Review: Resident Evil: HDA classic reborn with beautiful, striking visuals and fluid gameplay
Who doesn’t like being scared? Horror movies, games, haunted houses and mazes, horror novels, and scary stories serve as entertainment for us all. Resident Evil: HD embodies all of these horrific entities in one package.
Several jump scares, disfigured, hostile zombies and biological monstrosities chase you without hesitation through the narrow, maze-like hallways of the Spencer mansion. Stress, anxiety, and fear are always present while navigating through the mansion and its grounds, but a sense of relief and accomplishment prevail with fervor when you kill or elude the terrifying monsters. The moment when you successfully escape from a group of zombies or an agile, human-hungry Hunter with the key or puzzle piece you so desperately needed keeps you coming back for more.
“It was worth it.” I constantly caught myself thinking this. Why the mansion? Why the convoluted puzzles and booby traps? Why the zombies and monsters? Why would I put myself through this? You will ask yourself the same questions and come to the same conclusion (if you don’t die of course). These scenarios, despite the constant stress and anxiety, prove to be fun because of the rewards and progression. Like other survival horror and challenging games, the rewards don’t outweigh the task; the two have a symbiotic relationship of sorts.
Not just a Run-and-Gun
Run and shoot your way, nervously, through a horde of undead and mutated monsters, while your heart pounds in your chest to find sanctuary in the various, but sparse save rooms. Not only can you unlock that troublesome door, but you now have a shotgun and more ammunition to carry on. The scarce accumulation of ammo provides confidence, but as you progress the monsters do too. The appearance, strength, speed, and cunning of the various undead scale with your progress, which continuously provides a challenge and fright. That sounds fun doesn’t it?
The foundations of the classic Resident Evil are not lost, but enhanced in Resident Evil: HD. The scares, struggle-reward system, and anxious, scary mood of the game provide hours of stressful, rewarding fun for veterans of survival horror games, as well as players who simply enjoy the horror genre. The graphics, especially, add to this terrifying experience.
The mansion is still the same. The detailed, creepy courtyard, the conveniently darkened hallways contrast, but add to the believable setting. The rich, exquisite decorations and design of the mansion are beautiful and simultaneously creepy. The mansion still looks the same, so if you happen to be a veteran on another play throu
gh, certain memorable rooms will look the same, but with a clearer, crisper look. Along with better looks and more frightening enemies, the graphical overhaul is applied to the characters too.
Chris, Jill, and the other characters are stunning! The original costumes are still default, but others can be unlocked after completing certain tasks: costumes from previous Resident Evil games.
The characters, enemies, and environment got a completely new-and-improved graphic overhaul which gives a polished, newer look to a great classic.
Controls & Gameplay
The graphics, weapons, and collectibles are not the only components that received a makeover in Resident Evil: HD; the controls, specifically character movement, received an update too. No longer do Chris and Jill stop in their flee from the undead to turn 90° or 180° in order to turn a corner or seek refuge in a save room. Character movement is fluid and realistic. Characters turn corners and maneuver around enemies much easier with updated movement. Although this is definitely a significant change in mechanics and feel, playing through the game still felt like the classic Resident Evil experience. Other than these changes, there is not much else that changed in terms of controls, keeping the classic feel of its predecessor.
The Resident Evil franchise is categorized as survival horror. Creeping slowly through dark corridors and exploring fright-filled, tight areas is just another day for Chris and Jill. As one of these two characters, you have access to guns, knives, defensive weapons (a new addition), explosives, and other ways to dispose of your undead enemies. Although you have such a diverse, effective arsenal you can still die fairly easily due to only being human. The new weapons, defensive items, allow to to get a “get out of jail free” card when grabbed by a zombie.
The items, assigned to a button, allow the character to attack with the defensive weapon and stun the enemy giving you time to either attack or run. Even with these new, helpful items caution is a virtue. Patience, alertness, planning, and a will to survive are of dire importance! Collecting items is a given, but there is limited inventory space so plan accordingly. Puzzles have various items linked to them that you must obtain in order to solve them, but the badies don’t hesitate to attack you, so bring ammo; plan your inventory space with your exploration outings.
As it is an older survival horror game, you cannot move while attacking. This gameplay mechanic also presents the old school feel, but requires the player to think about their attacks and evasive maneuvers. After some practice, it won’t bother you, but the mechanic adds to the idea that you are not immortal. You feel anxious, scared, even helpless at times. The movement may be more fluid, but the attack mechanic and inability to carry everything emphasizes these feelings. The horror is everywhere! The realistic (in terms of human movement and capability) gameplay and mechanics really stress the mood and genre of the franchise, horror.
Several game difficulties present themselves for those who like a great narrative experience or a grueling challenge. Along with the several costume and difficulty choices, Chris and Jill have their own paths through the game; each is different and reveals separate parts of the story, and Chris’ path is tougher.
However you choose to play through Resident Evil: HD, you will undoubtedly face challenges, stressful moments, and death (most likely), but have fun pushing through it!
Talk about eerie! If the undead, monsters, and creepy mansion don’t do it for you, the music and sounds will. The monsters make terrible gargling, moaning noises and shriek that would make anyone shiver, but the ambient noise and chilling music create the real horrific mood.
Eerie, yes, but also effective is the music and the lack of in certain areas. In the large, main hall the absence of and sound but the stomp of your footsteps only contributes to the idea of horror; silence in large and narrow areas supplies the fear of loneliness. While stranded in some creepy, desolate mansion, what could be worse than feeling totally alone? Scary huh? The sounds and music create the entire experience (mostly) of absolute loneliness and fright. This is what Resident Evil: HD aims to accomplish, and accomplish it does.
Multiple choices for play-throughs present themselves in Resident Evil: HD. First, you can either play as Chris or Jill, who have different paths in the story, so the game is different when you play as the other. Second, there are trophies (yay for trophies!) that require several types of challenging play-throughs. These are: complete the game using only your knife, complete the game without saving, complete the game on each of the various difficulties, complete the game in five hours, and complete the game in three hours (sheesh). You can mix and combine any of the choices with the difficulties if you wish to tackle these trophies. Attempting this would undoubtedly give any player the wide range of unique, different experiences as they pushed through each play-through.
The replayability of Resident Evil: HD is definitely there, but may only provide so many play-throughs for deeply interested players/fans. Either way, anybody can enjoy 2-3 play-throughs with the experience of a great story, fluid, and engaging game play. The chilling environment, visuals, and audio could scare the likes of anyone.