Going by the Chainsaw Demo, Resident Evil 4’s remake is the original, but dialled up to 11.
That might seem like stating the obvious but when it comes to remakes, there are some that don’t live up to the original’s promise. Yes, we’re looking at you, 2013’s Flashback. But based on the demo, which you can try for yourself right now, Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 remake looks set to deliver.
The demo switches things around just a little. While it’s missing its opening cutscene, it appears that, instead of leaving protagonist Leon Kennedy in the car, his police escorts go in first. Leon is then left to track them down. Hint: they’re definitely not going to collect their pensions.
We’ve played the original Resident Evil 4 to death but the demo still managed to shock us. In particular, we were impressed by the gruesome way in which some downed enemies came back to “life”. It may be that, in the full game, you get the parasites bursting out of people’s necks but here it was far more unsettling. We won’t spoil the surprise, though.
Stealth is a bigger factor than it was in the original, which we were very happy about. It may not seem very badass, but we absolutely loved just sneaking around, stealth-killing as many enemies as we could. The demo concludes with the village square section so there’s plenty of opportunities to mess around.
Everything looks as gloomy as it did in the original, with a smattering of extra gore here and there. Starting the demo in near darkness helped set the mood, not that the original was short on atmosphere. But that and various other touches helped make it feel fresh.
Prior to getting our hands on the demo, we rolled our eyes at the idea of parrying a chainsaw with a knife. But pulling off the move, underlining Leon’s sheer badassery, was a phenomenal rush. But don’t think Leon’s gone all moody: his famous “”Where’s Everyone Going? Bingo?” wisecrack is in there.
That scene, in particular, is an example of how Capcom has improved on something that was already pretty fantastic. In the original, you just see the possessed villagers walking into church. But in the demo, Leon is right in the midst of them as they walk past, which makes it even more unsettling.
The villagers know you’re there, but they ignore you, even the one who makes eye contact at the end. No matter how many times we watch that scene, it gives us the chills. We keep thinking that this time, one or maybe all of them will turn around.
That’s a ridiculous notion, of course – it’s just a cut-scene, but it shows how affecting the remake is. Or, at least, it does as far as the demo goes. We’re not sure how we’re going to handle the remake’s Salazar being a dead ringer for Margaret Thatcher. We won’t have to wait long to find out, though. And, based on what we’ve seen so far, Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 remake can’t come soon enough.
Resident Evil 4 launches on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC this March 24th. You can download the Chainsaw Demo right now.