Resident Evil 4 Xbox One Review: Umbrella corp is at it again

Umbrella Corp may have been done away with years ago now, but their inisidious virus hasn't stopped yet. When the President's daughter is abducted, it's Leon that will have to find her in a remote section of Europe...if he can survive the locals anyway. Things start to go bad for Leon as soon as he gets to town, and if you're at all familiar with Resident Evil you know it doesn't get better for a while.

If you haven't played Resident Evil 4 before, then buckle in. It's gonna be a creepy blast from the past.

It's been a while since Raccoon City

It may have all started in the now-destroyed Raccoon City, but Resident Evil 4 takes place a good 6 years later. Our hero Leon was about to take on a special assignment protecting the President's daughter until she was kidnapped to some dreary corner of Europe. Your job now is to find the girl, and safely bring her home to the United States.

Things start out with a bang, when you take a look inside the house on the outskirts of the village where the lead for Ashley appeared. As soon as you speak to the resident, he picks up an axe and tries to kill you. Your only recourse is to shoot him, at which point things really start to go haywire. Outside a truck rolls down the hill and into the car that dropped you off, and there are more unfriendly residents to deal with. It's obvious that something is very, very wrong.

If you haven't played before, we won't ruin the entire story for you. Just be warned that things tend to start out by going sideways, and they don't recover for a good long while.

Dark and dreary

Resident Evil 4 has a particularly atmospheric feel to it, thanks to its palette of swirling greys and browns. From the moment you enter the isolated town where there is a lead for the President's daughter, the graphics tell you that things are not okay. Muted colors and a creepy soundtrack make even just walking down the path put you on edge.

Once you get inside a building, the feeling gets even worse. Between creepy locals, and the claustrophobic feeling when you're within a building, they did a great job of making sure the atmosphere of the game met up with it's gameplay. Resident Evil 4 did get a slight update from the original release with some new textures, but it's still obviously an older game that has been ported to the Xbox One.

Even so, it manages to hold it's own and get your palms sweaty trying to survive. The beauty of the game isn't in just it's visuals. Rather it's about how the graphics, music and story all come together to get your heart thumping as you try to find Ashley and get out alive.

Wonderfully rough around the edges

Resident Evil has never exactly been known for having a great control scheme. That's because it's at best clunky, and at worst infuriating. That is to be expected though, we're talking about a game that first came out 11 years ago. Heck, the fact that an 11-year-old game is still as enjoyable as it is, is a miracle in and of itself.

One of the big problems that I had was with moving. While you navigate with one thumbpad, your other is used to look around, and that's where things get a bit sketchy. Looking around doesn't always work the way you want it to be, and is janky in general. Especially when you're going around a tight corner inside of a building.

You'll need to pick up items as you run through the game, and while there aren't a ton to find, you will want to keep an eye out. Money, ammo, and even herbs that will help to heal you. Sadly there isn't an update to the save feature, so you'll have to remember to find typewriters in order to save your progress. This one can be a bit pesky, especially since many people are used to being able to quick save before a nasty fight, or used to a game that auto saves for them in specific instances.

It's also important to note here, that like many other Resident Evil games, there are three different types of herbs. You'll need to decide when to use what, and you will need to mix herbs to get the outcomes that you're looking for. You won't find them lying around everywhere though, so a strategic take on how, and when, you use the items in your inventory is really key.

You'll also have to manage that inventory. You only have so much room for items, and you may find yourself trying to rearrange things so that everything can properly fit. This can be a pain, but isn't terrible once you get the hang of it. One of the frustrating aspects of play involves shooting though. That's because you can't aim and move at the same time. You'll have to aim, squeeze one or two round off, and then move out of the way of your enemies. It can take a bit of getting used to, and can be quite frustrating in the process. Thankfully, if enemies get too close, you do have the option to occasionally kick them, which can clear them out of your way and save you ammo in the process.

The age of Resident Evil 4 shows across the game, from the graphics to the voice acting to the inventory management system. Even so, it's still fun to play provided that you're attached to the story. Players who aren't fans of the franchise in general may find the outdated controls too frustrating to deal with for very long.


Resident Evil 4 is an atmospheric thriller that will recapture the hearts of old fans, but may be problematic for folks who are new to the game.


  • Atmospheric feel
  • Engaging story
  • Gets your heart racing as you try to survive


  • Inventory management is a pain
  • Controls are wonky and have a high learning curve
  • Game is somewhat outdated

Resident Evil 4 brings one of the best games in the franchise to gamers who may have never had a chance to try it out. While the story and graphics hold up surprisingly well, the controls can make getting the hang of things frustrating for new players. For that reason we've given it 3 stars. You can pick it up now in the Xbox store for $19.99.

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This review was conducted on Xbox One using a copy provided by the publisher.


Jen Karner

Jen is a contributing writer for WindowsCentral. She's an avid gamer, especially when she gets to kill zombies, craft things, or use a bow. She can often be heard yelling about her chainsaw while playing Gears of War 4. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.