Resident Evil Zero Review

Resident Evil Zero Review

Let Dead Zombies Lie

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.

Players must also learn to navigate the inefficient item management systems that severely hinders Billy and Rebecca’s ability to simultaneously complete mini-missions and survive the horde of zombie monsters. I found myself repeatedly dropping important items on the ground in favor of mission-specific items, only to double back later to reacquire the ones I previously dropped. As a result I spent a majority of my time reacquiring items rather than actually enjoying what the game has to offer. Capcom should have expanded the character inventories in order to usher this classic into the modern world.

The biggest sore point of playing Resident Evil Zero most certainly comes from the rage-inducing save system that utilizes an ancient technology to bookmark player progress. Rather than providing players with the ability to save on the fly from the pause menu, which would have been a hugely progressive addition, Capcom kept the save mechanic from 2002 by forcing players to find a typewriter in order to save their most recent progress. To make matters worse, players must find a series of Ink Ribbons before being able to “type” on the typewriter and essentially save their progress. The downside comes in the fact that the game only has a certain number of Ink Ribbons available throughout the game, which can force players to replay certain portions if they die before being able to save. Unfortunately that was the case with my experience as I managed to replay major sequences over and over as a result of not being able to save and dying at inopportune times.

All in all, Resident Evil Zero doesn’t even come close to being called a remastered version because it offers nothing but minor visual upgrades. Resident Evil nostalgia nerds will go nuts for this one but the average gamer will most certainly have a difficult time forking over the cash for a meager GameCube port. Needless to say, Capcom dropped the ball on this one. The attempted resurrection of an old favorite should have at least included a few extra features to justify a third release. Unless you really want to live in Resident Evil ‘s past, you’d be wise to avoid this one like it’s a zombie infected with the t-virus.

The updated visuals are a nice addition but the unchanged cutscenes from 2002 severely hinder a player’s ability to feel immersed in the game. 2.0 Control
The player movement controls are clunky and difficult to navigate in a world full of zombies and man-eating monsters. 2.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice-overs are cheesy at best, with the only highlight coming in the form of the mini boss and main boss musical scores. 2.0 Play Value
The antiquated save system makes RE Zero very difficult to continue playing, especially if you find yourself continually redoing missions. 2.0 Overall Rating – Poor
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

Game Features:

  • Fan-favorite Resident Evil characters – Rookie S.T.A.R.S. member Rebecca Chambers and wanted criminal Billy Coen combine skills and buddy up to survive the undead and infected nightmares that await them.
  • Completely enhanced visuals – New high-resolution textures have been created from scratch, including 1080p support on next-gen consoles, while still preserving the classic appearance of the original release.
  • Return to the series origins – Discover the truth behind what led to the horrors at the Mansion in Resident Evil in this fan-favorite and popular prequel title to the series.

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