair, where as the analogue stick on the nunchuck controls Leon's (and Ada's) viewpoint. Basically the camera and aiming are controlled independently. For example in order to shoot an off-screen enemy, move the analogue stick around so Leon/Ada's camera also changes. Once the enemy is in sight, hold down the 'B' button on the WiiMote where the crosshair will appear then aim with WiiMote so the crosshair pointer will move towards the enemy and press the 'A' button to shoot.

Unbelievable as it may sound, what this mean is you can't walk and shoot.

It does gives a sort of light-gun kind of vibe to it, which is okay, though it needed some getting used to. The WiiMote isn't as precise as mouse to do FPS style twitches and I believe Capcom was wise enough to understand that. In fact this is probably why the next Resident Evil spin-off (Umbrella Chronicles) to appear on the Wii will be on-rails. It will appeal to a more casual crowd, which is what the Wii appears to be built for (yes, I was being derogatory).

Perhaps the biggest disappointment after playing RE4: Wii edition was how good the visuals still hold up. Yes you read that right. RE4 was originally a GameCube game, and as a port, remains the best looking game I have seen released on the Wii this side of the pond. So while I thought that RE4 looked great on the Wii especially on 16:9 none-HD tellies, I am disappointed that there are no developers that are willing to push the Wii to its graphically limits, preferring instead to tack-on waggle capabilities with crap graphics.

Resident Evil 4 was an already great game just slightly handicapped by traditional dual analogue gamepads. The Wii version is even better and is the definitive version to play. Controls could have been executed better, but the precision of aiming of the WiiMote makes this the edition to own/rent. If you prefer, RE4: Wii edition also support the Classic Controller and GameCube controller, but why should you? Playing shooters with gamepads is like riding a bicycle without handles, sans-brakes and punctured tyres, while blindfolded with hands tied to the back and a cat peeing around while attempting to cycle on the M25 on the wrong side of the road during winter. It just does not make sense.

- Ada Wong
- Wii remote control better implemented than majority of Wii games
- Same old masterpiece that was Resident Evil 4, with good controls to boot
- Proper progressive widescreen
- Ada Wong ^^

- Essentially a GameCube game with waggle support
- UK rip-off price
- Can't run and shoot
- Not enough Ada Wong


You can purchase it here from Amazon UK or import the NTSC version from Play-Asia


horrid said...

No strafing on wii proves that WASD+mouse is still the best

Jon said...

Good point. In fact RE4 regular edition had strafing if I am not mistaken.