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The RPS Advent Calendar 2023, December 17th

Let's take a quick jaunt over to Spain

A close up of Horace the Endless Bear looking at a big pile of presents with his name on, next to a plate of cookies with a glass of milk. It's the 2023 RPS Advent Calendar!
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

Time for day seventeen on the 2023 Advent Calendar! What's Christmas without a bit of nostalgia, eh?

We've gotta save the President's daughter Leon! It's the Resident Evil 4 Remake

A man and a woman stand in front of a grand balcony in Resident Evil 4 Remake

Kiera: If you're looking to experience some beautifully cheesy nostalgia this festive season, why not take a trip to Suplex City with the Resident Evil 4 Remake?

While some of you may shudder at the thought of a remake making our list of the best games of 2023, this is arguably the mother of all remakes. Not only does it stay true to the characters and story that have become synonymous with Resident Evil, but it also offers an accessible entry point for anyone new to the franchise, looking to dip their toes into some well-grounded action horror.

In Resident Evil 4 you play as an all-American hero, Leon. S. Kennedy, sent on a covert mission to save the president's daughter from a nefarious cult. Humorous hijinks ensue as Leon bumbles his way into chaos, delivering some seriously over-the-top finisher moves that rival any 90s action flick and some questionable one-liners that will leave you cringing yet wanting more. As you work your way through the story you'll soon find that not everything is as it seems - shocker - and a classic kidnapping case is mixed up with religious fanaticism and a zombie plague that has transformed the inhabitants of a small rural village, leading to a powerplay amongst several entities.

There are certainly spookier sections of the game, and some of the enemy designs will stay with you for a while, but the Resident Evil 4 Remake blends genres and often feels more like an action game with puzzle and horror elements, perfect for anyone looking to try a Resident Evil game but less keen on jumpscares. Although you may need some emotional support for a later section of the game and a certain toothy, regenerative enemy. If you know, you know.

Leon parries Dr. Salvador's chainsaw blades using his knife in the Resident Evil 4 remake
Image credit: Capcom

The game really shines through on set design: each new area offers a distinct style, gruelling boss fights and iconic characters, not to mention the satisfying puzzles you'll solve along the way. How many murals does one village need to hide trinkets? How many roundhouse kicks does it take to down a Ganado? Leave those questions behind as you accept the captivating thing that is Resident Evil logic.

Other than giving the original a much-needed facelift with next-gen graphics, the Remake also ditches the tank controls that -let's face it - no one misses, not even hipsters. Whilst staying true to the characters present in the original, fan-favourites have been revamped, with Ashley being less of a whinge-bag, which can only be a good thing.

Once you've travelled across the village and uncovered the murky secrets within, you can play the Separate Ways DLC, a delightful addition that lets you experience the events of the night through Ada Wong's perspective. Laugh at Leon's chaotic efforts from the perspective of sleek, super spy, and everyone's favourite hype girl, Ada. Just make sure you save some time to play bingo while you're at it.

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The all-seeing eye of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the voice of many-as-one.