[Note: This article assumes you’re familiar with the main characters in the Resident Evil Franchise]
SO in the morning of March 10th this year, we got presented with Capcom Spotlight. What was delivered was more insight into already announced games such as Exoprimal, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, Street Fighter 6 and many more.
But what I had my eyes on was the rumours of the new Resident Evil 4 Remake demo going live. And the rumours were no lie. With the game two weeks out, we all knew there would be a demo drop. Lucky for us, Capcom is one of the few developers that still do a demo for some of their games, and they do not disappoint.
Starting into the game, we still get Leon’s exposition about what happened in Resident Evil 2 and how he ended up working and being trained by the US government. We even see a familiar blonde military man who is relevant to the story. Those who’ve played OG Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles will know who I’m talking about.
One thing missing is the exposition about the downfall of Umbrella, which leads me to wonder what direction that will take or if that will be dealt with in the full game. We also get a more realistic Leon, who is suffering from PTSD after the Racoon City Incident – much like Jill.
Another bit that is missing from this new opening is we miss out on the drive-to-town banter between the local police and Leon.
Even though the demo is only 30 minutes long, I won’t touch too much on the story from this point, as to not spoil anything for new players who haven’t touched the OG game.
The first thing I noticed upon getting into the game is that, unlike the past releases demo’s, this demo doesn’t have a playable time limit. There isn’t a 1-hour play limit before the demo is locked, which I very much prefer not to be constrained to a playable time limit. Yes, it creates a sense of urgency, but the drawback is that you can’t explore and truly absorb how magnificent this game is. I can keep playing the demo repeatedly to my heart’s desire for the next two weeks when the full game is released.
The darker, more horror-based style shown in the trailers is definitely there. The trail to the village, the main area for the first part of the game, is full of dark paths and foggy terrain, which clears up as you get closer to the town as if to signal a bit of time passing by as the sunrises.
The details in the level designs have definitely carried over from the other remakes and Resident Evil Village. Examples of the time and effort they’ve put into simple things like the muddy ground.
One of the things that made the OG Resident Evil 4 stand out, besides its change to the formula in survival horror, was its sound design. You could usually hear the Ganados around you, but after a bit can see them. With the remake, after the first encounter, the sense of tension ramps up as you can hear Ganados all around you, but you can’t see them. It feels like they are up on the hills, in the trees or just on the other side of the flimsy wooden walls, waiting to jump at you at any moment.
After playing the demo a fair few times, I was still stuck on the edge of my seat because it felt like something could pop out of nowhere and get me.
There is one background-timed segment in the game, once you reach the village. We say ‘Adios’ to the last of our police buddies as he becomes the human barbecue, and I suspect that this is where the timed segments start.
The always Imposing Dr Salvador aka Chainsaw ManOn my first run, I went old-school Leon with guns blazing running around for a bit until I dived into the faithful house in the trailer to trigger Dr Salvator. Ultimately, what would be the point in calling it the ‘Chainsaw Demo’ if there was no big bad wielding a chainsaw?
In my second run, I went with the stealth route. I love myself some stealth and managed to get around for a while without being caught and avoided the house that instantly triggers Dr Salvator so I could explore more but alas, he is a crucial part of the continuing game and after some time, he will show up from one of the village gates to come and hunt you down.
Like the original, after some time has passed. You will hear a church bell go off and a cutscene plays out. It’s rather funny as everyone literally just stops and leaves you standing there.
Of course, we finish out with staple dialogue from Leon S. Kennedy but with a less light-hearted tone. Clearly, though it’s been 6 years since the Racoon City Incident, Leon’s PTSD still weighs on him, along with any additional trauma he gained during those 6 years of missions under the government’s orders.
And as a demo-only bonus, Capcom added an Extreme Difficulty mode that is unlocked at random called ‘Made Chainsaw Mode’ for added challenge. The mode only lasts for one playthrough but it can appear again. Of course, there is a way to force it but I’ll leave that for those who are game enough to try the mode.
Overall, there hasn’t been anything revealed in the demo that I could be disappointed about. If the demo is just a taste of what’s to come with the full release. I can say you’ll be on the edge of your seat, completely absorbed in the game, even if you’ve played the original.
For now, we need to wait for the March 24th and the full release, but I for one will be diving into the game as soon as it’s released just for the continued experience and to witness for myself the additional segments and items Capcom has added to Resident Evil 4 Remake.