Resident Evil HD Remaster
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- Release Date: January 20, 2015
- PlayStation 4 /PlayStation 3 Digital
- Multiplayer No
As a huge fan of the older Resident Evil games and being disenchanted with the most recent major release of Resident Evil 6, the announcement of a HD update of the Nintendo GameCube remake of 1996’s Resident Evil was a boon for me. At the low price of 19.99, you can’t get much better of a value. The game tells the story of S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team, an elite police unit which is investigating a series of bizarre murders in Raccoon City. Their findings lead to a mysterious mansion were a biological experiment has gone wrong.
Unlike the more action-packed recent offerings, Resident Evil is a more deliberately paced game with an emphasis on puzzle solving, and discovery. Those that were turned off by the ‘Tank’ style controls can choose a new screen-relative control scheme. There will be a lot of backtracking, but it’s far from filler: it will grant access to new areas, weapons, or powerful & disturbing enemies. Ammo is low, so you have to make your shots count or run from the undead. Saves, which are a nicety nowadays, have also become a scarce resource as the ink ribbons are of limited quantity.
Another thing that a lot of modern games lack is the sense of progression. In most Action/Adventure games, it feels as if you are being hand held by the developers. In Resident Evil you have to use a little bit of lateral thinking, which seems to be a dying trend. The various memos scattered throughout the game act as hints to solve the puzzles; it doesn’t exactly lead you by the nose, but isn’t horribly frustrating either.
Those who’ve only played the original PS1 version will be in for a couple surprises as well as an expanded storyline involving Lisa Trevor. If you do not kill a zombie with headshots or burn its body with kerosene (which like saves is also limited) , it will come back as a Crimson Head. This is a faster, stronger zombie which can kill you quickly if you’re not careful. This actually adds to the original game, but is self-contained from the rest of the franchise.
The game has alternate endings depending on who you save, and gives it a lot of replay value. There are also unlockable infinite weapons if you beat the game in a certain amount of time. After you beat the game, you also unlock Invisible Enemy which hides the enemies from your view, and True Survivor where your Item Boxes are no longer connected. You will need to be careful of what you put in storage. There’s also an online leaderboard to see who you stack against your friends and the world.
The graphics have been overhauled for HDTVs. Since it uses pre rendered backgrounds, the character models take up most of the horsepower. Since they looked great back in 2002, the models have aged well compared to other HD remasters. There are some areas that do look stretched, but the interesting camera angles and wonderful art direction help overcome that small hindrance. You also get the option to play it the original 4:3 aspect ratio or widescreen. When you set the game to widescreen it will pan the screen relative to your character’s movements, and is seamless.
Audio has also been upgraded to a Dolby Surround Sound Mix. This actually helps with the static camera angles if there are enemies around the corner, thanks to the perspective based audio of a surround system. The sound is also free of distortions typically caused by compression. The weapon sounds are deep and satisfying, and the murmurs of the dead are chilling. The music is also appropriately eerie, and at times it uses silence to let your guard down until a jump scare.
The story itself is standard Resident Evil fare, but the updated localization make it feel classy; unlike the unintentionally hilarious voice acting of the original. The acting is pretty good with appropriate emotion put into it. You won’t see the infamous “Jill Sandwich” or “Master of Unlocking” lines from what seemed to be an overly literal translation. It does have some good twists and turns, but if you’ve played either iterations you’ll know what to expect.
One aspect that was disappointing was the poor upscaling of the FMV (Full Motion Video) cutscenes. There is a significant amount of pixilation and stretching, similar to the FMVs in the GameCube edition. Perhaps it was a technical reason, but it doesn’t hinder an otherwise excellent remaster. Another minor issue is the new control scheme; whenever you switch screens, you have to re-adjust your character relative to the postilion on the screen. This is not how it was originally meant to be played, but you can switch to the classic control on the fly with the Directional Pad.
Overall, with the updated visual, audio, and classic gameplay, Resident Evil Remastered is a glimpse of the past; a return to the pinnacle of the early-2000s survival horror genre. If the newer installments weren’t your thing, or you’re just plain curious, you won’t regret this purchase it’s one of the pinnacles of the survival horror genre Buy this now and hopefully we can send Capcom a clear message about what we want from the future of the franchise.