The dread of the 1996 original has not diminished even if some mechanics show their age
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / PC
FEW games have had as significant a cultural impact as the original Resident Evil. The title blazed a blood splattered trail for the embryonic survival horror genre upon its release in 1996. Granted, the dialogue would have been rejected by Ed Wood as too schlocky, but that did not prevent Shinki Mikami and his team from creating a masterpiece in tension. For players of a certain vintage, the shock at seeing a pack of zombie dogs burst through a window has not yet quite died down.
It is fitting, then, that Resident Evil falls under the vogue for overhauled re-releases. Technically, this is a remaster of another remaster, based as it is not on the Playstation original, but the 2002 version for the Gamecube which gave it a few graphical licks and bolted additional gameplay features from sequels in the series, such as a new running style, the ability to turn 180 degrees and body language prompts to let you know if your character is ailing.
Graphically the changes are not as radical as the step up seen in the Gamecube version
The tweaks continue with the next gen iterations. The graphics have not been changed as radically as the step up seen in the Gamecube version, but the environment have been retextured and look impressively detailed, adding to the atmosphere. The famous soundtrack, meanwhile, is present and correct, giving the game a sense of menace that has seldom been matched by its many imitators.
As for the gameplay itself, Capcom have produced a sensitive and faithful translation that makes life a lot easier for modern audiences. The unwieldy controls of old - akin to trying to reverse parallel park a troop carrier - are still available should you desire total authenticity, but t is also a new scheme which employs the analogue sticks for movement. With the fixed cameras - an anachronism in 2015 - and the same stilted shooting mechanics which require you to come to a standstill before discharging your pistol, it is far from perfect but adds a fluidity that was lacking in the original.
Resident Evil set a benchmark and although it feels antiquated in places it is still worth playing
For around same price as this title, it is possible to pick up The Evil Within, while the upcoming Dying Light explores very similar themes. Such competition is likely to squeeze sales from this HD remaster, but that, in many ways, is Resident Evil’s legacy. It set a benchmark for games of its type, although the passing of the years mean that it now feels antiquated in parts, it is well worth reacquainting yourself with the petrifying goings on inside Spencer Mansion.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Tempting as it is to open fire on every zombie in sight, it is wise to run away now and again in order conserve your limited ammunition supply.
On a similar ammo preservation note, don’t empty your chamber into the undead you have downed. Instead, stab them.
Make use of the storage boxes scattered around the mansion as you can only carry so much on your person.