Many have hailed Resident Evil 4 as being the paradigm of survival horror. I find myself in agreement. From beginning to end, the game is captivating and solidly balances action and horror. So without further ado, let's get into it. --Skire (talk) 22:19, January 4, 2014 (UTC)
From the start, it is quite evident that Capcom has made some great choices. Firstly, our player character for most of the game, Leon S. Kennedy, is a familiar face from Resident Evil 2; he's somebody we've gotten to know already. He furthermore spends most of the game by himself, receiving no combat assistance. When united with Ashley, the need to protect her from harm adds more flavour to the game-play. Although in-game partners are not inherently bad, fighting alone can not only make the combat more difficult, but also reinforce the horror atmosphere.
Capcom also sets up good settings. Whether its the eerie, isolated village or the labyrinthine castle, an appropriate environment is a crucial part of the survival horror formula. And an important part of that is the lack of light. When we're outside, the sky is always cloudy. Perhaps it's an oversimplification, but it's generally much harder to maintain a horror atmosphere in broad daylight with clear blue skies.
The plot also keeps you intrigued at all times. We ask ourselves, "Where is Ashley? Why was she kidnapped? Who are these people? Who's controlling them?" Of course, all these questions are answered by the game's end, by which point we can truly understand the story's solid pacing that unravels the mysteries little by little...
There are countless other things that are done well in this fourth instalment of the main series. The arrangeable inventory case, the herb mixing, the bosses etc. I'd encourage any one, regardless of their interest in survival horror, to try this game.
Now although RE4 is so great, no game is quite flawless. After some thinking, I've come up with a few things that I personally believe could have been better.
First of all, unsurprisingly, the voice acting and the dialogue is... Capcomically bad. Some contend that the cheesiness is part of what the game great, but I do not agree. Capcom can always work on the quality of their voice acting and dialogue. Calling it cheesy in a positive way is perhaps a method to underplay the issue. It is not even a big deal, and won't greatly affect my enjoyment, but it's something for them to think about. Should Capcom invest more in their cut-scenes?
Perhaps even more minor is the idea that accessing your inventory menu will pause the game completely, along with all the imminent horrors Leon is about to face. You could do all sorts of things in the meanwhile -- check out the map, rearrange your inventory, browse your treasures... It would seem that part of playing survival horror is to be stuck in the horror until you get a moment of relief. There should be a pause option available at all times, but the player shouldn't be able to perform in-game tasks while doing so.
There really isn't anything terribly wrong in RE4 that I can think of (which means even if there is something, it's probably not too important). But the Iron Maidens... those are ugly.