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September 25, 2005
Resident Evil 4 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
4/11/2005CapcomCapcom1$99.95
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Wonderful building design.
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An Ada Wong mission.
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The assignment.

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Enemies come thick and fast.
The Resident Evil series, or Biohazard as it's know in Japan, has been a massive success for Capcom with well over 26 million units sold around the world since the first PSOne game was released in 1996. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last year or so you would know that Resident Evil 4 has been available on Gamecube for almost a year in Japan, and six months here in Australia. As anyone who has played the game can tell you - including us - the game is quite brilliant, and now it's coming to Playstation 2 this November. Obviously the first question everyone has is, "Is this game any good, and are these PS2 screens?" The answer to both is most definately - this game looks, and plays, every bit as sensational as the Gamecube original.

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A spear? Is that all you have!
In Resident Evil 4 players are reacquainted with Leon S. Kennedy, Raccoon City Police Departmentís idealistic rookie cop from Resident Evil 2. It has been six years since the destruction of Raccoon City and in that time, the U.S. government has been able to destroy the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. Fast forward to 2004 and players rejoin Leon, who is now a U.S. agent with a top-secret mission. He has been tasked to look into the abduction of the Presidentís daughter and his investigation has led him to a mysterious location in Europe. As Leon encounters unimaginable horrors, he must find out who or what is behind everything.

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Leon's new RPRL weapon.
The gameplay in this Resident Evil title has changed quite a bit from previous games in the series. The enemies are no longer slow moving zombies appearing on screen one or two at a time but this time are quick moving and will swarm towards you in packs. As you would expect there is a wide arsenal at your disposal from handguns to machine guns, bazookas to shotguns just to name a few. At certain points you will need to use context sensitive buttons to perform actions, jump over objects or jump down from edges and so on as you can see in the middle screenshot in the top row here. The enemy AI has also been beefed up considerbly and will now team up against you.

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Inside the church.
While Playstation 2 owners have had to wait quite a while for the game (remember it was announced as a Gamecube exclusive, so it's appearance is most welcome) we won't be getting a direct port of the Gamecube title. Indeed Capcom have announced several bonuses for PS2 owners. The bulk of this comes in 5 all-new chapters of game which fill in some of the back story. These chapters allow you to control Ada Wong with Capcom promising around 5 hours of gameplay from these PS2 exclusive areas of game. As well as new chapters the development team are adding a couple of new weapons. Ada has a grenaded tipped crossbow while Leon has a Las Plagas Removal Laser Gun at his disposal. This weapon can be charged up for powerful laser bursts or can be used in rapid fire for less powerful, but more frequent, shots. Finally, the developers are including a couple of new uniforms for the games heroes. Leon will be able to wear a Mafia styled suit while Ashley, rather amusingly, will be able to wear some medievil styled armour!

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What the...
As you can see the graphics in Resident Evil 4 are nothing short of amazing. I have the Gamecube version here and can tell you the differences appear to be negligable. Apparently the PS2 game has a little less lighting effects in some areas but besides that everything else is near identical. More importantly the frame rate of the PS2 game holds up very well and rather then the letterboxed widescreen format of the Gamecube title the developers are including true 16:9 widescreen support on PS2. We are also led to belive that Progressive Mode will also be included in the PAL version. Sweet.

There's little doubt about the anticipation that Resident Evil 4 on PS2 will generate. The Gamecube isn't in nearly as many homes as it should be making this a title which, despite being over a year old, will still be highly anticipated by millions of gamers the world over. With stunning visuals and a reinvention of the series' gameplay this is one to watch out for in late 2005.