“Resident Evil” the hammy voice says when you push A to begin. It’s been a staple of the series since the game first came out on the PS One and then PC and it’s back again in yet another remake of Resident Evil in HD. This version is actually a remake of the 2002 GameCube remake and as such, provided a fresh twist on the original game with new puzzles, running Crimson Head zombies and items in different places.
Of course the first thing you’ll notice is the visual improvement. The character models of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are crisp and detailed, while the backgrounds and environments, although not quite as polished, are also improved. Controls are still almost exactly the same in that you can’t move when you shoot, but this just adds to the drama as a shambling zombie comes towards you. Do you unload another round into his face or run away to put more space between you and your aggressor? Two enemies on screen at once really makes you think!
The camera is still problematic when the view crosses the line and controls go topsy-turvy and you’ll be sitting through plenty of animations of doors opening as you go between rooms. This slows down the pace but if you remember the original, you’ll actually quite like the fact that this has been left in.
The map is also super helpful. Now the rooms are colour coded so you’ve missed an item as you hammer the A button whilst hugging walls, you’ll know you have unfinished business. I still got stuck now and again and had to consult an FAQ thanks to some maddening puzzles that seem unfair. Who knew you’d have to examine a dog collar to reveal an item only to have to examine that item again in order for it to turn into a key! I spent ages looking for another piece of it.
Other frustrations from the old game design creep back into the game, such as having limited item slots and one of them gets taken up by a save ribbon for the typewriters. Limited saves aren’t the worst idea but this just compounds things. You’ll also be doing constant backtracking to item chests to swap items in and out which is also annoying, but also can prove rewarding for people who like to hoard everything and plan ahead.
Resident Evil HD will infuriate or bring back precious memories depending on who you are. If you’re new to the original and prefer modern controls, prepare for some readjustment. If you remember the original you’ll enjoy this blast from the past. Iconic moments such as the first zombie you encounter turning to face you will stick in my memory forever. Resident Evil HD Remaster gets 7 out of 10.