Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Resident Evil 0 is a bit of an oddity in the franchise, in the sense that it is the only Resident Evil designed in the style of the original but was never released for the same platform. Back in the 2000s, updated versions of Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 were all released for the Nintendo Gamecube and Resident Evil 0, serving as the earliest entry canonically speaking, was released as well.
Resident Evil 0 makes its living as a prequel to Resident Evil and stars Rebecca Chambers, a secondary character from the original game. Alongside Rebecca is Billy Coen, an ex-military prisoner who was on his way to be executed before the events of the game. Together, Rebecca and Billy try to survive the nightmare they have stumbled into while trying to unravel the mysteries of Eclipse Express and the Umbrella Training Facility. During their adventure, the pair encounter a host of various horrors; zombies, leeches, mutated dogs and even a giant scorpion. Pretty standard stuff for old-school Resident Evil.
Resident Evil 0 HD, much like last years Resident Evil HD, offers two kinds of control setups for players to pick from. The original tank controls are available for the purists as well as updated, modernized controls as well. Ultimately, there is very little difference between the two from what I discovered. Trying to play this game using the analog sticks is very difficult and can be very frustrating, since your character will just run everywhere, including to their untimely demise. Eventually, I just quit playing that way and went to the original control scheme.
0 features two major differences from previous entries in the series. The first of these differences is that players control both of the characters, Rebecca and Billy, rather than just selecting one before the game begins. Each player, much like the original, has their own specialties and abilities, as well as their own inventory. Using the “Partner Zapping” feature, players can switch between the two to solve puzzles, explore areas and take down enemies.
The second major difference is lack of the all-powerful, omnipotent item boxes. This puts a lot of pressure on players to manage their inventories between the two characters. In the event that an item isn’t needed at that moment, players can drop them to be retrieved later. This is a bit of a pain because you end up backtracking to pick up important items. Luckily, the items are marked on the game’s map to make hunting them down easier.
RE0 was, in my opinion, a beautifully designed game, especially during its initial run. The HD Remaster highlights and amplifies that beauty. Character design is crisp and very detailed, while still maintaining the old school feel. The zombies look really spot on as well and the leeches are seriously unsettling. Sound design is pretty solid too, being super creepy as expected from a Resident Evil title. Hearing the shuffling and moaning of the zombies, the eerie quietness around you, it is enough to make you turn the game off and find your happy place.
Players also have the ability to purchase additional costumes for Rebecca and Billy, though some were given out for pre-ordering a copy of the game. While they provide no in-game effect other than cosmetic, they are seriously detailed and damn good looking. Nothing like killing zombies in a sharp suit and shades.
There is a ton of replay value to Resident Evil 0. Multiple difficulty levels, a brand new mode putting you in control of Albert Wesker, in his RE5 style no less, and much more. There are also a ton of trophies to pick up as well, many of which are insanely challenging on both your inventory and your time.
All in all, the remaster of Resident Evil 0 is a great re-release of a great game. I remember when I first got into Resident Evil, this was one of the ones I got to play growing up and I loved it. It is not perfect, something most Resident Evil fans have gotten used to over the years but it is certainly well worth it, especially to those who never played it during its original run. Good and bad, I recommend getting it.
And if you didn’t pick up last year’s Resident Evil HD Remaster, get them together for a low price!