When I reviewed Resident Evil HD Remaster, I warned I would probably jump at an HD remix of Resi 0 – and I did. Capcom released Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster and I immediately grabbed it, largely due to the fact it stars my favourite Resident Evil character, Rebecca Chambers.
In fact, Capcom created a bunch of new costumes for Rebecca that weren’t in the original game. Woo-hoo! But then they chopped them out so they could sell them as DLC. Capcom! We’ve talked about this… Anyway, if you’re a horror veteran who’s capable of enjoying old-school survival horror with tank-style movement controls, lock-on shooting with inconsistent damage, and blinding, fixed camera angles, then you might be interested in this.
I must admit, since I played the HD remaster of Resident Evil, I seem to have rediscovered my tolerance for this genre, although it was probably helped along by me watching let’s plays on YouTube and being infected by their enthusiasm – but I’m still not sure how many people apart from old-school survival horror players could force themselves through this.
In Resident Evil Zero, which is a prequel to the entire franchise (obviously), players assume the role of two characters. The first is a rookie medic in Raccoon City PD’s S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team named Rebecca Chambers. A short way into her investigation of a stationary train, she meets escaped convict Billy Coen – and soon they’re attacked by all kinds of weird monsters and have no choice but to team up. The train eventually delivers the two of them to a secluded mansion with a secret bio-weapons lab in it. Seriously, what is it with the Umbrella Corporation and mansion labs?
The main standout feature of RE 0 is that you control two characters at the same time. You can switch between Rebecca and Billy at will, and you can issue basic commands to your AI-controlled companion, such as follow, wait, attack and don’t attack. Switching between the two characters is necessary to progress. Rebecca is the weaker of the two; she can’t move heavy objects and she doesn’t have as many hitpoints as Billy, but she can mix healing herbs and other chemicals for puzzle solving. Billy is a good meat-shield in combat and he’s got the muscle to move heavier items. He also plays the piano better than Rebecca does. Who knew?
This HD remaster is similar to the previous one. There’s a new control scheme (which I don’t recommend using as it doesn’t work well alongside the fixed-camera system) and a widescreen mode. The widescreen mode might sound good at first, but it’s a bit of a hack. Instead of recreating the pre-rendered backgrounds from wider angles, they simply chopped off the top and bottom of each image to make it fill a wider screen. It’s already hard enough to see what’s going on with enemies coming at you from off-screen with a camera you can’t control, and chopping off a bit more of that limited view is the opposite of help. I’d recommend sticking to the 4:3 ratio.
While I seem to have briefly regained some enthusiasm for classic survival horror, I can’t help noting all the ways it annoys me while I’m playing it. You should keep that in mind if you’re looking to indulge your nostalgia.