Resident Evil HD Remaster review: adds little to the game but reminds us of how special the original was

Capcom; £15.99; PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

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The Independent Tech

Once in a while a game comes along that, while not being the first to do something, does it so well that people forget about everything like it that came before; Resident Evil is one such game. This latest HD remake of the Gamecube remake of the PS1 original adds little to the game but reminds us of how special the original was.

Part of what made the original so scary and tense were the limitations of the PS1 hardware. Each room needed to be loaded separately and so we were given the iconic door opening animation which added to the tension. Rendering the whole world in real time wasn’t possible so pre-rendered environments with fixed cameras were used so you really couldn’t tell what was around the next corner. In a modern setting these limitations could begin to feel a bit frustrating, but incredibly, for the most part actually work in the same way they did almost two decades ago and really add to the tension.

 

For those unfamiliar with the series, you play as either Jill or Chris, starting with your police unit searching for a missing team that went ahead of you to investigate a strange string of murders. This then results in you being chased into what appears to be an abandoned mansion - where spooky things begin to occur. It’s a relatively standard haunted house premise, but it evolves into something more than that.

The game looks as good as can be expected of a re-mastered version of a 2002 remake with some scenes looking fantastic in 1080p. However some areas have had noticeably less work done to tart them up and as such really show their age.

There are of course problems and frustrations with the game such as not being able to move and shoot. Whether these problems were due to limitations in the original hardware or for design reasons are hard to determine. Either way the game manages to weave them together in to a sort of synergy that makes it more tense than frustrating and more scary than cheesy.

Resident Evil is a fantastic genre-defining game that everyone should play, and while the formula has been improved upon since (mostly by Resident Evil 4) this is still a classic in the genre and well worth a look, especially at this reduced price.

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