Resident Evil 4 Mobile Edition Micro-Review: Learning to Read With Zombies

Illustration for article titled Resident Evil 4 Mobile Edition Micro-Review: Learning to Read With Zombies

Resident Evil 4 may have come out more than four years ago, but all it takes is a new platform to make the game feel fresh.


The third-person survival horror game from Capcom hit the iPhone earlier this year as Resident Evil 4 Mobile Edition, promising to deliver key moments of the original game in a 3D tap shooter and plenty of extras.

But can a game designed for a home console work on a phone? Let's find out.

Perfect Play Mechanic For iPhone: One of the things that has always driven me slightly nuts with the Resident Evil franchise is that you can't move and shoot. But that's a perfect fit for the iPhone, which relies entirely on virtual controls to work.

In the iPhone version of Resident Evil 4 you use slide your thumb around a virtual thumbpad on the screen to move Leon Kennedy, double tapping to side-step. Once you see an enemy, you tap the weapon icon to plant your feet and then use the same movement controls to aim and fire off shots.

Because the franchise has never allowed you to both shoot and move at the same time, this iPhone game is one of the best translations of a top-tier shooter I've seen on the platform. It perfectly captures the feel of the Resident Evil gameplay mechanic.

Lots of Extras: Despite not including the entire original game, there's quite a lot to do in Resident Evil 4 on the iPhone. The game's single player campaign features a dozen settings from the original title and two dozen timed stages that can be played through the Mercenaries Mode. You can also buy weapons and upgrade them.

Learn to Read With Zombies: The one thing I don't like about this title is how it hacks up the plot and flow of the original. Because you only have 12 levels, each with different settings, in the game, the developed strung them together with cut scenes. Unfortunately, the cut scenes are just images with text, poorly written text. The sentences used to summarize the rather complex plot of the original title are so brief they almost read like a Dick and Jane book. And learning to read with zombies isn't nearly as fun as it sounds.


Even at the relatively high price of $8, Resident Evil 4 Mobile Edition is worth picking up. The level design, the play mechanic, the replayability all add up to create an experience not often found on a mobile phone.

Resident Evil 4 Mobile Edition was developed by Ideaworks 3D for the iPhone and and iPod Touch and released on July 12. The 9+ rated game retails for $7.99. Played all game types in both single player campaign and Mercenaries modes.


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How's the difficulty/pacing and aiming specifically? While well placed head shots make dealing with the fodder easier, it's absolutely essential for something like the Wolverine-type baddies (which, at least in the PS2/GC version, were present in that level from the screenshot). Getting killed time and time again simply due to poor controls would frustrate me and make me not want to waste my time.

Can you aim by touching the area of the screen you want to shoot at, or do you have to use the virtual joystick? And if so, is it accurate? That's my biggest concern. Love RE4 to death and wouldn't mind being able to play it on the go if it's done right (since obviously, the lack of story shouldn't bother people who've already played/know it).

I wouldn't be so worried if already established shooters on the iPhone didn't control like garbage, so now I'm cautious about new endeavors.