Resident Evil HD

Feb
27

Resident Evil HD

Resident Evil HD is something that should have been released sooner, but like this review, I suppose late is better than never.

If you have missed the REmake the first time around in 2002, it is a faithful reimagining of the original PS1 game that first reared its head in 1996. While it is the same story, it is not the same script. It can be predictable depending on your level of familiarity with the original, but there is enough deviation to make it an intriguing and engaging experience even for the more jaded among us. Story and gameplay aside, the changes to the dialogue alone are worth the price of admission. It’s been upgraded to 80s B-movie cheesy from 70s-porno terrible.

Well, for the most part.

In addition to better script and graphics, Resident Evil HD also sports superior innuendos to its PS1 predecessor.

The improved graphics and wide screen ratio were overhyped considering they don’t bring much to the table or greatly improve the overall package. Capcom could have safely released this as a port and called it a day, because it’s a strong enough game that it can carry itself without any other bells and whistles. Still, it’s a welcome bit of polish that could have been spread on a little more liberally. They shouldn’t have stopped their tweaking with just the graphics, and have taken the opportunity to fix some issues from the first release. Loading screens seem unnecessary and long. Aiming is still clumsy and frustrating, especially when dealing with multiple enemies at once in tight quarters; where the jump scares fail to induce screaming, a racing heart, and panicked crying, the subpar aiming mechanic succeeds.

As in Deadly Silence and the original, the player is forced to carefully plan their inventory or spend half of their playtime running back to item crates. The frustration this creates is exacerbated by the necessity of the flask and lighter, essential items if you want to avoid the Crimson Heads (which I assure you, you do—unless your idea of a good time includes touching a hot stovetop or stepping on Legos in your bare feet because leaving them to turn is an exercise in masochism). To remedy the meager inventory space, it would have been nice if they took the knife out of the inventory a la Deadly Silence. As I mentioned in my review of the aforementioned game, I’m still unsure in what universe an ammo drybox takes up the same pocket space as a house key, but I know I do not want to live there.

Spoiler alert: that's not a tree

Actually I probably would not want to live there because of the rampant zombie problem, but that’s beside the point.

The game gets enough right that what it gets wrong matter little, if at all. Though still wonky, the dialogue is delivered competently enough that you don’t pull a muscle cringing. The tension starts high and doesn’t drop; even though action isn’t constant, it is paced so that it is suspected rather than expected, leaving you with a sense of foreboding rather than boredom between zombie encounters. The level of autonomy granted to the player is just as involving as the action. Unlike most modern games, Resident Evil doesn’t hold your hand and guide you through it but leaves you to explore (or alternately, get hopelessly lost) on your own; a characteristic loved by those of us who want their game to be an adventure, not a rail shooter.

I am full of feminist rage. And also, art appreciation. "Judith Beheading Holofernes", Caravaggio, 1598-1599.

I have no reason to include this screen cap other than the fact that I am an art nerd. “Judith Beheading Holofernes”, Caravaggio, 1598-1599.

Resident Evil is a well assembled game with more going for it than nostalgia appeal; where as I wouldn’t dream of handing over the 1996 version to a new gamer as anything other than a retro oddity I still feel confident recommending this as a staple horror game. The Resident Evil games made for the Gamecube were the peak of the series; everything following them just pale in comparison, and even without tweaking to keep up with modern graphics capabilities Resident Evil not only remains relevant, but fun.

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Rosemary

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