So I had never played any Resident Evil games before this one. I've been out of the console loop for a while; the last system that I was buying games for was the Nintendo 64, which I guess marks me as a dinosaur. But I now have a Wii, and being out of school, the resources to get games. I'd been sitting on my hands for a while, itching to pick up a new game, but not really enthralled by any of my choices. So when I heard that RE4 for Wii was getting positive reviews, I decided to pick up a copy.
I was pleasantly surprised. I've played horror games before (Eternal Darkness, mainly), but nothing really like Resident Evil. And I like it a lot. I won't bother with a full review, since it's been done so well in the writeups above this, but suffice to say that it's a well-polished game that reflects a lot of experience in designing horror games. The ambience, the sound (music and effects), the conservation of in-game resources, all come together to provide a scary game. I would, however, like to address the new additions with the Wii version.
Of course, the most prominent addition is the new controls, but I'll save those until I hit the mundane stuff. The game is now widescreen, since the Wii supports both 4:3 and 16:9 screens. My Wii is hooked up to my monitor (a ViewSonic VX2025wm) through a VGA adapter, and the monitor is 16:10, so I'm able to experience the game in its widescreen glory. The graphics are OK. The color is deliberately muted, which is nice considering how bright and happy all my other Wii games are (except for Zelda). Where they fall down is in the fact that the game is upscaled from its earlier versions: the models are being rendered at a higher resolution than they were originally designed for (or so I've been assured — I can't really run a side by side test), and the textures do occasionally look a bit muddy. But this does not affect the game, really; you're usually so far into your suspension of disbelief that you don't notice.
Unlike the Gamecube version, which I would guess that this is made from (since the PlayStation 2 version had to have the graphics scaled back to run on less-powerful hardware), the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 includes the extra "Ada's Story" section of the game. I haven't gotten to it yet, since I only got the game over the weekend and work full time, but it will be interesting to see if they upped the graphical quality to match Leon's section of the game. I'll update this writeup when I know.
The controls, however, are where the game really shines. They're very intuitive. You play using the nunchuck attachment. The joystick on the nunchuck makes you move; the Z button makes you run, and the C button lets you look around. Stabbing with or swinging the wiimote uses your knife, as does the A button during a C-look. Z and a quick tap backwards on the joystick makes you rotate &pi (180 degrees), which is frequently useful. Aiming at the screen moves around a crosshair, although your guns effectively have their safeties on until you hold the B button. When you do this, the crosshair turns green. Moving over a target that can take damage (an enemy, a crate, a door) turns the crosshair red and makes the wiimote buzz slightly to let you know you're aiming right.
Once you get used to aiming at the screen (I caught myself on more than one occasion trying to shoot without bothering to aim, with less than stellar results), it's very easy to shoot baddies where you want to shoot them. This is crucial in a game where conserving ammunition is a huge priority: capping the foremost villager in the knee so he stumbles, then running up to kick him into his friends, is worlds easier than in any other FPS I've yet played. Headshots are relatively easy, and are limited by what feels like your actual skill at aiming: in fact, I seem to have better aim with a wiimote than I do with an actual rifle (It's OK; I'm an Eagle Scout). The only time when aiming is difficult is while using a scoped gun: since the reticle is centered on the screen, you have to use the joystick to look around. But it's responsive without being too jumpy, and I haven't had any trouble aiming in the heat of battle. Really, I have more trouble aiming the wiimote under pressure: the game is scary, and my hands tend to shake in tense situations. In a funny analogue to real life, I learned to steady my shooting hand by resting it against my off hand.
The action sequences also change for the better. When you get grabbed by an enemy and have to shake her off, you shake the wiimote vigorously. Same for running from a boulder, but with both the wiimote and nunchuck there. I find it's easier to pump them as if I were pumping my arms while running, and it's hard work: my arms are surprisingly tired after escaping from boulders. The motions are very intuitive: if you follow your instincts, you'll be doing the right motion in every circumstance I came up against.
If you haven't played Resident Evil 4, I would recommend it. It's a great addition to a Wii library, especially since it's bargain-priced at $30 in the US. If you already own the game on another system, you may want to give it a pass, unless you have the money to spare: speaking to friends who played the original, every complaint they had has been fixed with this revision. Overall, a very fun game.