Resident Evil 4 hands-off preview shows off Plagas transformations & knife gameplay

We also got looks at the Krauser fight, Ashley gameplay, the boat, shopping with the Merchant, and more from the Resident Evil 4 remake.


It’s not much longer until the Resident Evil 4 remake is in our hands. The game is looking to be an outstanding upgrade of one of the best the Biohazard franchise has ever offered, but ahead of its launch, Capcom also gave us an in-depth look at multiple facets of the gameplay. We’ve seen teases of knife counters and the new take on the Las Plagas parasites affecting villagers, but this latest look was a major dive into exactly how they play. We also got to see glimpses of inventory management, the remade Krauser fight, Ashley gameplay and commands, and so much more.

Lock and load, Leon

Resident Evil 4 remake gameplay versus Las Plagas enemies.
Source: Capcom

During our sneak peek of the new Resident Evil 4 remake footage, we were entreated to combat, exploration, puzzle solving, and other elements of the upcoming game. One scene had Leon fighting his way through a mine full of villagers and danger. It was here (and at numerous parts throughout later footage) that we got to see the Las Plagas bursting out of Villager heads. It would appear that more dangerous and deadly Las Plagas will still be seen throughout this game. We caught glimpses of the bladed whipping low-level Las Plagas and the head-munching mid-level Las Plagas.

Both are looking visually more nasty than ever. The whip-like Plagas seems to have more range than before and is hearty as ever (provided there are no flashbang grenades about). Meanwhile, the head-muncher showed us a far different trick. The body leaps to the ceiling and it grabs onto the rafters with its jaws before swinging to Leon for an attack. These creatures are clearly going to be more dangerous at every level and you shouldn’t take them lightly based on experience with the original game.

Resident Evil 4 remake mid-level head-eating Las Plagas
Source: Capcom

Leon showed off some pretty cool new tricks at his disposal, too. We’ve caught glimpses of knife gameplay letting us do defensive moves against enemies like the chainsaw-wielding Dr. Salvador in the past, and we’ve also had a chance to try it for ourselves in previous previews, but this one shows off the versatility of knife countering. In the middle of an attack by the whip-like Plagas, Leon quickly draws his knife and parries the blade of the Plagas when it whips at him. Exactly how much we can use knife parries remains to be seen, but it seems like there’s going to be a wide variety of attacks that Leon can parry with his knife to negate damage.

That comes up big time later when we get to see the Krauser fight. As opposed to playing out like an extended cutscene with quick-time events, we actually handle this battle personally with just the knife. Krauser uses all sorts of acrobatic martial arts to try to get to Leon with his knife and we’ll be using knife parries, counters, and melee when Krauser is staggered to do the same.  All-in-all it looks like one of the more annoying parts of the whole game is becoming something far more engaging and worthwhile.

Resident Evil 4 gameplay stealth stab prompt
Source: Capcom

There’s opportunities to get the drop on enemies as well with the knife. During the sneak peak, we see Leon come up against the blind, but imposing Garrador that has extended claws on its wrists and a Las Plagas on its back. While in the past, fighting at range and using noise to your advantage was the way through this foe, we got to see Leon devastate it by sneaking up behind it while it was unaware. There, the player gets a prompt and Leon plunges his knife directly into the Plagas in a stealth strike. It is unknown at this time whether or not we’ll be able to stealth kill other enemies just yet. We also noticed that there’s a bar over the knife in the HUD. This seems to imply that the knife will have some kind of limit to its use.

That said, there were other interesting elements shown as well. During the gameplay, we saw Leon engage with the Merchant to buy and upgrade his gear. However, an inventory box was also added. You can store and access weapons and equipment as you please. We also got to see the inventory case management, which was largely the same. What wasn’t the same was a look at a new weapon, the Bolt Thrower. This seems to be a crossbow-type gun. There were also charms that can be added to the case. In the video, we get to see a Chicken Charm equipped that gives Leon extra health when he consumes eggs as restorative items. No doubt, there will be plenty of other charms to explore to specialize our gameplay.

Resident Evil 4 inventory management charms
Source: Capcom

Finally, one of the last and most interesting gameplay elements shown was the new command gameplay for Ashley. At any time Ashley is present, Leon can access a special command menu to tell her to act accordingly. In the original game, we could only tell her to stay put, hide, or follow. In this remake gameplay, we saw Leon tell her to give him space, making her move away, but still stay near him. This may be useful for keeping her out of harm’s way, but still following at range, especially if enemies are using explosives on Leon.

An all-new angle on a classic

Resident Evil 4 remake Krauser knife fight

Source: Capcom

As much as Resident Evil 4 looks like it follows many of the same beats, it looks like Capcom has also poured over how to upgrade the experience sensibly. Knife counters and upgraded enemies and attacks were just the tip of the iceberg. Between new weapons, gameplay and stat customizations via upgrades and charms, a versatile new approach to Ashley, and a reworking of Krauser, Resident Evil 4 doesn’t just look like a retelling. We won’t have to wait long to see if it pays off either. If this is what we can expect, the Resident Evil 4 remake looks like it will be an intensely recrafted experience altogether.

This hands-off preview is based on footage provided by the publisher. The Resident Evil 4 remake is set to launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on March 24, 2023.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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