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Games: Resident Evil 4 is back and looks better than ever

Resident Evil 4 is a zombie game without the zombies
Neil McGreevey

Resident Evil 4 Remastered (PS4/Xbox One)

By: Capcom

WITHOUT doubt, I've completed Resident Evil 4 more than any other game. Capcom's 2005 classic saved the survival horror series from itself – a well-flogged dead horse brought kicking and whinnying into the 21st century with modern bells and whistles.

The 2002 Gamecube effort marked a return to the director’s chair for series creator Shinji Mikami, and the resulting explosion-riddled romp danced on the grave of survival horror, with ammo in abundance, no puzzle solving, lashings of gun-slinging and a gauntlet of escalating set-pieces.

Set in a Spanish village where the farmers, vindicating Alan Partridge, keep abominations under lock and key, this was a zombie game without the zombies, and rather than putting their brain at risk from undead gobs, players were more likely to receive a pitchfork up the jacksie from its Texas Chainsaw Massacre-inspired hicks.

Cramped hallways made way for open landscapes with plenty of windows to crash through, quick-time events and the iconic cockney merchant.

It also armed its enemies in the final reel, a decision that would evolve to blight all subsequent games, which hitched their wagons to the action angle and descended into generic trigger-fests.

Resi 4 was all so slickly packaged and reassuringly cheesy to be warmly welcomed by fans, with superb pacing and an elegant over-the-shoulder view that has been oft-copied and since perfected with Sony's The Last of Us. Since its Gamecube debut, Resident Evil 4 has been groundhogged on PS2, Wii, PS3 and now PS4 and Xbox One. Based on the PC Ultimate HD Edition, the latest boasts the sharpest resolution yet.

Behind the gloss, though, this is the same game horror junkies bought Nintendo's purple six-incher for 11 years ago, with none of the reimagining Capcom lavished on Resident Evil 1 and Zero.

At the time its graphics were state-of-the-art and though they've scrubbed up well – having gone under the digital knife for a steady 60fps in 1080p resolution – they're beginning to show their years.

The game does, however, include all additional content for a recession-busting sub £20 ask. If for some reason this is your first time experiencing Resi 4 (welcome to Planet Earth – you'll get used to the smell) you're in for a treat. Given middle age drags me to her rancid bosom tomorrow, I couldn’t have wished for a better game to end my 30s with.

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