When the first Resident Evil was released in 1996 for the original PlayStation, it started the modern survival horror genre. The game was so successful that various sequels and spin-offs were released.
After six years since its initial release, Capcom made a remake of the first classic title and released it on the GameCube in 2002. This remake featured new graphics, voice acting and many gameplay changes.
Resident Evil HD Remaster takes this remastered version and improves upon it even further by updating 2D images in the backgrounds to 3D models, fixing lighting, redoing models from scratch and even more changes.
Once you start the game, you will be able to choose between Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Story wise both characters will have minimal differences, including different supporting characters that will aid you through your survival. Gameplay-wise, the differences between both characters are bigger and could possibly make your survival experience different.
If you play as Jill, you will be able to carry up to eight items, thus reducing your trips to your vault just so you get rid of some items. You’ll also be carrying a lockpick which enables you to enter a few rooms without the need to look for their respective keys. Additionally, you will be using a grenade launcher as well at a later point of the game, which has different types of ammo.
If you choose Chris instead, while you will be able to carry up to six items, Chris is a more skilled character who can take more hits and is better with weapons as well. Unlike Jill who carries a lockpick, Chris has a lighter instead which can be used to light up a few rooms or kill zombies for good. You will be getting a flamethrower as well. Even though you will have two extra slots with Jill, you still have to be smart about what you need to carry to survive.
Sadly, the highest difficult you can play as in the beginning is “Normal.” You will be able to play the game in various difficulties, including the newest “Very Easy” mode. However, I wouldn’t recommend playing the game in any of the less difficult options as it could possibly defeat the purpose of “Survival Horror” if the game is just too easy to beat. Nonetheless, it’s a nice addition for Resident Evil fans that never played any of the original games.
Depending on the character you have chosen, the game will start off with you searching for the other character. Trapped inside the Spencer Mansion, you must wander around its creepy corridors to find your teammate as well as find an exit. Along the way, you will encounter different enemies whom you just defeat or at least avoid.
To survive, you will have to solve multiple puzzles which occasionally requires the player to scavenge around the mansion for key items that open doors and pathways. Sometimes you will find items at a earlier point of the game when they aren’t necessarily needed, so it’s always good to save it in your vault until the time presents itself. Playing through this labyrinth of locked doors and pathways is definitely more entertaining than bothersome, as it adds another layer of survival to the gameplay.
It is essential that you converse ammo for deadlier enemies as it doesn’t come in abundance. However if you must, you need to kill it with headshots or dispose of them properly with fire, else they come back in even deadlier form — an increase in speed and attack power.
Additionally, the game doesn’t allow you to save as you please. Instead, you will need to use Ink Ribbons and go to a nearby Typewriter. While Ink Ribbons can easily be found, they shouldn’t be wasted either.
Because Ink Ribbons are essential to save your progress, they absolutely warrant a space in your item slot as you wouldn’t be able to save otherwise. This saving system as opposed to checkpoints or spawning on the place you died is what added more intensity into the game and what makes the game a true survival horror, both then and now.
You can change the game’s controls between the old “tank” style and new controls, which lets you have better control of your character thus making the survival horror title much easier to beat, although some of its survival nature still remains. However, if you want the challenge, you should stick to the original controls as that’s the best way to play Resident Evil, personally.
The game has definitely improved visually as well, and to add, it looks even better when using the protagonist’s Resident Evil 5 outfit as it makes the game look newer. One of my gripes, however, is that the cutscenes really look outdated, and while that’s expected from a 2002 game, unlike other remastered games they are really unwatchable here.
Playing the game at 60 frames per second has definitely improved my experience as well, as it has made the game more fluid. While the game may run at 30 frames per second in consoles, the PC version certain runs at 60 frames per second as the game should. After all, the game is 13 years old. If you must, you can play the game at 30 frames per second on PC as well. Additionally, the game gives you the option to switch between 16:9 and 4:3 ratios, the latter giving you a closer experience to the GameCube release.
Being a massive fan of Resident Evil’s former gameplay style, getting my hands on this remaster was refreshing. While I can appreciate its third-person shooter approach, I felt like the series was slowly losing its survival horror identity that the original Resident Evil popularized back in 1996.
I would definitely recommend Resident Evil HD Remaster for anyone who needs their classic Resident Evil fix on PC or next-gen consoles.