Maybe people that play games aren’t happy unless they’re shooting something every second, or without some ‘LEVEL UP’ screen popping up every 5 minutes or so. We can’t remember the last game we played that took its time, and didn’t throw the kitchen sink at us every ruddy second, which is why Resident Evil HD Remastered is such a lovely breath of fresh air. Ironic given the subject matter.
If you’re unaware, this is the 2002 Nintendo gamecube remake of the original game which is nearly 20 years old now (we’re weeping because of this), given a fresh coat of paint and a kick up the jacksy, and it honestly feels new again, especially compared to the more action orientated later entries.
To those unfamiliar it’s a simple tale of a guy, a girl, and a house full of flesh eating zombies and monsters. You play either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, part of a special police task force who investigate eerie goings on in the town of Raccoon City, and they end up getting chased (along with a few others) into a mysterious mansion. Your goal, as Chris or Jill, is to make your way through said mansion that’s filled with various traps and undead beasties ready to gnaw away at your soft head. You’ve got limited ammo and resources, so quite often you have to run around or away from all the abominations, which is still intense after 20 years.
But there are also bits where the game is quiet. Too quiet (in a good way we hasten to add). For long stretches of time you’ll wander around and not get hassled too much. Younger idiots would think this boring, but galloping through the mansion, trying to work out puzzles with only your echoing footsteps for accompaniment is still creepy. It makes the moment where you do eventually hear a groan or a growl that much more unnerving.
It’s an expertly paced game with no filler (it’ll take about 10 hours to complete if you’re unfamiliar with it, 7 or 8 if you are), that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Plus, there are incentives to go through the game again even quicker, like costumes, weapons with unlimited ammo and (these things are important to some) achievement/trophy points.
This is Resident Evil as it was originally meant to be. Before the (admittedly fun but flawed) cocaine Hollywood excess of Resident Evil 6, and before it turned into the Milla Jovovich show on the big screen. It’s a creepy zombified Die Hard with a daft plot, gloriously bad writing and bags of atmosphere, and this is the best it’s ever been. It’s a wonderful amalgamation of silly violence and puzzle solving (more of this in games please, puzzles help dum dums like us feel smart).
It may be too deliberately paced for kids that are red bulled up to their eyeballs, and the fixed camera angles could annoy, but this is a stone cold classic that hasn’t lost a step. Fingers crossed Capcom try doing a new one in this style, it’d be killer.
Resident Evil Remastered HD is out now on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One and PS4