It was obvious that the "tried and true" method of Resident Evil games had worn out its welcome. We needed something fresh to fill the void in our survival horror libraries. Resident Evil 4 has more than answered the call.
Calling RE4 survival horror would only be due to the comparison to the previous titles. This time, its all about the action, instead of the scare. No more wondering where your next ammo clip is going to be hidden, no more stressing over finding another herb to top you off. This time, you need to worry about what method you are going to use to take out that room ahead of you. The balance between not having enough ammo, and having too much is very well done, and its on a much larger scale this time. Do not feel comfortable just because you have 72 shells stocked up, because there is going to be more than enough enemies ahead of you to deplete your supply. There are times in the game where you are going to have rooms filled with 15+ things to kill, most of the time with more being added, as you take out the ones there.
The game has also done away from zombies. This time, you are fighting villagers that have "gone mad" (without ruining the story line). This is a good development, in that they act much more intelligent than zombies. They will run at you, take different paths to get to you, climb ladders, and generally do whatever they have to do to see you dead. They will attack you with shovels, pitch-forks, TNT, crossbows, axes, and even push you off bridges. Not to worry though, as your attack possibilities have improved as much as theirs. Enemies' bodies have been carefully mapped out, so they react to where you shoot them. Shoot them in the knees, and they fall down. Shoot their hand while they are holding TNT, and they will drop it, or just shoot them in the head and be done with it.
Your basic handgun now has a laser sight as well, so hitting something where you want to has never been easier. While it's accurate for the most part, you will "shake" a little while aiming, to make sure its not too overpowering. Over time you will adapt to the shake, and that's where enemies will adapt as well, to make sure you can't just run around serving head shots on every kill. Again, they adapt, you adapt. During the course of the game, there is a merchant that pops up, selling healing items, weapons, or allowing you to upgrade the weapons you currently have, to have more ammo, reload faster, or just do more damage. The game constantly is changing, so that you don't get bored over time, feeling as if you are doing the same thing room after room.
When I finished the game, my play time stood as 19hours, and 22mins, even though it felt like it went by much too fast. Even after the game is over, you are given plenty of extras to ensure you stay busy even longer. RE4 is one of the only games I have played, where I continued playing it right after I completed it. As for Ink Ribbons, they are nowhere to be seen here, and save points are very common. Even if you die after a save point, you are given the option to continue at the area you died in.
Voice acting no longer feels like it was done by the children of the programmers, but actual talent. Controls now act like a first person game, only without the ability to strafe. Graphics are amazing (and done in real time), other than minor "muddy" looking textures. The camera as well is new, and follows you over the shoulder (and zooms in when you aim). Overall, the polish of the game stands out, and I thank Capcom for taking the time to get it right. There is just so much that is new and refreshing, that its hard to stick on just one part of the game. This is just one of those games that any gamer should try. If you aren't a survival horror buff, do not worry. Action is the name of the game this time, instead of looking for the next room key.