Title: Resident Evil 0 HD
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox 360 and Xbox One (reviewed)
Release date: Out now
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As its title insinuates, Resident Evil 0 HD is a prequel to the events that occurred in the Spencer Mansion of the original Resident Evil. RE0 was originally released exclusively on Nintendo’s Gamecube way back in 2002. With the success of last year’s Resident Evil HD, Capcom took another page of the past and is giving new and old players alike a chance to experience this classic.
As a train is infested by a swarm of leeches, young S.T.A.R.S. cadet Rebecca Chambers, her allies, along with Bravo Team, are sent in to investigate gruesome murders in the Arklay Mountains, near Raccoon City. As they arrive on the scene, they find an overturned military police car with its occupants mutilated. Rebecca finds a file of an escaped convict, who was being transported for execution, one Billy Cohen. Agent Chambers and her teammates go their separate way in order to find the killer, while Rebecca investigates the nearby train and comes face to face with the convict himself. Realizing the nightmare they are facing, Chambers and Cohen realize that the only way to survive is to work together.
As with older RE games, RE0 features tank-like controls where the Up arrow on the D-Pad (or pushing up on the joystick) will move the character, while other directions will let you decide where you want to go. As bad as it may sound, it plays off very well, even though we’re most accustomed to a more “free” type of control scheme. Shortly before I started off my RE0 playthroughs (yes, I played it twice), I had recently finished off a replay of RE: Code Veronica X HD (the “HD,” version Capcom released in 2011) and let’s say this: both games have tank controls, but 0 feels great. Now that this is out of the way, let’s get into it.
As with other RE games, RE0 has you surviving across multiple environments and taking out the undead and any other ungodly creations made by Umbrella. The game’s most intriguing mechanic is controlling two characters at once. If the following character doesn’t move as quickly as you’d like, or he/she stands in your way, you can easily move them with the right joystick. Limited movement options, but still pretty useful in areas with a fixed camera angle. Most of the time, you’ll want them to follow one another, but at times, either scripted or to solve puzzles, you’ll need to split your team. You can also switch in-between characters with a simple button press, either in-game or when in your items menu.
Having two characters (most of the time) with a total of twelve item spots, Capcom opted to remove the famous and magical item box. You’ll either make some sacrifices, or a lot of backtracking to carry everything you want and need. If you have too many items to carry, you can drop them anywhere and pick them whenever you see fit. However, beware, as a few areas are only accessible for a short time, so leaving a powerful weapon behind in said areas could be a major loss. Characters can also exchange items when next to one another. This mechanic is guarantee to give players quite a few headaches while they figure how they can carry all health items and the firepower they need. Another hindrance is the fact that the shotgun and grenade launcher take two spots each, making things even more complicated as you need them the most throughout the game.
Another Resident Evil staple is the save system. As with previous games, you need to save your progress at a typewriter; of course, to use said typewriter, you need ink ribbons. Luckily, unlike the original remake, ink ribbons are commonly found near typewriters, thus not having to worry about carrying it at all times. Luckily, if you come into an area with a few interesting items but lack the inventory space to pick them up, you can “feel,” them so they can be marked on your map to retrace them easily when in need.
Additionally, to help newcomers take their first steps in classic RE games, RE0 has an Easy Mode. Most RE games have been known to be quite challenging due to limited ammo, high number of enemies, and scattered save points, but this game’s Easy Mode will make new players feel like they’re progressing quickly and enjoy the experience a little more.
Once you’re done with the main story, there’s a few modes to keep you entertained for a bit longer. First off, the Leech Hunter mini-game from the original Gamecube version returns. As both characters from the main game, you need to scour every nook and cranny of the Training Facility and the Facility Basement, trying to grab one hundred leeches: fifty green and fifty blue. The only catch being that Rebecca needs to pick up the green ones while Billy picks up the blue ones. Throughout your scavenging, you’ll come across helpful items such as ammo, new weapons, and health items. Obviously, there’ll be some resistance along the way; the inventory management is a even more of a nightmare in this mini-game. Each item slot can carry only then leeches at once, meaning you’ll have to limit the amount of weapons, ammo and health items you can carry, providing an interesting challenge. Based on how many leeches you’ve retrieve, you’ll get great rewards usable in the main game.
New to this HD remaster is Wesker Mode, allowing players take full control of Wesker and his powers. Unfortunately, it’s not a new story. It’s basically the same thing as the main game, but instead of having Billy as your cohort, it’s Wesker. Although I appreciate the effort, it does feel a bit lazy.
The game was stunning way back in 2002, and it still holds up very well today – Capcom’s fresh HD paint makes it stand out even more. The environments are highly detailed, albeit some of them bland, but seeing the dust fly through the air as you climb the Training Facility’s stairs is impressive. Despite being a fourteen year old game, and the characters looking a bit plastic in in-game cutscenes, it looks better than some of today’s games (the horrendous Resident Evil Revelations 2). Audio wise, it has one of the most interesting and atmospheric soundtrack of the franchise. While some consider Resident Evil 2’s soundtrack the peak of the franchise’s score, RE0 is easily one of the creepiest yet.
Resident Evil 0 HD is easily of the year’s must-play experience. Whether you’ve played it before or tempted to take a dive into classic RE game design, RE0 is still an impressive and amazing game fourteen years later. Despite its lackluster save system (by today’s standards) and tank-like controls, RE0 is one of the most approachable games in the franchise and will provide plenty of scares. Visually stunning, great two character game mechanics, challenging level design, and item management is sure to provide good times. And if you missed out on last year’s Resident Evil HD remake, the Resident Evil Origins Collection features both games, and is a great way to catch up on some Resident Evil goodness.
- Interesting two character concept
- Visually stunning even by today’s standards
- Plays surprisingly well despite “tank,” controls
- Leech Hunter is a blast
- Inventory management nightmare
- The Lurker is a pain in the ass
- Feels shorter than the original
- Wesker Mode feels a bit lazy
Resident Evil 0 HD is rated M for Mature. The game features blood and gore, mostly visible during cutscenes and executing headshots as blood and brain pieces splatter all over the place.
Xbox code provided courtesy of Xbox UK