Resident Evil 4 VR should have been an easy win. It’s one of the finest entries in the series and a great candidate for VR, particularly as the franchise already nailed it in Resident Evil 7. But rumors ahead of release sparked some nervousness from fans, as it seemed Oculus owner Facebook had stepped in to censor the game.
The game is now out and reviews are glowing, though sadly those rumors were accurate. Multiple lines of dialogue are now trimmed to remove any hint of flirtatious dialogue and, even worse, the cuts are clumsily disguised by bursts of static on Leon’s comms device. Luis’ infamous line about “ballistics” is also absent, though Ashley’s reaction to it hasn’t been removed, making the edit rather obvious.
The ability to look up Ashley’s skirt is also gone, though to be honest, in VR, that change seems sensible enough.
Oculus commented on the changes, saying:
“Oculus Studios, Armature, and Capcom partnered closely to remaster Resident Evil 4 from the ground up for VR. This includes immersive environments and high-resolution graphics. It also includes select changes to in-game dialogue and animations that we believe will update Resident Evil 4 for a modern audience.”
You can argue that these are small and inconsequential changes, but it’s strange given that the game has been re-released on every format under the sun for years without even a whisper from the most ardent social justice commentator. Besides, Luis’ line is supposed to make him look like a sleaze, so it removes a bit of key characterization.
Naturally, all the gruesome violence is intact, so presumably, Facebook is fine with blowing the heads off infected Spanish villagers but draws the line at some cheesy James Bond-style dialogue.
It’s a shame because, by all accounts, Resident Evil 4 VR is a fine reworking of a classic and apparently a lot of fun to play through. Let’s hope the rumored Resident Evil 4 remake isn’t quite so puritan.