- + Chock full of atmosphere
- + Solving the puzzles is satisfying
- + The game looks and sounds beautiful, with eerie music in the background
- - Finding where to go next can sometimes be frustrating
- - Limited space for items
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full written review…
When Resident Evil released on the PlayStation 1 back in 1996, it marked the beginning of survival horror in video games. Even today it stands in many minds as one of the best horror titles ever made, especially since the genre’s recent demise to more action over horror. I grew up with the title during my childhood and have nothing but good memories, plus the Gamecube remake stands out the most due to its radical overhaul of the original’s graphics, control system and atmosphere. Nearly two decades later and the game has returned, with the Gamecube remake getting a HD touch-up and a revamped control system, making it the best time for new players to experience a classic.
I’m sure many people already know the story of the first Resident Evil, but here’s a quick overview for those who’ve been stuck in a zombie-infested corridor. After a series of gruesome murders outside of Raccoon City, its Police Department’s Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.), are assigned to investigate. At the beginning of the game you’re given the choice of controlling one of two S.T.A.R.S. members, either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine. Your choice will affect your playthrough rather notably, since Jill begins with a gun, a lock pick and can hold up to eight items, and Chris starts with a knife and can hold up to six items. However, it’s worthing taking into consideration that Chris can sustain more damage compared to Jill – a tricky decision indeed. At the end of a short cutscene setting up the events, the team are forced into a derelict mansion to escape a near-death experience, only to enter a situation that’s far worse. Telling you anymore would ruin the mystery, so I’m going to leave it there.
If you’re new to the halls of Spencer Mansion, you’re in for quite a ride. Progression through the game will certainly be tough if it’s your first time, no matter what difficulty you set. Navigating your surroundings will require you to solve puzzles and use your brain more than your gun. Doors are also locked through the use of individual key sets, and most of them are all well guarded. Managing your inventory is key to progression, since any item takes up a space, and if you come across an item that’s vital to proceed but can’t pick it up, expect to heading towards a safe room to store any unnecessary equipment. Knowing what you’ll need at certain times will save you a lot of backtracking.
For those used to automatic saves, unfortunately they’re not present here. Instead you’re forced to use individual ink ribbons found around the mansion, and then you need to head to a typewriter to save your game. Ran out of ink ribbons? Good luck with that. This game is chock full of atmosphere, particularly after its remake on the Gamecube. Comparing both the original and this re-hash will make most people gasp at how bright and blocky everything once was, questioning how people were ever scared to being with. Now everything is grittier and more realistic, the scare level is turned up to eleven.
This HD remaster is pretty much the same as the Gamecube game, but with a slight upgrade in the visual department, as well as easier analogue controls. For those who want to revert back to ‘tank controls’ in order to maintain the original’s play method, can do so at any point. I preferred the smoother analogue controls, though they don’t work perfectly. Any time the camera changed from a fixed point, the direction I was originally pointing in wasn’t the same, making my movement awkward at times. It would be impossible to enhance them further given the game’s structure and fixed camera angles, so I’m not complaining too much. The door cutscenes are still in their place, and though I don’t feel as though they’re entirely necessary in this remaster, I understand the need to rack up the tension through slowing the pace.
If you stick with it, which I suggest you do, Resident Evil has plenty of in-depth content to offer; including multiple endings depending on which choices you make. It might frustrate some players with its fixed camera angles, slow gameplay and lack of auto save, but for those interested in a cracking survival horror game where intrigue lies around every corner, the Resident Evil Remaster is one for the ages.
Pick the game up now through PSN, Xbox Live or PC for £15.99
*Resident Evil Remaster was provided to Start Replay by Xbox