I finished Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster today! I give you fair warning that when I started playing this, I did not plan on making a review. Hell, I didn’t honestly plan on reviewing it at all until I actually finished it today. At that point, something just kind of clicked; I decided I definitely wanted to hype this up a little. All that is to say, I did not come to class prepared – I have no video, no screenshots, and no notes to reference. All the same, I hope you’ll stick around.
So for those who maybe don’t know the series well, let’s start out with a (teeny, tiny) bit of history. RE0 is the prequel to the Resident Evil series. It follows STARS rookie, Rebecca Chambers, and wanted criminal, Billy Coen, as they fight for their lives against zombies, monsters, and leeches. Yes, leeches. Gross, squirmy things that make me cringe every time the game decides it’s a good idea to zoom in on them. Thankfully, it’s also super gratifying to hear the squish sound as you step on them in-game. Anyway, the events of RE0 back right up to the events of the original Resident Evil. It’s not particularly necessary to play it in order to understand good, ol’ classic RE, but I love it all the same.
RE0 initially came out for GameCube back in the day. I actually own this version of the game.
All that said, while I’ve owned it for many years, I never actually beat it (oops). It was insanely hard, or at least I felt it was at the time. I got as far as getting off the train and into the training facility before a leech zombie killed me. Multiple times. Yeah, I’m not too ashamed to say I gave up. However! I didn’t actually go into this without knowing all that happens. I’ve read the novelization!
So I’ve known and loved Rebecca and Billy for years now. I was, of course, incredibly excited to see good, ol’ Zero get an HD remaster.
Like I said before, the game isn’t new, so chances are, you’ve probably already played it. However, if you haven’t, I do recommend it, so long as traditional survival horror is your jam. If it’s not? Well, this may not be the game for you, much as it pains me to say that. This game has always struck me as pretty niche. If you love Resident Evil and you love survival horror, all engines are go. But if you only like one of these things? Well, I guess it just depends on how much you love them.
For me, RE0 is a great installment into the lore of the RE franchise. It doesn’t hurt a damn thing that I love love love the chemistry between Rebecca and Billy.
More than anything else about this game, I love the growing that these two do together, both as a team and individually. Rebecca, especially, grows as a person remarkably well throughout the progression of the story.
However, as I’ve said, this is either a game you have played/planned to play, or it’s not, so let’s discuss the actual remastered aspects!
I was very pleasantly surprised by just how nice it looks!
Maybe it’s my nostalgia glasses making me more excited (because make no mistake, I was super excited), but it looked a lot better than I thought it would. It’s crisp, it’s clean, and it’s brightened up a lot. That said, it isn’t brightened so much as to take away the creepy elements. You can also play in widescreen or more traditional format. I did widescreen, so I can’t attest to the elements of the traditional format; however, I had no complaints about how I played it. I’ve seen where people have said widescreen can cut screens off and make it hard to get items, but that’s not an issue I personally ran into, so I can’t attest to the validity of it.
Possibly the biggest change is to the controls. Hold your breath here folks, because a traditional survival horror game just updated its controls into the modern world! All that said, it’s a flawed system, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
The game allows you to play either with the traditional controls most all survival horror junkies love (do we love them? Or is this kind of like Stockholm syndrome?), or you can play with more modern controls. I played a bit with the traditional controls, which are traditionally difficult.
However, in the name of science! (and the fact I wanted to sort of ease myself back into survival horror), I settled on playing with the updated controls. Mostly, they work well. There’s not much space to go wrong with such a system. Or so you think! Basically, the updated controls are great and wonderful about 75% of the time. The other 25%, they made me want to just walk away. Old school survival horror controls existed for a reason, namely because of the wacky camera angles old survival horror games love to use for scare value. Those same wacky camera angles still exist, making updated controls terrible. There were many times I’d turn a corner only to immediately turn back around due to the change in camera angles. It was frustrating to say the least. Had I been playing on anything other than easy mode, I probably would have quit. However, I was playing on easy mode, and thus I made it through!
Another addition to the HD Remaster version is that you can play through the game again as supped up Wesker. I have yet to do that. Will I eventually? It’s possible, but it isn’t in the immediate plan. Right now the plan is to move on to the newest remaster of RE the original.
So overall impression of Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster? I already knew I would like the game, so that sounds like cheating. But it looks beautiful, even if the controls suck no matter how you look at it. I think if you are good with the old school controls, stick with those. However, if you aren’t well-versed in them, you’re probably going to struggle either way. Which honestly? That’s kind of okay. It is a historically hard game, after all.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a mansion to go explore!