After playing Resident Evil 4 intermittently for several months now, I have finally reached Disc 2. Apparently, Disc 2 contains only the final of the game's five chapters, so I'm actually quite close to polishing this one off. And it's certainly about time, I say, because this game has tormented me long enough. Mind you, that is not to suggest that I haven't enjoyed it.Crazy, eh? When I think about Resident Evil 4 now, I seem able to remember only the good things. Did the game indeed turn me around with that final act? Or have the intervening years granted me a larger perspective of gaming history, allowing me to better appreciate what an achievement it really was? I honestly don't know. I can't even recall what boss I was referring to in that second paragraph.
The most recent boss was a disappointingly uninspired design and, moreover, suffered from a rather enormous blind spot that rendered the fight more farcical than anything else, but, otherwise, the game is very fresh and finely-polished. RE4 departs so significantly from previous installments, however, that it's hard to say whether it's my favorite. It definitely provides more and better action content than the others.
My primary complaint is concerning the story, which scarcely connects to the mythos established by the earlier games. This wouldn't bother me so much, if only RE4 provided an engrossing narrative of its own. Unfortunately, it's a pretty lightweight affair, with cut scenes being short and infrequent. To be fair, such has been the standard for the series. But RE4 is a much longer game than its predecessors. Compelling though the gameplay may be, I find it hard to stick with a mediocre plot for more than twenty hours. Finally, Leon himself, for all his newfound cool, lacks the youthful passion of his RE2 self.
That said, there's still some game left to be had before I shelve this one, so I can only hope that the best is yet to come.
My main complaint seemed to be regarding the length of the game. Was it really a twenty-hour game? Or was I just really slow? As much as I lament my lack of time for gaming now, it appears things weren't really that much different in 2005, when I was a college senior preparing for graduation.
Four years later, as I embark on my second playthrough of RE4, this time on the Wii, I'll be interested to see how my views may have changed.