Resident Evil was simply jaw dropping — its visuals melted your eyes and brought players a sense of realism that had not been experienced before. And even by today’s standards Resident Evil can keep up with the graphic powerhouse games of 2015.
Capcom is to thank for this; by implementing pre-rendered backgrounds they brought a sense of realism that could not otherwise be attained at the time.
Resident Evil subsequently Resident Evil 0 (also on the Gamecube) were some of the last games to truly embrace this graphical style.
A concequence of pre-rendered backgrounds that I am sure Square-Enix is also running into is their tendency to distort when ported to new systems. To combat this the 2015 remaster offers players both the original 4:3 and a stretched 16:9 aspect ratio to choose from.
The latter definitely provides sharper visuals but I think most will stick with 16:9.
The game stays very true to the original with the only major change being to the controls. Capcom have developed a workaround to make the controls more akin to today’s standards. The new control scheme is simple: move the joystick in any direction you want and Jill or Chris will go. It’s a very unusual experience for anyone familiar with the original Resident Evil titles.
The controls work well, however during scene changes players may often frustratingly jerk the character in the wrong direction by accident. Without a doubt the new scheme is welcoming enough for newbies to pick up and play, but the original scheme (if you’re used to it) will always be the superior experience.
The horror experience has definitely mellowed with age; I believe games such as the Dead Space series may have desensitised players to classic horror games like Resident Evil, which offer a slower paced style of horror. Scripted moments throughout the game do offer many scares but I feel that most will come as no surprise to modern gamers.
Resident Evil’s greatest success comes from its ability to build atmosphere. It forgoes fantastical settings for more familiar and personal locations where it can establish a pervading sense of dread. As you venture through the vast Spencer Mansion there is a sense of authenticity, this could be a real place owned by a mysterious billionaire.
Incumbent in any Resident Evil experience are the puzzles and there is a tangible thrill associated with solving puzzles and unveiling the secrets of the mansion.
This game pioneered the survival horror genre so the game often becomes intense, the mixture of limited supplies with restrictions of saves forces players to adopt a survivalist mentality from the very start of the game. This pervasive sense of dread, of pressure, combined with the brooding atmosphere of the mansion is where the fear comes from and it is only heightened at the higher difficulty levels.
I would recommend anyone new to the franchise to have a go exploring the mansion without using your smartphone and an IGN game guide. Resident Evil rewards players for exploration and players who follow the most direct route will miss extra cut scenes and bonus opportunities; not to mention the satisfaction of solving the puzzles. That said if you are finding it too frustrating looking up a solution is forgivable because this is a game worth playing through to its end.
It is worth noting that some key items have had their names changed to a more suggestible title. For example the ‘Herbicide’ is now called ‘Chemical for plants’. Returning players will understand.
Above all Resident Evil offers plenty of gaming goodness for anyone. By offering gamers the choice of multiple characters and difficulties to play through veterans have an incentive to play through the main story again. This is in conjunction with the many bonuses that can be earned if you complete the game under different criteria. All of which now come backed up with a set of achievements to show off as well! (good luck completing the game in under 3 hours).
Resident Evil Remake was a revolutionary remake of a revolutionary game and while this remake of the remake doesn’t break any new ground. It sure as hell cements it as one of the best (and best looking) 13 year old games ever made.
This is a must-play for anyone, particularly those who appreciate a classic game, and classic horror.
This is how we grew up kids.
+ Amazing pre-rendered backgrounds.
+ Believable yet scary atmosphere.
+ Rewards for exploring and not following a guide.
– Newcomers may not like the difficulty (no hint system in here).
– The ‘door’ loading screens still exists.
– May not be as scary as it once was.