Experience the Remake’s Opening Chapter Now
Resident Evil 4 is just a few weeks away, but eager fans can already delve into its gripping storyline through the newly released Chainsaw Demo. This non-timed demo allows players to immerse themselves in the game’s opening, as Leon S. Kennedy battles his way through a hostile town filled with enraged villagers. Not only does it offer a taste of the reworked combat system, but it also unveils significant story changes in this revamped version.
A Fresh Take on the Opening
Similar to the original Resident Evil 4, the demo begins with a voice-over from Leon, recapping the events of previous Resident Evil games. However, the content of these two openings differs dramatically. The original game provided a summary of what occurred in Raccoon City, along with the downfall of the Umbrella Corporation, the pharmaceutical company responsible for the zombie virus. Leon then explains that, following the Raccoon City incident, he received special training and was assigned to protect the U.S. President’s family. However, when his daughter goes missing, Leon is sent to a remote Spanish town to locate her.
This concise setup quickly establishes the transition from the traditional zombie premise and transforms Leon from a local cop into an international government agent. Since Resident Evil 4 was a new chapter in the series, there was limited existing lore regarding Leon’s experiences between Resident Evil 2 and 4.
In the renewed version of Resident Evil 4, the opening tells a significantly different tale. Leon once again recounts the events of Resident Evil 2, including the destruction of Raccoon City by the government’s decision to deploy a nuclear strike. This time, Leon expresses profound trauma and harbors resentment towards the government for its actions, rather than presenting it matter-of-factly.
A Connection to Obscure Lore
Here’s where things get intriguing. In the new version, Leon goes beyond mentioning his acquired skills after the events of Resident Evil 2 to reveal that he was coerced into government service. This detail is significant to fans because it acknowledges a key aspect of the lore introduced in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. This often-overlooked Nintendo Wii light gun game, released in 2009, retroactively altered Leon’s backstory. The game reveals that the government essentially blackmailed Leon by threatening to kill Sherry Birkin, the child infected with the G-Virus whom Leon rescued in Resident Evil 2, if he didn’t comply with their demands.
It’s worth noting that the cinematic portion unintentionally confuses its own timeline. While discussing this event, footage from the Netflix CGI miniseries Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is shown, implying that it occurred during that period. However, the miniseries actually takes place after the events of Resident Evil 4, rendering its inclusion somewhat perplexing, despite its visual accuracy. Rest assured, watching the miniseries or the recent live-action adaptation on Netflix is unnecessary for understanding the game’s plot.
Deepening Backstories and Expanding Relationships
The remainder of the opening adds additional original elements to the backstory. Leon reveals that his government training was arduous, and we witness footage of him engaged in combat with Jack Krauser, a character initially introduced in Resident Evil 4. Krauser’s backstory has undergone significant expansion since then, with Darkside Chronicles revealing that he and Leon were once partners. This game also sheds light on why Krauser eventually turns rogue and what’s behind his arm’s unique condition. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time we learn that Krauser formally trained Leon.
These changes open up a myriad of intriguing possibilities for the remake. It appears that the new version of Leon will be portrayed as a reluctant participant, grappling with trauma and resentment towards his employers. Furthermore, the relationship between Krauser and Leon will be explored in greater depth, building upon their shared history. These additions are expected to make the revamped Resident Evil 4 more consistent with the extensive plot development that has occurred in the near two decades since its original success.
You can witness this compelling scene for yourself in Resident Evil 4’s Chainsaw Demo, available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
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