I’m not going to bore you with a multi-paragraph review thoroughly explaining the plot or history behind RE4: Mobile Edition, because I’m sure 99% of you reading this article have already played RE4 in some form and all you want to know is how comparable this version is to its console counterparts. For anyone who hasn’t played the original game first slap yourself then listen quickly as I take you on a brief crash course. RE4 was revolutionary upon it’s Gamecube launch in 2003 because it was the first RE game to place the camera directly over your characters shoulder rather than using the extremely dated fixed camera system of it’s predecessors. The improved camera also made for superior control and thus the RE franchise felt fresh and new again. The story involved Agent Leon Kennedy tracking down the President’s missing daughter (Ashley) who was kidnapped for no apparent reason. His search leads him to H-Town’s neighborhood a remote Spanish town where he kills brain dead bad guy after bad guy until Ashley is found and inevitably rescued.
Now on to the rest of you who have already played completed RE4, you’re probably skeptical as to how Capcom could competently port one of the best game of the last generation on to a mobile device that doesn’t have any physical buttons but RE4: Mobile Edition is surprisingly better than one might assume. In order to make the game mobile friendly Capcom has wisely removed all puzzle elements seen in the console versions and significantly shortened the level structure to accommodate for quick 5 minute play sessions. The game is broken up into 12 missions and aside from a brief cinematic intro all the story is told via still images and on-screen text.
Graphically RE4 out-does every other game on the iPhone just like it did on the Gamecube and it perfectly shows off the iPhones graphical capabilities. The game also runs smoothly on the 3GS and the audio is as atmospheric and bone chilling as ever. But this is an action game on the iPhone so you already know I’m going to have severe complaints about the controls. The first RE game on the iPhone (Resident Evil Degenerations also starring Leon Kennedy) controlled painfully slow, thankfully RE4 plays much faster and feels noticeably more fluid. It’s far from perfect though, lining up head shots can be extremely difficult and takes far longer than it should. This coupled with the fact that you can’t aim and shoot at the same time can lead to severe frustration particularly during quiet lengthy boss fights. With a bit of practice you’ll eventually get the hang of the controls and Resident Evil: Mobile Edition will present you an action filled experience unlike anything else currently available on the App Store, the controls may not be ideal but until physical buttons and an analog stick is released for the device this is the best we can hope for.
Resident Evil 4: Mobile Edition is available on the App Store now for $7.99/£4.99