The concept of Survival Horror was first loosed upon unsuspecting Playstation owners almost 20 years ago in 1996 and immediately set the 32 bit world on fire. Capcom followed up the original Resident Evil with several sequels, upgrades, re-releases and ports before announcing in 2002 that the series would (however briefly) become exclusive to the Gamecube, trying to help Nintendo shed the kiddie image that they gained in 1993 when they refused to allow an uncensored version of Mortal Kombat to appear on the SNES, and that they still can’t seem to shake. A remake of the first game was to be the flagship endeavor of the exclusivity agreement, bringing RE 1 back to (after)life using all the technological bells and whistles of Nintendo’s then-state-of-the-art new console.
Despite the protestations of a very vocal fanbase who didn’t think big, bad Resi belonged on Mario’s purple lunchbox the game was a smash hit for both Capcom and Nintendo. An absolute instant classic which took everything great about the original game and heaped on previously unheard-of levels of atmosphere to the audio and visuals. New gameplay mechanics and items were added as well with brilliant new story elements tied to them. It was truly a masterpiece. Amazingly, it had remained exclusive to Nintendo consoles (a Wii port was released in 2013), until now anyway. Resident Evil has been reborn in an HD remastered version that brings the game to current gen consoles in widescreen, 60 FPS, 1080p and adds some new content that will please both franchise newcomers and seasoned members of STARS.
Let’s start with the controls, which have been completely revamped. The old school “tank movement” is still there for the purists but most of us non-masochists will choose to move freely using the left analog stick. It can still be awkward when the camera changes perspective, it sort of reminds me of the first Devil May Cry in that way, but it’s still light years better than the original. Graphical options include the ability to switch between the original 4:3 (which makes the graphics seem a tad sharper) and a new 16:9 pan and scan zoomed in widescreen mode that might sound a little goofy but surprisingly works really well. The remastered visuals look absolutely spectacular. The game was always a graphical showcase and the original actually holds up really well but the level of polish that’s been put on this remake is just astounding. It looks just as good, if not better than any actual “new” current gen game I’ve played. A new “easier” difficulty mode has been added as well to make newcomers feel extra welcome. My favorite addition though has to be the option to choose “modern” character models for protagonists Jill and Chris, rocking their more tactical BSAA gear from RE 5/Revelations.
Any way you slice, stab, shoot, scratch or bite it, this a classic, and now it’s even better and easier to buy and play. If you’ve never played it, do so immediately, if you have, go play it again. We’ll be waiting by the fireplace, we hope this isn’t Chris’ blood…