Enter the survival horror.
The groundbreaking chapter in horror game history known as Resident Evil has had multiple releases since its original release back in 1996 (Fun fact: Not only was RE released in the year of my birth, but it’s actually set on the evening of my 2nd birthday), including a Director’s cut, a re-release on the Sega Saturn, a DS port, a full-blown remake for the GameCube that eventually made its way to the Wii – and now its hit modern platforms with a HD remaster of the REmake… is it one release too far?
The short answer is… no. Resident Evil revolutionised the Horror genre, creating a new sub-genre known as Survival Horror, and whilst games have attempted to replicate its famous formula and build upon it, there still isn’t a game that can hold a candle to this historic production.
Graphically, it’s RE’s best remake yet. Textures have been touched up, particles enhanced, character and item models renewed and most importantly, resolution bumped up to a beautiful 1080p – much unlike RE4’s welcome but incomplete HD re-release on Xbox 360, which consisted of sharper object edges surrounding the dated untouched textures. Having both the textures and edges refreshed completes the experience and whilst still not standing up to the likes of Call of Duty: AW, it’s still a good looking game. Besides, in a mansion as eerie and atmospheric as this, graphics don’t matter so much – hell, the original was scary enough and that was back on Playstation.
Aside from graphical updates, the game benefits from new additions dotted around that I won’t delve into for spoiler’s sake, and an additional controls setup that switches out the awkward “tank controls” for something a little more manageable for newcomers.
…which brings me onto why this release is important. Newcomers. Young-uns. At age 13 I played my first Resident Evil – RE4, by that point I had missed most of the earlier releases and was only able to try RE1 through the GameCube REmake. With such a renowned reputation, and with good reason, I feel all horror fans should try out RE1, just as I would urge a sci-fi fan to watch a classic like Star Wars. This HD remaster of RE1 is to newcomers now as the GC REmake was to me, it gives them a chance to experience a classic, without the dampening feeling of it being dated. As for veterans of the series, this release is the perfect excuse to revisit an old favourite without switching systems, and enjoying it with a handful of small but worthwhile adjustments.
(Thank heavens the original voice acting didn’t make it through…)
The game itself beyond what has already been mentioned is very much untouched, it’s still the best game in history for making you really think about what to bring with you and conserving ammunition and other consumables. Players must solve clever (and in some cases, extremely difficult) puzzles to progress, all the while having the feeling of tension looming as they make their way through the tight corridors of the Spencer Mansion, not knowing what may lie around the next corner. Having spent some time enjoying this new release, even I was scared out of my wit by jump scares I had forgotten about. The blend of awkward camera angles, a consumable & location based save system and an eerie atmosphere created by environment and solid use of soundtrack provides one of the best fear-filled thrill rides money can buy.
Rounding it all off… No. Resident Evil’s new HD remaster is not one release too far, and I implore you all to give it a go if the idea has even remotely interested you.
Fear can’t kill you, but…