Resident Evil is one of the most successful series of video games I have had the pleasure of playing. Surviving from the original Playstation with countless titles released over the past twenty years, the majority of which I have absolutely loved, this series is one of my favourites. I don’t think I am alone when I say that as time has progressed, the games themselves have changed drastically from their survival horror roots. With the release of Resident Evil 6 a couple of years ago, the only aspect that remained from the mid nineties seemed to be the title.
The reviews and sales of Resident Evil 6 were poor and this backlash forced Capcom to seriously reconsider the future of this franchise, in doing this they have looked back to the successful past and what originally made these games so great – the survival horror element. To test the waters of how to take the series forward Capcom have decided to re-release the first Resident Evil for the current generation of consoles. Originally I thought this would mean a complete update of the original title that was released on the Playstation and the Saturn in 1996, but it is in fact a HD remake of the Gamecube version that was released in 2002. This has become a little confusing but does make sense, as this version still looks impressive even today.
Luckily I can say that this version of the game is one of my all time favourites, I even went out and bought a Gamecube solely so that I could play this title. When people talk about a game being a console seller, I always think back to this and the impact it had on me. At the time this game looked incredible, being a massive visual improvement over the 1996 version. The game itself was also expanded on with extra areas and story added, so that it felt fresh and different as you played through it; a cheap cash in this was not.
Will this new HD remake have a anything new added? Sadly it appears not and this does make me feel that this won’t have the impact that it needs, to make Capcom realise that Resident Evil fans don’t want an action orientated game. A few new features have been announced though, with a completely new control scheme available to bring the game a little more up to date, the option to use the old tank controls is still there though, so it will be interesting to see what difference 360 movement will make to the gameplay. The camera will also be improved with the option to play in the original 4:3 ratio or a new 16:9 widescreen version, which should fill and look superb on your modern HD TV.
I am sceptical about this release. I do fear it could just be a cash in for Capcom, as the game is still essentially the same as the one released over ten years ago. I hope the graphical updates are more than just a HD upscale, as it has been proven in the past that this can make games look terrible. If the time has been taken to redraw and model the characters and environments, then this could be a great way for both returning and newcomers to experience one of the greatest examples of survival horror. I really hope it does do well, as I would love to see a full update of Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil Remastered is released online only on the 20th January in the U.K. It will be available on the PS3 and Xbox 360 running at 720p. With full 1080p output available on the PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 versions.