Resident Evil 4
Though the move to the PS2 is a masterwork on Capcom's part, the transition to lesser hardware isn't without a few problems. Let me get this out of the way: this is one of the best looking games of this generation thanks to a perfectly cohesive art design, wonderful character models and some of the most ornate and lavish environments this or any console has ever seen. But, it's not perfect, and that little nagging bit of me that has to analyze things did.
For starters, there's a bit of slight dithering and a generally lower texture feel to things. Close-up, the textures are fine, but the mip-map level is set pretty close, so textures slide from blurred-out messes to razor sharp by comparison in a very noticeable way. It's not a huge deal, but I'm supposed to point these things out. I should probably point out that the lighting is a bit more flat here, too.
There's also an issue of dodgy framerate from time to time. It usually happens when there's a lot of effects on the screen or, say a frag grenade is lobbed out to take out a close crowd (which isn't a good idea, by the way), but it does pop up randomly from time to time. Hardly anything to get worried about, since the rest of the game is butter smooth, but it's there.
Fortunately, everything else about the game survives in a flawless transition. The models look wonderful, with enemies almost universally covered in a mystery grime of could-be blood and must-be dirt. They jerk and shuffle realistically, culling fear from even the most basic of movements. Any given motion-captured scene is so damned fun to watch that you almost forget that most of the time, if there's action involved, you're required to participate with some quick controller presses.
The addition of progressive scan and true 16:9 (the GameCube just letterboxed the whole mess, which was anything but widescreen) does kick things up nicely, too, and when coupled with the game's already strong Dolby Pro Logic II mix, it's even more inviting and aurally repulsive at the same time.
I'm not even going to excuse things with a qualifier like "for a Resident Evil game," the voice acting here is fantastic. All the lines are delivered well, despite some of the writing coming off as needlessly hokey. Most of the time, though, there's a maturity to the dialogue, and Leon's smart-assed responses to things almost never come off as ill-fitting or poorly paced. This is a superb sounding game.
But, in the end, it's still virtually the same game as was released nine months ago. Sure, PS2 owners get extra goodies (and they are good indeed), get a better visual presentation and get a pure digital audio source for a bit more fidelity, but is it enough? Honestly, I wouldn't hesitate to offer an enthusiastic "hell yes."
This is the single best survival horror game ever made, besting even the Silent Hill series in raw visceral thrills. It's not nearly as scary, but it makes up for it with an incredible story, tons of replay value, and a game length that's uncharacteristically stretched for the series. Go buy this game, and go buy it right freaking now.