Resident Evil 4 VR Review - A Fresh Take On an Established Classic

Capcom’s given Resident Evil 4 seemingly endless ports across the generations. Initially released in 2005 for Nintendo GameCube, these days you’ll find it competing with Skyrim for modern re-releases. Despite this, few could’ve expected a VR edition was next for Capcom’s acclaimed survival horror third-person shooter.

Developed by Armature Studio, Resi 4’s undergone a significant transformation, porting it into Unreal Engine 4. Giving it a first-person perspective, motion control support and a new combat/inventory system, that’s launching exclusively on Oculus Quest 2, and fans won’t want to miss it.

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A Familiar Story

Resident Evil 4 VR - El Gigante looking at you up close.
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Just like before, Resident Evil 4 sees us playing as special agent Leon S. Kennedy, who begins his search to rescue Ashley Graham, the U.S. President’s daughter kidnapped by a strange cult, Los Illuminados.

Travelling to a rural Spanish village, we soon discover the villagers have been infected with the Las Plagas parasite. Known as the Los Ganados, we’ll be taking them down as opposed to the usual zombies, shooting our way through with an arsenal of weaponry.

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Now, as one of Resident Evil’s best-selling entries, chances are you’re looking to know whether it’s still that same game from 2005. Thankfully, 4’s core experience is intact, letting you experience this story as intended with the original cutscenes and remastered artwork.

Armature’s work stays faithful to 4’s core systems – yes, that includes those needless Quick Time Events – so it remains familiar, though Mercenaries mode isn't here. However, gameplay’s been significantly altered. Utilising Quest 2’s motion controls, players can directly pick up guns off their body in a new form of inventory management.

Handling weapons and items as physical objects, you’ll now have to manually reload, pick up ammo pouches, ready your guns and more. If you’d prefer a quick select approach, that’s also available through the Oculus controllers.

Out With The Old…

Resident Evil 4 VR - Merchant
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Progression’s also changed and environmental objects like doors or levers are directly handled too, alongside puzzles. Leon’s got new movement options too. Smooth joystick control is the default choice but if you’re liable to motion sickness, players can switch to teleportation. Seated and standing options are available too, alongside various comfort toggles.

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Finally, in news that’ll likely provide a sigh of relief to original players, Ashley’s undergone some changes. Attempting to address “prior grievances”, Ashley now takes decreased damage when hit and enemies are more likely to target Leon. As a result, she’s no longer as frustrating.

I won’t deny it’s strange experiencing a 16-year-old game in VR, which isn’t helped by a dated visual presentation, but Armature’s done a fine job adapting Resi 4 to this medium. Having played the original during this review, movement feels more freeing and you really feel immersed into Resi 4's setting.

Resident Evil 4 VR - Is It Worth It?

Given the significant changes to gameplay, Resident Evil 4 VR’s best approached as an alternative take on this classic, though considering how many straight ports the original game’s had, that’s not a bad thing. Resident Evil 4 might be showing its age but ultimately, this VR edition goes beyond what we’ve previously seen.

Thanks to the first-person perspective, new inventory system and well-implemented changes to combat, it remains entertaining and fans should consider revisiting this classic once more. If you've not yet played the original game though, you'd perhaps be better served visiting that first.

4/5

Oculus Quest 2 review copy provided by publisher.