It’s just a little under a year since Capcom released the excellent Resident Evil Gamecube remake for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. The release came with some improvements and changes. You could play the game in the original 4:3 format or at a brand new 16:9 format, there was the option to choose between two controls which were classic and modern. Classic controls were the original controls in the game which are tank based, while modern controls moves your character to where you push the stick. The game sold very well, more than Capcom had anticipated which leads us to Resident Evil 0 HD.
After the great sales of Resident Evil, the final Gamecube exclusive of the series Resident Evil Zero, was announced to be getting the HD treatment. It once again comes with the same improvements of Resident Evil with the optional controls and choice between aspect ratios. What I found to be the best improvement which was the same for Resident Evil HD last year was the improvements to the visuals. The two games already looked impressive, and ahead of their times. The pre-rendered backgrounds with the improved lighting help make this 14 year old video game look acceptable at a time were visuals are becoming more and more talked about in the current generation of video gaming.
Resident Evil Zero kind of went under the radar when it was first released on Gamecube in 2002, and for many fans of the series, this might be a game you never had the chance to play before. With that being said, for unaware readers Resident Evil Zero takes place before Resident Evil (Of course!) it features STARS medic Rebecca Chambers who is trying to find escaped convict Billy Coen. However during the search, zombies take over a train and kills off most of the STARS team. Shortly after, Rebecca finds Billy, but eventually agree they must work together to survive.
Resident Evil Zero is a significant piece of Resident Evil history, although it must be said that it was a disappointment at the time. It was significant due to being the first game in the series to feature 2 playable characters at the same time. The change between each character is done in real time with the click of a button, and with the power of current gen systems, changing from one character to the other is quicker than ever. It took around 4-5 seconds on the Gamecube to switch from one character to the other, and in the HD remaster it takes no longer than a second.
Although the character switching system never made its way to any other Resident Evil games, it’s still a pretty cool feature for Resident Evil, and is by far the best way to handle multiple playable characters in a survival horror Resident Evil game. There are parts were the two are separated, and you never feel that the other character is there to just get you out of tricky situations. This is the issue with games like Resident Evil 5 and 6, there was never a feeling of danger when you are overpowered, and have an A.I character always there to help you. On the subject of being overpowered, like all survival horror R.E games, you will never feel overpowered with the lack of inventory space and with the removal of item boxes at save point destinations.
Going back to how Resident Evil Zero is a significant piece of Resident Evil history, this is the last game in the series to be in the survival horror category. This means you can expect the remaster to feature everything that made Resident Evil a survivor horror game, the fixed camera angles being one of those features. Now for me personally I find them to be a hindrance especially when aiming and trying to shoot an enemy that has gone out of fixed angle. The classic Resident Evil fan in me though doesn’t want to complain about it because it helped to build an atmosphere and make moments tense. For new fans however, they will find this outdated and may struggle at the start.
We talked earlier about how Capcom didn’t just give this a visual makeover with the inclusion of the modern controls, but it doesn’t just stop there. There are also trophies/achievements for the game which are always interesting to see for a video game that was released in an era with out them. However the biggest inclusion to the remaster is Wesker mode. In Wesker mode, Billy is gone, and in his place is the superhuman, super evil badass Albert Wesker. It’s a ridiculous fun mode which is unlocked after completing the main game once. I mean who doesn’t want to dash around Resident Evil Zero’s settings while being extremely overpowered in combat situations? It needs to be mentioned that while you do play as Wesker, Billy’s voice still plays in cutscenes.
The Final Verdict
Resident Evil Zero is interesting looking back at it. Although at the time I was disappointed, I mean it had to follow the remake of Resident Evil which is in my opinion the best Resident Evil game of all time, so it was always going to be tough for this prequel. After Resident Evil turned to a 3rd person action shooter, I’ve come to appreciate Zero for its survival horror goodness. Not only that, it’s a pretty good remaster with it being 14 years old and all. The backgrounds look amazing, especially with the much improved lighting, the cutscenes however are untouched, and look awful and outdated. The addition of Wesker mode too gives that extra incentive to buy this remaster if you had bought the original game. The best way to put it is that overall the game was okay but the remastered work was great.
+Classic survival horror Resident Evil
-Questionable settings, design choice, and enemies
-Not the strongest Resident Evil story