Reviewed: Resident Evil HD Remaster
If you had told me that another re-release/remake of the original Resident Evil game would be one of the early contenders for my 2015 game of the year I would have called you crazy and laughed you all the way to the interrogation room. Alas, here I am writing a review about this game because it is so far my favorite game that has been released this year. I should point out that I had never actually played any of the Resident Evil games that came before RE4 so your mileage on this game may vary depending on how many times you have already played it.
The game starts you off with you and your partners being chased by some very bad dogs who probably want to eat you. In typical survival horror fashion the group decides to take shelter in the creepy ass mansion that looks foreboding as fuck. Once inside, the group realizes that one of the members is missing and they decide to investigate. Depending on whether you play as Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield, the person who is missing will vary. I played as Jill so this review will be from her perspective. After realizing Chris is missing, Jill and Barry are told by their commander Albert Wesker to go investigate while he waits there. Jill and Barry eventually run into a zombie that Barry shoots to sleep with his Magnum and return to the main hall to find that Wesker is now missing as well. So Jill and Barry decide to split up because that makes complete sense in the head of a Resident Evil character.
Look, if you go into Resident Evil expecting some a brilliant story with phenomenal voice acting, you’re going to be disappointed. This is not a Bioware game. RE games always have awful voice acting and an awful story. To be honest that’s one of the things I find so endearing about the series. Skip to 7:23 in this video to see a shining example of the exact thing I’m talking about courtesy of Resident Evil 5:
“Well yeah but…” we can see what Chris is really interested in, he doesn’t care about saving the world.
Silly cliche-ridden story aside, this is a fantastic game. The gameplay involves Jill (or Chris if you choose him instead but you really shouldn’t) running around the mansion and exploring various rooms to find clues as to the situation while fighting off zombies and dogs along the way. The thing about these zombies is that if you don’t headshot them or burn them with the provided lighter and flask of oil they will come back as even stronger super asshole zombies called Crimson Heads. Crimson Heads are faster and do much more damage than your average zombie, as this guy learned the hard way:
This really wouldn’t be such a huge issue if it wasn’t for the extremely limited inventory space the games provides. Two slots of said inventory need to be used in order to carry the flask and the lighter. This results in a lot of backtracking to save rooms so that you can manage your inventory because you will be picking up all manner of keys and emblems and what not in order to gain access to the various locked doors around the mansion. Again, this wouldn’t be too bad if you didn’t only have 8 inventory slots (six, if you play as Chris). As annoying as the inventory system was, I liked that the game wasn’t holding my hand and allowing me to carry a rocket launcher, 3 pistols, some shotguns, and a few sniper rifles at once. The inventory system is a big reason why the game can get extremely intense at times. It will lead you to really debate whether or not you should use that health item to free up a space or if you should save it for later when you may really need it.
There are a few areas to explore (like the Cabin with a bunch of secrets and an underground laboratory), but the majority of the game takes place in the mansion. The mansion is massive and there are plenty of secrets to find if you go looking. The other locations I mentioned also come with some their own special enemies (like a giant man eating shark and giant spiders). There’s also a part with giant wasps that take great pleasure in stinging the fuck out of you:
I won’t mention much else gameplay-wise because it would involve spoilers and I don’t want to be that guy who ruins it for someone who hasn’t played the game. One of the most enjoyable things about the game is the challenge of figuring out various puzzles and what you’re supposed to do next on your own. Too many games these days tell you exactly what to do and exactly how to do it. Like Dark Souls, this game does it right. I will, however, mention that because this is a remake of an old classic, the gameplay uses fixed cameras instead of the third person, behind-the-back view that many of us are used to. While it’s disorienting at first, it’s pretty easy to get used to and I found myself not even caring due to how engrossed I was with the game.
I beat this game about 5 times in a 2 week period, because it’s just that fun to play. There are also various bonuses you get for playing through the game multiple times and on various difficulties; things like 3 round burst pistols and rocket launchers with infinite ammo. Resident Evil HD Remake is a very rewarding game that you should play if you haven’t played the originals, or if you’ve played the originals but want a more modern experience, visually. If it was any other game, I would probably dock it for the silly story, but it’s Resident Evil, so I feel like a good story would just feel out of place and wrong. I’m clearly not the only one that feels this way, because this game is Capcom’s fastest selling digital game to date. And it’s pretty fucking metal!