WHERE EVIL LIVES IN RESIDENCE
It’s always a treat to play a game I missed the first time around, especially when it’s from a series I grew up with. While I had my fair share of the original 1996 version of Resident Evil, I never got the chance to play the 2002 GameCube Resident Evil Remake. Now, after playing it for the first time thanks to the PlayStation 4 HD remastered version, I can safely say that Resident Evil HD lives up to the hype and then some.
Pure horror games on consoles are becoming a rare thing these days, and thanks to Resident Evil 4, most horror games are turning more and more into action games. Dead Space and even Resident Evil have fallen victim of this trend, but now with Resident Evil HD, it shows you what survival horror used to mean when it was done right. Resident Evil HD has all the trademarks of what makes a Resident Evil game tick. A deliberately slow pace, a lot of backtracking, limited resources, fixed camera angles, and the inability to move and shoot at the same time. When I mean limited resources, I really do mean it’s limited: even ink ribbons (the items that lets you save your game) are limited. Knowing that you can only save your game so many times adds an extra sense of danger when going to new areas, making the game feel unnerving at times. When compared to the original 1996 version, the HD remastering makes it far more atmospheric and tense. The original is a family friendly version of a haunted house compared to the dark dilapidated house of the Spencer Estate in Resident Evil HD.
Resident Evil HD is far more massive than the original 1996 version. There are new areas, new subplots, new puzzles, and new weapons. Having a defensive weapon is a stroke of genius. Thanks to the HD remastering, every zombie, hunter, spider, and more pops out of the screen making them far more scary than they were originally. Even the Crimson Head, which was not in the original 1996 version, made zombies scary again. If you only played the 1996 version, there is far more than enough here to keep the game fresh.
While this is the 2002 remake, Capcom made it so that you can have a more modern setup. They modernized the controls for newcomers, but for veterans of the series, the classic “Tank Controls” are also there for you to choose from. Because I am used to the classic style, I ended using the “Tank controls.” The other way Capcom modernized the HD remaster is the ability to play it in widescreen. This would be great, but it’s not really widescreen. It’s zoomed in to make it look like it’s in widescreen. When you move, the camera will sometimes move with you, which can be rather jarring when it happens. Thankfully, Capcom knew this would happen and added the ability to choose between playing in widescreen or 4:3 fullscreen mode. You can change between the two modes on the fly by going to the pause menu, making it easier to find out what best suites you. I just happen to see more on screen when using 4:3 mode.
Resident Evil HD is a tale of game design past. The layout, pace, and design actually feel fresher than the action shoot-em-ups most games are nowadays. Even the voice acting holds up pretty well, when compared to the original 1996 version, the voice acting has vastly improved. Unlike most games with their one-and-done approach, Resident Evil HD has a plethora of unlockables. New costumes, new modes, and if you are quick enough, new weapons, are all unlockables. If you played the GameCube remake, everything that version has is included along with a new costume based on Resident Evil 5 for both Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. It’s something that gaming today has forgotten, rewarding the player for playing their game, and for $19.99 across all consoles and PC, it’s a steal.
The Verdict: 10.0 out of 10.0
Resident Evil HD continues to be the pinnacle of survival horror genre. From its horrifying opening cutscene to its last, the fear never lets up. Once you think the fear has subsided, a new, more terrifying monster will come from nowhere, adding more reasons to be afraid. Resident Evil HD is a must play, regardless of if you have ever played the series before or not. Its modern controls, widescreen options, and added content make it a survival horror masterpiece that everyone can and should play. Resident Evil HD is a masterpiece of unnerving terror.
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Jesse Webster is a Senior Writer at MONG and hopes that a remake of Resident Evil 2 is coming. You can find him on Twitter.