I shouldn’t have doubted Resident Evil 4 — it’s the best remake I’ve ever played

Resident Evil 4
(Image credit: Capcom)

Resident Evil 4 is one of the finest remakes I’ve ever played. And I don’t say that lightly. 

I was initially skeptical about this remake when it was announced. The original Resident Evil 4 may have dated mechanics, but I consider it a perfect title. That’s not nostalgia talking, either. Resident Evil 4 has been re-released so many times that it’s still fresh in my mind. I didn't think a remake could match it — but here I am, writing exactly that. Resident Evil 4 remake is incredible.

I’m still playing through the Resident Evil 4 remake so I’m not ready to declare it better than the original just yet. But based on the time I’ve spent with it so far, I can confidently say that Capcom has delivered another fine Resident Evil remake. It's better than the Resident Evil 2 remake — which I previously considered the best remake ever.

There’s a reason we gave Capcom’s latest remake glowing praise in our Resident Evil 4 review. It’s just that good! Below, I’ll detail why Resident Evil 4 is currently my favorite remake of all time and one of the best games of 2023.

Familiar but fresh

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 remake features highly detailed environments. (Image credit: Capcom)

Resident Evil 4 remake doesn’t just splash a new coat of textures over the original. Like the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes, it has been built from the ground up with a new game engine. Everything from its narrative, gameplay mechanics, voice acting, level design and more have been reworked and redesigned. It’s clear that Capcom used the original as inspiration and then set about creating something new.

The ability to move while shooting feels natural and doesn’t make the game less frightening. I still feel like I’m playing a Resident Evil title, not Call of Duty.

This mix of new and familiar is evident right from the jump. As before, protagonist Leon Kennedy rides in the back of a police car and chats with the officers escorting him to the Spanish village where the majority of the game takes place. It’s the same scene as the original, only running on a modern engine and featuring new dialogue. I knew all the beats this scene would hit, but not how they would play out in this version.

This was also true when I entered the village. At a cursory glance, the general layout and building interiors looked the same, but new paths and item locations gave me fresh things to explore. Things are mostly the same, just rearranged.

Like the graphics, gameplay mechanics have received a major overhaul over the original. This was the aspect I was most worried about since I still think the original’s gameplay is perfectly balanced. Sure, you can’t move and shoot at the same time, but the game is designed around that limitation. Being able to move and shoot would completely change the game’s flow and make it more action-focused than it already was. Boy, was I wrong!

Resident Evil 4

The ability to move and shoot in Resident Evil 4 remake is a welcome gameplay mechanic. (Image credit: Capcom)

The ability to move while shooting feels natural and doesn’t make the game less frightening. This is an aspect that’s also true about the previous two Resident Evil remakes. I still feel like I’m playing a Resident Evil title, not Call of Duty. On top of that, new mechanics like crouching and the ability to stealth-kill enemies don’t feel out of place. Action sequences play out faster but the overall pace isn’t ruined.

Lastly, Resident Evil 4 remake has a darker tone than the original. Leon still tosses out the occasional one-liner, but not as many as before. The dialogue and voice acting aren't as campy. This is amusing considering how the original Resident Evil 4 was the most mature entry in the series when it was released. The remake still has some silly moments but they're not so abundant.

Terrifyingly beautiful 

Resident Evil 4 remake runs on Capcom’s RE Engine, which is the same game engine used in the previous two remakes — along with Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village. All of those games are visual stunners so it’s no surprise that Resident Evil 4 is a feast for the eyes.

Resident Evil 4

The RE Engine Resident Evil 4 runs on is capable of delivering incredible visuals. (Image credit: Capcom)

Detailed characters and locales, along with moody lighting and environmental effects, serve to pull one into the game’s world. Even as I fought off crazed villagers, I couldn’t help but marvel at the visuals.

That’s impressive considering Resident Evil 4 is a last-gen game at its core. Perhaps it may have looked better had it been developed only for the current-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X, but I’m not complaining. Resident Evil 4 is one of the best-looking games you’ll find.

 Capcom does it again 

Resident Evil 4 remake is a winner across the board. Even if it wasn’t a remake of a beloved classic, it would still be able to hold its own against modern games. I’m pleased that my initial skepticism toward this title was baseless. This is an exemplary remake that sets a new standard for how to revive older titles.

Even as someone who has grown tired of the deluge of remakes seen in recent years, I have to praise Resident Evil 4 for delivering the goods. I believe it will become a classic like its original incarnation. And the best part is that the new Resident Evil 4 doesn’t replace the old one since the latter is available on modern consoles.

If you've never played Resident Evil 4, I suggest firing up the original and then playing the remake. That will give you a better appreciation for the work that went into the latter. I think you'll find Resident Evil 4 one of the best games of the year — remake or otherwise.

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.