For much of the lead-up to this month's Resident Evil 4 remake, Capcom has focused its marketing efforts on the first 30 minutes of the survival horror classic. From Leon being dropped off on the outskirts of the mysterious village to his first proper encounters with its residents, we've seen how those first few steps into madness have remained faithful in the PS5, PS4 remake, but also how they've been expanded with new content, mechanics, and ideas.
However, coinciding with a recent State of Play trailer, the Japanese developer is beginning to lift the lid on what comes next. Capcom provided us with 17 minutes of new gameplay and cutscene footage that focuses on many of the areas you encounter roughly halfway through the experience, and then in its late game. This included locations like the lake, castle, and island.
Our takeaway is that Capcom hasn't frontloaded the survival horror remake with tweaks and new mechanics. Instead, you'll encounter fresh puzzles, encounters, rooms, and areas at every turn. While some hardcore fans consider places like the island to be Resident Evil 4's weak point, Capcom has embraced every part of the 2004 title and brought them up to modern standards, making them better than ever.
The footage picks up on the shore of the lake, as Leon gets back in contact with Hunnigan — with the radio call built into the HUD, it reveals how Leon's contact back home is given the full cutscene treatment and is never relegated to a codec sequence ala Metal Gear Solid. Leon then makes his way through a dark and damp forest in search of a church key as a Ganados chant can be heard all around him. It's eerily spooky, with the enemies not immediately making their whereabouts obvious. After crawling through an opening in the rock, he begins to encounter the Ganados; we're at a point in the game where the Plagas parasite is a common sighting, meaning tentacles shoot out of enemies' heads all the time. They'll lash out at you, but they can be parried.
Later on, Leon makes his way through a cave network that reveals various new pieces of lore as well as a new feature: Requests. Seemingly tied to the merchant, you'll need to complete tasks in exchange for rewards. This particular one asks Leon to sell him a Gold Chicken Egg, with three Spinels being the reward. Capcom has said the remake will be expanded with new side quests, although it's unclear whether the studio was referring to these Requests or whether they're bigger missions. There's also a new puzzle to solve throughout the wooden hut the merchant takes residence in near the lake.
Gameplay then fast-forwards to the castle, where Leon is joined by Ashley. The HUD reveals how the companion can be controlled: you'll select Tight to keep Ashley close to Leon and then Loose so she creates some distance from the protagonist. We imagine you'll want to use the latter during combat so she's never too close to a Ganado.
We're then walked through the castle and the sequence where enemies are pelting the ground with explosives from trebuchets. The area's layout appears familiar to the original game — we could immediately tell what part of the castle the footage took place in — with the task of raising a cannon to destroy the doors blocking your path still being your main objective. While doing this, you'll need to keep an eye on Ashley as she can still be grabbed and taken away by the enemy, eventually resulting in a game over if you don't do anything about it.
The penultimate clip shows off the famous little boy Ramón Salazar. He doesn't really look as young as he does in the original title — although, he's definitely still just as short — but he looks a lot more grotesque, with red veins covering his face. He calls in his Acolytes to deal with you, at which point Leon coolly dispatches them all with well-placed mines shot from the Bolt Thrower.
Two final looks at the remake then bring back the Garrador, long Wolverine-like claws and all, and the boss fight with Jack Krauser that's now been upgraded from a QTE sequence to a full-on fight. Deflecting his knife swipes, you'll need to time your jabs effectively to come out on top.
While this latest look at Resident Evil 4 threw up little in the way of big surprises — we've already become accustomed to how genuinely fantastic the remake looks and plays — it reinforced what we said in our Hands On article: "Resident Evil 4 is going to be outstanding." With a level of quality that hasn't faltered once across every bit of gameplay released so far, Capcom has its best remake yet on its hands. One of the greatest games of all time is about to be bettered by itself. The best thing about that is there's less than a month to go until it launches on PS5, PS4.
Resident Evil 4 launches for PS5, PS4 on 24th March 2023. Will you be playing the remake on day one? Let us know in the comments below.