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Resident Evil HD Remaster Review

Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
January 20, 2015

Resident Evil is an iconic name in video games. However, in order to properly evaluate this particular remaster, we need to understand the reason behind the franchise’s legendary status. Is it legendary because of the often infuriating tank controls and tedious inventory system? Of course not. It was singularly remarkable due to its atmosphere; the tension and urgency the original title(s) generated was unparalleled and really, unlike anything we’d experienced in games up to that point. This is what’s on display in the Resident Evil HD Remaster and if you can accept that other elements fail the test of time, you’ll be plenty satisfied.

In short, as is the case with most upgrades of retro games, you must allow nostalgia to play a role. That’s the point, obviously. If you don’t, if you’re a newcomer seeking a bit of history, you may end up laughing and pointing at those of us who remember the unbelievable impact such games had.

At any rate, a remake of a remake can be difficult to analyze. Here, we’re talking about an updated version of a 2002 GameCube game, which was a remake of the revolutionary 1996 PlayStation classic. The good news is that we get the expanded widescreen view, enhanced background textures, and fresh lighting. The bad news is that even with such upgrades, the game falls shy of other remasters we’ve seen recently, likely because the original graphical content is just so outdated. Yes, we’re talking about a first-generation PlayStation experience. Then again, that atmosphere remains untainted and just as effective as ever…especially ‘cuz you might’ve forgotten some of those fearful segments and reliving them is a joy.

The sound suffers from compressed voiceovers and a set of effects that could’ve used more sprucing up. Again, with a game that’s nearly 18 years old, you’re going to get a production that falls well shy of what we know and appreciate today. Even the GameCube update is over 12 years old. Still, the soundtrack is beautifully composed and orchestrated, the audio is good enough to punctuate those jump-out-of-your-seat moments with horror and surprise, and the nasties still make appropriately nasty noises. Resident Evil had great sound for the time and some of it remains impressive and wildly effective. Simply transport yourself back in time and indulge in the greatness, if you can.

You will play as either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield, both members of the special ops team known as S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service). The setting is a mysterious mansion, where you end up getting trapped on a mission to locate missing S.T.A.R.S. agents. It doesn’t take long before your initial goal falls by the wayside, to be replaced by the much more urgent goal of survival and escape. You’ll evade and attack a variety of creepy monsters, including the memorable zombies, and you’ll solve quite a few puzzles in your harrowing quest. You’ll combine valuable items in your inventory as well and although that inventory system is really the opposite of “streamlined,” I still took to it like a fish to water (not everyone will, though).

As I said above, the fear is the focal point. If the game can still create that creeping sensation, if it can put that tingling at the base of your spine, if it can tense up those fingers, then it’s doing its job, regardless of age. Resident Evil HD Remaster , while in some ways a testament to how far the industry has come, can still make you jump. It’ll still make you hesitate before entering a new area. Those dogs busting through the window? Okay, we all know it’s coming and yet, when it happens, our bodies invariably respond. This is precisely why these games had such an impact, and why they’ve turned out to be some of the most important efforts in the industry’s history.