It’s hard to believe now, but at one point Resident Evil was the gold standard in the horror survival genre. Now with the direction of the series in question, an HD version of the remake shows that sometimes all gamers want is a little old-fashioned.
Resident Evil HD is not just a nostalgic experience for the Next-Gen consoles but another chance to play a classic that so many fans missed. Many gamers played the original on the PlayStation, PC, or Sega Saturn back in the days but missed out on the GameCube remake because they either owned a PlayStation 2 or Xbox.
Old fans now have the opportunity to play an improved version of a timeless classic while new fans will finally experience what the true concept of horror survival is on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC.
The story itself has been hailed as one of the most memorable in gaming and has influenced the countless other horror games that followed. S.T.A.R.S (a special unit of the Raccoon Police Department) is deployed to investigate a series of murders outside the city. However, the team is forced to take refuge in a mansion after being attacked by a pack of Cerberus (zombie dogs). From this point is when the real nightmare begins as Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine work to uncover the secrets of the Umbrella Corporation.
Following in the footsteps of horror icon George A. Romero, the game uses the setting of a zombie outbreak to facilitate a social critique of the greed of pharmaceutical companies and the influence of money in politics. At the same time, it’s a modern retelling of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein that focuses on the moral implications of unchecked scientific research.
One thing Resident Evil received little credit for is how it avoided the stereotypical gender roles that are common in both video games and movies. The obvious being how Jill Valentine is not marginalized into role of the “useless chick” but is an actual, competent heroine.
The story and message may be timeless, but this update is not an old game with a new coat of paint. Original content has been added that can be unlocked after completing the game in a certain manner or at start the game with a BSAA outfit.
While the visual design has been updated for the Next-Gen consoles, the gameplay setup and controls remain true to the classic horror survival genre. Ammo and health are limited while the player works to overcome a series of obstacles in an attempt to escape the mansion.
Fans who haven’t played a classic Resident Evil game in a long time, along with those who were introduced to the series with Resident Evil 4, may have a difficult time adjusting to the traditional setup.
The point is that this will be a very difficult game because horror survival is supposed to be challenging. That is what makes Resident Evil HD such an ideal game is that it’s a return to what made the series a modern classic.
Even today: the original, and GameCube remake, are held in high regards while Resident Evil 6 is often seen as the epitome of everything that is wrong with the horror genre. For fans, it’s a call to return back to the series roots instead of pandering to the action-junkie fanbase.
Resident Evil established the horror survival genre 19 years ago and the GameCube remake polished a timeless story 12 years ago. With the series having abandoned its roots, the HD remake is reminder of what the franchise once was.
Final Score: 10/10
Disclaimer: The game used for this review was purchased at PlayStation Store.