Game Review - Resident Evil 4

Image: Game Review - Resident Evil 4

Violence, video games and zombies, lots of zombies.

Capcom’s Resident Evil games are the world’s most successful survival horror series and number 4 is considered by many to be the best ever.  Its length, depth and ability to scare you silly many times over make RE4 one of the best games on any console.

RE4 places you in the role of Leon Kennedy – a returning character and relative veteran in dealing with the undead.  He has been hired by the Secret Service and is sent to a relatively large European hamlet to look for the President’s missing daughter.  Of course, nothing is as peaceful as you would think, and within minutes Leon is running for his life, fighting off hordes of zombies. 

RE4’s controls may be a little difficult for the raw beginner (except in the Wii version, which is almost too easy), but they are very precise once you’re familiar.  RE4 requires the player to stop running, turn around and face the oncoming hordes before he or she can shoot or use a knife, something that may stun fans of the normal shooter.  However, this design move is great here – you are supposed to be scared all the time; this mechanic certainly helps!

The presentation of RE4 also heightens the tension.  The game sports an over-the-shoulder view that brings the player right into the action.  The music is dynamic, changing to suit and build the fear at all points in the game.  Not only are there zombies around every corner, but RE4 is rife with “quick time events” – think “press-x-to-not-die-oh-no-you’re-dead events” – that constantly keep you on your toes.  The graphics of RE4 may have aged slightly over the years, but even then it’s only slightly – they’re still horrifyingly good (pun may be intended).

But here is where Resident Evil 4, and all violent video games for that matter, should give us pause: it is very easy to play RE4 to scare yourself stupid, but it’s also very easy to play RE4 because you enjoy shooting, knifing, kicking, blowing up and even decapitating zombies.  While the Bible contains a few frights of it’s own, it is definitely not out to glorify bloodshed. This is especially important to keep in mind with RE4, where the zombies aren’t actually zombies, but (misguided) people. 

Violence in the Bible is not meant to be ‘enjoyed’, but particularly in the Old Testament, it often occurs as God protects his people or executes justice. 

On top of that, the Bible tells us that man and woman are “made in God’s image” (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, any enjoyment in harming other people (virtual or not) is not just a rejection of humans, but a rejection of God. 

We should not play RE4 or any violent video games simply to enjoy the bloody spectacle.  Such enjoyment is not godly, and the sin that leads to such enjoyment is what Christ died for.  Jesus died in our place, taking our punishment, so that we would not have to face God’s anger at our rejecting him, our creator.  If you trust Jesus and accept his gift of forgiveness, show your thankfulness by following what Paul, his spokesman, said:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2-3 (ESV)


 

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