Resident Evil Remastered Preview

20823568_residentevilremastered_trailer_ign-1409684740401

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.

ResidentEvil_1204_01The 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seriously reconsider the future of this franchise, in doing this they have looked back to the successful past and what originally made these games so great – the survival horror element.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.

ResidentEvil_1204_05Will 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.

ResidentEvil_1204_07

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.

 

The Evil Within PS4 Review

theevilwithin_1920x1080

The Evil Within Review

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Platform: PS4

It’s raining, dark clouds fill the sky, the merciless cold tightens its grip. With uneasy steps you make your way to the entrance of Beacon Mental Hospital, the scene of a reported multiple murder. Playing as Detective Sebastian Castellanos, you have been sent here to investigate the scene; it’s dark and mysterious past haunting your every step. With great unease you slowly push the great wooden doors, pausing as the smell of death welcomes you. Mutilated bodies are scattered across the grand entrance hall, their blood has covered every surface. The uncomfortable silence is broken with a feint cry for help, someone has survived.

Bound by your feet and hung from the ceiling, your eyes slowly open as you wake. Blood trickles from an open wound, running down your arm and dripping onto the tiled floor. A substantial man stands in front of you, his beaten face partially obscured by a makeshift metal mask, his clothes are drenched in blood. Turning away he approaches one of the neighbouring bodies, your can’t quite move your head enough to witness the barbarism, but the sound of metal as it slices through flesh is enough to send a wave of panic running through you. The muffled screams fall silent, paying you no attention, this butcher walks past carrying a dripping torso into the adjoining room. You notice a knife protruding out of the chest of another nearby victim, it promises the hope of survival.

online_brain_1399631051The opening minutes of Shinji Mikami’s latest offering, The Evil Within, are horrific, frightening and a little confusing, setting the tone for perfectly as we follow Sebastian through this nightmarish world. Each section is played out in the form of chapters and until later on in the story, it is often unclear exactly what is happening. It is an interesting idea as you’re kept constantly on your toes, you never know what is going to transpire or indeed where. You can be safe in the knowledge however that is it going to be gruesome.

The environments created here are in equal measure beautiful and disturbing: Devastated buildings, blood soaked sewers, abandoned villages, all speak of horrifying torment and are genuinely unsettling places to be. Couple this with masterful use of lighting and you will find yourself within a world that offers very little comfort. Adding further to the distressing surroundings are the convincing sound effects. Crackling fire, heavy footsteps, grinding metal, tortuous screams are all expertly handled and likely to live long in the memory.

Mutilated creatures, known as the Haunted, will hunt you mercilessly. These human-like creatures are harrowing in appearance, from their faces stricken with barbwire, to the rudimentary weapons all suggest a death that will be swift and violent. Thankfully there are various ways to dispose of our would-be slayers and this will change depending on the scene. Guns blazing is an obvious choice but, with limited resources that’s not always the best option. The Haunted are capable of absorbing a considerable amount of damage and a steady hand is required if you are going to take them down. One headshot is often not enough, a well-placed shot may indeed scatter parts of their brain, but this won’t stop them, their pursuit is relentless; this can lead to very tense and unnerving encounters, praying you have enough ammunition to stop the onslaught.

village_headshot_1399630550With this is mind a stealthier approach maybe your best chance of survival. Most unaware enemies can be killed instantly with a sharp shiv delivered swiftly to the base of the skull. Their unpredictable movements will make this challenging, they twitch, seemingly uncontrollably and will quite often turn quickly as if they sense your presence. Bottles can be thrown to distract them or lure them into well placed traps, but with a limited throwing arm this is not easy. This does nullify the use of stealth somewhat and you will find that you will rely on your shooting skills, no matter how nerve shredding this might be.

Your arsenal of weapons steadily increases as you progress. Early on you will find a fairly weak pistol, thankfully it’s not too long before your firepower increases. Worthy of special mention is the crossbow, capable of firing various types of bolts it is easily the most diverse weapon you will find and the most satisfying to use. You can set traps using the proximity mines or simply freeze the Haunted in place and shatter their ice-covered bodies into tiny pieces. Let’s not forget the matches: All enemies are susceptible to fire, find a corpse and you should set it ablaze before it reanimates and hunts you down. Careful timing and a steady nerve and it’s possible to burn a host of undead with a single flame.

online_village_knifefight_1399631055Scattered amongst the ruins is a substance simply called ‘green gel’.  You are able to use this at various stages to upgrade your equipment or abilities. Do you want more health or extra stamina? Perhaps your weapons need to be more powerful or you may need to increase the amount of munitions you can carry. Careful management is needed as it can make the between life and death.

Sadly, The Evil Within is not without its flaws. The wonderfully dark plot loses its way at times and some of themes are not fully explored. Sebastian himself is a little wooden as the lead character, he seems undisturbed by horrors he is witnesses which can detract a little. The cut scenes don’t quite have the graphical splendour that they deserve and the daunting level of difficulty will no doubt alienate some. If you can get past these faults however what you will find is another example of why Shinji Mikami is considered one the finest architects of survival horror. This is not a masterpiece, but with extraordinary levels of butchery, disgustingly beautiful presentation and wicked storytelling, it’s not far off.

Score – 9/10

Reviewer – Ian