Resident Evil 4’s Quick Time Events Will Be Missed In The Remake

Capcom has confirmed that Resident Evil 4’s classic use of quick-time events will not be part of the remake. While my heart is broken, I understand why a rather dated mechanic is being phased out of a revival that puts cinematic flair and player responsiveness above everything else. Deflecting a chainsaw wielding farmhand with a sick ass combat knife loses some of its impact when the mechanic is operated with a brief waggle of the thumbstick, and rebuilt cutscenes probably can’t flirt with new direction much if the scripted button presses remain.

Just because I get it doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to be sad. Before God of War had introduced orgies with mourning widows and murdering thousands via QTEs, Resident Evil brought the idea into the mainstream. It remains the best example of their use and the reason why so many triple-A games were riddled with button presses for the next decade. Resident Evil 4 has a lot to answer for, but if its implementation wasn’t so wonderful in the first place I doubt it would have spread so far. My first experience of them will forever be ingrained in my memory. The best part is I wasn’t even playing at the time.

I watched my older siblings play a lot of games before I did, and Resident Evil 4 was one of the best. I don’t even remember how we ended up with a copy, my guess is he exchanged it for a joint with a mate on the playground or something. Either way, I remember walking into my brother’s bedroom one evening and watching one of the first sequences with Jack Krauser unfold. He isn’t fought as a traditional boss until much later, this encounter being entirely scripted except for a few quick-time events. I had no idea they were even coming, it was the first I’d ever seen of this game, so I watched in awe as my brother missed the prompt and was immediately torn to pieces. He reloaded the checkpoint, tried again, and a past failure turned into a masculine dance of blades between a duo of emo iconic emo bad boys.

Back on the PS2, the idea of actually interacting with a cutscene, a part of games we’d come to view as passive, was groundbreaking. All of a sudden it felt like we were influencing things on screen, shaping the narrative to our whims. We know now that most of these were linear where user error results in an unchanging failure state, but that doesn’t take away from the freshness they once had. It’s why countless games copied Resident Evil 4, thinking that fanciful button presses were the key to further immersion, when over the years we saw the inverse become far more accurate. Having cool moments and epic battles whittled down to a little more than a single command sucked the life out of proceedings when future games didn’t have actual gameplay around to match them. Resident Evil 4 did bring this intense gameplay alongside, which is why its use of QTEs has aged so beautifully. Now the remake is phasing them out, I’m kinda sad.

Having played the opening of Resi 4 Remake, I know their eradication is for the best. Leon is faster and more nimble than ever, able to dynamically interact with the environment to create new paths forward and damage his enemies. There’s also the aforementioned combat knife, an item with its own energy bar that can be used to parry enemy attacks like Elden Ring or Jedi: Fallen Order.It feels incredible, albeit very silly in the midst of a horde of infected when this acrobatic twink deflects a much heavier chainsaw with a streak of piss knife. It is so cool though, and makes up for the absence of bombastic QTEs immediately. The ability to shoot enemies in certain body parts and open them up to a roundhouse kick to the jaw is still here too, laughably overpowered in how dozens of enemies can be floored with a single swing.

Resident Evil 4 being remade still frightens me even less than two months until its release, more so after RE3 butchered much of the original experience as it focused on blockbuster thrills. Before getting my hands on it, I would have decried Capcom’s decision to remove QTEs, but now I’m confident it’s the right move for a game that wants to make as much of an impact now as it did back in 2005. I can live with normal cutscenes.

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