Sunday, 10 April 2016

Resident Evil HD Remaster/ PS4

RESIDENT EVIL!! The godfather of survival horror games.
Admittedly not the first, but simply the best and a game that paved the way for horror of any sort in the gaming market to up its game.
The fact that it has been re-released so many times speaks volumes for itself.

The Fact that it has been re-released a second time and that the originals up to RE2 are being remastered also suggests that either A) fans of Resident Evil prefer the glory days of tank controlling survival horror or B) that Resident Evil as a series is on its way out and Capcom are cashing in on the games that made it what it is today.
In all honesty, even with the rumours of RE7 in the pipeline, I feel that it has certainly had its best moments as a heavyweight in the survival horror genre and maybe just maybe Capcom should end it with a full release of remasters up to RE4.

I fucking love this game though, so of course when I heard that a remastered version was being released for PS4, I snapped it up quickly and was blown away once again by a game that I have played over multiple platforms since its release back in 1996 (wow I was in my last year of high school then).

'When I started to play the PS4 version, for me it was like playing the game again for the first time.'  

 As with Resident Evil 2, I borrowed this game from my friend's dad, who at the time happened to have the ways and means of buying titles that I could not afford and was happy enough to lend them to me. A few years later I replayed it on the Nintendo GameCube, which was an impressive remaster at the time, then recently played what is the most impressive version to date, the PS4 version. What more can be done to top this? A VR version? Maybe. It has stood the test of time because of its popularity and because of its updated versions, an achievement that few other first series releases can boast; not even Silent Hill, it's main rival in the survival horror genre.

The Plot

S.T.A.R.S bravo team disappear whilst investigating some bizarre murders close by Raccoon City, leading alpha team into a zombie filled nightmare as they go out looking for them. Whilst investigating the site of bravo teams helicopter crash, alpha team are chased into a nearby mansion by zombie dogs. Alpha team members, Wesker, Chris, Jill and Barry make it into the mansion where they catch a breath and wonder about what has just happened. A gun shot goes off sparking the team into separately investigating the mansion. As they wander deeper into the mansion, the nightmare of what bravo team have already encountered is revealed as well as a number of conspiracies involving alpha team member Wesker and his involvement in the zombie outbreak. Your mission from then on out is to fight and kill zombies whilst looking for evidence against the evil Umbrella Cooperation (or Knights Templar) to prove their involvement in the zombie outbreak whilst ultimately trying to escape the massive mansion.

Game-play (Proper Survival Horror and One for the Purists)

Old school, classical survival horror with a tremendous update to the graphics, controls and camera positioning, if you want to sum it up quickly. 

It stills plays pretty much like the original release and for those who are stuck in the olden days as far as the evolution of survival horror is concerned (sometimes myself), there is the option to play in 4:3 ratio and with the original tank control system; kind of like watching a HD film on a black and white TV because you love nostalgia. You choose to play as either survivor Chris or Jill, with small differences to how they make their way through the game; mainly Jill being assisted at times by Barry and Chris by bravo team member Rebecca (Resident Evil Zero); there is also a slight difference in weapons available to both. Your mission is to investigate the mansion to try and make sense of what is going on. You do this mainly by finding keys and unlocking doors, whilst occasionally working out a puzzle that will allow you to progress further into the game. Every so often you will enter into a boss battle and come up against zombie animals as well as the zombie humans throughout; plus there are the added crimson heads, which are much tougher, slashing zombies that move quickly.

'Whilst currently revisiting the original release, I am seeing how simple the PS1 version is, even though, at the time it felt like a massive game to play, it is in fact made bigger, by added rooms and corridors in the updated PS4 game.'

At the time of the original release for this game it was something like no other in terms of just how big of game it is. OK maybe not in comparison to today's huge open world games, but even after all these years and many plays, there are still occasions when I completely forget what I am to do next due to the shear size of the mansion. What also set this game apart from anything similar (think Alone in the Dark) at the time, is the fact that if you are a fan of zombie horror films this is a game that pays homage to the old flicks from the time of Romero and the Dead films. For the most part it is a totally bloody zombie killing festival, in which you have to make smart choices about bullet and medicine use as though you are funnily enough in a survival situation which in reality would make it difficult to stock up on supplies. What happened in the later games of the series is that Schwarzenegger took over the development and the games focused more on guns blazing. (I'm joking of course, it was Stallone).

The first two difficulty settings offer little in the way of a challenge, but try playing the game on the hard setting and I am sure that even the most seasoned Resident Evil players will struggle with the lack of ammo and supplies. It isn't as easy to manoeuvre and kill zombies in tight corridors with just a knife, even with the updated control system that gives so much more freedom than the old tank controls; a lesson that I am learning as I attempt to collect the trophy for completing the game only using the knife. An updated version also means that you can now collect trophies for various tasks completed. Not usually a huge bonus for someone like myself, unless I am of course playing a game that I actually give a shit about. Resident Evil is such a game that is etched into my gaming battle wounds and worthy of collecting more scars (trophies). The voice acting is the same as the original three games; cheesy and off timing. It doesn't really matter though unless you are a total newbie to the game and used to all the Hollywood acting that is infiltrating the modern gaming scene. There are various save points in game, the classic type writer and of course those trusted item boxes that can be used to store items that do not need to be used immediately or in Chris's case to store most of the items that he cannot carry as he has less item slots than Jill. Killing your enemies is pretty straight forward; aim, fire, kill, using your hand gun mainly and guns collected along the way (slight difference in weapon choices for Jill and Chris). Healing your wounds is also simple, using a combination of herbs (green, red, blue) or first aid sprays. Of course you know all this if you have played any of the games prior to this remaster, meaning that there isn't a whole lot more that I can tell you, given that the main difference to the game is how it looks with the content largely remaining the same (thankfully).

If this is your first time around then you will most likely enjoy the game overall and maybe point your nose skywards at one or two things that are clearly outdated in the modern world of survival horror (especially if you joined the series at RE4). If you are a long term fan of the games and have not yet picked up a copy of the remastered version then I strongly suggest that you do. Either way, turn off the lights, crack open some Dr Pepper and get ready to blast through zombies whilst occasionally checking your heart beat.

'Given that I love this series so much, I am going to blog about the whole series or at least all of the games that I have played thus far.'

Resident Evil Remastered scores an 8 out of 10.
Back in the day I would of given the original a straight 10 out of 10 given that it was a one of a kind at the time. However the game is outdated and drops a couple of points due to this being obvious. It will however remain a true classic in the survival horror genre.  

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Feel free to comment if you like this review or have played the game old or new.