Why I Hated Resident Evil 4

Shamus Young

New member
Jul 7, 2008
Why I Hated Resident Evil 4

Shamus Young didn't just dislike Resident Evil 4 on PS2, he absolutely hated it. Today Shamus explores exactly why Resident Evil 4 annoyed him to the point of anger en route to a larger point.

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Elder Dragon
Jan 6, 2013
Yes I can definitely see how moving from Silent Hill 2 immediately to RE4 could leave a bad taste in one's mouth. They're completely different. Thanks for this article, its well written, makes sense, and also helps bring to light something that's been irritating me for years now. Namely the treatment of reviewers who dare have a differing opinion, and the amount of bile slogged at them for having a different opinion.

I actually remember once how I was with a few of my friends and we were talking games with the Darksiders series being the main topic. I personally loved both of them, but I was the only one out of our group of friends who enjoyed Darksiders 2. It was actually rather amusing, because they started ragging on it (with valid complaints) and doing the whole "this game sucks right man?" thing. Then I start laughing and go into why I enjoyed it.

Had this been an internet discussion I would likely have been flamed out of the room for having a different opinion, but like sane individuals they accepted my reasons as to why I liked it, but they still felt it was vastly inferior to the first game, which I could understand why because they explained their reasoning well.

I just wish more people online would have a similar attitude and not get so offended when a review disagrees with their opinion.
Jan 12, 2012
I agree with the general concept, and the specific point that reviews aimed at people new to the series or gaming are valuable. I can't tell you how many reviews for games I've read say, "It's like X previous installment, but with changes to the Y and Z features." I never played X, so I don't know what you're talking about. It's even worse when games have endless sequels that are only graded against each other; reviews of the Harry Potter movies judged them both as works in the series and as movies on the whole, and that made for better reviews.

Also, that Stolen Pixels was good; there's nothing worse than screaming at a work of fiction because the characters are too stupid to do what they should obviously, in-character, be doing, but that they're not doing for the sake of the 'plot'.


New member
Jun 18, 2012
Well I was on board until the article got to the larger point. Though my main issue stems from this:

"The reason I bring this up is because it nicely illustrates how absurd it is to insist on "objective" and "correct" review scores." "Everyone told me that Resident Evil 4 was chocolate-dipped awesome wrapped in joy, and it really was a horrible frustrating insulting chore of a game for me."

And that's fine if that's how you personally felt about the game, but I think it's perfectly alright for gamers to expect better from a professional review. Going into the game blind as was expressed you had earlier in the article and then coming out with a negative opinion born out of ignorance is bound to make more well-informed people annoyed or dismissive, and I think that's exactly the kind of thing fans of series talk about when they talk bad about reviewers not "getting it". A professional should do their homework, they should have some experience - they should not be coming back to console gaming after a twenty year hiatus and have a completely different game in mind and beneath their belt and then presume to speak from a position of authority.

And this really has nothing to do with gaming cred, I would go so far as to extend this rule to all mediums. I like superheros, but I doubt anyone would care about what I have to say on comics because I haven't read any, and if I got to review The Watchmen and some people happen to take umbrage at my statements about the series being woefully ignorant and self-centered I'd get exactly what I deserved.


New member
Jun 24, 2010
This is how I feel about Final Fantasy 7. Those that defend it to their last dying breath grew up around it, and for most it was the first game they ever played with 3D character models. There were reasons that made the game stand out at the time, but I've tried to play the game on several different occasions and it continually just feels terrible.

The true reality of life is that everything has pros and cons. I have reasons to not like FF7, but love FF8. Others will say the opposite. People can disagree, and that's their right - that doesn't mean that everyone has to get their panties in a bunch when I say I don't want to name my first born son Sephiroth.


New member
Sep 10, 2009
"But I promise you that the dialog gets really old when watched half a dozen times back-to-back."
I know. And I *was* playing every (Nintendo) console since the NES!
That QTE was just terrible, but IMHO just about the only blemish for the game. For the rest I had great laughs, enjoyable challenges and loads of replayability from RE4 (NGC version btw).


Ate My Neighbors
Oct 10, 2007
I was a Resident Evil fan from day one. I unlocked everything in RE1 and 2, I even beat the game with TOFU. I even enjoyed Code Veronica at the time, though I admit now it's probably not as good as I remember it being at the time.

That said, 4 is where I lost interest in the series. I just never could get into it. I don't like zombies that aren't zombies, I don't like zombies that talk, I don't like QTEs (even in God of War, they were my least favorite part of the games) and I thought it took the series in a bad direction. After 4, I only tried 5's demo and saw it was just more of the same so I haven't given RE another shot.


New member
Nov 9, 2006
I played three but never beat it, and four was really the first RE game I got fully invested in. I loved the game and thought it was quite scary at times too.

And although I can't find a direct source but wasn't RE:4 the game that introduced QTE as we have them today? At least I remember it as being the first game with the cinematic QTE and thought they were executed perfectly within the game.


The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
I'm in the opposite boat that you are.

I LOVED RE4 when it first came out on the Gamecube.
When it came out on the PS2 I made DAMN SURE to get the glorious limited 'metal tin' edition.

Eh, now I think the game is 'average' at best, and it feels like the FF7 of the RE series.
A flashing, generic, slog of a game that signaled the beginning of the end for a 'once great' series.


New member
Nov 21, 2007
I somewhat knew what to expect going into Resident Evil 4; given I'd played some of the previous installments, but even I agree with you. The game started out attempting to play things 'serious'. But then, midget Napolean, the cave troll from Lord of the Rings, and the Spaniard Ninja showed up and I pretty much signed off. The story just went so far off the rails it lost sight of the railroad.

I get that they were going for campy, goofy, schlock, but unfortunately (to me) they just ended up with schlock.


Regardless, very good article, Shamus. As usual. I agree on virtually all points in your conclusion.

Though, I would like to add that I believe objective criticisms can be made about a piece of media. Though, any review worth it's salt will include both the objective critique and the subjective opinion - the latter gloriously bathed in every bias the critic has.

It helps too if the critic understands that her/his opinion isn't the end-all-be-all of opinions as well.


New member
Sep 9, 2010
I may have a small problem in that as soon as I read the title of the article I was bouncing up and down in my seat. So real quick on that, ignoring just silly fan complaints I have, I just found the game annoying, where it starts off fairly well, the first two times you fight Dr. Sackonhead with his chainsaw are tense, after that I only ever felt tense when I had to do a quick time event and kept failing at them, and that was just frustration, and overall I just felt the gameplay felt so much better in the mercs mode. Where waves of enemies swarming you in the main game meant just needing to have enough ammo and health, which you could get pretty much anywhere, including corpses, the merc mode made it so you had fairly limited resources and the only goal, the thing you were striving for was survive as long as you can, and I felt how the game played leaned more heavily in that direction than the former, which for me made the main game feel awkward.

As to the main point, I find it hard to find reviews to read/listen to. While I like to think of myself as someone who likes different view points, and hearing others' opinions, a lot of reviews I've read or watched like to make strong declarations without elaborating. It's fine to think differently than I do, but can you care to explain further why you feel that way? Or why that point you made matters? It's things that make or break a game for me as well - Lollipop Chainsaw - most of the reviews I've seen have been positive in the aspect of style and music, but very negative on the game play, because the game play is not as smooth as most games. But we are talking about a teenage girl swinging a chainsaw that's bigger than I've personally ever seen, and the one's I've picked up are heavy unwieldy bastards. And I find the strong use of combos refreshing after the last dozen or so beat em ups where all you have to do is master one or two buttons. As much as the Batman Arkham games work I don't want every beat em up to turn out like that, I find it get's boring after a while. And find the combat to be my least favorite thing about the Arkham games, I much prefer sneaking around, and taking goons out one by one, to me, that's Batman, jumping into the middle of a group of goons and spending the next minute and a half punching each one in the face, just doesn't excite me. So, Lollipop Chainsaw, the game play is clunky, why is that such a bad thing?

And so, I find myself trying to find more things like Spoiler Warning, because while I may disagree with you I get a decent understanding of where you guys are coming from. For instance in this weeks Diecast because you each challenge each other to some extent I understand what you mean when you say you find it hard to play the Witcher, or Mumbles can't play the game because "it's too masculine", the statement by itself annoys me, I don't understand, but given the diecast, she explains, it's not much, it's little things, but it then makes enough sense to me, I'm ready to hear more, and other things. And I think I just find a lot of reviews leave out the why, kind of like tweets (kind of like Shamus's tweet about dive kick being as engaging as any other fighting game, and if he can't see the difference perhaps fighting games are doing something wrong {angry glare} no hard feelings). And I need the why, otherwise I start hating everyone, and I don't know how to stop doing that without stop loving the things I love.

Quantum Glass

New member
Mar 19, 2013
The game is almost actively hostile to newcomers. It assumes you know something about the Resident Evil lore and it expects you to know who the major characters are.
Not that I don't sympathise, but you kinda walked right into that one.


New member
Jun 23, 2008
My antipathy toward RE4 is a wee bit stronger.

-The controls just suck, period. Even being used to console controllers I couldn't stand the awkward, inarticulate, immersion-breaking disaster of RE4's controls. Having to push a button to get out of aim mode, swivel the camera to left, move, swivel the camera back toward the general direction of the enemy, push the button to get back into aim mode, then try to find the red dot since it didn't stay on the same area of the screen- playing RE4 was like driving in bumper-to-bumper, stop and go traffic.

Dead Space really showed how to do survival horror controls- slow and deliberate, not broken and clunky. I don't need to be able to circle strafe, but having to completely stop moving to reload feels like walking into a brick wall.

-I'm not as convinced as you are that the game isn't supposed to be serious. Yes, it's goofy as hell, but in a really tedious and flat way. Dead Rising was like that too. I never got the kind of sense of awareness from it that I'd expect from intentional schlock like Snakes on a Plane.

-Even intentionally goofy stuff still needs things like decent plot structure to work. How many times was Ashley kidnapped during the game? Four times or something?


New member
May 10, 2011
As someone who loves BOTH...

Silent Hill is the FAR FAR FAR superior horror game. In almost every way, it's superior - better story, better characters, better music, better sound effects, better atmosphere, better pacing, better puzzles, better scares.... It's a glorious game, and I've said before that if video games were an art museum, Silent Hill 2 would be its Mona Lisa.

But Resident Evil 4, I think, is a better GAME. It controls smoother, plays more responsively. It's a very bad horror game, but as a strange B-movie middle-ground, it's darn near perfect in execution. Everything from the intense and imaginative boss fights to the growing customizable suitcase item screen to the continually evolving situations and mission objectives keeps the game fresh and interesting, especially during a time when so few games dared to do so. Even now, their "over the shoulder" camera scheme and shockingly awesome QTEs have been aped by countless industry giants... including Capcom themselves in the sequels to diminishing returns.

Silent Hill is a game I would objectively give a score of 8/10 to... but it's a 10/10 in my heart. Resident Evil 4 is a 10/10 as a game, but it's not quite as special in my memory, even though I rank it so highly and enjoyed every moment with it.


New member
Feb 19, 2010
As much as I agree with you, despite remembering RE4 fondly (didn't even play it, just watched my older brother complete it about 4 times while shouting 'OH GAWD SHOOT IT, IT'S GETTING CLOSER!!!), Uber Pubert has a point.
UberPubert said:
And that's fine if that's how you personally felt about the game, but I think it's perfectly alright for gamers to expect better from a professional review. Going into the game blind as was expressed you had earlier in the article and then coming out with a negative opinion born out of ignorance is bound to make more well-informed people annoyed or dismissive, and I think that's exactly the kind of thing fans of series talk about when they talk bad about reviewers not "getting it". A professional should do their homework, they should have some experience - they should not be coming back to console gaming after a twenty year hiatus and have a completely different game in mind and beneath their belt and then presume to speak from a position of authority.
Of course everyone is entitled to their own oppinions and acting like a spoilt child when someone doesn't agree is never the right path.

In all situations I try to stay classy, my favourite Marvel film is the first Captain America movie which also happens to be the worst one for one of my best friends and we had a 'debate' the other day about it, it was funny.

Discussion itself is part of the fun for me which makes it all the more aggrivating when I see stuff like 'OP doesn't know shit, kill yourself', that's not classy and that certainly isn't funny.

Johnny Novgorod

Bebop Man
Apr 10, 2020
Shamus it looks like you played the wrong game at the wrong time. You wanted serious survival horror and you got goofy B-movie camp that's about as scary an idea as Rocky Horror Picture Show. You were coming from Silent Hill 2 and wound up with Resident Evil 4. I agree QTEs can be aggravating, specially in cutscenes, but it's nothing I couldn't teach myself with some trial and error, not unlike the platformers I used to play as a kid.

Rad Party God

Party like it's 2010!
Feb 23, 2010
Oh boy, this will fill with "that's why I hated nameyourhighlyregardedgameeveryonelikedbutIdidnt".

It seems like you simply played it with the wrong mindset, RE4 never pretended to be anything than a goofy action thriller, though there are a few parts that are genuinely scary (mainly on the second GameCube disc), but it never pretended to be "serious" or "deep". I still enojoy it a lot nowadays and you're right, graphically it has aged fantastically and I still find it pretty challenging.

If anything, RE1 for GC and RE0 were closer to Silent Hill 2 in tone, it's still a campy B horror game, but both still delivers more scares than RE4 (and onwards) with incredible efficiency.

Obligatory "that's exactly why I hated Baldur's Gate", I grew up with consoles and even as a PC gamer, I tend to prefer to play something where I can use my controller (perfect example; Resident Evil 4). I was used to JRPGS and I still like them, I still enjoy Final Fantasy VII a lot and Chrono Trigger is my all time favorite JRPG.

When I got my hands on BG... I had no fucking idea how to play it and I tried like 3 to 4 times to get into it, reading tutorials, wikis, watching LPs (wich I still don't understand jack shit about what they're doing and why) and when I finally got the grasp about how to play the damn thing... I gave up entirely on it. I fondly call it "F5 the game". I don't like games where I have to quicksave every damn step I make, before and after a battle, before and after a conversation, before and after entering a simple house where something wants to brutally murder me.

Nope, not my kind of game.


Jund 'Em Out!
Jul 15, 2009
Quantum Glass said:
The game is almost actively hostile to newcomers. It assumes you know something about the Resident Evil lore and it expects you to know who the major characters are.
Not that I don't sympathise, but you kinda walked right into that one.
Yeah, I've never understood that complaint when someone starts on the 3rd or 4th entry. Not that's not to say that games can't have a previously on "GAME" video like Abes Exodus did, which was great if you missed the chance to get the previous title, to fill players in. But it still annoys me a very tiny bit when I see that kind of complaint.

I had a friend who jumped into Metal Gear Solid 4 and got pissed that it didn't explain everything from the previous games to him, I asked why he started with 4, and he said "I heard it's really good." He got it after the HD Collection came out too, so he could have caught up for the most part, I even recommended doing so.


New member
Dec 8, 2009
My biggest issue with RE4 has always been that it never felt like a Resident Evil game to me. People love to point fingers at RE5 and say it destroyed the series by making it a shoddily controlling action game instead of a survival horror game. If you actually look at RE4, however, you'll see that most of the things people love to blame RE5 for actually started in RE4.

RE4 may or may not be a good game, but it's not a particularly good RE game.


New member
Nov 8, 2007
I have a similar experience with this game. Though my background differs. I quickly came to the conclusion that the controls are clunky, the camera is obnoxious and the QTE's worse than anything I've encountered outside of Jericho. When the escort mission came about and there wasn't a compelling reason to stay, gameplay or storywise, I quit, I was done yelling at my tv. This is supposed to be the best game ever for the PS2? It was riddled with problems from the get go and years later I still don't get the love it gets.

I have the same problem with GTA3, I'm an adamant fan of GTA2 and then the game became this somewhat serious crime drama with characters I care nothing about and references that I don't understand (because I don't like mafia movies and have watched none of the staples of the genre) and most importantly: horrible controls...

And yes, its probably the wrong game at the wrong time with the wrong expectations, but can you truly wash those memories away and try again? And that's why the article said, you can't put an objective rating system up. Though I kinda wonder if there's anyone who really claims there is one at all.

I played Mass Effect 2 without playing #1. No problems there.
Devil May Cry 3 was my first, also no problems there.
Shoddy writing, that's what it is, just give a little introduction, or better yet, if it makes no sense for your plot, leave it out.

Exactly the reason why I have a hard time recommending Baldur's Gate to people. It's really hard to get into and can kill an entire genre for you. People who tout is as the best game evah need to qualify that statement and take care that they're talking to the right audience.