- Developer/Publisher: CAPCOM
- Platform: PC (Steam – $/€ 19.99), PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- PS4 version reviewed. Code provided by the publisher.
Ah, that sweet taste of nostalgia. Some go crazy for it, install large CRTs in their house complete with retro consoles and a game library several times better than your local CeX – others appreciate it with less dedication, grabbing either one of those new console emulator to put your old carts into, or a plain old emulator for their high-end PC. For Resident Evil 0, you could go for the latter route – the Dolphin emulator will happily bump the resolution of the entire game into 1080p for you, but it won’t look anywhere near as good as the new Resident EVil 0 HD remaster made by CAPCOM.
To start with – this game looks absolutely gorgeous. The original Resident Evil had a similar HD treatment early in 2015, yet it failed to look anywhere near as majestic as this. Perhaps it’s the slightly brighter environments, or the fact that this is a remaster of a GameCube title – but the visuals pop more than ever before. Subtle details like textured blankets in train cabins look wonderful, whilst those famous loading screen doors, stairs and ladder animations get you up-close-and-personal with some less flattering textures and models, clearly hailing from the GameCube days.
Sound design has also had a noticeable boost, with 5.1 surround letting you know exactly which corners might have a vicious brain muncher lying in wait.
It’s a shame, then, that the game itself feels a bit mismanaged. Mismanaging, coincidentally, is something you’ll end up doing an awful lot of. It’s the old briefcase, the inventory management and the utter nonsense it brings with it. In so many games this would be a minor gripe, but with progression in these older Resident Evil games so deeply tied to what you’re carrying at that point a poor inventory system can ruin a lot of things. And, as it happens, it does just that.
You’d think the ability to have two characters, the STARS medic Rebecca Chambers and escaped convict Billy Cohen, would mean carrying things about the place would be simple. But it actually feels like you spend a large portion of the time with the game in the inventory menu, mentally debating which items can be ditched and which are necessary. Do I still need the gargantuan two-slot Hookshot? It’s taking up space that can be used for ammo. Billy’s got a better gun so he should take the lead, but he’s got no room for healing supplies – do I still need the knife? These questions are frustrating and are constant, only becoming worse once you leave the tight confines of the train and instead have to deal with yet another sprawling mansion.
An addition to Resident Evil 0 HD is being able to drop items wherever you stand, being able to return and pick them up later, whereas previously you could only do this from a safe-room. This is great, because you no longer need to backtrack to unload items so you can pick up something new – you can just drop it where you stand. The issue with this is you soon find yourself leaving items at polar-opposite ends of whatever area you’re in, with a mental checklist of where you left ammo, knives, weapons and more.
The same gripes I had with the original Resident Evil’s remaster persist here. The new control scheme feels very awkward, especially when caught between several areas where the camera angle switches. It works most of the time, but the game was very clearly designed for the classic “Tank Controls”.
The environments look lovely, though, and the sound design really adds to the foreboding atmosphere. I can’t claim I was often scared to turn a corner – the game lacks the same impact that you can still find with the original Resident Evil – but it was still interesting exploring the game’s world, even if that world isn’t as good as in past games.
Away from controls and inventory management though, Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster is pretty great. Sure, it’s not a scary game. Sure, it feels like a re-tread of many past Resident Evil environments and it lacks anything that would make it particularly memorable, but if you’re in the mood for some retro survival horror then you’re unlikely to find anything much better than this – aside from the remaster of the original.
Speaking of which, CAPCOM is also offering a Resident Evil Origins Collection for $/€ 39.99 with both Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster and Resident Evil HD Remaster. It should be available from January 22 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.