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One Major Resident Evil 4 Scene Doesn't Feel Right Without Quick Time Events

Spoilers ahead for "Resident Evil 4."

"Resident Evil 4" has raised the bar for future video game remakes, taking a title that was already near-perfect and adding just enough polish and new challenges to elevate it beyond the source material. Some of the more annoying elements of the original — as well as some scenes that have not aged particularly well — have been trimmed from the new version of the game, making for a more streamlined and entertaining experience. The remake even does away with the aggravating quick time events that dragged down some of the franchise's middle entries. No longer do players have to worry about setting down their controller to rest their thumbs and enjoy a spooky cutscene. No boulders are going to start suddenly rolling their way, and no prompts are going to appear without warning, forcing players to scramble to pick up their gamepad and jab at a single button over and over again.

QTEs were never anybody's favorite part of the "Resident Evil" games. Heck, even "Resident Evil Village" makes a reference to a particularly infamous scene from the "Resident Evil 5," in which Chris Redfield repeatedly punches a boulder during just such an event. Some of these quick time events make the games in which they appear feel unintentionally comedic. Who could forget watching Leon kick his legs as fast as they can carry him in one of the original's many chase sequences? 

But despite this history of silly quicktime events, there's one sequence in "Resident Evil" in which the QTEs are almost missed. This is an unpopular opinion, to be sure, but the first boss battle against Major Jack Krauser just feels like it's missing a key ingredient.

The Krauser fight: then & now

When Leon faces off against his old military comrade in the original game, the sequence is filled with sudden button-mashing and joystick-twisting moments. Properly pulling these inputs off leads to fun cutscenes in which Leon ducks, dives, dips, and dodges Krauser's combat knife, then presses the attack in kind. One false move and players are treated to a clip of Leon dying a pretty gnarly death at knifepoint. It's an occasionally frustrating sequence that will lead to a lot of deaths, but it also displays some fun martial arts moves from our dashing protagonist and leans further into the game's sense of high-adventure and camp. There's just something satisfying about seeing Leon maneuvering out of the way of Krauser's slashes like he's a stabby version of Neo from "The Matrix."

The new game is content to make much of this impressive knife fight into a cutscene, followed by a more traditional boss fight. This fight places a heavy emphasis on the game's new parry system, which allows Leon to deflect certain incoming melee attacks with a well-timed button press and a swing of his knife. There are still a few button-mashing moments once the cutscene ends and actual fight starts, as seen in the bits when Leon has to push Krauser away and then press the attack as quickly as possible. Players with auto-assist turned on may also be helpfully reminded (several times) of the dodge button when Krauser is about to deliver an attack that cannot be parried. 

Overall, the updated version of the battle is nicely executed and cleverly incorporates the remake's updated mechanics to serve largely the same general narrative purpose as the original's QTEs — but it does so at the expense of making the fight feel considerably less cinematic.

How QTEs could have been incorporated in RE4's knife fight

The original Krauser fight delivered exposition through action, engaging the player with Leon's reunion with Major Krauser by twisting what would usually be a normal cutscene into a fight for his life. Now, no one is saying that the remake should have retained every bit of button-mashing from the original battle, but perhaps there's a happy medium that could have been struck between the original "Resident Evil 4" and the remake's QTE-less design.

With the remake's greater emphasis on horror, a couple of sudden on-screen prompts could essentially function as interactive jumpscares, like something out of "Until Dawn" or "The Quarry." They wouldn't even necessarily need to be implemented elsewhere in the game. Making QTEs unique to this battle might even increase the sense of personal danger. 

The "Resident Evil 4" remake is already so adept at setting a mood with its dynamic lighting and eerie sound design, not to mention the haptic feedback provided in the PS5 version of the game. Even so, adding just a handful of "don't-blink-or-you'll-die" moments to this particular fight might have set Krauser apart as a character to be truly feared among the other bosses. Make no mistake: The fight against Krauser is still one of the best boss battles in the "Resident Evil 4" remake, but it's also the one that might make at least some fans feel nostalgic for one of the series' most divisive mechanics.