I’ll be the first to admit I’m in the Pre-Resi4 fan camp. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy, or even understand Capcom’s need to update and refresh the franchise, (lets just say 4 was a class above their attempt at On Rail shooter with Survivor, Dead aim and the chronicles releases, or the online co-op shambles that was Outbreak), but I remain firmly a fan of the original releases as they form part of my gaming history. I was engrossed with the badly voiced but amazingly paced original, the divergent story wonder that was resident Evil 2 is still one of my favourite games of all time, while the slightly lackluster and confusing Nemesis and Code Veronica still had their own charms to keep me within the Capcom fold.
So first, a confession; I’ve never played Resident Evil 0. I was fully aware of the prequel to the original title, knew a bit about the resoundingly complex plot ideas through Zero’s condensed story within Umbrella Chronicles, and although in my mind this is a part of ‘original’ series of Resident Evil, not having the hardware needed to play it allowed this title fell to the wayside.
Zero opens with the Ecliptic Express, a train run by the Umbrella Corporation coming under attack by unknown creatures in the Arklay Forest. the STARS Bravo team, enroute to the Arklay mountains to investigate reports of cannibalistic murders on the outskirts of Raccoon City, crash land in the forest near the Spencer Mansion from the original Resident Evil. Bravo team disembark and quickly discover something is amiss when they come across the corpses of a couple of military police officers.
Splitting up from the rest of the team to investigate and find the murderer, who the team believes is the convict they were transporting, Billy Coen; Rebecca comes across the idling Ecliptic express and goes on board to investigate.
The first thing about the Resident Evil games that causes a divide among players is typically the control scheme. The game has been refitted with a newer and more intuitive control scheme for those who shy away from the antiquated, and quite honestly cumbersome, ‘tank’ controls, but the purists can take solace that the original controls remain in place regardless.
Inventory is a different beast in this release when compared to 1,2 or 3, and Capcom have done away with the old storage box method, replaced instead with the ability to drop items throughout the levels are recover them from where they have been dropped. This adds a new dynamic to the game that was missing from the originals, and forces a greater level of inventory management than previous iterations dictated.
New to the series, (at the time), was also the fact that not only did you control Rebecca as she fell down the Umbrella Corp. rabbit hole, but also that of Billy Coen, the misunderstood but surprisingly calm around zombies suspected mass murderer who you were looking for when you first boarded the train. This character transference allows for more complex puzzles where certain characters are able to perform certain actions, and each character has their unique attributes when battling the undead and mutated hordes you will encounter throughout the game.
As an example, the first puzzle of this nature has Rebecca trapped in a room, requiring an item small enough to enable her to escape. Transferring a key she found to Billy using a kitchen service lift allows him further access to the train thereby allowing you to find an item that Rebecca can use to free the jammed lock. These tandem puzzles add to the standard combining items to unlock progress puzzles for which the Resident Evil series is well known.
As I stated at the start, having never played through the full campaign as such, I took great delight in seeing firsthand the convoluted and contrived plot behind the events and motivations of the Umbrella Corporation and the retrofitted lore that allowed this game to fit in perfectly with the story I remember from the original game. Thankfully, the voice acting and dialogue is as cheesy as ever, keeping itself true to one of the aspects that make Resident Evil, Resident Evil.
Graphically, even with the enhanced visuals you can see how dated the game actually as, with the stilted character movement at odds with the crisp new textures that have been overlaid, but this, in my opinion, adds to the games charm. It is a beautiful, flawed gem of a game that has successfully lodged itself in place alongside one through three and Code Veronica.
Other than the obvious hiccups with this type of control method, I didn’t encounter any other bugs or problems with the game throughout the time I spent with it.
It’s corny, cheesy, over the top and ultimately utterly enjoyable. If you are a fan of the Resident Evil franchise, and like me missed out due to its sole platform publishing, I can heartily recommend this game to you. On the other hand, if you aren’t a fan of Resident Evil, this is just more of the same overall game, with enough changes and modifications to make it an interesting variant on the original games.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 8.5/10
Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / PC
Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a copy of resident Evil 0 HD for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.