|System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|Release: January 19, 2016|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language|
by Patrick Tretina
I have always been a big proponent of developers dusting off their old projects from yesteryear and injecting some fresh life for a new generation of gamers to enjoy. For me personally, it’s an opportunity to experience a wealth of titles that I might have originally passed on. The Last of Us Remastered was a prime example of this, as I didn’t get a chance to play the original but took the plunge when it was finally re-released on the PlayStation 4. The same can be said for Resident Evil Zero - I never played the original when it debuted on the GameCube but jumped at the prospect of playing the remastered version when it came across my desk. However, that’s exactly where this nostalgia-infused story ends. Capcom’s prized gem from the early 2000s seems to be frozen in time forever.
My initial reaction to the title was a mixture of excitement and enthusiasm that was soon overshadowed by confusion, perplexity, and disappointment. Initially, I was enticed by the classic Resident Evil camera angles and the prospect of horrifying creatures to take down along my journey. I was even excited at pairing up the young Rebecca Chambers with the slick tattoo-sporting Billy Cohen for an epic adventure of zombie slaying. Unfortunately, I was left with shallow character development, atrocious player controls, predictable enemies, and a frustrating save system that forced me to complete portions of the game several times over.
The reason for my jumbled mess of child-like emotions could be a direct result of my own overhype or because the game doesn’t offer anything new outside of a few flimsy updated character models and lighting changes. Yes, I did my research about the initial GameCube launch, and this new version offers no additional content except for a few minor visual and screen ratio tweaks. It's similar to the Wii remake of the game, which was criticized as a straight port that didn't make use of the system's motion controls for aiming. The fact that this title has been released a third time with no new content is a real sore point.
That said, the updated visuals are light but definitely a welcome sight compared to what the previous version looked like. Billy’s character model is much more refined, as is Rebecca’s, and the zombies come loaded with clearer features while they stumble around trying to eat away at your brains and tasty limbs. The bosses and mini bosses also received visual updates that fit nicely on the current-gen platform. The cutscenes seem to be the anchor that keep the graphics from being near flawless, as they are identical copies of the 2002 version. It’s painfully obvious when either character enters into a room that triggers a cutscene and the visuals instantly go from nicely rendered to choppy, grainy, and unrefined - it almost feels like two separate games are intertwined, which causes a breakdown in the immersion the game is attempting to create.
The gameplay and shooting mechanics were the tipping point of my frustration as the classic Resident Evil camera perspectives seem to do more harm than good as players progress through the game. Yes, the developers did implement the option of switching between Classic and Modern control modes, but I found it difficult to distinguish the difference between the two. Shooting down zombies was equally frustrating and felt more like a planned horror film with multiple retakes rather than spontaneous action. I found myself having to back up repeatedly and reacquire my targets before slowly pumping them full of lead. When I say slowly, I mean one slow speed of shooting regardless of how many times I pulled the trigger. The entire combination of shooting and moving was frustrating, and made the experience awkward rather than exciting and adventurous.