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Resident Evil 4

Ladies and gentlemen, the best survival horror game ever made. Find out why in our full review.
by Matt Casamassina

January 7, 2005 - "Where are the zombies?" Gamers and journalists alike have asked the question more times than we could count. And always developer Capcom has replied with the same answer: that there are none. This is Resident Evil 4, the latest from the Japanese studio that revolutionized the survival horror genre. And in this fundamentally changed new sequel, the walking dead have gone back to their graves. Instead of recycling a formula that Capcom itself conceded was growing tired, the development team behind the ambitious project opted to create a striking new Resident Evil experience minus some of the ingredients that spiced up previous franchise games. But don't worry. Standing in for zombies are some remarkably compelling and rewarding new gameplay dynamics and a dramatically more atmospheric world than survivalists have ever seen before. Simply put, this game not only delivers on the hype, it exceeds it. You will be wowed. You will be terrified. And when it's all over, you'll wonder why Capcom didn't do this sooner.

The Facts

* GameCube exclusive for most of 2005
* Anticipated next installment in the Resident Evil franchise
* Play as Resident Evil 2's Leon S. Kennedy and other characters
* Embark on an epic adventure to save the President's kidnapped daughter
* Travel through a remote European village, an ancient castle, underground caves, a lake, and a wide assortment of industrial areas
* Do battle with a dazzling set of enemies from possessed villagers and crazed monks to a giant, water-dwelling creature and ogre-like beasts
* Unravel the mystery that surrounds the village through a wide selection of in-game cinematics that progress the story
* Discover why the things that inhabit the area are neither zombie nor human
* Rated M for a reason: extreme violence and gore
* Arm Leon with a plethora of weapons and special items from rocket launchers to sniper rifles
* A new action system enables Leon to perform context-sensitive moves such as jumping through windows or dodging enemy attacks
* Meet with traders to buy new weapons, sell items, or tune-up Leon's arsenal
* Leon can save at any typewriter -- no ribbon required; up to 20 saves per memory card
* 20-plus hours of gameplay
* Takes place in full 3D
* Stunning new graphics engine displays unequaled visuals on GameCube
* Runs in progressive scan mode
* Not true anamorphic widescreen; letterboxed
* Dolby Pro Logic II support

We're going to need a bigger boat...
Surviving the Horror
Six years after the events in Resident Evil 2, the Umbrella Company is ruined. When the T-Virus was unleashed in Raccoon City, the US government nuked the location and then ended all relationships with Umbrella. Before too long, the corporation's stock price dropped and it retreated into obscurity. In the same time, hero Leon S. Kennedy began a career with the government, eventually becoming a highly trained agent. Resident Evil 4 begins as Kennedy is dispatched on a top-secret mission to find and safely return the President's kidnapped daughter from a remote location in Europe.

There are no pre-rendered sequences in Resident Evil 4, but you wouldn't know it when watching the opening cinematic, which quickly and conveniently brings you up-to-date on the situation. Always a stickler for presentation, Capcom has really outdone itself with this game, going the extra mile to deliver you truly gorgeous, beautifully choreographed cut-scenes that drive the story. What's more, because these sequences all use the game engine, they're seamless.

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