Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Top 10 Games of All-Time (#8)

8.) Resident Evil 4

So many of our gaming experiences are defined by where we are in our lives. What we're dealing with personally or even where we're at physically often affect how we experience a game. Resident Evil 4, or RE4 for short, launched while I was in college. For those who didn't live in a student dorm or maybe aren't in college yet, let me explain how a typical guys dorm works. You go to class. You watch movies. You watch sports. And you play video games. If you live in a dorm, the movie watching, sports, and games all turn into communal activities. Needless to say, my room saw a significant increase in visitors with the launch of RE4.

The room was even more packed because so few on my floor owned a Gamecube. In a surprise to seemingly everyone, RE4 debuted and launched as a Gamecube exclusive. The envious PS2 and Xbox owners "ooh'd" and "ahh'd" at the mature, realistic graphics the tiny "purple lunchbox" was capable of pumping out. And while the graphics are what lured them inside, it's gameplay that made them stay.

Like the #9 title (Super Metroid) on my list, RE4 has excellent pacing throughout. Even better, the experience never grows repetitive as you're almost always finding a new item, upgrading a weapon, exploring a new location, or tackling an unfamiliar enemy.

You'll face-off against an enormous underwater creature armed with only a harpoon; you'll learn to dread the roar of the infamous chainsaw and the man covered with a burlap sack; you'll even have to ride across an old ski-lift with knives and axes hurtling toward your head. These small examples only attempt to scratch the surface of the variety across RE4.

The item-management and weapon upgrades help to keep the game fresh. Far too many games allow you to earn and unlock everything by simply playing through the entire game. Not RE4. You'll have to make sacrifices and careful selections about the items you want to keep and the weapons you want to upgrade. The weakest part of the game is likely its story, but frankly, you're having too much fun to care all that much.

The once-Gamecube exclusive is now available on many different platforms so no one has an excuse to miss this title. There hasn't been a better Resident Evil game to come along since RE4. Not even close. Truth-be-told, there aren't many games better than RE4, period.

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