Resident Evil has surely left its mark as one of the founding fathers of the survival horror genre of video games. Inspired by the legendary 3D survival horror game “Alone in the Dark,” it drew players into a frightening world full of the undead and nightmarish mutant monstrosities, (which funnily enough, lost their appeal when coupled together with the hilariously bad voice acting of the characters.) Resources would be scarce, the abominations would be numerous and you’ll have to use your wits as well as your will to survive.
Since then, the series has manifested from a subtle, atmospheric experience, to an action-packed shooting frenzy. While many have welcomed the change to the series, others still wish to experience the chilling and haunting horror of the earlier RE games. Now fans of the series can do just that, with the re-release of the remake of the original Resident Evil which was released on Nintendo Gamecube in 2002, now complete with a host of visual improvements bringing it to this generation. It’s time to face your fears, find your courage and venture into the nightmare that is Resident Evil: HD Remaster.
Raccoon City has been plagued by a series of gruesome, cannibalistic murders. Raccoon City Police Department send their elite special tactics unit S.T.A.R.S. to investigate. After a deadly encounter with evil creatures which costs one of the team members his life, everyone else is forced to retreat into an old, ominous Mansion. Little do they know that by entering this uncanny place, the nightmare has just begun!
You’ll pick either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, each who experience the events of Resident Evil differently and soon you’ll be traversing through the mansion meeting zombies and other abominations along the way. The Mansion itself invokes an imposing, hostile atmosphere which gives you the impression that nowhere is safe. The long, narrow corridors within the Mansion’s maze-like design lead you directly to the next horror. Open large spaces look so intimidating and render your character puny and insignificant. Controlling your character is still stiff and awkward and the camera constantly changes as you make your way down a corridor adding to the sense of desperation, disorientation and helplessness.
Your resources are limited with few rounds of ammunition and you must choose carefully whether to flee or fight. Zombies, Mutant Dogs and Large Spiders are only the tip of the iceberg of what awaits you in this house of horrors. Additionally, the Mansion can only be explored further by solving cryptic puzzles with very few clues, finding the right keys and collecting strange items which when resolved usually lead you into more danger. You start off very weak and defenseless but later on you’ll get your hands on more powerful weapons including a Magnum, a Shotgun and a Grenade Launcher. Even then ammo for these weapons is still scarce, not to mention that you fight most of these monstrous things with these guns in tight corridors giving very little room for maneuverability and escape. In this place it’ll take more brains than brawn if you want to uncover what’s going on and make it out alive.
The new remastered version of Resident Evil comes with a host of graphical improvements including refined high-resolution backgrounds coupled together with refined animated 3D images and special post processing effects. This is a game that was released in 2002 and it’s truly remarkable that it still looks this amazing.
The PC version of RE Remaster has extended graphical options including anti-aliasing levels, the option to play at 60 frames per second and the ability to play in both 16:9 widescreen or 4:3 aspect ratios. Sound quality has also been improved with 5.1 surround support and a higher sampling rate, allowing you to listen to the eerie, haunting ambience of wind, moans, growls and roars in higher quality. There’s even the option to change the tank-like controls to a more up-to-date and smooth control system.
Everything from the visuals to the sound design has been bought to this generation to give RE veterans and newcomers alike the definitive Resident Evil survival horror experience.
There are a few issues that have to be talked about from this otherwise stellar title. For instance the actors who play the characters are still annoying as hell. It’s an improvement over the hilarious hamfest of Resident Evil 96, but even in both the Gamecube and HD remastered versions the new actors actors deliver their lines awkwardly, like the whole thing is a surreal b-movie or TV show. Characters don’t seem half as shocked as you do from all that’s happening and it almost make the horror feel more like a black-comedy. Perhaps it was a deliberate choice of direction since you’re supposed to be more scared of what’s happening than they are. Maybe their lack of surprise is a sinister attempt to lead YOU to whatever wants to kill you. Or maybe the answer is more simple than that and the way the dialogue was written and how the actors emoted really was that bad.
There are some real glaring issues with the graphics right now. Some textures look muddy and blurred which stand out from everything else that’s had a HD makeover. The clipping problem that was in the Gamecube version still exists here as well.
Resident Evil has without a doubt stood the test of time. From 1996 to 2002 and now 2015, this game is still able to provide a true, unadulterated survival horror experience. It’s intense, it’s atmospheric and it’s frightening, which is what real survival horror is all about. This is a case where the term “the original is always better” has been proven right. If you’re a fan of Resident Evil, you need to play this game. If you’re not a fan of Resident Evil, you need to play this game. Just be sure you’re prepared for what awaits you.
This review is based on a digital copy of Resident Evil HD Remaster for the PC provided by Capcom.