Speedrunners are already making a mockery of Resident Evil 4's hardest difficulty

2023 games — Leon Kennedy aims his sidearm in the remake of Resident Evil 4.
(Image credit: Capcom)

The Professional difficulty in the Resident Evil 4 Remake is rough stuff. I could handle tougher enemies and minimal to no auto saves, but its brutally restrictive parry window had me packing my bags for Hardcore mode in record time. Meanwhile, the usual suspects are already tearing through the extra-hard campaign in literally record time.

The secret seems to be largely running past enemies so you don't even have to parry them, an old mariner's trick among speedrunners since the hobby's inception. This 2:05:01 run from Distortion2, who you may remember from the initial mad dash to speedrun Elden Ring last year, demonstrates this strat with aplomb.

A relative unknown was the first to score a sub-two hour run, though: streamer spicee landed a 1:58:47 earlier today. I was heartbroken to discover that my beloved Red9 pistol is a suboptimal pickup for speedruns due to its out-of-the-way location, so these high-level players all eschew it. Similarly, saving the life of the sweet little dog who helps you out in the El Gigante fight is a liability, with spicee leaving the poor pooch to suffer in a bear trap. I'm reminded of how Super Mario World speedrunners often send Yoshi to hell in order to make particularly long jumps.

Aside from a handful of glitches interspersed throughout, these runs are mostly classic, recognizable Resident Evil 4⁠—just played very quickly and aggressively. Spicee's 1:58 isn't too far off from the current standard difficulty world record of 1:51 held by Frit, and both spicee and Distortion2 say that there's plenty of room for optimization and cleaner play in the run. I'd look for these record times to continue dropping as time passes, and both spicee and Distortion2 regularly stream their attempts on Twitch.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.