Platform reviewed on: Xbox One
Also on: ”Remake”: Gamecube, Wii, PC. ”Remake Remastered”: Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Playstation 3.
This one, is the ancestor of modern survival horror games. well, not exactly this version of the game, but if you know a thing or 2 about gaming universe, you can understand what i mean. Resident Evil is the cornerstone of a whole genre; it was one of the first (if not the first) games that invented and incorporated stress and tension; You have to correctly organize every nook and cranny of your inventory to hold simultaneously key items, weapons and healing stuff while also having to face monstrosities that eagerly wanted to drain the life out of you.
Technically, the original Resident Evil (of 1996) cannot be played today; its graphics are archaic, voice acting is below average (who does not remember Barry yelling the ”Jill sandwich” phrase) and controls are very stiff. On 2001 however, its remake was published on Game Cube and it was magnificent; none other game up until that time succeeded in being such a complete overhaul of the original. On 2014, yet another remastered version of the remake was published on last and current generation of consoles that boasted Full HD graphics, better sound design and a few extras.
In the game, you can play as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, two members of STARS, a special force squad that is sent to investigate some mysterious deaths on Arklay mountains. However, while traversing a forest, they are attacked by a pack of mutated dogs and are forced to enter a huge mansion. While in it, they have to investigate and uncover what really happened there, saving squadmates and exterminating dangerous monsters along the way. There are some twists here, but in general the game is like a good B movie, nothing more.
Considering this is a game released in 2002 and this is a remastered version, the graphics hold up pretty nicely to this day. The backgrounds are pre-rendered in a way that it feels like they are 3D. While investigating the mansion, you will visit luxurious bedrooms, balconies, flooded basements, gardens with dangerous plants and a lot of other environments.
Character design is also very decent. The main protagonists have a japanese manga feel to them and will remind you a bit of their respective counterparts in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles on the Wii. Monsters are very well designed as well. Here, you will encounter zombies, the generic enemy type of the game, mutated dogs, hunters (green ugly bastards with huge nails can decapitate you instantly if you are low on health) and a few others. Also, bosses are great as well with my personal favorite being yawn, a giant snake that haunts the attic.
The only serious downside as far as graphics are concerned is the camera. Unfortunately, it still remains the same from the original Resident Evil games, meaning it is fixed and changes angle abruptly when character travels from one scene to the other. This makes it extremely difficult in some confined areas to aim, since if the enemy is outside your field of view, you cannot see where your character is pointing his gun at. Camera will frustrate you a lot if you are used to playing modern 3rd person over the shoulder shooters.
Generally, soundtrack is serviceable. The game has some good tunes that are memorable. For example, when on a save room there is a characteristic tune playing meaning that your character is now on a safe spot. Just by the sound of it, your heart beat will drop and you will feel calm. Sound effects are decent; when in a room, you can tell by the different sound of footsteps what type of enemy you will encounter in the room. Gunshots also feel realistic, especially of the more powerful weapons like the shotgun or the magnum. Voice acting has been improved from the original, but it is still not that great.
Initially i would like to congratulate the developers for the revamping of the controls. Your character no more controls like a tank and his movement is fluid. There is the option to turn back to the old control scheme but it is not advised. Your heroes can walk, solve puzzles, run, aim their weapons and fire with the push of a few buttons. They both play virtually the same, however there is a difference. Jill has 2 additional inventory slots but can be killed rather easily. Chris is more durable but lacks inventory space.
Furthermore, your characters have a self defense mechanism, that can be triggered if you have the necessary weapons in your inventory. If a zombie for example grabs Jill, she can peg a knife straight to his head prior to getting hit. There are some differences on the 2 campaigns but i will not reveal any spoilers here ;).
The whole ”restricted inventory policy” while adding to the tension, means that there is a lot of backtracking in order to accumulate every object in the game safely. In addition there is an auto aim feature for your characters but on higher difficulty this feature is disabled. Trying to aim manually while on fixed camera is frustrating as hell and you will die often until you get used to it.
Eventually, there are some storage boxes in the game where you can put items you do not need at present. Magically the items you place on one storage box can be accessed from every storage box in the game. This feature is also disabled on higher difficulty.
Value for money:…..8
While such type of game play is obsolete nowdays (and for a good reason if you ask me), there is a lot of content to sink your teeth into. Both campaigns combined will take you about 15 – 20 hours to complete. There is a harder difficulty setting that makes the game punishingly hard and a lot of unlockables for the completionists. I did not pay for the game, since it was FREE via Xbox One Game Pass but as i have seen, its price periodically drops down to 10 euros which is quite good. Give it a try, i am pretty certain you will have a good time.
SCORE:…….7.4, ”Very Good”.