Tuesday, February 10, 2009

RE4: Wii Edition, Chapter 1

So far, I'm through to the end of Chapter 1 on my playthrough of Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition.

I must say, the visceral satisfaction of kneecapping Ganados is much greater than any mere memory, though I never really noticed before how freaky it was to face just the same four villagers over and over again.

The best part of Chapter 1 was probably a fight against some dynamite-hurling enemies outside a bombed-out shed. While it was possible to explode the dynamite by shooting it, it was more fun to shoot an enemy to stall him until the timed fuse blew it up in his hand.

As far as this version's main selling point, the new controls, are concerned, I wasn't initially entirely sold. I was perfectly comfortable with the original GameCube controls, to the extent that, by the end of my first playthrough, I did not feel overmatched going one-on-five with just the handgun and melee attacks. While the Wii's pointing controls worked well from the start, my memory insisted that the traditional controls still felt more natural. Just to make sure, however, I plugged in my GameCube pad for a quick spin. (Wii Edition, by the way, is impressively accommodating, allowing use of the GameCube pad or Classic Controller, making it for sure the definitive edition.)

The old controls were instantly familiar, but I did notice quirks that I'd largely forgotten. For one thing, Leon's aim is actually not perfectly steady, and the shaking is more or less pronounced depending on the equipped gun. Although the shaking is still there while using the remote, it is barely noticeable and, regardless of the gun, has no practical effect on your accuracy. While manually steadying the remote, those fine, real-time adjustments occur instantly with no thought at all. Even more significantly, use of the remote replaces the guns' laser sights with a floating reticle, which is far easier to spot, especially on long shots. So, on the whole, it's definitely easier to fire with accuracy while aiming with the remote.

On the other hand, the separation between shooting and moving is more pronounced than ever through the physical arrangement of the remote and Nunchuk, with each half being mostly functionless while the other is in use. This makes for a somewhat jarring transition from remote to Nunchuk if I'm forced to start running mid-fight. In higher-pressure situations, I still find the traditional controls to be more comfortable, though I suppose I'll get used to it.

My favorite part of the Wii experience, to my surprise, is actually the remote's built-in speaker. It makes little noises every time Leon radios Hunnigan. In practical terms, it's a minor addition, but, for some reason, I find it immensely satisfying whenever it happens. To be honest, I think I like it better than vibration in some ways, and I hope, moving forward, that every stock controller includes a speaker.

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