Resident Evil: Origins Collection – Review
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Resident Evil 0 has returned to console for the first time since 2002. Launching to the Gamecube back in the day, the game served as a prequel to the first Resident Evil title; and both are available in HD in the Resident Evil Origins collection. The series is renowned for its gore and horror (not to mention nightmare inducing qualities because zombies are terrifying) however this particular remaster only serves to prove that some things are better left in the past.
As we all know, Resident Evil tells the tale of the evil Umbrella corporation who manufactured the T-virus for use as a bioweapon. The virus reanimates dead cells within living organisms and turns them into zombies or monsters, and has been wreaking havoc on poor Raccoon City and its surrounds since 1998. This particular rendition of the series focuses on Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen, who get stuck in a forest outside the famous city and have to fight their way through zombies, monsters and creepy men in capes to escape.
The first thing you notice about the HD remaster is how the graphic upgrades serve to really boost the creepy atmosphere. The entire game is desaturated, amplifying just how bleak and drab your situation really is. The pre-rendered environments have been upgraded and look even better than they used to. Curtains blow in the breeze, wine bottles roll around on the train floor and rain cascades down the windows; all immersing you in the feeling of the game- for now.
In a horror game immersion is so important- if you’re not paying attention all the work that goes into scaring you and building the tension goes out the window. This is why I was so disappointed in so many aspects of this remake. In the old RE games they disguised loading screens with a short cinematic of a door opening or stairs ascending/descending. The remaster of RE0 has kept this, for what I can only imagine is nostalgia sake, but it serves as more of an annoyance than anything else. On this generation of consoles loading screens every time you open a door simply aren’t needed, and when they’re thrown at you every minute or so it becomes frustrating more than anything else.
Other frustrations include the control scheme, which despite the revamp to fit in with the 21st Century is still painful to master. Especially when you’re required to aim and shoot in the split seconds you have before a zombie dog mauls your face off. Needless to say my version of Rebecca Chambers would need some pretty hefty surgery to make it through to the sequel unscathed.
Even if the controls were good and the loading screens disappeared, the story itself is pretty boring. There’s no surprises or twists that most Resident Evil games have delivered to their fans either, just a lot of zombies and some guy in a cape hell bent on destroying the world. The whole game I couldn’t wait to find out who this mysterious caped man was with his army of weird squishy leech things, and when it finally came to light I was more disappointed than anything else. Who knew a crazy caped man could be so boring?
For all its faults, the game does offer a range of positives that fans of the original will appreciate. The puzzles offered by the character swap ability bring in a new element of gameplay to distract from the face eating zombies you encounter every few moments, and are just the right difficulty to make you feel like you achieved something once completed. Billy and Rebecca, whilst very two-dimensional in their personalities, also offer some cheesy banter that’s pretty entertaining. Not entertaining enough to make up for all its flaws, but it’s something.
Overall my final thought is this: if you enjoyed the original version of the game, you will love this one. It is literally just a prettier version of the title we got in 2002- nothing more, nothing less. However, offering nothing to newcomers strikes me as lazy, since this was a big chance to breathe new life into such an iconic series. I wasn’t a fan of zombies before and this experience didn’t change my mind. Seeya later Raccoon City- I will not be coming back.