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While previous titles in the series have focused on exploration and attempted to instill a sense of fear via limited ammunition and healing items, Resident Evil 4's game mechanics have been completely revamped to incorporate fast-paced gunplay, quick controls and shootouts involving massive crowds of enemies in large, open areas. One of the main influences of this was an expanded arsenal at the players disposal and the large quantities of ammunition available through ammunition drops and destructible items. Another would be the necessity to fight enemies, unlike previous titles where most enemies can be dodged or avoided completely.
Some cutscenes in Resident Evil 4 contain "command prompts" in certain situations. This will run like a normal cutscene until an event, for example, in the beginning of Chapter 1-2, a Ganado entered the room with an axe. Leon and Luis are cuffed up together. When the Ganado is about to attack, two buttons appear on the screen, flashing in red, with the word "DODGE" below them. Pressing the buttons before the Ganado brings his axe down enables Leon to give Luis the signal to move, so the Ganado will destroy the cuffs and free Leon and Luis. Failing to press the buttons however, will have Leon and Luis killed. Command prompts are also employed in some boss fights to give the player a chance to deal more damage than usual or dodge one-hit kill attacks. The buttons to press will often alternate for more of a challenge to the player. The Wii version of the game features "command prompts" which will have the played having to move Wii remote or nunchuk to mimic Leon's in-game actions.