Resident Evil 4 VR review: An amazing remake of an all-time great

Resident Evil 4 VR Review
(Image: © Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

Bottom line: This isn't some half-assed port. Armature Studios fully converted Resident Evil 4 to 1st-person VR, only leaving 3rd-person for cutscenes and QTEs. You'll rarely find a VR game of this length and production value, combining classic and modern mechanics into a compelling package.


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    Fully redesigned gameplay for VR

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    1st-/3rd-person switches handled well

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    Long campaign offers plenty of value

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    Combat is more fun, challenging than non-VR

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    Classic boss battles and set pieces

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    Plenty of gameplay customization options


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    Bizarre choice to cut dialogue

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Update: Mercenaries mode is now available as a free update for all RE4VR players, removing one of the few negative points we gave to the game. The game's score has been updated accordingly.

When Resident Evil 7 came to PSVR, its first-person gameplay and up-in-your-face jumpscares translated seamlessly into VR — even if you had to use a traditional controller. By comparison, Resident Evil 4's over-the-shoulder shooting and QTE-heavy cutscenes didn't seem like they would translate well to VR. Worse, its graphics appeared to lack the polish of the recent RE4 HD ports.

Thankfully, my concerns have mostly been laid to rest: Resident Evil 4 is an absolute joy to play on the Oculus Quest 2. Developer Armature Studios rebuilt the game to work in first-person, with seamless shooting mechanics, UI changes, new mechanics for interacting with the world, and even changed how Ashley (your notorious companion) behaves. It lacks the high-res visuals of more contemporary titles like Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, but fans of this classic will feel fully immersed.

You're paying $40 for a 16-year-old game that you've probably purchased before, and Resident Evil 4 doesn't match the fright levels of the last two games. But facing down Las Plagas in first-person ratchets up the tension in a way that the original game can't match. Fans of shooters or survival horror should absolutely give this a try, and Resident Evil lovers can tide themselves over until the other (alleged) Resident Evil 4 remake arrives next year.

Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a review code provided by Oculus Studios. The company did not see the contents of the review before publishing.

Resident Evil 4 VR: How the Quest 2 port differs from the main game

Resident Evil 4 VR Review

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

With all the changes required to make Resident Evil 4 work on the Quest 2, this port falls somewhere between a remaster and a proper remake. If you've played this classic game before and want to know if it's worth buying again, let's dive into the Resident Evil 4 VR differences from the original.

Armature Studios converted the game to Unreal Engine 4 while preserving the same animations, geometry, story, and core gameplay as the original. The redesigned world now has you pick up ammo and loot, aim guns, turn doorknobs, twist keys, pull levers, and type to save your game on the typewriter — all of which adds to the game's immersion. But otherwise, it's the same game as before, more or less.

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CategoryResident Evil 4 VR
TitleResident Evil 4
DeveloperArmature Studios
PublisherCapcom, Oculus Studios
GenreSurvival Horror, Action, Puzzle, Shooter
PlatformOculus Quest 2
Game Size8GB
Play TimeAbout 15 hours
Supported Player ModesSitting, Standing
Launch Price$40

In this VR port, the game primarily takes place from Leon's perspective. Zoomed in behind his eyes, you'll find the game feels more claustrophobic. It was originally meant for third-person, making it easier to spot enemies approaching from behind and gauge their distance from you. In first-person, you're more dependent on quick spins to look for foes; Armature also added spatial audio, enabling you to hear the direction of foes if you're paying attention.

Cutscenes appear in a viewscreen surrounded by black space, as do quick-time events (QTEs). When a Ganado (or infected villager) grabs you, the game goes briefly dark before switching to a 3rd-person QTE window, where you'll see a prompt to shake or swipe your Touch controllers. After a successful QTE, you'll return to the standard view.

You can teleport to avoid motion sickness, but full motion works best to avoid those pesky chainsaws.

For moving around the world, you can use Full Motion or Comfort mode. The former uses traditional joystick movement; the latter teleports you around to reduce nausea. As someone who struggles with VR nausea, I could handle Full Motion in two-hour bursts with only some slight discomfort, and that's the mode I'd recommend if you can stomach it. Resident Evil 4 can be a challenging game, and constantly staying on the move is the best way to avoid getting chainsawed in half.

Resident Evil 4 VR Review

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Armature Studios created a "full upper-body rig" to serve as Leon's virtual body. Your handgun, two-handed weapon (shotgun, rifle, or RPG), ammo, knife, healing item, and grenades can all be grabbed from specific points of your body at a moment's notice. Oculus Touch vibrations indicate when you're hovering over an item, giving you a tactile sensation of picking something up. You'll still use the game's famous attaché case for inventory management, but this system lets you spend less time menuing and more time playing.

New VR controls add tactile feedback and realistic reloading, making combat feel more real.

Combat will look familiar to returning players. Aiming is handled by motion controls instead of a joystick, but the mechanics of taking down foes is the same. You'll headshot foes to stun them, hit the button prompt to roundhouse-kick and immobilize them, and shoot or stab them into oblivion.

The major combat difference is that reloading is more realistic, involved, and varied. For the handgun or rifle, you must insert a new clip and pull back the pin; with the shotgun, you'll pump it after every shot and insert shells manually when you run empty. In the redesigned Del Lago fight, you'll load each spear yourself while dodging debris and massive bite attacks.

Resident Evil 4 VR Screenshot

Source: Capcom / Armature Studios / Oculus Studios (Image credit: Source: Capcom / Armature Studios / Oculus Studios)

RE4's ammo indicator — visible at all times on consoles — now appears on your wristwatch, meaning you won't have time to check it in the heat of battle. I frequently ran empty and had to frantically reload while Ganados rushed me, leading to tense moments. You'll learn to keep mental track of your clips.

Armature even tweaked your infamous companion Ashley, arguably one of the main negatives of classic RE4. You can quickly issue her orders using Oculus Touch shortcuts; more importantly, the devs tweaked her settings so she wouldn't insta-die so frequently: "No longer does the damage done to Ashley match the damage done to Leon — she now takes a fraction of that damage. Furthermore, enemies are now less likely to target her over Leon, making it easier to maneuver as you avoid enemy attacks."

Ashley got a durability boost in this VR port, making her less likely to die so often.

Lastly, we have to touch on the weirdest change in this port: Resident Evil 4 VR was edited to remove certain dialogue from cutscenes. Moments like Leon hitting on his Secret Service contact or flirty cop Luis commenting on Ashley's "ballistics" (aka breasts) have been excised from the game. Conversations between characters tend to be strictly business, stripped of Capcom's awkward attempts at masculine charm. Not even family-friendly Nintendo demanded that for its ports; but Facebook must have stricter guidelines for what can appear on the Oculus Store.

Resident Evil 4 VR: What you'll love

Resident Evil 4 VR Screenshot

Source: Capcom / Armature Studios / Oculus Studios (Image credit: Source: Capcom / Armature Studios / Oculus Studios)

Censorship and gameplay changes notwithstanding, Resident Evil 4 on the Oculus Quest 2 retains everything you loved about the original game. Capcom excels in creating a wide range of enemies that increase in difficulty as the game progresses, keeping things fresh and ensuring you have to master different combat strategies. Over-the-top villains chew the scenery and then try to eat you in their grotesque, formidable boss forms. And characters like Ada Wong steal the show.

The original game was a classic, but VR controls give it a much-needed burst of fresh energy.

I've replayed Resident Evil 4 a couple of times since I first blew through it on the Wii in my teens. While the game holds up, I didn't finish my last playthrough because it felt too much like retreading old ground. But I've had no issues whatsoever staying invested in this Quest 2 port.

Evading foes in first person, improving my headshot accuracy, manually reloading my weapons, and aiming down the scope of my rifle — it all makes me feel like I'm living the action movie life of a secret service agent, not just playing a video game. Armature Studios did a stunningly good job of making this third-person title look tailor-made for first-person.

The game's early stages show you various tutorials for controls and different gameplay options, such as choosing between holstered weapons or more traditional button controls for selecting weapons. These gradual tutorials were a good compromise for a game that doesn't have a true tutorial mission , giving me the gist of how the game worked so I didn't need to look at the Help screens very often.

Motion controls were accurate 95% of the time. I whipped out guns and ammo from my shoulder and waist holsters in life-or-death situations, and my knife attacks matched my arm movements. If I had to complain, the knife and grenade slots are ambiguously placed; I'd reach for a knife, pull out an incendiary device, then try to swap it out while my foe got back to his feet. But this was a minor issue at best.

Really, I don't have much else to say here. Resident Evil 4 is considered one of the greatest games of all time, and this VR port gives it fresh life with reimagined controls that throw you directly into the action. What more could you want?

Resident Evil 4 VR: What you won't like

Resident Evil 4 VR Screenshot

Source: Capcom / Armature Studios / Oculus Studios (Image credit: Source: Capcom / Armature Studios / Oculus Studios)

If you've played Resident Evil 4 before, you know its strengths and weaknesses. If you haven't, be prepared to get frustrated with Ashley. Even if Armature smartened her AI and gave her super-strength, she still died multiple times to chainsaws, explosives, and other attacks that I dodged — only for her to take the hit. You'll deal with some frustrating resets during your playthrough. But otherwise, this game has very few flaws, so I'll focus on the VR-specific problems.

Resident Evil 4 VR takes up 8GB of storage space, which is on the high end for Oculus games. But despite its large download size, it still looks like an 00s game graphically. It doesn't have the upgraded HD look of the recent Xbox One/PC/PS4 ports.

Resident Evil 4 VR doesn't look like a new game, even if it plays like one.

I had no problem with the retro visuals, partially due to nostalgia and partially due to being used to downgraded visuals for mobile VR games. This game's campaign will take you at least 15 hours to complete; a game that length with full HD visuals would probably eat up your hard drive and worsen its performance. You'll quickly grow used to the last-gen graphics as you take on waves of foes. But I still think it's worth noting.

I'm also disappointed that this port doesn't have Separate Ways, Ada's Assignment, The Mercenaries, or other side content found in the main game. Maybe the devs are holding these out for DLC; all I know is that Ada's story adds some intriguing context to the Resident Evil universe and the primary campaign. And the Mercenaries score attack mode would let you challenge your friends' scores on leaderboards.

This game's cut dialogue makes me wonder what other content Facebook has deemed too controversial for the Oculus Store.

Now (sigh) let's talk about the censorship issue, which is bound to cause controversy. Look, Capcom's dialogue in this game has some cringey moments, no doubt. Luis's "ballistics" comment is only one of several groan-worthy lines that haven't aged well. And other RE games follow suit: in Resident Evil 0, the male lead's first line of dialogue is to accuse the female lead of fantasizing about him because she knows his name. Casual sexism towards indignant female characters seems to be the studio's brand of humor.

All that being said, Facebook's decision to require the developer to remove this dialogue seems like a bad decision bound to garner blowback from a wide range of gamers. And it makes me wonder what other content the company has deemed too controversial to appear on the Oculus Store.

This port's still 100% worth buying for the gameplay alone, and the editing is seamless enough that you won't notice the absent dialogue unless you've played Resident Evil 4 before. But I have to point these things out for the purists who'll resent the changes.

Resident Evil 4 VR: Should you play it?

Resident Evil 4 VR Review

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

4.5 out of 5

Are you new to Resident Evil? RE4 has a standalone story that anyone can enjoy, combat and controls that'll feel familiar to anyone who's played other first-person zombie games, and a long campaign chock-full of challenging foes. It's a great starting point before moving on to the more frightening entries on consoles.

Have you played Resident Evil 4 before? Well, you still haven't played Resident Evil 4 VR yet. This transformative port has novel mechanics that set it apart from the console entries, throwing you directly into the action. It modernizes the game a bit, making it more like games 7 and 8; and based on my experience, it really benefits from the change.

Overall, this game will be an immediate inclusion in our best Oculus Quest 2 games list, and I'd recommend you give it a try!

Resident Evil 4 Reco Box Image

Resident Evil 4 VR

Bottom line: Leon S. Kennedy is on a mission to save the president's daughter from a mysterious religious cult in Europe. Step into his shoes in 1st-person for the very first time in this Quest 2 port, which was redesigned from the ground up to make the classic game work better in virtual reality.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.