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By now most of you probably have RE4 down to a tee. Chances are you bought the Wii version because you wanted to experience the new controls. While the guide is largely unneeded by those who've played the Gamecube and PS2 versions to death, that shouldn't suggest that it's a bad guide. Although, if you really are picking this up either because you don't remember things or because it's your first time through, it's not such a bad guide. On a last note of caution, if you DO actually have the BradyGAMES guide for the PS2 version of the game, then please... save your money because not only is that guide far superior, but everything included in that guide will cover the Wii version. In fact, I'd even go as far as to suggest you buy that guide rather than Prima's Wii Edition guide (even though it is for the PS2, you can just as easily use it just remembering the controls are different).
The guide begins, like just about every other guide in the world, with the basics of the game. Giving you all the detail on what you'll find in the guide as well as controls, everything you need to know about combat and the like. It'll also give you a good run down on the weapons, even going so far as to tell you when you can upgrade and even telling you which weapons are the best of each type. The guide is also full of small note call outs and tips that actually serve to aid you rather than being entirely useless. There's also a run down of the enemies here, with them telling you which ones are of a big threat, and what they're more vulnerable to. All the game basics stuff is actually pretty well done and very informative. Again, however, you're not getting anything here that you can't get in BradyGAMES guide for the PS2 (or even the Gamecube) version. It list off all the key items and tells you where you can find them and how much they sell for and even if they can be combined with anything. So in terms of getting acquainted with the game, this guide is perfect for beginners. Although, the guide never touches on the fact that you can actually use the classic controller or Gamecube controller if you like.
The walkthrough is certainly better than most guides Prima has done in the past. It hits a high point and a low point. Thank goodness there aren't a lot of low points. Firstly, the maps are fairly generic. They tell you where all the items are and such, but they look as though they're pulled straight from game. You can use them, but they're really basic. It's not really so much the maps and screens that get to me so much as it is the style in which the guide is written in. The walkthrough does a great job of pointing things out to you and telling you what to do. It also has its little notes and tip callouts. It's got all the puzzle solutions you could ever want and even brings up new enemies when you first encounter them.
So what exactly is wrong with the walkthrough? It's extremely sluggish and slow. By that I mean, there are times when it reads like a novel. I don't know why it takes two pages to detail how to kill the very first villager you encounter but it does, and only one paragraph of that is actually dedicated to telling you how to do it. The rest of it? Telling you what's happening in the games narrative. This means that for those going through RE4 for their first time its spoilers galore. Now I don't mind spoilers, it's the risk you run when you buy a strategy guide to anything. However, I do expect a strategy guide to get to the point and Prima's RE4 guide does not do so. It waste a lot of time narrating the story and catching you up on it. If you're someone who likes to use a strategy guide while playing the game, there's going to be a lot of time spent reading the guide rather than actually playing the game. It's narrative format also means it's not all that organized either. With a guide as thick as this (more than 300 pages) organization should've been a top priority and here it clearly wasn't. The walkthrough isn't bad, it's just slow and doesn't get to the point, something that nowadays is fairly critical in strategy guides. If the walkthrough were organized better and didn't spend so much time telling me what the game is already telling me, it'd be a lot easier to use. It'll get you through the game, and on the whole it's an excellent walkthrough, but organization and quick referencing is important. Both of which this guide lacks. If you just need the guide for a simple puzzle solution, you'll be flipping through the guide for a while. You'll find which chapter you're in quickly (thanks to the handy-dandy table of contents), but you won't find your puzzle solution fast because there's no call out for them. It also doesn't help that the screenshots are small and some of them are blurry.
After the walkthrough we get to all those nifty secrets. This is one of the guides better qualities. It tells you how to unlock all the weapons and costumes. Every secret is unearthed here. It's not so bad, really. The guide also covers Separate Ways and Assignment Ada. The problem with these two sections is that once again, they're sluggish and don't get to the point, and they're written in the narrative fashion that has little to no organization. You'll get through them, but again, you really wish the guide would get to the point. After all, it's the game's job to inform me what's happening in the storyline. It's the strategy guide's job to get me through it. At least those two games are shorter than the main game.
The final section, the preview for Umbrella Chronicles is pretty cool, although there's not a whole lot of detailed information here. Most of it actually reads like an advertisement you'd see on the back of a video game box. In other words, it's really just hype. It's interesting, though, and I'd say if you're an RE fan you might want to check that out.
On the whole it's an excellent guide, but the organization issues as well as the narrative format really keep this guide from being as good as it should've been. Also, if you've got the BradyGAMES guide for the PS2 version, then there's no real reason to invest in this one. Again, however, the BradyGAMES guide is far superior. Even if you've got the Wii Edition of RE4, the BradyGAMES guide for the PS2 version will still help you (provided you remember the controls aren't the same). It's a good guide, but it's another guide that's a bit exhaustive for a game it doesn't need to be exhaustive for.