Resident Evil 4 on Nintendo Switch review: A must-have classic on-the-go

When it comes to survival horror games, the first result you think of is probably Resident Evil. There are a total of eight main series games, along with a handful of spinoff titles, but Resident Evil 4 is definitely one of the better Resident Evil games out there. It's the first Resident Evil game that transitions away from the typical survival horror genre and into more of an action horror title, and sets the tone for later titles.

Resident Evil 4 originally came out on the GameCube in 2005, and has been ported over to pretty much every console ever since. And now it's finally on the Nintendo Switch, along with Resident Evil 0 and the original Resident Evil. However, if you're a newbie to Resident Evil games, then Resident Evil 4 is a good game to start with, especially now that it's on a portable console.


  • One of the best RE games on-the-go
  • HD graphics for a classic, looks great in handheld mode
  • Fast load times
  • Good value for a classic
  • Doesn't require intense resource management


  • Aim sensitivity is slow and can't be adjusted
  • Controls require adjustment period, even for veterans
  • Camera can be obtrusive
  • Puzzles aren't challenging
  • Can't turn on subtitles from the start

Resident Evil 4 is one of the greatest Resident Evil games there is, and it's one title that should be in every Nintendo Switch owner's game collection.

A classic that shaped the future of Resident Evil

Resident Evil 4 for Nintendo Switch: Features

Resident Evil 4 Switch Las Plagos

For the most part, Resident Evil 4 on the Nintendo Switch is the same great game that exists on pretty much every console since the GameCube. If you've played the game before, then there isn't much that is completely new in the Switch version, per-say. However, if you're a newcomer, then this is just as good a time as any to start playing.

The story of Resident Evil 4 is pretty straightforward. You play Leon S. Kennedy, who was a former Raccoon City police officer (from Resident Evil 2) turned US government agent sent on a mission to rescue the president's daughter, Ashley Graham, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious cult. The game takes place in a rural village in some part of Europe, which is inhabited by hostile villagers who seem to have pledged their lives to the Los Illuminados ("The Enlightened Ones" in Spanish). They used to be simple farmers, but they've become infected with a mind-controlling parasite, Las Plagas, thanks to the cult.

Resident Evil 4 Switch Leon, Lewis, Ashley

Even though Resident Evil 4 has been on many consoles before, the visuals in the Switch port have been much improved. So even if you're a veteran but love the game, then the new HD graphics are worth buying the game once more. Leon and the other characters are much less blocky, as the edges and character models have been smoothed out. Ashley even looks more feminine than in previous versions. The environments are still dark and eerie, but the textures and details are a step up as well.

The Switch version of Resident Evil 4 also has quick load times when entering new areas, which is nice. And while there are puzzles to solve in certain parts, they're not very difficult or challenging, due to the chapter format of the game. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you are and what you're looking for in a Resident Evil game.

While Resident Evil 4 is a survival horror game, it also differentiates from the previous titles in the series by being less focused on resource management. You will find plenty of ammo scattered about in Resident Evil 4, and enemies can even drop ammo and other loot once you kill them. Ammo, healing items, and money aren't too scarce in this game, so you don't necessarily have to worry about running low on bullets, unless you're absolutely terrible at the game (and even then it isn't a big issue).

Resident Evil 4 Switch inventory menu

There are three control schemes in Resident Evil 4 on the Switch, and while they're all different, they feel pretty similar to each other. However, if you're used to playing on different consoles, like PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4, then you may be thrown off by the Nintendo controls (Y and A to confirm, instead of B, or X on a PlayStation controller). There's an adjustment period in the beginning, so it will take some time before you feel comfortable with the controls.

People who play more modern games may also need a bit of time and practice to get used to the controls. Since Resident Evil 4 is a game from almost 15 years ago, the controls were different back then, and definitely not as streamlined. You'll need to do things like press B while moving the left joystick to run, Y or A for taking action and confirming, holding ZL to aim and then pressing A to shoot, etc.

Even though the Nintendo Switch doesn't have a public trophy system like PlayStation and Xbox, Resident Evil 4 does have achievements that you can earn. They'll only be available for you to see though, as a sense of accomplishment. There are also leaderboards available, though at the time of testing it didn't seem to have anyone on them yet.

The best Resident Evil available on-the-go

Resident Evil 4 for Nintendo Switch: What I Like

Resident Evil 4 Switch

Easily one of the best things about the Nintendo Switch port of Resident Evil 4 is the fact that one of the best Resident Evil games is now available on-the-go. While the game was ported to Android and iOS, I will always prefer having physical buttons for games like this, and that's why the Switch version reigns supreme compared to the mobile ports.

Another thing I like are the high definition graphics. As great as the game is, blocky graphics are fairly dated these days, so it was nice to see everything looking smoother and more realistic instead of jagged polygonal edges. While Resident Evil 4 is a game that I would prefer to play docked in TV mode (with the lights off, obviously), the graphics also look great when playing handheld as well. The audio is also good, with no odd distortions.

I'm also a fan of the gameplay style of Resident Evil 4, as it's more about the action, rather than resource management and puzzle solving. I don't do that well in games where every bullet counts, so I find the more lax resource management in Resident Evil 4 to be nice. You'll always have ammo available, and money and healing items aren't too hard to find either. And the puzzles are not too challenging, so you won't be stuck on them for very long, and there won't really be a time when you'll need to consult a guide to get past one. The focus on Resident Evil 4 is the action.

That dang aiming sensitivity!

Resident Evil 4 for Nintendo Switch: What I Don't Like

Resident Evil 4 Switch you are dead

The biggest issue I had with Resident Evil 4 on Nintendo Switch is the aim sensitivity. It definitely feels about 75 percent slower than other versions, such as PlayStation 3, and as a result, has ended up in a quite a few deaths. While there is no lag when it comes to moving the camera around, the aiming sensitivity just feels sluggish compared to other versions of the game and can be a big hindrance. Unfortunately, there's no way to change the sensitivity on it either, along with the rest of the controls.

Resident Evil 4 Switch chainsaw

Going back on the controls, whether you're a newcomer or veteran, the Nintendo style controls do need an adjustment period. It's slightly different from non-Nintendo consoles, and if you're more of a modern gamer, the controls do feel a bit awkward at first.

The camera also feels a bit obtrusive at times too, making it hard to see incoming enemies and traps, but this is a limitation of the game's origins. It also seemed like there was a lack of depth perception when it came to knifing bear traps, as it would look like you're close enough but you're not, and just need that one more inch before you're actually within range of disarming a trap. This issue seemed less noticeable or prevalent in other versions.

While the game has a Subtitles option in the game menu, it's been disabled for me the entire time, so I can't turn them on and read the dialogue during cutscenes. I'm not sure why this feature is disabled, as it seems like a dumb thing to lock behind New Game+ or something.

A great addition to all Switch collections

Resident Evil 4 for Nintendo Switch: The Bottom Line

Resident Evil 4 is a favorite of many, and it's definitely a nice addition to anyone's game collection, whether a newcomer to the series or a veteran fan. For the most part, the Switch version is still good, although there are a few differences and quirks with it that require time to get used to. And for some reason, the option for Subtitles is disabled from the start (and I haven't been able to unlock it yet), so you won't get to read the dialogue in the beginning, so pay attention to the audio.

It's the best time to experience Resident Evil 4, especially now that it is available on a handheld.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.