In the grand scheme of video games, Resident Evil has never been for the casual or squeamish gamer. Usually centered around Raccoon City and the dreaded t-Virus, newer games in the series have introduced a plethora of other spooky habitats, along with their monstrous victims. An example is Resident Evil 4, which is revolutionary for its revamped take on classic survival horror.
Focusing more on action-horror and customizable weapons, players are offered a variety of exciting ways for battling their way through the tense yet graphically stunning locales. Although the game was marketed as “Only for GameCube,” this intention changed, as the title has been ported to virtually every console possible since.
Resident Evil 4 Speedrun
This may not seem a typical title suitable for speedrunning, since the game is essentially designed for slower exploration rather than fast-paced progression. However, that hasn’t stopped a lively Resident Evil 4 speed-running community from forming.
There are some outstanding beat times already hitting the internet, made all the more impressive considering the game was only released late last month. We’re going to be taking a look at one such run today, and examining what makes it one to remember.
How Do Speedruns Work, and Why Do Them?
More often than not, players like to take their time with a game, exploring and enjoying everything it has to offer at their own pace. However, those extremely experienced and considerably competitive gamers out there like to take their challenges to the next level.
Accomplishing this can give the player an immense sense of achievement, as they must rely on almost superhuman reserves of patience, endurance, and skill, not to mention an elite level of understanding of the game’s mechanics, design, and exploitable glitches.
What Are the Rules of Speedruns?
There are a lot of different ways to tackle a speedrun, depending on player preference and desired challenge. Most of these involve different kinds of restrictions on the gameplay, such as either exploiting glitches to save time or not doing so, or completing as little or as much of the optional gameplay as possible.
A lot of these rules and definitions can seem like jargon to the layman, so a quick glossary of the most common terms is included below.
|Low%||Completing as few optional elements as possible, including upgrades, weapons, power boosts, and sidequests|
Using any method and any amount of completion while playing
|Any%||Completing any amount of optional extras, as well as having the freedom to use whatever glitches you choose|
|100.00%||Collecting every optional item and completing everything extra within the game|
|Glitchless||Using glitches to save time is forbidden|
|Deathless||Dying during the game is not permitted|
|Blindfolded||An incredibly difficult challenge, where the player is blindfolded and must rely on their other senses to complete the run|
|IGT||In Game Time, where the in-game timer is used|
|RTA||Real-Time Attack, where a real-life timer is used to count time rather than an in-game timer|
|TAS/ non-TAS||Tool-assisted or non-tool-assisted (tools can include emulators, as well as options like savestates and speeding up or slowing down the game)|
Are All Speedruns Difficult?
Generally speaking, speedruns are not for the inexperienced gamer, and all are exceptionally hard to pull off successfully, no matter what time limit you’re aiming for. Excellent knowledge of the game, as well as its mechanics and controls, is undoubtedly required, as well as extreme levels of patience. After all, virtually countless hours of practice are needed to obtain a competitive score.
If we’re thinking about ranking the different speedrun types, it’s fairly obvious that a blindfolded run would be among the most difficult. Completing one of these is an extremely rare and admirable feat.
After that, 100% or glitchless would come next, depending on how useful the glitches in the game are and how many optional collectibles there are. Low% runs can be equally tricky since some games basically rely on these extra upgrades to make the gameplay more manageable.
It’s fair to assume any% runs are among the easiest, along with TAS runs, since being able to use unlimited saves, manipulate the runtime, and finish with any percentage of completion offers a lot more freedom and peace of mind.
How Long Have Speedruns Been Around?
A long time, to give a simple answer. Gamers have always been looking to challenge themselves with their favorite titles. Challenges often breed competition, but these tend to be in good fun. Among the most famous examples of early speedruns are in the early 1990s title Doom.
This is notable for being the first title to introduce an in-game timer. After the arrival of emulators and content streaming platforms like YouTube, the speedrunning community really took off.
Experimenting and recording their efforts became much easier, and wider audiences could be reached. Live streaming technology was the next step in the evolution of speedrunning and has helped it become a great source of entertainment for expert gamers and their audiences alike.
Resident Evil 4 Speedrun: In-Depth
Now, it’s time to get our heads around this spectacular Resident Evil 4 speedrun. The following was submitted by a player known as “Distortion2.” Firstly, let’s begin with the highlights.
Resident Evil 4 Speedrun Highlights
- Impressive score considering its relatively recent release.
- Not quite as fast as some other examples, but extremely quick considering the Professional mode of difficulty.
- Quirky glitches are utilized, such as the reload glitch, door skipping, and whole area skipping.
- Not the best we’ve seen from this player, as they’re rapidly improving.
- One of the fastest scores for the Del Lago boss fight.
Fantastic speedruns are coming out thick and fast for this newer release. But the run in question is spectacular in its own right. Gamers are improving their scores all the time — Distortion2 has recently beaten his score by around 24 minutes. Completing the game on the highest difficulty, Professional, is an achievement in itself, let alone speedrunning it.
Naturally, glitches were exploited to save precious seconds. These were mostly to reload faster, access the merchant’s inventory quicker and skip doors or entire sections of gameplay. The skip glitch at 2 hours 34 minutes is a particularly funny example. You can see where, through some tricky maneuvers, the gamer zooms past a whole area by falling through the floor.
Another part of the speedrun that deserves a special mention is the Del Lago fight at approximately 23 minutes. Nearly all of the harpoon shots land on the sea beast, which is incredibly difficult and frustrating to execute. This is particularly difficult when your firing is near-constant.
Finishing that section in a mere 1 minute must be extremely close to the limit of what’s humanly possible. Although he doesn’t hold the world record (which is incredibly under 2 hours), there’s a lot of promise in Distortion2. It’ll be exciting to see how much he can beat his run by with some more practice.
The History of Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil used to pride itself on its rather awkward controls and scarce action. This added to the intensely horrifying ambiance and sense of powerlessness the games came to be known for. This largely changed in 2005 with the advent of the 4th entry to the series, however.
While controls were a little rusty, the new perspective, as well as epic fight scenes, reinvigorated the series. This was done without taking away from the iconic horror elements.
The fact the title is compatible with 8 systems is a testament to its popularity, as it’s clearly a game with a lot more survivability than most of the creatures found within. Pretty much every subsequent Resident Evil game has taken some inspiration from Resident Evil 4, either from its action-packed gameplay or its engaging narrative.
Resident Evil 4 is a game with tons of replay value even for casual players, let alone expert speedrunners. The remastered port was only released last month. But gamers’ super skills are being proven with impressive scores already making their online mark. Now that these runs have achieved a score of under 2 hours, we look forward to seeing who will come out on top and take the 1st place crown.