resident evil

Review: Resident Evil (2002)(HD Remaster)

Welcome to the world of survival horror….. IN HD. The Remake of Resident Evil has been re-released to remind everyone how true survival horror is done. Intense atmosphere, an interesting mystery, clever puzzles and incredible visuals add together for an unforgettable journey through the zombie infested Spencer mansion. Trying to survive and find out the secrets of the mansion. Limited saves, quick deaths and scares ammo prove that this game is rather unforgiving and challenging on higher difficulties. And with an HD polish and analog controls this is almost the definitive edition. Almost.

WOW what a mansion:

The story begins after S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team is sent out to find the missing Alpha team in the forest, only to find their helicopter. After being attacked by strange feral dogs, Bravo team (consisting of Jill, Barry, Chris and Wesker) is forced to find shelter in a nearby mansion unaware of the horrors that lies within.

The story is pretty basic: you try to escape the mansion meeting survivors along the way and discovering some of the history as to how the undead thread came to be. Nothing overly special but enjoyable, you can see the plot twists coming miles away.

But the real emotion comes from the various notes you find in and around the mansion that tell the disturbing and sad stories of the people involved with the mansion. It shows the last moment of a security agent before killing his friend and committing suicide; knowing what will happen to their bodies but also of people studying the monsters of the mansion who come over as cold and see people as nothing more than experiments. The really interesting story is the one of the Trevor family and the atrocities done to them, this is the true story of Resident Evil.

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Tank controls for the good of horror:

Resident Evil’s controls are clunky but this was decently on purpose and with the Remaster’ new analogue controls it really shows why. In the Remaster you get the option to use analogue controls which makes the character you play control as other games (pushing the direction makes you move in that direction). This new control scheme is good for  the beginning player who really can’t get over the more complex and awkward controls but the fact is that it makes the game WAY too easy and on top of it, it really looks goofy. You can run past enemies without getting hit at all which takes away all the challenge. That being said, the bosses always were kinda difficult because of the controls so it makes that easier, then again maybe too easy.

The game is old school in design: there are limited saves in specific spots, if you die you get send back to your last save point, there is scarce ammo you take a lot of damage real fast and most enemies are faster than you, but on the easy difficulty the game gives you enough ink ribbons(the save currency) and ammo to take down just about any enemy. However on the higher difficulties the game can get brutal and unforgiving.

Combat is knowing when to fight and when to run away, when you engage enemies it’s all about both your and the enemies placement. If you lure the enemy here, you can kill two of them with one shot or go around a piece of furniture so the monsters have to go around while you just escape trough the door that was on the other side of the room.

So Resident Evil is not the masterpiece it is because of controls or combat then why is it so good? Well, the notes and atmosphere alone make it really good. It’s the puzzles that make it such an engaging game. Resident Evil makes you think and examine everything, for instance; you examine a collar you take from a dog which has a small case on it with a small coin which you examine to reveal a fake key which then in turn  can be used to replace the real key so that a booby trap doesn’t kill you(well that was cryptic). Or when you find a clock that says: when the two have run each other trough, the path to your destiny will open; it will be up to you and you alone to figure out what that means.

As for the horror part, unlike modern horror games where the fear supposedly comes from the monsters Resident Evil uses its survival as the horror. The environment is unsettling with strange shadows and broken windows which let in haunting moans. Seeing an enemy just standing still makes you nervous: “do I have enough health, can I get past him without noticing me, if I kill him will I have enough ammo for the next encounter?” Hearing an enemy in the background is just nerve-racking and gives you a true feeling of dread if things go wrong.

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What do you think of it:

While the original Resident Evil is notorious for its awful voice acting, the remake improves it but only barely. The voice acting isn’t as atrocious but it is cheesy as hell, with lines being awkward and forced but still enjoyable.

When the Resident Evil Remake came out it looked stunning, no other game on the Gamecube looked that good (hell it looks better than most games on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360). And while the CGI scenes are showing some cracks the game still looks amazing. When I showed the images to a friend he thought it was a game that was actually developed  for current-gen consoles, it looks that good. I mean I can’t state how good this game looks, it looks even better than some current-gen games.

 

You were almost a Jill Sandwich

 

As for the HD Remaster I can’t help but feel like they didn’t try to improve that much. While everything looks crisper and shows details that you couldn’t see before, the game itself still runs at 30 frames which I wished Capcom would have bumped up. A small sidenote is that in the Nintendo DS remake of the original Resident Evil you could skip the door animations because the DS was more powerful than the PlayStation, so why can’t you skip door transitions in the HD Remaster. It’s nothing big but I would have appreciated that feature. And I also like that along with the two new costumes for Jill and Chris you can select your costume on the start screen when you begin a new game.

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Closing note:

Resident Evil HD Remaster is a must if you are a fan of old school survival horror and, while not everybody can deal with tank controls the remaster adds analog controls that make the game easier(even if it’s a bit too easy).

The music is haunting and fits the sense of dread, and after thirteen years still looks like a recently released game.

While the main story is good the real emotion comes from the environment and notes scattered about.

I feel like the Remaster doesn’t really add much, but for a game like this you really don’t need to add too much, the game is damn-near perfect.

Now Capcom please, please, PLEASE make Resident Evil 2 Remake.                                                                                                      

9.5/10

I'm a fun loving guy who like piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and long walks on the beach. I work hard, I play hard. Must like cats. Ugos need not apply. If you want to ask me anything you can contact me at yordi.verhoene@gmail.com