Resident Evil games are not necessarily known for being ridiculously difficult titles, but the latest entries in the franchise have proven themselves to be contenders for the hardest survival-horror games, including the Resident Evil 4 remake. This is through the latest string of difficulty options that have been introduced in recent Resident Evil games, such as Resident Evil 7’s Madhouse or Resident Evil Village’s Village of Shadows. Remaining faithful to the original, the Resident Evil 4 remake includes an unlockable difficulty option dubbed Professional that is the truest test of a player’s mettle.
Interestingly, fans will see that only Assisted, Standard, and Hardcore options are available when initially choosing a difficulty option for their first playthrough. Standard and Hardcore are particularly intriguing because they recommend fans who have not previously played Resident Evil 4 choose Standard, while fans who have previously played Resident Evil 4 choose Hardcore mode. This suggests that both games are similar enough that players will be familiar with most of its difficulties. Rather, Professional mode is its own difficulty option entirely and has brewed some unfortunate discourse.
Elden Ring’s Mimic Tear Showed an Ugly Side of Gaming Discourse
Elden Ring’s Mimic Tear spawns an identical copy of the player character, and would employ attacks and abilities depending on what the player had worn and equipped when they summoned it. Summoning the Mimic Tear was a favorable strategy at launch because of how overpowered it was to have two of the player-character confronting a boss, even if it only meant that the player would have a reliable decoy to take the brunt of bosses’ attacks for a while.
The Mimic Tear has since been nerfed to a point where it is no longer as reliable as it once was, but the discourse around its uses was a disappointing time in Elden Ring’s early launch. It was then that fans would ridicule players for using the Mimic Tear, claiming that killing a boss while using it was not an authentic success because the player had a handicap of some sort.
This argument should have been invalid immediately since all Spirit Ash summons are legitimate mechanics players can exploit as they please. Likewise, not every player enjoys Elden Ring as an unforgiving Soulslike, where they might be severely under-equipped and left to study a boss’s attacks for hours on end. Still, this makes a lot of fans feel like their triumphs were unearned or that they are nowhere near as skilled as other players.
Some players have indeed abused summons and other cheese-strats in order to evade difficult encounters, but that should not excuse fans from criticizing others on how they choose to play. This issue is not exclusive to Elden Ring, but it is something that continues to come up when FromSoftware’s Soulsborne games are played at a high level - and somehow it carried over in the recent Resident Evil 4 remake.
Resident Evil 4 Remake’s Professional Difficulty Discourse is Erring on Elitism
The discourse among Resident Evil 4 fans concerns what an earned run in the game looks like, but it is not that simple. Essentially, there are many fans who believe that the only authentic display of a player’s talent in Resident Evil 4 is if they were able to complete the game on Professional without the aid of any items they receive on a New Game Plus run. This is true in certain cases, such as how the entire point of higher difficulties is that the player is intentionally challenged.
These claims can be argued assuredly when considering that Resident Evil 4 launched way back in 2005. Therefore, there are likely fans who have adored Resident Evil 4 since its initial launch 18 years ago and who have the muscle memory and adaptation needed to run its Professional difficulty with ease. The Resident Evil 4 remake is a difficult game in general, with the remake’s shooting range proving to be much more of a challenge, as well as likely favoring fans playing on mouse and keyboard.
However, in the same way that some fans believe playing on a New Game save file on Professional is supposedly the only way to make Resident Evil 4 remake harder, the Elden Ring Mimic Tear mirrors this discourse. If New Game Plus is meant to help alleviate tedious or tense encounters players experience in a subsequent run, but is too middling or makes the player too overpowered at any difficulty, then it hardly seems like there is any place for New Game Plus to have any merit in Resident Evil 4.
There is an argument to be made against wielding weapons such as the rocket launcher with infinite ammunition or any other weapons that make Professional a nonchalant promenade in one's first Resident Evil 4 remake playthrough. Yet, at that point, the choice to play on Professional would seem redundant, if not for wanting to complete some leftover challenges or achievements with ease.
Indeed, many players might enjoy completing challenges or hunting for achievements on their preferred platform, and the Resident Evil 4 remake’s own is difficult to achieve if players find Professional or even Hardcore to be insurmountable for their skill level. Elden Ring's own difficulty is competent even if it is decidedly not the most difficult FromSoftware title to release in the last decade, though.
But for the Resident Evil 4 remake to offer such weapons for that purpose in particular also seems absurd if the player is then meant to feel guilty about using them. Players should be entitled to their own satisfaction and the standards they establish for themselves when they play a game, not the satisfaction or standards of others.
Resident Evil 4 is out now for PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.