Whether you somehow haven’t yet played it or you’ve dutifully collected every single re-release over the years, Capcom is giving Resident Evil 4 yet another port on August 30 (and you a chance to buy it), this time for current-gen consoles. With an improved frame rate and remastered graphics, it’s unlikely that RE4 is ever going to officially look better than the release done for the series 20th anniversary — at least judging by the gorgeous gameplay trailers Capcom uploaded.
When the latest edition of RE4 was first announced, I asked Capcom about whether or not the PS4 version would be a straight port of the game’s “Ultimate HD” edition released for PC in 2014; I was told it wasn’t a straight port, and after doing a little cross-referencing, the differences, however incredibly granular — as in Leon’s jacket below) — do seem to validate that.
While both run at 60 FPS, the PS4 version evidently features slightly more detail in its textures, if not actual up-resing. In motion, the two versions appear to be functionally identical, but since RE4 hasn’t yet had a console release that runs at 60 FPS (or is targeting it – we’ll see if it needs a patch), this feels like the end of the line.
Whatever future forms of media RE4 is inevitably reproduced for, I don’t think Capcom itself will be able to squeeze any more blood from the stone of its visual presentation. Short of either a complete texture overhaul, which seems unlikely due to the resources it’d take, or just a straight-up remake as is happening with the as-of-yet unseen Resident Evil 2 project, this is probably as good as it’s humanly possible to make the game look.
Of course, if you really, really love RE4 and can’t be bothered with anything less than absolute perfection, there is a dedicated pair of modders taking on the herculean task of painstakingly recreating every texture in the game with high-res ones for the PC version, and the results really do speak for themselves. (The final release date is still up in the air, but the project’s site was last updated this week, so it seems in good hands.)
Still, while nowhere near as incredible as the PC mod, RE4 doesn’t look half bad for a 12-year-old game. You can judge for yourself next week.