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  • Adorkable: While most appearances of Leon have him being a Deadpan Snarker of some fashion, this version's of him is one of the most beloved due to the sheer cheesiness and Narm Charm of his bad one-liners, making him a likeable dork.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Chief Bitorez "Big Cheese" Mendez can be easily dispatched by four well-placed incendiary grenades, two for each phase.
    • If you play well, conserve your cash, and purchase a single-use rocket launcher, you can use it to defeat Ramon Salazar in under 30 seconds.
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    • Krauser can be made into this if you know that the knife actually does the most damage to him. Granted, actually being able to slash at him is a bit tricky since it would require that you bring him to his knees by shooting at his legs, which by itself can be difficult since he moves at superhuman speed and his parasitic shield covers a wide area of himself. But once you do make him vulnerable, be quick and slash at him with the knife. Repeat, and the battles will be over sooner than you'd expect. The VR edition allows you to trivialize the entire fight using only the knife, as you can manually dodge most of his attacks with ease and the moment when you couldn't can still be avoided with QTE's.
    • Osmund Saddler is infamous for being one of the easiest bosses in Resident Evil history, as not only does the arena provide a multitude of traps that can be used to stun and damage him, but he has a blatantly obvious weak spot that can be easily sniped with the Rifle. He's a little less anti-climactic when battling him in Separate Ways, where he's faster, has difficult to avoid attacks, and takes a lot more firepower.
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  • Awesome Ego: Salazar has such an ego that he has a giant clockwork mechanical statue of himself, which is encountered in Chapter 4-4.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Chapter 1-1 is a superb introduction to the game, and features the incredibly intense and memorable village combat sequence that serves as the game's Signature Scene.
    • Chapter 1-3 features the memorable dock encounters and has the boss fight against the Sea Monster Del Lago as you fire harpoons at it in a reenactment of Jaws.
    • Chapter 2-2 features intense sequences of protecting Ashley in the village and is capped off with the memorable cabin encounter.
    • Chapter 4-1 is a gauntlet Marathon Level with tons of unique and varied encounters. It features such unique scenarios like a massive lava chamber and two Garradors at once, as well as being capped off with a fight against the Best Boss Ever: Verdugo.
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    • Chapter 4-3 is a fun underground ruins level that ends with an engaging Rollercoaster Mine finale.
    • Chapter 5-3 is a Boss-Only Level, but with three boss battles instead of just one: a Quick Time Event battle against Krauser, the terrifying multi-stage battle with the U-3, and a second fight against Krauser in a wide open area as he utilizes guerilla tactics to try and kill Leon.
    • Chapter 5-4 has Leon finally getting some backup in the form of Badass Pilot Mike, who mans an attack gunship to support Leon as he tears the remaining ganado forces in half. The following is one of the most protracted and explosive enemy encounters in the game, and it feels very satisfying to finally cut loose and even the odds after an entire game of getting swarmed by enemies.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In Chapter 5-1, a Militia Ganado bursts out of an oven, screaming and inundated in flames, and attempts to grab the protagonist. If his corpse is examined, Leon will lampshade how bizarre the situation is:
    Leon: "What was he doing in here?"
  • Breather Level:
    • Chapter 3-3, the shortest chapter in the game. There are only two rooms with enemy encounters in the entire chapter. The first is a somewhat tricky fight with a Garrador in a cage, which can be skipped by shooting the lock off the cage and leaving, and the second is a straightforward fight with standard enemies that rewards you with a cache of ammo, grenades and a rocket launcher at the end. It certainly is a welcome change of pace after the hell that was the last two chapters.
    • Chapter 3-4 is almost as short. Aside from a sniping section at the start, the rest of the chapter is played through Ashley Graham, who has to face easily avoidable enemies and solve stupidly easy puzzles.
  • Broken Base:
    • What's better, the Red9 or Blacktail? Arguments over this rage to this very day.note  On one hand, the Red9's damage is second to none and has some steady aim with the stock, but the Blacktail's superior handling and comparable damage make it almost as good, if not better in the right hands. It's worth noting that the Red9 becomes the superior option when played on the Wii, since the slow handling on consoles is completely counteracted by the pointer aim from the Wii remote.
    • Which rifle is best? Some players love the huge damage the bolt-action rifle offers while others prefer the more user-friendly semi-auto.
    • The TMP. Quite a few despise it as a useless waste of space, just as many swear by it as essential to their toolkit.
    • All the Escort Mission sections. Some wish they were gone entirely, and that Ashley is The Load played straight whose presence drags the gameplay down with her terrible AI. Others found them to actually be an enjoyable source of gameplay variety and that Ashley actually does a pretty good job of staying out of your way most of the time even with the questionable AI, and believe that the hatred for them is severely overblown.
    • Among Spanish fans, there are those who find funny how badly their country is represented, and those who find it insulting.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: The game is tailored to be approachable by anyone, including newcomers and veterans alike, but there are instances where several decisions are just more preferable than others:
    • If you're a veteran, then your loadout throughout the entire game will likely consist of a pistol (Red9 or Blacktail depending on preference), a shotgun, the TMP, and some grenades. The reason is that the other weapon types are either too big for the attaché case, too expensive to invest on, or the ammo isn't as common as the aforementioned three.
    • In speedrunning, you would likely use the TMP and Rocket Launchers for various reasons: the TMP fires faster than most weapons at base level, and since any enemies that aren't mandatory to kill can just be avoided, the TMP provides all you need to reach the destination as fast as you can by simply stunning the enemy. The Rocket Launcher is pivotal in almost every speedrun as it kills almost anything in one hit, melting almost every boss in the game in instant, provided that you knew where to hit them.
    • After the hold-the-line tag team with Luis in the village cabin, most players will choose the right path fighting El Gigante for a good reason: you can skip the entire fight as long as you have the key to escape. In the left path, you have to whittle down an army of villagers and kill one of the Bella Sisters to progress, which is tougher than the El Gigante. Plus, the left path is essentially a mini-maze.
    • Experts would rather start off in Professional mode over Normal mode because the game uses adaptive difficulty that changes depending on your performance on the entire game. Professional mode simply fixes the difficulty to the highest so that you don't need to worry too much if you're performing too well.
  • Complete Monster: Osmund Saddler, the master of Los Illuminados ("The Enlightened Ones"), reawakens the Las Plagas parasites, infecting multiple villagers before determining the strain works. Injecting himself with a "master" Plaga, Saddler spreads the parasite to the rest of the village, destroying the minds of everyone it comes into contact with and leaving them as Saddler's puppets. Saddler also conducts horrible experiments on those in his clutches and disposes of the corpses by feeding them to Las Plagas infected monsters. However, when children are infected they die painfully due to their bodies not being developed enough to handle the strain. Saddler plans to use the President's daughter to infect her father and from there take over the U.S. and then the rest of the world, infecting everyone with Las Plagas and leaving them as broken shells for him to control while Saddler reigns over the world.
  • Contested Sequel: Some fans think this game is too action-oriented and not atmospheric, while others think the previous Resident Evil games sacrificed fun and playability for said atmosphere. Its sequels have mitigated this somewhat. After Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, it's hard not to look back on 4 as the most subtle and haunting of the "new age" Resident Evil games.
  • Critical Research Failure: When they were called out on the use of the Spexico trope, the developers defended themselves by saying the game doesn't take place in Spain, but in Central Europe. Looks like nobody told them Spain is the only country in the whole continent where Spanish is the official/primary language (Gibraltar and Andorra also speak Spanish, but not as their official/primary language (being English and Catalan, respectively), and all three are part of the Iberian Peninsula and Southern Europe anyways), Central European countries all speak German or Slavic languages except Hungary (who speak a Finno-Ugric language), and the "pesetas" were Spain's currency before the Euro. And finally, to confirm matters, Capcom spokesman Chris Kramer confirmed that the game is set in Spain when defending accusations of racism when Resident Evil 5 first trailered. As such, if there is any article or video about how Spanish culture is represented in video games, this game will mockingly appear.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Ashley. You'll hear "LEON HALP!!" so much that you're bound to want to kill her yourself by the end of the game. Anytime the player starts wanting to cut her some slack for being a defenseless young woman stuck in such a nightmarish situation, she'll go and do something eye-twichingly stupid like shove Leon (i.e. the only thing keeping her safe) away and run headlong into a booby trap. The most frustrating part? Unlike you and your comrades, she only has one death animation, so you can't even enjoy the momentarily therapeutic satisfaction of ignoring the cries of "LEON HALP!!" and just standing back to watch Dr. Salvador slice her obnoxious head off.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Merchant. Aside from a number of catchphrases and the gameplay importance of him being a reoccurring Item Shop, we know nothing about him beyond face value.
    • Mike, who helps Leon by shooting zombies from his helicopter. He also knew a good bar.
    • That dog you save from the trap at the beginning of the game. The Video Game Caring Potential is nice, but what cements him into the hearts of fans everywhere is when he repays the favor by helping you kill your first El Gigante. Capcom had made another game called Haunting Ground where an identical dog called Hewie spends most of the game as the protagonist's loyal companion.
    • Luis Sera due to his style, characterization and personality.
    • The Regenerators. Only a handful of them appear in the game, and mostly near the end of it too, but they are one of the most memorable and terrifying enemies in the entire franchise.
    • HUNK from RE2 returns, but only in The Mercenaries mode. Despite this, many fans who had never played RE2 love him for his interesting gameplay style and mysterious background even though he's not in the main story at all. It also helps that he's the sole out-of-left-field mercenaries character pick: Leon, Ada, and Krauser are all main characters, and even Wesker makes a few appearances in Ada's campaigns. HUNK? Only in The Mercenaries mode.
  • Even Better Sequel: The Resident Evil games were always well liked, but this game is considered the apex of the entire series. It's sitting at 96 on Metacritic and is considered the game of the year for 2005. It's been released on multiple platforms and holds the Guinness World Record for best selling survival horror game. It did so well and is so liked that almost all of the main entry Resident Evil game since RE4 have followed its template and tropes. And it's credited for bringing the Always Over the Shoulder viewpoint into new prominence in Third-Person Shooter genres and inspired a lot of other games, such as Dead Space for one.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Salazar due to his tendency of stealing every scene that he's in.
    • Krauser for being a major badass and having perhaps the best fight in the game.
    • Wesker never fails to deliver on the coolness, and his appearances during Ada's campaigns are certainly highlights.
  • Franchise Original Sin: RE4 was met with commercial and critical acclaim for being an Actionized Sequel that still had enough horror elements to stay true to the genre. Nearly every other Survival Horror game (including its sequels) tried to follow suit, upping the action further in response to the more mainstream popularity of FPS and other shooters. This is viewed as a Dork Age for the genre, where it neglected the horror aspect and became indistinguishable from any other action game, because they lacked the action-horror balance that let RE4 succeed. The genre only got back on track with smaller titles that often removed the "action" half to focus purely on the "horror" end, while the Resident Evil series itself (after the massive Broken Base RE6 caused) only started getting back on track with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and the Resident Evil 2 (Remake).
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • The Merchant. All of his lines are extremely quotable memes in their own right.
    • Leon. Plenty of his one-liners are memetic due to being So Bad, It's Good.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Playing as Krauser in The Mercenaries, seeing as how he's a Lightning Bruiser whose arrows will kill all regular enemies in practically one shot (especially if you're aiming for their heads). He also can activate his plagas arm which will obliterate every enemy in his path (even Super Salvador) in a single hit, with the only downside being that it takes a while to recharge.
    • The Wii Edition is the easiest version overall because, in a game designed around using a control stick to aim, the 1:1 aiming of the Wiimote makes combat a cakewalk.
    • The VR version has motion-controlled aiming on par with the Wii version and allows you to dual-wield your knife and a one-handed gun, as well as move while shooting. This trivializes almost every enemy encounter, since it provides Leon with mobility, accuracy and firepower that the original release could not account for. Additionally, the downtime between each knife slice has been decreased, while the Semi-automatic sniper rifle no longer requires the player to aim through its scope, making two already reliable weapons even more efficient. That being said, certain options that are provided can help mitigate this and bring back some challenge, such as being able to disable the laser sight on your weapons or retaining the movement system of the original game, being unable to move and shoot simultaneously.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The Novistadors are not well-liked among the Resident Evil community. They fly, they lunge, and they're almost always came in a crowd. At least they kidnap Ashley so you don't have to look after her.
    • The Crossbow Ganados. They are annoying as sin, especially when you can't tell where they are. They also have excellent accuracy on Professional mode, and will do more damage than you'll be pleased with.
    • Plagas. Specifically, the second and, especially, third forms. The second type is only dangerous on Professional due to it potentially biting your head off. However, the third appears to exist specifically to piss off players accustomed to using flash grenades or shotguns to kill Plagas.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • Salazar is a pain to fight, if only because his reaction to being hit anywhere but his weakpoint is a Large Ham.
    • It's easy to get sick of the U3's underground attack due to how often it is used, as well as the fact that you can't really do anything but Press X to Not Die until the thing decides to come back to the surface.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Lots in the GameCube version, though most of them were fixed in subsequent versions:
    • An exception is clipping, especially the knife through the hole in the door glitch. It was actually made better in the later releases by preventing you getting hit while using this glitch.
    • The famous Ditman glitch, which is especially useful for speedrunning: Aim the Striker but go to the pause menu before the laser sight appears, then select another weapon. Leon will now move about 50% faster! This glitch exists in every version of the game.
    • Ashley is able to suplex certain enemies via a glitch in the GameCube version after stunning them by busting a door open in their faces.
    • In Chapter 4-2, there's a part where you have to fight two El Gigantes in a small room. It's possible to make one fall in the lava that's under the floor, which kills it after a minute. In the GameCube version, if you leave the room and then came back, there will be money on top of the lava pit that you can pick up (the reward for killing El Gigante). This was fixed in later versions.
    • In the GameCube version, during the Salazar fight, there is a spot near where the tentacles comes out of the walls on either side where Salazar will not attack you. The tentacles will try to hit you if they are out, but otherwise you have complete impunity to whale on Salazar. This was fixed in later versions.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • To give some real world credence to the Ganados, the game contains a document which (accurately) describes several real world parasitic organisms which are capable of altering the host's behavior to be more beneficial to the parasites. One of the parasites mentioned is cordyceps fungus that infects ants, the very same thing that mutates to infect humans in The Last of Us.
    • Shinji Mikami's insistence that the game would stay exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube becomes this when not only was a PlayStation 2 port announced before the original version was even released, but as of 2019, it's become one of the go to examples for games that are Port Overdosed (along with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim), having received twelve ports across eleven different platforms.
    • Leon's infamous "Your right hand comes off?" quip. While Salazar's may not, there sure would go on to be another character in the series whose right hand proves detachable.
  • Ho Yay:
    • When Leon unties Luis, the latter says, "Little rough, don't you think?" And then he asks for a smoke.
    • How Luis dies from impalement by giant tentacle schlong that comes from under Saddler's robes.
    • Krauser's dialogue in the Fortress Ruins. "That's what I'm talking about" just really sounds questionable, even in context.
    • As the battle in Fortress Ruins progresses, Krauser takes off more and more of his clothes and personal effects.
  • Homegrown Hero: This is lampshaded, despite not being an example itself (being a Japanese game with an American protagonist): The U.S. President's daughter is kidnapped to a Spanish speaking Ruritania and Leon S. Kennedy (now a secret service agent) is sent to rescue her. The villains enjoy taunting him over how things won't turn out "like your American action movies".
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: The style change, while making the series more popular, has caused many fans of the series' original style to feel overlooked.
  • Memetic Badass: The Merchant. To quote Cracked:
    Screw the guy who blasts through the undead scourge and penetrates the deepest levels of the sewers to save the president's daughter. We want to know about the guy who's so badass he beat us there and set up an item shop and shooting gallery.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Saddler transforming peaceful villagers into bloodthirsty savages to do his bidding, as the credits would suggest.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The soft clarinet music you hear in some saving rooms is very relaxing, especially when you just went through a hellish survival sequence. This tells you "Don't worry, it's safe here."
  • Narm: See here.
  • Narm Charm: As Yahtzee Croshaw has pointed out in his retrospectives on the game, the scenes where Leon and Ramon Salazar trash-talk each other does not really come across as the intense battles of wit and sharp tongues the writers clearly intended, but rather as a bunch of pitiful verbal Wimp Fights where both parties manage to embarrass themselves over and over, and yet, somehow, it still works.
  • Older Than They Think: Quite a few new fans of the series don't seem to realize what the "4" in the game's title actually denotes.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Mike the helicopter pilot. He shoots and blows up some Ganados, only to get shot down at the end.
    • The Oven Man, due to how terrifyingly (and, to some fans, hilariously) sudden his appearance is.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The fact that some decapitated Ganados will keep walking forward for a couple seconds before keeling over might be an unintentional quirk of the game, but it actually ends up adding a lot of tension, as it leaves you guessing for those few seconds whether a Plagas will burst out of their neck or not. Fortunately, this doesn't happen until the second chapter. Worse yet, even if no parasite emerges, headless Ganados can still sometimes successfully grab and choke Leon anyway, which is nearly unavoidable if they were making a mad dash toward you when you blew off their head.
    • The music in the "Ball Room" detailed under That One Level and in a few other areas has a strange, dissonant bassline that sounds very similar to the Zealots' guttural chanting, so that even when the coast is clear it still sounds like the bastards are always right behind you.
  • Player Punch: Some of Saddler's appearances have him doing this, such as him killing Luis or Mike. The former is made worse by the fact the victim spent the last minutes of his life searching for medicine that would suppress the plaga inside Leon.
  • Polished Port:
    • The Wii Edition has everything the original PC version claimed it was going to have, and on top of being perfectly stable, the Wii Remote's 1:1 aiming gives it the best controls out of any entry outside of using a mouse.
    • The Oculus Quest 2 version, which turns the entirety of the single-player campaign into a VR first person shooter, is masterfully done. Enhanced visuals and sound, stellar controls with plentiful amounts of accessibility options, quality of life improvements like being able to have a two-handed and one-handed weapon equipped at the same time, reprogrammed AI to account for the new perspective, and you have yourself an amazing VR game as well as an excellent version of 4. The only downsides are, at launch, all side content is not available, having only the single player main story to play, but that's more than enough. However, this downside is mitigated slightly with the announcement that The Mercenaries side mode will return as a free update in early 2022.
    • The HD Edition version, released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, has higher native resolution, added shadows and colored lighting in many locations. The PC port of the HD release, dubbed Ultimate HD Edition, is playable at high resolutions, has an added hi-res texture pack, has controls comparable to the Wii version, and can run at 60 frames per second; the HD Remastered version on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and to a lesser extent, the Switch are also comparable to the Ultimate HD Edition in terms of visual fidelity and frame rate. This is opposed to...
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The original 2007 PC port, which claimed it has the graphical quality of the GameCube with all of the PlayStation 2 version's content. It was a buggy product with visuals that are much less detailed than the PlayStation 2 version with missing lighting and visual effects, and needed to be patched (and modded) frequently to even be playable. As with many PC ports of Japanese console games, it's designed for gamepads, with no native mouse support and rather clumsy keyboard controls. The in-game button prompts only refer to buttons on a gamepad, not the keyboard controls, which would be forgivable if it wasn't for the game's extensive use of quick time events. What's also ironic is that the PC port of RE4 was handled by SourceNext, the very same company behind an improved (and unfortunately Japan-only) PC port of Resident Evil 2.
    • Downplayed with the Ultimate HD Edition release on Steam; while it's a vast improvement over previous PC port from 2007, it initially shipped with incorrect gradients and lighting effects, making the game look off compared to the Xbox 360 and even GameCube/Wii versions, which were thankfully fixed with patches and through mods. Some of the other issues with the Ultimate HD Edition, however, were left unaddressed. Problems includes the imperfect mouse aiming calibration, which may be unplayable for some players, performance issues, and various bugs (both major and minor) caused by playing the game at 60 FPS as opposed to 30 FPS like in the previous releases. The game offers the bare minimum for keyboard remapping in-game; some of the other keys such as the keys used for QTEs (which are the X and C keys by default) can only be remapped through editing a config file, with little-to-no help on how reconfigure said keys, and some keys are already hardcoded. Not all of the game's textures have been remade in high resolution, with most of them have been ran through an image upscaler, resulting in an mix of muddy upscaled textures with the few new ones. Thankfully the original GameCube textures are included as an option, and a pair of modders have been working diligently on completely overhauling the game's textures and models with faithful recreations from real-life architecture and art while fixing many of the game's other effects and lighting.
    • The Zeebo version is this to the (already heavily cutdown) mobile ports. The game's original soundtrack, which plays faithfully to the console and PC releases in the mobile versions, were poorly converted into MIDI and sound horrifically off-key on the Zeebo version, along with incorrect lighting and jarring use of fog in some areas, struggles to maintain 20 FPS, and all of the humanoid enemies have blue skin for seemingly no reason (only the cultists had blue skin the mobile versions).
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • In order to provide some realism, the game was programmed so that Leon cannot hold his gun completely still. As a result, if the player takes too long to shoot, Leon will shake slightly and lose his aim. While this isn't much of a problem against slow or static enemies, it can lead to Fake Difficulty when handling enemies that constantly move around.
    • This game introduces real-time reloading, meaning you can't reload your gun by combining it with its ammunition on the inventory screen like in previous entries. Instead, the player must trigger an animation where Leon manually inserts the bullets into his equipped weapon, which leaves him vulnerable and unable to run for its entire duration. Predictably, the stronger the gun, the longer its reloading animation is.
    • The absence of item boxes forces the player to carefully manage their inventories, since not even the largest Attache Case can hold every weapon in the game. As a result, once the inventory starts to get cloggy, the player has no choice but to either discard some of their equipment or sell them to the merchant. Either way, the items will be lost forever.
    • The Action Commands penalize the player for dropping their guard during cutscenes, as almost all of them come without warning and result in a Game Over. Made even worse during the infamous Leon vs Krauser knife duel in which you must do several QTE's (which can be unresponsive even if you press the right buttons) spread over one long unskippable cutscene. And if you lose then it's instant game over and you must redo the entire scene from the start.
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • The Punisher. Its exclusive upgrade pertaining to penetrating rounds falls flat when compared to the better crowd control a shotgun or TMP can offer, and its strength is the weakest among all the handguns - even the initial one's special upgrade of increased critical headshots has its uses.
    • The Minethrower. Not only do the mines have a delayed explosion & no knockback (meaning the enemy has time to close in before exploding), but ammo is rarer than the magnum rounds. Supposedly the exclusive heatseeking mine upgrade would help you against fast enemies who can dodge your gunfire, like the Novistadors or the fire breathing Zealots, but the Novistadors only appear in some segments, and the fire breathing Zealots only exist in one particular area of the game (and if you think to simply look up and shoot the chains supporting their dragon statues, you don't even need the Minethrower for that), leaving the weapon with a very small niche that several other weapons can easily fill.
    • Out of all the secret weapons, the Mathilda pistol is essentially the weakest of them. Not only you had to fully upgrade it to unlock its Exclusive upgrade (which is very risky and drain bullets faster than almost any weapon in the game), it's not even any stronger than the Blacktail, one of the best weapons in the game for its power and availability.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • The over the shoulder gameplay was revolutionary for the time, and later games like the first Dead Space and Gears of War were compared to RE4. Now that this style of play is everywhere, it's easy to forget that this was the game that blazed the trail, and many players who play RE4 after playing those later games may find its implementation lacking.
    • The Action Commands were a neat little gimmick that caused Leon to perform cinematic feats that normal mechanics wouldn't allow, like flipping and dancing around lasers and having a cutscene revolve around them for a knife fight. Ask almost anyone nowadays, and they'll tell you that Action Commands have overstayed their welcome by a long shot.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: This game has managed to spawn many different challenges. All grenade runs, no attache case runs (ie. never opening the attache case), no Merchant runs, knife only, handgun only (normally just the original handgun, upgraded, but some people will pick their favorite handgun instead), no deaths, speed runs, no ammo and grenade pickup run, minethrower only runs, rocket launcher only runs, no running 'run' by exploiting a certain gameplay quirk, completing the game with the least amount of kills possible, etc.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer:
    • The rewards for the Shooting Range (24 trophies and some pesetas) aren't particularly useful, but the minigame is fun enough to warrant a few plays.
    • While it's only unlocked after the main game is beaten, Mercenaries mode is ridiculously addictive. Some players are known to sink hours just replaying it before turning their attention to a New Game Plus or the bonus missions with Ada.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Ashley's deaths can lead to a Game Over. But to the players who regard her as a Damsel Scrappy, her deaths can be oddly satisfying.
  • That One Achievement: Getting the Handcannon requires you to get a 5-star ranking on each stage with each character in Mercenaries mode. That's 20 perfect runs you have to do, and some are significantly harder to pull off than others.
  • That One Boss:
    • The battle against Salazar can be challenging even in Easy. It doesn't help that Salazar can instantly kill Leon with one move, though he can only do so if he's standing too close to him.
    • The Verdugo is a two-legged nightmare to kill unless you have serious firepower, and you first have to confront it in a room full of tight corridors without enough room to avoid its attacks. It's also Nigh-Invulnerable unless you freeze it with a nitrogen canister, and there's only a few of those lying around the area. It's sorely tempting to either keep dodging long enough to escape down the elevator or just hang onto that free rocket launcher you found and be done with it in one go.
    • The boss fight against U3 wouldn't be considered that hard if not the fact that you had to race against the time to escape each segment of the stage while you had to fend him off at the same time. Pray that he doesn't block your way or be ready to waste a lot of ammo, and maybe restarting.
    • The first fight against Krauser involves several quick time events that if not pressed correctly Leon will die. The game will change the prompt every time the player loses so this is not about memorizing but training reflexes. He's also a pain in the butt during his last fight because the knife that was so useful against him before is now too slow to use, and he has no hitbox whenever he decides to backflip away from you.
  • That One Level:
    • The very first level, where all you have is the basic pistol, a knife, and maybe a couple of grenades. After facing about six enemies in groups of at most two, you come to the village where you can end up with about a dozen villagers, two with chainsaws, coming after you.
    • The notorious Cabin Fight, where you must survive an onslaught in a cramped cabin, covering six entrances over two stories with and endless stream of Ganado until forty enemies are killed.
    • Chapter 2-3, the section after said Cabin Fight. Due to the previous section you'll have used up much of your ammo and the section is frustratingly stingy with giving you new supplies, forcing you to conserve until you get to the end. Said section is covered with Ganado, and has a particularly tough mini-boss fight with the Bella Sisters. Luckily, you can skip this section by taking an alternate route... And then have to fight another El Gigante in a cramped ravine instead.
    • Chapters 3-1 and 3-2 are overall quite loathed:
      • The former is a massive Marathon Level that introduces the new Castellan enemies by forcing you through multiple close-quarters encounters with them. It also introduces the Demonic Spiders known as the Garradors, and then puts you through the infamous "Water Hall". There's little space to maneuver, Elite Mooks are coming at you from every direction, who have the highest Plagas spawning chance in the game and will constantly get reinforcements until you've taken down a substantial amount of them, and you have to protect Ashley during the whole process. Prepare to hear "LEEEEEEEOOOON!! HAAAAAALP!!" a lot. Finally, if you leave her in the back room to deal with the enemies, Zealots will drop down a hole in the ceiling to attack her while you're outside— Not capture; attack, when she can only take about two hits before dying.
      • The latter has the infamous sewer level with the Novistadors, as well as loads of Crossbow Ganados and the garden maze with the surprisingly deadly Colmillos.
    • All three encounters with the Novistadors.
    • Any time a Garrador is fought outside of the initial encounter is utterly painful. Of note is the encounter with two of them shortly after Ashley is kidnapped by the Novistadors, not helped by the various Ganados that will flank Leon and force him to do something that will attract the Garradors' attention.
    • That horrible wrecking ball room on the island is like a "greatest hits" compilation of the worst things the game can throw at you; fast and hard-hitting Giant Mooks that do high damage, crossbow soldiers that pick you off at a distance, and a freakishly high rate of plaga-spawning Ganados all while you're crammed into a relatively small chamber that gives you no way to defend yourself from sneak attacks.
    • The battleship raid in the fourth chapter of Separate Ways is by far the hardest part of the scenario period. Not only you had to juggle inbetween places and to circumvent as many enemies as possible as they keep respawning every so often up until the boat explodes, but you had to avoid all the batteries and artillery cannon that will happily rain fire upon you as they can oneshot you even at full health.
    • The water level in Mercenaries. It is the only place in the game that has Super Salvador. It also doesn't help that this is one of the few levels in Mercenaries where there is little to nothing in the way of good camping spots.
  • That One Sidequest: The shooting ranges are tough already, but they become excruciating due to Leon's shaking while aiming, which makes headshots or even hitting the targets at all (consecutive hits cause bonus targets to appear, which are required for the rare prizes) much more difficult than it should be for a cop turned bodyguard for the president.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Several changes were made exclusively for the VR edition, which doesn't sit well with long time fans.
    • The removal of the extra gamemodes (Separate Ways, Assignment Ada, and The Mercenaries) doesn't sit well with the fans, since the hardware in question is more than capable of rendering the game perfectly in 30-60 FPS. This also means the corresponding secrets such as the Chicago Typewriter and the Handcannon were all omitted from access. That said, it has since been announced that The Mercenaries will be added as a free update in early 2022, so this has been mitigated somewhat. Time will tell if the rest is added, however.
    • While puzzle solving in the game is very easy to begin with, changes done with how you can solve puzzle such as the ability to automatically grab a key item from the get go instead of having to open the inventory were welcomed, but certain gimmicks were done makes it more frustrating to control as you had to grab and plug the key item manually each time. You can also no longer combine key items, which means you had to take out one key item at a time.
    • Several flirty and suggestive lines, such as Luis' flirting with Ashley on the cabin or Leon trying to get Hunnigan on a date in the end were omitted for no inexplicable reasons, but the cutscene that has it still has the aggressive and tense tone which doesn't really make any sense (Ashley snaps at Luis for making a rather rude comment in the original, whereas here she randomly snaps at him for no reason at all, making her look like a total jackass). It's really jarring especially the lines in question are considered T-rated at worst, among many other explicit elements like the amped up gore compared to the original game.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: In spite of having a role in the main story and Ada's side-story 'Separate Ways', Luis Sera is unavailable to play in the mini-game Mercenaries in spite of being proficient with a gun himself.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Plenty in Mercenaries mode:
    • Leon will eventually become this in stages where he couldn't draw out his strength against more difficult minibosses like Super Salvador. Leon's only strongest point is his crowd control with the Riot Gun (and the only character with a shotgun), while his most effective melee is the leg shot suplex that's not always reliable for instant kill. Ada is also this for similar reason, but only because the Punisher is the weakest out of all available pistol and most of her weapon really requires a good precision to score a killshot.
    • On the other side of the spectrum, Krauser is considered by the playerbase as the "Easy Mode" of the gamemode thanks to his kit; A compound bow that almost guaranteed to kill enemies in one headshot, a knife bigger than Leon's, two devastating melee hits that provide multiple utilities, and a powerful one time rechargeable plaga arm attack that cleans off every enemy in the straight line, including the minibosses. Wesker is also this to a degree, thanks to his pistol being fully upgraded and his deadly melee attacks, but lacks a knife.
    • HUNK would be categorized in the High tier if not the fact that he lacks a knife and doesn't have reliable crowd control outside of his grenades and a leg kick move. Against single targets, HUNK is a powerful force to be reckoned with, as his neckbreaker move kills any single target in one hit.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • Luis is Leon's only ally for the first few chapters of the game and proves himself to be just as badass as the American agent despite being just an ordinary biologist. His death comes out of the blue during the Castle arc, as Saddler sneaks on him and impales his chest with a Plagas tail.
    • Mike the helicopter pilot. How many times in this series can you say you have a chain gun and missile launcher-toting helicopter coming to your aid, and doing a damn good job at that? It's nothing short of a travesty that he and Leon weren't able to stop by that bar he mentioned.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Resident Evil 4 received universal acclaim upon its release. Direct sequels like RE5 and RE6, while overall competently made, are still outshined by RE4. These days, RE4 is often even compared favorably to the remakes of the first two games.
    • In terms of the many different versions, the Wii version is this to every port that came after it. While higher fidelity and better framerates from more powerful consoles were appreciated, the Wii's usage of motion controls makes it so that the Wii version is widely considered by fans to be the most fun version of the game to play, as the aiming and shooting is that much better due to motion controls. Many were even disappointed at the Switch's lack of gyro for its version, given that the console already supported gyro with Splatoon 2.
  • Uncanny Valley: Ganados seem human at a distance, but as you get closer their red eyes and odd movements push them into the valley. It's even worse on the HD versions, with the updated visuals making the textures and facial expressions on the Ganados clearer.
  • Vindicated by History: While it's generally considered great, there are a number of people who didn't like the greater action focus. A number of the same people see this in a different light after the much more actiony, and much less atmospheric RE6.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: For a Nintendo GameCube game, this one has gotten a lot of milage in the visuals department.
    • The graphical quality of the game is amazing for the time as far as console games go on 2005, and the graphics on all the ports (save for the original PC port) look amazing to this very day. Animations are also incredibly fluid and realistic for the time, especially during the cutscenes, and still look fantastic in the 2020s.
    • The VR edition ramps up the decade old game's visual by readjusting the lighting for every location in the game and upgrading the VFX, making them more atmospherically uneasy and ramping the horror even more, especially with the Castle areas. In addition, textures were sharpened and touched up to account for the new perspective, meaning that textures generally still look good up close.

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