Resident Evil 4 Remake’s Attache Charms Are Surprisingly Fashionable

Resident Evil 4 Remake’s Attache Charms Are Surprisingly Fashionable

Look out at a sea of purses, totes, and backpacks and you’ll notice a few endearing, dangly bag charms — typically superfluous, purely aesthetic accessories that the Resident Evil 4 remake manages to make crucial. The survival horror adds useful charms to its now more customisable version of the attache case, the memorable inventory reserve introduced in the original game, and in doing so, helps keep an ancient fashion tradition alive.

Resident Evil 4’s charm culture goes way back

Modern charms individualize bags by signalling their owner’s interests and usage, as Jane Birkin’s famously worn Hermès demonstrates, with lucky bells and braids weighing it down like a Christmas tree branch. Individualism might seem like a modern invention, but bag charms arguably descend from ancient amulets, baubles made magical by their “shape, decoration, inscription, colour, material, and words spoken over the piece or acts performed with it,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art says on its website.

Modern charms aren’t always as otherworldly as these amulets (save for the immortal evil eye charm, still worn like it was 2,000 years ago, or the rosaries Lana del Rey fans loop around their bags to evoke Renaissance-level drama), but they nevertheless resemble the extant decorations. Going back to Egypt’s Middle Kingdom or 1st century Rome, you find amulets that look like tiny animals, or hearts, and other body parts with dainty loops at one end to suspend from silver necklace chains, bracelets, or whatever the wearer wanted.

Both Leon and the First Babylonian Empire can agree — this chicken would make a great charm. (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku)
Both Leon and the First Babylonian Empire can agree — this chicken would make a great charm. (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku)

My beaded Susan Alexandra bag charms would fit right in, as would RE4’s Chicken charm (+100 per cent health recovery for eaten Eggs), or its primordial Rhinoceros Beetle charm (health items have double the resale value). But charms had to wait a couple of millennium to swing from It bags and school knapsacks, becoming most popular between the mid 2000’s through 2010’s, when Tokyo Harajuku fashion, Italian fashion houses, and internationally popular, though, inscrutable to me, colourful pom-poms began adorning everyone’s handbag, from Lindsay Lohan’s Dooney and Bourke, to my first grade classmates’ Hello Kitty pocketbooks.

I’d say the recent Resident Evil 4 remake does well at summarizing this global bag charm effort and, in giving its charms special properties that empower handsome protagonist Leon, return bag charms to their otherworldly past.

How charms work in the Resident Evil 4 remake

There are over 30 charms in the RE4 remake, and all of them give Leon a specific edge, like crafting bonuses or improved health regeneration, after being clipped to his attache case.

Earning them is simple enough. Luckily, Leon narrowly dodged the $US1,000 ($1,388) luxury bag charms of the late 2010’s. All you have to do is slip three Tokens into the Merchant’s seemingly randomised prize machine and pick up whatever rolls out.

Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku
Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku

To earn Tokens, compete in the Merchant’s shooting minigames. You earn more Silver and high-performance Gold Tokens the closer you get to receiving a dynamic S ranking in these games, though, Gold Tokens don’t necessarily result in rarer charms. These charms are all in good fun.

But you won’t be able to reap the benefits of your new charms until you snap them onto your case, which has space for up to three. Equip them by reaching a typewriter save point and selecting “Customise Case.” From there, you’ll be able to view your entire charm inventory, compare their perks, and decide whether you’d like to clip them onto the left, right, or centre of your case (a solely creative decision).

Any of RE4’s many charms could be helpful to you, depending on your preferred playstyle, though I’d recommend looking out for these:

  • Leader Zealot (common) — improves Green Herbs health recovery by +10 per cent
  • Ashley Graham (epic, but I somehow received two in my playthrough) — improves Green Herbs health recovery by +50 per cent
  • Zealot w/ Scythe (common) — boosts submachine gun ammo craft bonus frequency by +20 per cent
  • Ada Wong (rare) — takes 30 per cent off body armour repairs at the Merchant’s shop
  • Striker (legendary) — increases run speed by 8 per cent

Note, too, that duplicate charms don’t seem to have stackable effects, but equipping two of the same type of charm (like the Leader Zealot with the Ashley Graham charm, both of which affect health recharge) should build on each other’s benefits.

RE4 allows charms to exist in all their adorable glory

I love that the RE4 remake introduces a subtle ode to fashion history that is as good for embellishing a grim game as it is utilitarian. I imagine that hearing his charms twinkle against his trim attache gives Leon the strength to go deeper in the gore around him, just like the cute charms on my tote bag embolden me to ask for oat milk instead of regular.

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