Title: Resident Evil/Biohazzard
Platform: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Shooter, Puzzle, Horror
Players: Single player
Written by Whistler 27th January 2015
Uncertainty in familiarity is something truly horrifying at times, especially within horror when something dark is not scary because it has claws and teeth but instead because that darkness represents a very realistic element in our culture or global consciousness that we’d rather avoid. But the horror also comes from when it takes something familiar in our world and twists it just ever so slightly to give our psyche that knee jerk that sticks with us in the ever furthest recesses of the mind.
Uncertainty in familiarity is certainly apparent in Capcom’s remaster of a remake (not including it’s Wii port), Resident Evil, a franchise that has gotten almost as much mileage as Nintendo have had out of that little red capped plumber. But hey I’m okay with this milking for once (yes I am a part of the problem, no I regret nothing), as Resident Evil REmake as it was coined by the majority of fans was a great title that I never really got to experience as I had already gotten rid of my Gamecube by the time Capcom decided to slate a remake of one of their biggest titles exclusively to Nintendo’s rather wildcard (of which let’s face it, inevitably became a failed console at least financially).
So while honestly reviewing a HD remastering of a game that is over ten years old (though reviewing titles that haven’t been remastered and over ten years old hasn’t stopped me) is a fairly big waste of time I felt this particular game is indeed worth mentioning.
These bizarre and outlandish events have led to Racoon Police Department’s Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S) being called to action and who have found the killers’ suspected hideout.
However during the mission Bravo team’s helicopter goes down for an unknown reason and Alpha team are ambushed by undead dogs while investigating the crash site.
Now Alpha team’s Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield are forced to take refuge inside and explore the mysterious Spencer mansion alongside S.T.A.R.S captain Albert Wesker and the infamous smooth talking Barry Burton or Medically knowledgeable Rebecca Chambers depending on which of the two protagonists the player chooses to play.
Going down gameplay lane is very much like reading a favourite novel for the third or fourth time, playing almost identically to the original on the Playstation with some improvements to controls.
Players will fight off ghoulish zombies (and other lovable undead creatures) solve puzzles, traverse the maze like Spencer Mansion and collect items in order to progress towards the final goal of escaping the mansion. How the player progresses will vary depending on which of the two protagonists are chosen, with different item locations and different sequences making small yet noticeable changes to how the player tackles most of the game. While both Jill and Chris play the same mechanically, there are plenty of subtle differences that will force the player to react differently; Chris can take a beating from zombies however carries a limited inventory size of six and is hampered right from the get go with lacking firepower. On the other side of the coin we have Jill who doesn’t take as much damage however she can unlock certain doors, has access to more firepower and has her secret weapon to come in her time of need, Barry Burton (oh she also has two additional item slots).
There are some updates to the mechanics besides tighter controls, for one – the introduction of burning defeated zombies. Where zombies in the original would simply be removed from the game (so as to balance the difficulty of backtracking) in REsident Evil zombies live up to their namesake and refuse to stay dead for long. While it seemed to vary from zombie to zombie ‘killing’ a zombie merely incapacitates them for an uncertain amount, only two methods can combat this, a lucky decapitation shot or using what was the useless lighter and a handy canteen of Kerosene to incinerate the undead resident once incapacitated. With this mechanic I found myself on the fence, while it’s an interesting mechanic and most certainly heightens the tension a single zombie can create, it so quickly becomes a chore and really doesn’t feel all that worth it even once the zombie has eventually become a Crimson Head (faster, stronger, redder) considering how plentiful ammo and health items are even on higher difficulties.
Whilst this element was present even in Resident Evil’s first inception, I was pleased to see that inspecting items plays an even bigger role this time around. While in the original it was mainly used to identify the symbol on each key and was sneakily implemented in one particularly infamous puzzle, in REmake it plays far more prominently to the essentiality of the gameplay.
From pressing buttons or turning an object around to reveal a secret you’ll find yourself repeatedly utilizing this mechanic, and while it’s not this big bag of brain teasers it’s just enough to tantalize those receptors to enhance the experience.
In fact I was rather pleasantly surprised that puzzle solving feels just as good if not better than in the original trilogy, while by the time we hit Resident Evil 4 puzzles had pretty much been dropped or reduced to the blandest levels of simplicity, instead REsident Evil not only adheres to its predecessors’ standards for puzzle solving but improves upon them by tweaking old puzzles to feel fresh.
The slight tweaks didn’t end at the puzzles, while retaining its familiarity the Spencer mansion will still be just as maze-
But if there’s a place to get lost in, it’s the Spencer mansion; the mansion and surrounding areas just ooze atmosphere into every crevasse.
Various elements of the visuals weave together to create a true survival horror experience, lighting effects have been given a nice enhancement where light sources bounce off naturally. Models have been fully reworked for this HD remastering, where Jill and the gang have noticeably more detail to the point where you’d be forgiven for assuming this was a brand spanking new game from the screenshots. Then to finish off this visual tapestry is the silk-
Though I would mention that even though the backgrounds look better, they’re occasionally an eyesore compared to the updated models.
So besides that last paragraph Resident Evil Remastered is most certainly, and to put it bluntly, a good game. While the addition of the new control scheme just felt unneeded (I am aware that I’ve adapted to the awkward ‘tank’ controls), everything else is a welcome sight and while I usually tend to be the first to ready the pitchfork for the growing trend in necromancy of unnecessary remastering after remastering I instead embrace this reanimation of a classic Resident Evil title that I can now play whenever I please on my PC.
Resident Evil HD remaster is a genuine testament of time with deep engrossing atmosphere, amplified visual updates and encapsulated with the original survival horror feel.
Subtle yet great visual overhaul,
Enjoyable balance of exploration, combat and puzzle solving,
Underwhelming lighter mechanic,
Background textures still look muddy at times.
Resident Evil HD Remaster Reanimates a classic with a 8.5/10.