- + Fantastic graphics
- + Moody music creates an unnerving atmosphere
- - Save restrictions still a pain
- - Potential for bigger changes a missed opportunity
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “One Way Track”
It’s been over 13 years since Resident Evil Zero arrived exclusively on the Gamecube but now, after all that time, curiosity has come banging on my door like a zombie scouting for brains. The problem is, unlike the remake of the original Resident Evil which I hold close to my heart, Zero doesn’t hold any nostalgic value and ends up becoming a bit dull.
My time in Zero was quickly reduced to a clunky and confusing mess, particularly in the beginning whilst I strolled the tight corridors of a train with little-to-no info on how to proceed. Perhaps it’s just my frustration on the inability to change the camera or carry a plentiful amount of items. That said, this game is true Resident Evil and does a good job of harkening back to its roots.
However, therein lies the problem. As a newcomer to this particular title I couldn’t look past its stale gameplay with fond memories, because I didn’t have any. I’ve spent too much time reminiscing over the perfectly balanced Resident Evil 4 to care for old school theatrics. The addition of being able to switch between two characters in order to complete puzzles and fend off the undead is fun, but ultimately felt disjointed. I have to commend the decision to get rid of storage boxes and allow you to drop items wherever necessary, though when it came to leaving multiple items in once place the system would fall to pieces quite quickly, partly down to insufficient space in a seemly open room or corridor.
Maybe I’m being unreasonable. There is a purpose for having a limited amount of game saves that can only be used on type writers – not to mention limitations on storing equipment – it’s because it still thinks it’s a good way to scare people. It was, many years ago, but now I have a partner in crime I don’t feel as threatened. My biggest scare came when I accidentally killed my character and realised the last time I saved was over 30 minutes ago. All that gameplay went down the drain, instantly.
I can’t imagine how the game might have changed should I have been able to quick save at any moment, skip any cutscene, or even change the camera angle. I admire the game a lot for retaining some of the qualities I loved in the first game, but as it’s now in its third iteration I would have loved for the development to go beyond improving the graphics or controls. It’s outdated and ideally serves those who have played it before.
I understand most of this has been one huge rant, but there are a few things I actually like about the game. Acquiring herbs and mixing them together in order to craft a more powerful potion is fun. The graphics are still quite astounding and the atmosphere is set up by some pretty moody music. If I had to choose between any entry in the series after RE4 or Resident Evil Zero, I’d choose the Zero. It does retain a certain sense of the unknown and there’s never a whole lot of shooting and explosions. Everything operates at a much slower pace and that means you can’t be the action hero seen in all the latest games. Sometimes you are susceptible to a couple of zombies ambling toward you. Just remember to keep a clean inventory, otherwise you won’t be able to pick up that much needed ammo when you need it.
It may be stuck in the past, but there are a few redeeming qualities. It’s classic survival horror, which is a nice switch considering the amount of action titles on the market. It also has a pretty great atmosphere to boot and it does a good job of amping up the tension. Then again, your enjoyment will depend on your ability to remain patient throughout its often clunky gameplay.
*Resident Evil Zero HD was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Capcom UK