Resident Evil 4 has seen multiple releases across lots of different platforms over the years, with its initial release coming back in 2005. It’s no surprise, really; not only did it re-invent the Resident Evil series in a way fans loved, but it also introduced gamers to a new way to enjoy third-person shooting action. It was brilliant then and still has been across the multiple generations of console it has released on ever since.
Despite this, I had a few reservations about its release on Oculus Quest 2. Whilst I’m a huge fan of virtual reality, some games that weren’t initially designed for it haven’t really made the transition all that well – especially when there’s a heavy focus on exploration or enemies attacking from all directions… you know, something that Resident Evil 4 is renowned for.
Well, I’ll alleviate any potential worries immediately. Resident Evil 4 VR is an outstanding re-invention of a classic game and one that owners of the headset simply HAVE to play.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
I feel like it’s worth pointing out from the get-go that Resident Evil 4 VR will be appreciated the most by those who have played the game before. Visiting iconic locales like that opening village or the Salazar Castle in virtual reality feels so special after having so many fond memories playing the game over the years, as does facing off against the hordes of Galados or the hulking El Gigante (which are a million times more frightening in virtual reality). Virtual reality offers a level of immersion that you won’t experience in typical video games, so getting to experience that when playing a game that I hold in my memory so fondly never stopped feeling special.
Don’t get me wrong, those who are completely new to the game will still be able to appreciate all of the finer points of the experience anyway, and the set pieces are nothing short of brilliant (and horrifying). Those who are returning after enjoying the game before, though? They’re going to love it, and whilst I won’t spoil anything here, feeling so immersed in some of the more epic and horrendous set pieces of the game in virtual reality almost made it feel like a whole new game at time.
“Visiting iconic locales like that opening village or the Salazar Castle in virtual reality feels so special after having so many fond memories playing the game over the years, as does facing off against the hordes of Galados or the hulking El Gigante (which are a million times more frightening in virtual reality).”
Of course, plenty of changes have been made for Resident Evil 4 to work in virtual reality, the most obvious being the change to a first-person viewpoint. It’s something the Resident Evil series has embraced with their recent releases so it won’t feel unfamiliar to players, but it does give them a whole new way to enjoy Leon’s adventure. There’s also a lot more freedom when moving, with the oft clunky (by today’s standards) controls of the original replaced with more fluid movement that sees Leon sprinting around with ease or side stepping his way out of danger. It’s a welcome change that helps modernise the game further, even if it can make some encounters substantially easier than players might remember.
The aiming also offers a lot more freedom in first-person, which allows for more accuracy than in its third-person counterpart. It’s much easier to line up headshots, whilst it gives a lot more flexibility for players to turn around with ease and quickly pick off enemies coming from all angles. You have to manually load up your ammunition and pull the pins on grenades too, so yeah, it’s got all of the extra elements of immersion that you’d expect from virtual reality. Want to know the best part? You can dual-wield your knife and pistol, making it easy to pick off enemies from a distance whilst shanking those that come nearby. Believe me, it NEVER stops being satisfying in the game. With the wealth of weapons at your disposal and the variety of enemies you face off against, the shooting action of Resident Evil 4 VR feels reinvigorated and, of course, never stops being fun in virtual reality.
“There’s also a lot more freedom when moving, with the oft clunky controls of the original replaced with more fluid movement that sees Leon sprinting around with ease or side stepping his way out of danger.”
Weapons can be placed on holsters, meaning it’s easier than ever to switch mid-battle without having to worry about navigating in-game menus. Picking off enemies from afar with your pistol, then quickly grabbing your shotgun off your shoulder to blast away those that get too close, and then finally pulling a grenade from your holster to finish off any staggering survivors was RIDICULOUSLY satisfying and ensured that the quick-paced action of the game never slowed down. Of course, there’s still an emphasis placed on item management in the menu that’ll see you carefully rotating items to make them fit in your storage, but using weapons has never felt so accessible. Puzzles have also been redesigned for virtual reality, ensuring there’s a lot more manual player involvement outside of simple placing items in the right place.
It is worth noting that players can use either free movement or teleportation when playing Resident Evil 4 VR, so you can go with whatever suits you. I’d always recommend free movement, especially since it complements the action of the game so much, but teleportation won’t necessarily make it feel worse to play. That being said, the game can be intense and there are a lot of moments where you’ll be moving unnaturally in set pieces (anyone remember the mine carts?) that might prove a little intense for even those experienced with virtual reality, so players might need a few breaks here and there.
“Picking off enemies from afar with your pistol, then quickly grabbing your shotgun off your shoulder to blast away those that get too close, and then finally pulling a grenade from your holster to finish off any staggering survivors was RIDICULOUSLY satisfying and ensured that the quick-paced action of the game never slowed down.”
Visually, Resident Evil 4 VR looks a lot like it did in recent releases, meaning you should expect a souped-up game from 2005. However, it’s clear that work has been done to fix up some textures and they certainly look the best they have, which is a good job seeing as you’ll be looking at them so closely in first-person. It certainly doesn’t look like a game that is sixteen years old and some areas look especially attractive; at the same time, it probably won’t be the best-looking game you’ve played in virtual reality.
Resident Evil 4 VR on the Oculus Quest 2 offers a brilliant interpretation of the classic game, but there are a few shortcomings that stop it from striving towards perfection. For one, the cutscenes are displayed on a 2D screen in front of the player, which doesn’t only break the immersion but could feel a little jarring. It’s understandable, especially since having to re-do them all in virtual reality and from a first-person viewpoint would have been a lot of work, but the shift to essentially watching a screen in front of you did feel a little weird.
It’s also a shame that the extra modes of previous editions of Resident Evil 4 aren’t included here. It would have been great to have been able to play through Mercenaries again, especially since the shooting action is so satisfying in virtual reality, whilst not being able to play the Separate Ways chapter was also a shame. Maybe they’ll come in the form of DLC in the future?
Resident Evil 4 VR Review
Resident Evil 4 has made a wonderful transition to virtual reality, with the immersive action and brilliant set pieces feeling better than ever in the Oculus Quest 2. It was amazing being able to re-visit so many iconic areas and battle so many familiar foes in a revolutionary new way, whilst simply getting to feel like you’re actually THERE in the midst of Resident Evil 4’s adventure ensured I had a big smile on my face from start to end. It really is awesome.
The only downside is the 2D presentation of cinematic sequences, which did break the immersion a little. It’s a shame that the extra modes aren’t included either, especially since I think Mercenaries would feel great to play in virtual reality.
Still, with everything else that Resident Evil 4 VR offers, it’s hard to feel hard done by. Whether you’re a returning player or experiencing the horror for the first time, Resident Evil 4 VR is simply a must own game.
Developer: Armature Studio, Capcom
Platform(s): Oculus Quest 2 (Reviewed)