Resident Evil 4’s Switch Port is Incredibly Straightforward
Resident Evil 4 for Switch is a bare-bones port that doesn't take advantage of the hardware like it should.
Resident Evil 4 has been ported a whole bunch of times over the years. As of this writing, the game has now appeared on GameCube, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, Wii, PC, and even some different versions for iOS and Android. Basically, it has become an easy game for Capcom to bring to various modern platforms over the years due to how popular the title remains nearly 15-years after originally releasing.
As of this week, Capcom has now ported Resident Evil 4 once again and this time, it has landed on Nintendo’s new handheld-console hybrid, the Switch. While the prospect of playing RE4 in handheld mode is equal parts a novelty and a legitimate selling point for the game as it is with many other past titles that come to Switch, I’ve found this version of the Capcom classic to actually be somewhat lacking from my time spent playing it so far.
Let’s get this out of the way first: is Resident Evil 4 still a good game? Absolutely. It’s probably been about a decade since I last played RE4 and I’ve really enjoyed returning to it over the past week. Some aspects of the game are a bit hard to return to, such as being unable to move and shoot at the same time, but nothing in Resident Evil 4 really feels all that dated, which I was happy to see. Returning to old games sometimes can be hit and miss and I was a bit hesitant that jumping back into RE4 today would ruin my fond memories of it. That hasn’t happened.
Furthermore, this port runs pretty well on the Switch, too. I’ve played Resident Evil 4 in both handheld and docked modes and I haven’t found many issues with either. Load times seem to be pretty standard and I have had only a few instances of framerate stuttering while docked. After I heard that the Switch port of Resident Evil 0 had some ridiculously long loading times, I started to worry that those same issues might rear their head in RE4, but I haven’t found that to be the case.
I think where my disappointment starts to come creeping in with this version of Resident Evil 4 is that there is legitimately nothing substantial that has been added to it. Outside of being able to play in handheld mode, which is a benefit of the Switch itself, not the port, there’s really nothing included in this edition of RE4 to separate it from past ones. If you’ve played the game on Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, or PS4, then you absolutely can expect the same experience here on Switch.
One thing that I, and many others, have already started to voice with this version of Resident Evil 4 though is the lack of gyroscope controls when it comes to aiming. While I’m not the biggest fan of this method of aiming in most shooters, it’s a feature that I feel like should be optional when possible here on the Switch. To implement this method of aiming in Resident Evil 4 for Switch might have taken some time to add on Capcom’s end, but it would’ve at least helped justify the somewhat high price it has of $29.99. It would’ve also been a nice add-on for those who really love the Wii version of RE4, the one that is often cited by many as being the best of the bunch due to its slick aiming controls.
That said, one nice addition, especially for those who first experienced Resident Evil 4 on GameCube, is that you can, in fact, play through the whole game with a GameCube controller. If you have a GameCube controller adapter, you can hook it up to your Switch dock, plug in your ancient controller, and get to playing just like you may have done in 2005. This isn’t anything that I found myself drawn towards personally (probably because I first played RE4 on PS2), but if you’re looking to maximize your nostalgia meter, the option is available.
At the end of the day, Resident Evil 4 for Switch is exactly what it sounds like: it’s just Resident Evil 4 on Switch. Depending on how big of a fan of RE4 you are and how badly you’re looking to experience it in handheld mode will likely determine whether or not this is a must-buy for you or not. But in my own estimation, considering how costly this edition of Resident Evil 4 is when it’s more often than not just a simple port from the PS4 and Xbox One, I’m hard-pressed to say it’s worth your money at the moment. While it’s cool to have one of my favorite games ever now playable in handheld form, that selling-point can only go so far.