Title: Resident Evil REmake HD
Platform: PC, PS3 (Reviewed), PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Developer: Capcom Production
Release date: January 20th 2015 (worldwide)
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Initially released as part of an exclusive deal between Nintendo and Capcom way back in the early 2000’s, Resident Evil REmake HD was basically a full on remake/re-imagining of the original that started it all back in 1996 for the first Playstation. New graphics engine, new soundtrack, new everything. The whole game had been reworked adding new sections to the mansion, which assured that even veterans of the original had a new challenge. Now 12 years after the release of the original remake, how does this new HD version fare for itself?
For those who have yet to get a taste of the original story of Resident Evil, it features a a special US Police Force (Albert Wesker, Barry Burton, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield) who end up trapped in a creepy mansion in order to escape a pack of hungry zombie dogs. Seeing as they can’t turn back, they’ll need to find a way out of the mansion. Unfortunately, they’ll need to fight off waves of the undead, experiments gone wrong and deadly traps to make it out alive.
When kicking off the game, you’ll be able to choose between Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Both characters, although with similar paths, offer different walkthrough and characteristics. For an example, no matter the difficulty you choose after your protagonist, Redfield’s campaign is a bit more of challenge than Jill due in part to his limited inventory space of 6 instead of Jill’s 8; bringing a tricky challenge of inventory management. Unlike the last few Resident Evil games that invaded store shelves, the original is one of the franchise’s hardest. Very limited ammo versus a large amount of enemies will require strategic planning to avoid constant death.
Both campaigns are essentially the same, however the order in which tasks and the backtracking needs to be done will vary. While Jill has access to a Lock Pick right off the bat to unlock pesky doors, Chris will need to hunt one down throughout his adventure in order to access some areas.
Run around, kill zombies, solve puzzle. Sound simple enough, right? The issue however is that the control schemes still have tank feel to it. Although Capcom promised updated controls, it doesn’t differ much from way it played back in 2002. It does take a few minutes to get used to to the older type of controls, but once you’re in, it won’t bother you at all.
Another useful mechanics, which was a first in the series, players can find, scattered around the mansion, defensive weapons such as Daggers and Battery packs. It comes pretty handy when you come nose to nose with an undead and he decides to try snacking on your character’s neck. Quickly tapping the attack button will have Jill or Chris stab (or shock) the zombie. It won’t kill him mind you, but make him weaker and will require less bullets to die. And here’s the kicker,you think that the zombie, laying at your feet is dead? WRONG! Another new addition, which also makes it a pain to carry due to limited inventory space, is the Canteen. You need to fill it with Kerosene in order to burn the zombies you’ve “killed”. Run out of Kerosene or stubbornly avoid burning corpses? The zombie will come back to life during one of your future (and multiple) backtracking runs; but he’s back angrier and more dangerous. He’s now Red, with claws and the cherry on this sundae? He RUNS! The enemy design is pretty varied. A few different zombies, Crimson Heads, zombie dogs, hunters and a few bigger enemies will make sure to make your life a living hell. Keeping in the old school design of gameplay, ammo in this game is scarce. Be prepared to run often in order to save bullets for tight situations or bosses.
I’ve mentioned earlier about the very limited inventory management, it is both a massive challenge and pain. Once your slots are all filled up, you cannot drop an item and swamp it out with something. Luckily, the game offers a magical box, found in “Save Rooms”, in which you can dump which ever item you don’t need to free up space in your inventory to pick up new items and weapons. I say “magical” because the content will be available in the box in other “Save rooms”; except on the Hard difficulty level. Although pretty useful, it requires a buttload of backtracking, because you’ll need to go back to pick up items required to solve puzzles or change your fire power. When you’re inventory is full, you’ll need to race to a Storage Box in order to drop off any unnecessary items in order to pick up new key items, that all important ammo or shiny new guns. Luckily, the defensive weapons won’t take up any precious inventory space. But on the other hand, it forces the player to make tough decisions as to what to carry. Should I bring more weapons/ammo? Health Items? Got to leave inventory space for mansion keys; it really brings the survival out of the survival horror.
The save system is so 1990, saving requires an ink ribbon and a typewriter to save your progress. Meaning if you’re out of Ink Ribbons or you don’t make it to your Save Room, you’re boned. If you run out of Ink ribbons, you’ll need to scour every nook and cranny of the mansion (and surrounding areas) to find more. If you die? You’re done. You’re brought back to the title screen and need to load your last save. Old School Gaming, pure and simple.
Despite being a 12 years old game, Resident Evil REmake HD still is still a visual delight. Capcom did a nice job with the HD port’s visual upgrades (better resolution and non-static 3D models) which makes the surroundings come alive. Sure, it’s no inFamous Second Son or Dragon Age: Inquisition, but even by today’s standards, the game is still pretty. Obviously, facials expressions and dialogues aren’t “spot-on”, but its a minor complaint compared to the overall visuals. There’s also a fixed camera which will change strategically and provide different angles which brings an additional punch to the already tense atmosphere.
This is where reality hits, some of the game’s mechanics have not aged well at all (and somewhat expected). Considering this game originally released on the Gamecube, a console dependent on memory cards, it couldn’t save checkpoints or have auto saves at precise points in the game; like we’re used to now. So that means, save a lot and save often (or as long as you have Ink Ribbons). It really sucks when you’re plummeted an hour or 2 into the game only to die without having saved recently. This will cause utter frustration as you’ll often forget your progression between your time of death and last save. This is something that Capcom could’ve spent time modifying, also guidance is this game is non-existant. Which is perfect for hardcore and old school gamers, however this might turn off younger gamers who are used to being told by a game what to do and where to go.
Resident Evil REmake HD is a tough beast to judge. I realized I’ve been a bit harsh, but this is overall a great game. As much as it was an amazing experience and creepy ride way back in 2002, the game itself still stands today as one of the best gaming experiences out there. It should definitely be experienced by as many gamers as possible: Perfect tense and creepy atmosphere, decent story (and fun plot-twist) and the HD upgrades makes it look very pretty. Unfortunately, an archaic save system and tank like controls will possibly turn off gamers and make them miss out of the best games out there and definitely one of the best Resident Evil game. Whether it be for old school gamers or new ones looking for something different and challenging (like the old days), I highly recommend this game.
- Scare factor!
- Very atmospheric
- Interesting use of defensive weapons
- One of the best games of the franchise
- Out dated save system
- Might be too old school for some
- So much backtracking
Resident Evil REmake HD is rated M for Mature due to Blood, Gore and Extreme violence.