It’s now common place to see our favourite titles of yesteryear touched with the HD brush and thrown out there for a new generation of gamers to experience. It might not always work but Capcom obviously feel that the game which kickstarted a whole generation of gaming can still come off and appeal to a new breed of gamer, 20 years later.
But the question is, is the original Resident Evil something gamers still want to play?
Well, those looking back with a nostalgic mind will continue to shout from the rooftops about how glorious it is, but I’m not sure the rest will be quite so enamored.
Raccoon City is in the midst of murder and so the city’s Special Tactics and Rescue Service go in all guns blazing. After Bravo squad go missing, Alpha team begin their search for both their fallen colleagues and anything else that they may stumble across. A large mansion hidden on the outskirts of the city plays part to that laid out in front of you and as a leading member of Alpha team, you quickly discover things aren’t quite right.
Playing the campaign as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, each of whom have their own unique abilities and differing storylines; Jill packing a larger backpack for storing items (including those all-important priceless bullets), whilst Chris can quite happily take a bite of two from the mutated forms that inhabit the mansion. It’s nice to have the two distinct campaigns because without them, those who have played the game at any point in the last twenty years will no doubt be able to fly through it in a few hours at most.
Whilst this is the first time Capcom have brought the Resident Evil series onto Xbox One, chances are you would have already hit Raccoon City more than once. With the 1996 version already having had a remake on Gamecube (which in turn is providing the basics for this version), if you’ve already played the game on an older format, then aside from the inclusion of timed leaderboards giving you the chance to beat a friend, unfortunately you won’t really be finding much new in the new improved HD version.
For whilst we have a new much improved control system, new 16:9 widescreen visuals and some fairly decent high definition graphics that bring a dreary old mansion to life magnificently, near enough everything else that is present is old school twenty year old fare. The puzzles are still great, with some of the best brain teasers created over the last couple of decades still included, and its pretty easy to see how the game originally spawned a whole new genre, but unless you’re going back through either Chris or Jill’s story for old times sake, you will immediately see how far things have now moved on in videogame circles. It’s full of classic survival-horror, spine tingling tendencies but the scare factor is nowhere near that which we see in something like current Xbox One thrill champions, Outlast or The Evil Within.
Much of that is down to the stop-start nature of the gameplay. Mansions are big old places, containing lots of doors and another antiquated feature that has made the jump with Resident Evil is that of viewing each and every door opening as you go through it. Now, back in the 90’s this would have been in place for the much needed loading screens as the visuals for the next room get ready to jump out at us, but nowadays, I would have much rather have seen the remade version of Resi do away with such a naff inclusion. It does nothing but break up the flow of the game and looks far too out of place for any modern day gamer.
Thankfully the control scheme has, by default, been updated and now allows for a greater and easier exploration of each room; although the sadistic ones out there may just get a blast out of trying to play through more than five minutes with the old controls in place. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would bother trying this as it drove me to utter frustration. Throw in some utterly rubbish camera angles which not only restricts you from seeing what is round that corner (maybe that’s part of the charm that I’m missing), but also sees Chris or Jill wander off in the wrong direction as the camera changes and the controls flip. How the hell I coped back in 1996 god knows!
For the most part when a game is remastered it will still bring something new to the table and the first few moments of being back in Raccoon City feel great. Unfortunately, Resident Evil doesn’t bring much else to the generation and will only really appeal to the most hardened of fans as the combination of super tough puzzles and infrequent save points no longer have a place in gamings heart.
Don’t expect the remade Resident Evil to be anything like the most recent titles in the series…it’s from a bygone era and should quite possibly have been left there.