Resident Evil 0 Switch Review — Two Isn’t Always Better Than One
Resident Evil 0 is a strange outlier in the long-running survival horror series, making it a tough recommendation on Switch over the first Resident Evil and 4.
Resident Evil 0 is a fascinating look at the ways in which Capcom made attempts at refining the already established gameplay found in the first three mainline titles on the first PlayStation. For all of Resident Evil 0’s triumphs, it has one glaring fault that stops it from being a truly memorable or truly enjoyable entry in the series. In addition, the game’s Nintendo Switch port is an inferior way to play with some shockingly lengthy loading times.
This entry in the series acts as a prequel to the first game in the mainline story focusing instead on Rebecca Chambers and the rest of Bravo Team before Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine infiltrated Spencer Mansion. After Rebecca is separated from her team, she runs into an escaped convict named Billy Coen, who acts as her partner throughout the game. Before Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 0 was the first game to tinker with an AI partner. Needless to say, it didn’t mesh well with the fixed-camera style of previous games. Everything I really dislike in this entry stems from the mechanics built around your partner.
The most glaring issue is inventory management. You’re limited to both Rebecca and Billy’s six inventory slots, and they’re never upgraded throughout the campaign. Additionally, there are no traditional item boxes found at save points meaning you’ll inevitably have to put down things you’re carrying in easy-to-reach places. The game tries to counteract any frustration this may cause by allowing you to see what items are where on the in-game map. Unfortunately, the process between trading items between characters and running back and forth between places becomes tiresome very quickly and can drain a lot of the enjoyment you may have with Resident Evil 0.
Since I first played Resident Evil 0 on the GameCube, I’ve always enjoyed how easy it is to switch between characters. You can customize your partner’s behavior, and while the options are quite limited, there’s enough there to satisfy everything you’ll need to do. Your partner can be used as additional inventory baggage or you can give them a powerful weapon and some ammo to support you in tougher fights.
Furthermore, there is a bit of a solo element to the game as you can have one of the two characters remain idle as you explore by your lonesome, but in return, you’ll be sacrificing some inventory space. Even while you’re in other rooms, you can switch between characters which could allow for a faster playstyle once you familiarize yourself with the game’s locations. Resident Evil 0’s maps are tightly designed like previous games and this ultimately does not bode well for two characters on-screen at once. Therefore, I often found myself opting for the playstyle I previously mentioned.
Visually, Resident Evil 0 offers some really eerie environments that are still fun to explore. The design philosophy behind these locations is almost on par with the original game, only to be hampered by some lame puzzles, again, designed around cooperation between you and your AI partner. Story-wise, Resident Evil 0 is probably the worst of the fixed-camera games. Rebecca and Billy aren’t as compelling as series staples like Chris, Leon, Claire, or Jill. That’s not to say that they’re absolutely terrible, they’re just not as good. Does that mean I’m against newer characters in the series? Not really. I’d just like some better ones. In fact, I find the antagonist in Resident Evil 0 really interesting, and while I won’t give much away, their actions do in fact have an interesting effect on the installments following in the canonical timeline.
As Resident Evil 0 started on the GameCube, it only seems appropriate that the remastered version has made it onto the Nintendo Switch. The port itself plays fine, containing the same features and added bonuses found in every other version of the game. However, I did find the relatively lengthy loading times troubling. For a game that came out in 2002, you’d expect things to be a breeze, but going between locations can often take a bit of time to load. It’s not a huge issue entirely, but it is genuinely surprising. As always the novelty of having Resident Evil 0 on Switch is nice even with this slight setback.
Today, you’re going to have the choice between buying Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0, and Resident Evil 4 on the Nintendo Switch. If you’re a sucker for physical releases, you’ll get this game packed in with the first one for a high cost of $59.99. While I don’t think Resident Evil 0 is a bad game at all, it certainly hasn’t aged as gracefully as the two other titles. Therefore, I can only really recommend you buy the other games first before going into this one.
Resident Evil 0 is a product of Capcom experimenting with the series as it made the jump from fixed camera angles to a third-person behind the shoulder perspective. It’s certainly an interesting part of the franchise’s history, but if you’re not a huge fan of the series, it might just be worth skipping.