Following the surprising early accidental release of Resident Evil 4 [App Store] in Japan a few weeks ago, iPhone owning Resident Evil fanatics have been anxiously anticipating its official release. The wait is over, but it will likely take a true Resident Evil fan to appreciate the mobile edition of the game (or, ironically, one who has never played the original).
An on-screen D-Pad controls your movement along with a array of buttons lining the right hand side of the screen that control all of your actions. Resident Evil 4 features a slight improvement to the control scheme in Resident Evil: Degeneration [App Store] that we reviewed previously. It seems like Leon moves a little bit faster, and double tapping on the D-Pad while aiming makes you take a step in that direction.
Since in a game like this controls are everything, I highly recommend giving Resident Evil: Degeneration Lite [App Store] a try before picking up Resident Evil 4. They take a lot of getting used to, and the inability to run and aim at the same time doesn't translate particularly well to the virtual D-Pad either.
The thing that gets me about this version of the game is that the console and PC versions of Resident Evil 4 are such amazing games. In fact, RE 4 saw so much critical acclaim that it a "Reception" section summarizing its awards in the Resident Evil 4 Wikipedia article. Many publications listed it as the 2005 game of the year, and Resident Evil 4 even ranked number 1 on the "IGN Readers' Top 99 Games Of All Time" list.
Unfortunately, the iPhone version of the game (ported from BREW) seems so watered down that it's barely even recognizable as Resident Evil 4. All of the amazing plot elements and cut scenes are replaced by brief text introductions to each of the twelve levels, all of the voice overs are gone, and overall this just really feels like what you would expect a cell phone game to be-- which needless to say does not do justice to the original at all.
AppBank posted the following gameplay video of the Japanese version:
If you're interested in the series or enjoyed Resident Evil: Degeneration, chances are you will still have fun with Resident Evil 4 despite its shortfalls. If you're brand new to the game, however, I'd recommend starting with one of the other console versions if you can, but then again, you can't exactly play your GameCube while sitting on the bus.
App Store Link: Resident Evil 4, $7.99