Resident Evil 4 is one of the most critically-acclaimed games of all time, so it’s no surprise that Capcom worked hard to bring RE4 to as many platforms as possible. Since the original GameCube’s release, Resident Evil 4 has landed on the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii, with an HD release for modern consoles. While it’s available on just about any modern gaming platform one can think of, Capcom has decided to port Resident Evil 4 yet again, this time in the form of Resident Evil 4 VR on the Oculus Quest 2 headset.
With Resident Evil 4 re-released so many times over the years, one would think Capcom had gone out of its way to squeeze everything out of it, but Resident Evil 4 VR does offer a whole new experience. Resident Evil 4 VR ditched the third-person over-the-shoulder camera that was so innovative and influential at RE4’s original release in favor of a first-person perspective, and that alone fundamentally changed the entire game.
Resident Evil 4 hero Leon S. Kennedy’s ability to freely target any part of an enemy’s body was a revelation back in 2005, but giving players complete freedom of movement takes things up a notch. Resident Evil 4 VR is more dynamic and intense than the console version of the game, as players are able to move around their environment more quickly, aim more accurately, and switch between weapons at a much faster pace.
Weapon swapping and actually using weapons is more involved in Resident Evil 4 VR. Instead of fumbling through menus to reload weapons, Resident Evil 4 VR players must manually reload their guns. For a pistol, this involves removing a clip from Leon’s ammo pouch, pushing it into the gun, and pulling the slide back. With shotguns, players must add shells one at a time and physically pump the weapon after firing.
This level of interactivity extends to all the weapons Leon can wield, and it helps make the game more fun and immersive. To use grenades, Resident Evil 4 players must pull out the grenades, then throw them at enemies. Using the knife requires the player to hold the blade and then swing at whatever they wish to damage or kill. So Resident Evil 4 makes all of Leon’s basic moves more interesting.
What’s more, the game doesn’t bog down players with tutorials explaining how everything works. A common problem with VR games is that they tend to over explain all the mechanics, and while Resident Evil 4 VR has optional tutorials, they aren’t required. All of Leon’s movements in the game are logical, so anyone should be able to put on a VR headset and figure out how everything works without too much trial and error.
Oculus Touch controls are also used in other aspects of Resident Evil 4 VR. Motion controls are used in Resident Evil 4’s quick events and are also used to solve in-game puzzles. Players can use motion controls to open doors, type their names on savepoint typewriters, pull bear traps, and more. First-person perspective aside, the new motion controls in Resident Evil 4 VR are a big part of the reason the game still feels fresh despite being 16 years old at its core.
While Resident Evil 4 VR plays differently than any other version of the game before it, it retains the same layout, story pacing, and big moments as the original. However, these moments are enhanced when switching to virtual reality. For example, the famous village scene at the beginning of the Resident Evil 4 game, in which players are tortured by hordes of heavily armed villagers and the terrifying chainsaw man, is not only more dynamic in VR, but also more terrifying.
The Oculus Quest 2 VR headset features directional audio, giving players a chilling sense of dread when they hear Las Plagas-infested enemies calling out their location or when they hear a chainsaw go live. Moments like the lake monster jumping out of the water and eating Leon in Resident Evil 4 are more effective than ever. As a result, VR not only enhanced Resident Evil 4’s gameplay, but also breathed new life into every other aspect of the game.
From a gameplay standpoint, Resident Evil 4 VR is excellent, but when it comes to content, there’s no denying that it lags behind its predecessor. Unfortunately, Resident Evil 4 VR lacks content, including the popular Mercenary mode and Ada Wong side quests. The lack of mercenaries in Resident Evil 4 VR is especially disappointing, as the mode allows fans to jump right into some fun enemy encounters without having to revisit the story.
Some fans may also take issue with the Resident Evil 4 VR dialogue clip, though it’s barely missed. Resident Evil 4 VR doesn’t do anything special with the cutscenes, instead it pulls the player out of the game world and lets them watch the big screen as if they were sitting in a movie theater.
The Oculus Quest 2 exclusivity of Resident Evil 4 VR means it has a very limited audience, and it’s hard to recommend that people buy a brand new VR headset to play the game. However, die-hard Resident Evil 4 fans might still want to consider biting the bullet, as VR has completely reinvigorated the game and managed to refresh the 16-year-old experience.
Resident Evil 4 VR is out now, exclusively for Oculus Quest 2.