The remake of Resident Evil 4 arrived with a host of issues at launch, with picture quality issues, inconsistent performance, unsightly screen space reflections, and controller responsiveness issues. The base game was certainly a successful and engaging effort, but it lacks one last pass of polish. Recently released major update 1.004 adds mercenary mode and fixes many of these issues – here’s the current state of play.
The most notable issue with the launch version was the image quality, with all console versions suffering from a noisy look and the PS5 seeming to have additional reconstruction problems. The new patch makes changes in this area, but the end results are probably mixed at best.
On the plus side, the PS5-specific issues have been somewhat resolved, with a much sharper appearance despite some DIY work, but oddly enough the Series X/S versions are now worse than the launch versions. The Xbox Series versions now have a sharper look with considerably more aliasing. All resolutions are the same as launch, with 1080p / 1440p split on Series S (performance vs quality modes), 1800p / 2160p split on Series X, 1944p / 2160p split on PS5 so it all comes down to differences in processing The picture is between correction 1.002 and 1.004.
Perhaps Capcom should reconsider its approach here. RE Village had a cleaner image on consoles than the RE4 remake while also featuring a world rich in foliage. Perhaps a move towards a less aggressive chessboard solution or a native resolution approach with fewer pixels would fit this title more. I prefer a softer but more temporally stable final image, especially considering how dark and low-contrast RE4 is.
As a final note, the PS5’s “Lens Distortion” and “Lens Distortion with Chromatic Aberration” options now display correctly, without the smudged, low-resolution look they had before. I still recommend turning these options off, but at least there is no devastating effect on image quality if you stick to the default settings.
The other major launch issue affected reflections, with RT’s low-resolution reflections and very poor screen-area reflections implementation—issues carried over from previous RE Engine efforts. As of the last update, the PS5 and Series X do not feature screen space reflections at all, with Capcom replacing them with cube outlines or RT reflections depending on changing visual conditions and settings. In a sense, this is a downgrade of settings, but it’s certainly a net improvement for my eyes—something we recommended in our launch review.
On the S series, screen area reflections seem to have been mostly eliminated, but upon reloading they reappeared for some reason in frame rate mode. Partly for this reason, it’s hard to tell if this was an intentional change or an unwanted side effect of changes elsewhere, but I hope the screen space reflections are gone for good. A less fool-prone and better-behaved SSR implementation would be ideal of course, but we’re unlikely to see improvements there, I’m afraid.
Graphical issues aside, RE4’s launch code wasn’t particularly efficient either. Most mode combinations ran unlocked, with the PS5 and Series X holding 60fps more regularly on their lowest configurations, while the Series S running uniformly less than any premium hardware.
There have been some substantial improvements on this front, as the Series X now runs at a 5-10fps advantage on opcode, which means it runs consistently at 60fps in default frame rate mode. Resolution mode plays very similarly to the frame rate mode at launch, hitting around 50fps with most gameplay at or close to 60fps. However, turning all the graphical options on can result in more variable frame rates, with the worst being 40fps depending on the complexity of the scene.
The Series S also performs much better than in its initial form, with a locked 60fps in frame rate mode outside of some select scenes like the rainy sequence at the start of Chapter 5. Resolution mode is in the mid-30s, with pretty awkward responsiveness, though that’s probably It is understandable given the reflections of RT.
The results on PS5 are a little less clear. Frame rate mode is around 60fps locked here, no real issues but that’s similar to what I noticed on the launch patch. The fidelity hangs in the ’50s still in their low-to-mid style when very taxing, and the option to dress entirely in the mid-40s often works. It’s certainly possible that the PS5 could show some performance improvements here, but if that’s the case, that’s a slight increase over what the series consoles received.
Finally, fortunately, deadzone issues on Xbox Series consoles have also been mitigated. At launch, players had to shift the sticks about 40 percent through their range of motion to get an on-screen response. As of the last update, the game feels more responsive, matching similar games like RE2 and Dead Space.
In addition to its fixes, the patch also adds free DLC for Mercenaries mode, which basically takes areas of the campaign, populates them with challenging enemies and places a time limit on actions. Killing enemies and picking up power-ups extends the time limit, so the mode is really geared around defeating as many enemies as possible as fast as you can and moving around the map to pick up time-extenders. RE4’s acceleration mechanics fit this mod well, and I enjoyed my time with it despite the content being limited to three small maps. The A and S ranks are fairly breezy to achieve, so there isn’t much of a challenge here.
Performance in The Mercenaries basically matches the more intense combat areas of the main game, so I’d advise sticking with the higher-performance options here. The default frame rate modes lock in pretty solidly at 60fps on all three consoles. Oddly, the hair strands option seems to be completely off here, so it’s not to be turned on at all in The Mercenaries.
All things considered, RE4 is vastly improved from the launch version but there are a lot of areas that still need attention. Strand-based hair still looks strangely worse than hair based on a virtual card; RT is somewhat limited and low-res, while on premium consoles there is an overwhelming array of visual options to navigate.
Performance improvements for quality-based modes would be desirable, and the ability to lock up to 30fps would also be welcome. And while Capcom has revolutionized the image quality a bit on all consoles – making a real improvement over the PS5 – the final image still has issues and I think a softer, more stable look is better suited to the artwork. Perhaps moving away from the chessboard towards an anti-aliasing option for temporal supersampling might yield better results.
With that said, the game has been improved on the launch code and major issues with the game have been at least partially addressed. Let’s hope we see future spots that continue to polish what is in other respects one of the best modern retro remakes.
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