The Resident Evil 4 remake starts out strong. Updated aiming mechanics and a fresh infusion of processing power make this the most exciting version of RE4 Capcom has ever delivered, and Leon Kennedy looks better than ever, even with his new chin implant. The remake performs well for the first few hours, as Leon shoots and stabs his way through the misty Spanish village where las plagas has transformed the locals into murderous tentacle monsters. These early scenes, set among crooked wooden buildings and the shores of a twisting cave system, establish the game’s blood-soaked tone and provide a satisfying balance of asset management, puzzle solving and modern third-person shooting.

As the game grows in complexity, it becomes clumsy. Capcom’s approach to modernizing RE4 is to add more enemies, cramped environments and fewer ammo drops – all of which could result in a high-tension action experience, if its controls were consistent. As it stands, the RE4 remake is plagued by sluggish animations and frustrating combat sequences. Leon constantly feels underpowered, unable to evade basic attacks or reliably land a shot.

Resident Evil 4 set the standard for action-horror games when it came out in 2005, and the remake shines when it embraces the innovations of the original: over-the-shoulder precision shooting and an atmosphere blending combat and terror. However, the remake loses focus quickly, and it feels like much of Capcom’s effort was poured into upgrading enemies and environments, leaving Leon in the GameCube-era dust.

The RE4 remake introduces new boss fights and head-bursting enemies, and it also allows Leon to parry powerful attacks. Sometimes. The parry ability is only available if Leon has a knife on standby, and when the prompt does pop up, it’s easily interrupted by environmental nudges, the actions of other enemies, and Leon’s own animations. Like most of Leon’s movements, the parry ability is simply too inconsistent to be satisfying, and it generally does nothing to heighten the tension of combat scenes.