A Return to the Birthplace of Survival Horror
It has been thirteen years since Resident Evil first scared the crap out of all of us. For those of you that remember the terror you felt as you slowly made your way through the mansion, it was truly one of the most frightening things we had experienced up to that point. There had been some attempts at scaring gamers before, but none of them reach the fever point that RE did. The fact that the soundtrack was so ambient and dissonant made you feel all creepy. But then the fact that you had to scrounge or make everything that you needed to survive the game brought the level of intensity far beyond anything that we had played before.
So you might be asking yourself why you would want to revisit an old classic like RE . You might even wonder if the game is worth the meager price tag of twenty bucks. Well, I am here to tell you that it most definitely worth the price of admission. Familiar gamers and new ones will love what Capcom has done to make this old-school scare fest feel like a new game. The story may not have changed. But the way you play it most certainly has.
Before we get cracking, let’s review the story for those of you who don’t remember or think you don’t care where it all began. The story begins in 1988 with the deployment of an elite unit called S.T.A.R.S. being sent to a mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City to assess the situation after an initial team-sent to investigate a bunch of nasty murders-goes dark. The second team ends up getting trapped inside the mansion that the initial team was sent to investigate. And, my friends, is how survival horror as we know it began.
Now for those of you who were unaware that an older remake of this game existed on the Gamecube, that is what this new version is based on. So the game had already gotten solid face-lift back in 2002 and this new version only helps to push this classic into new and even more frighteningly good-looking territory.
So let’s start with the obvious stuff of a HD remake. The Graphics updates. First of all, you might thing that HD remakes have been lackluster at best and that RE: HD won’t be any different. But you’d be wrong. The lighting effects alone make the environments so much more vivid an unsettling than they ever have been. Everything feels so fresh and yet familiar, like a fog has been lifted from the original and now you can see it the way that it was meant to be seen originally. The technology has finally caught up with the concept. I mean, the fact that you can actually see a lot of the things that you would’ve missed in the original version due to graphical quality issues is a huge bonus. Now every piece of the mansion and all its craziness looks so real compared to the blocky resolution of the way it used to be. And now with the addition of the widescreen mode, you can see this place in an all-new and terrifying way.
Next, we’ll take a peek at the control scheme. The new and updated control scheme completely negates the horribly outdated controls that the game used to use. Now, it has become so easy to navigate the halls and rooms and courtyards of the mansion that it almost feels like playing the game for the first time. Now, while I am on that subject, there isn’t any real change to the story itself or the campaigns for both Chris and Jill. But the replay value is not diminished by this since it is no longer a burden to explore the areas of the game.
But, for those of you out there who maintain that the difficulty of the controls was one of the reasons that the game remained so viable in the survival horror genre for so long, Capcom didn’t forget you. At any point in your gaming experience, you can change to the classic controls, or back to the new controls if you feel like actually playing the game instead of suffering. I will say this. The one thing that I asked myself after using the new control scheme is, “How did we ever get along in gaming without and analog joystick on our controllers?” After playing the game using both control schemes, it is evident that gaming has come a very long way in the last thirteen years.
And now onto my favorite new addition to the game…the soundtrack. I am not lying when I say that the new soundtrack for this game is nothing short of a masterpiece. It is so much more convincing and only helps to add to the terror as you play through the game. It brings the sense of fright to near-cinematic levels as you work your way through each section of the house. It is so far removed from the original in terms of composition and scope, that it only really retains some of the original melodies that were kept to keep things just familiar enough to jog your memory of moments of true terror.
In terms of audio, the one thing that I feel like they could’ve stepped up their game on was the voice-overs. They still felt pretty stale and old-school in their presentation and there were still moments of Shatner-y goodness when the words coming out of a character’s mouths were as staccato and choppy as some of the mouth animations still were. But I can tell you without any doubt that this in no way detracts from the game itself and was not something that would’ve made me quit playing. In fact, it kept the cut scenes kind of endearing in a way. It gave this polished new baby and old voice that kept things grounded in the original.
I can’t lie to you and say that I was excited about playing this game at first. I was not. In fact, the only HD re-master I have enjoyed in any real capacity was the FFX HD re-master from Square. But apart from that, most HD remakes have been terrible, clucky, and completely unsatisfying. But thankfully Capcom did enough with this one to make it hands-down one of the best HD re-masters I have ever played. I loved this title from the day I played it the very first time. And this remake makes me realize that we owe so much to this franchise, even if it has lost its way in recent years.
The bottom line is that this game is definitely worth the twenty dollar price tag. For those of you that want to experience Resident Evil the way it meant to be experienced, you need to grab this game up. For those of you who have no idea what I am even talking about, you owe it to yourself to see where survival horror really began. And to those of you just looking for a way to relive the glory days and play something from yesteryear that you loved so much but are afraid a remake would tarnish the memory, fear not. This time, Capcom didn’t let us down. RE: HD is one of the best remakes out there and they couldn’t have picked a better game to nail it on than this one. So take a trip back to the mansion and remember what it’s like to get the crap scared out of you. This game still made me jump… even after all these years.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
Lighting effects and updates were incredibly well done, but a hare more polish would’ve been nice. It looked great but still felt just a little stale in places. 4.0 Control
The new controls worked well but got a little quirky from time to time. The ability to change to the old controls was a nice ouch as well. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This would have scored perfect if the voice overs would have been just a little better, but the overall audio of this re-master was just awesome compared to the original and added so much to the scenes and action sequences of the game. 4.0 Play Value
Unless you are new to the game or just a die-hard fan, this game will feel just like it did back in the day, only prettier. 4.3 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|