Review: Resident Evil 0 HD
Last year gave me the opportunity to finally play Resident Evil Remake and it’s an opportunity that I’m very happy I got. That game is now one of my all-time favorite games and to me outclasses all other games in the franchise. Resident Evil 0 has now received the same HD treatment with the same added control and display options as last year’s HD re-release. Once again I was presented with an opportunity to experience a piece of Resident Evil I hadn’t yet seen before. Unfortunately this time things didn’t go as well.
Resident Evil 0 takes place shortly before the events of the original game and tells the story of Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen. Much like Resident Evil 1 through 3 this game adapts the fixed camera angle and tank controls into a hardcore survival horror game. It also adds a new character-swap feature that allows you to switch between Rebecca and Billy at any moment. There are times where you’ll need to split up to solve puzzles and in other instances it’ll be wise to stick together in order to take on whatever threat lurks around the corner. The AI controlled character is usually smart enough not to run do anything stupid, but the game does give you options to set AI behavior just in case. The character-swap system is interesting and allows for different types of puzzles than you’d typically expect from a traditional Resident Evil game. That said the puzzles in this one are a bit more obtuse than usual and, thanks to the lack of an item box, can become pretty frustrating.
My biggest gripe with Resident Evil 0 is the choice to leave out the item box. To me the item box served a key roll in creating tension and introducing an element of strategy into the early Resident Evil games. I loved how the save rooms represented not just a safe haven, but also a place where you could start planning ahead. I loved working out what items I could leave behind and which ones I absolutely needed to take with me at all times. Better yet the item boxes worked like magical portals where every item box held the same items. It doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t have to. This method of item storage, in a game that has very limited carrying space, washed away any concerns I’d ever have about backtracking. In Resident Evil 0 that’s gone, a number of weapons take up two of your six inventory slots, and your only item management option is to drop items on the ground. This leads to tedious backtracking and makes item management a hassle. For the first time in a Resident Evil game I don’t like the item management.
That aside the game itself is very much designed in the same vein as traditional Resident Evil. I absolutely LOVE the art direction on display. Even though most of the game takes place in ‘yet another mansion’ it’s still fun to explore. The opening section with a train also serves as a pretty different environment from what I’m used to. Searching through a maze-like mansion, taking down slow moving zombies, and solving obtuse puzzles is about what I expect from a Resident Evil game and this one is very much that. (Though the respawning zombies did throw me off a bit.)
The story in Resident Evil 0 is pretty bizarre, but it does at least open up some interesting tidbits of information regarding what is about to take place in and around Raccoon City. Though it should be said that most of that information comes from notes found throughout the mansion rather than the story itself.
Resident Evil 0 HD is good, but I fear its lasting impression will be one of annoyance. For as interesting as the character-swap mechanic is I just can’t get over how tedious the act of playing the game can be. The over abundance of backtracking makes this one of the only Resident Evil games that I likely won’t be playing again.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Really great art direction
- Partner swapping system is interesting
What I Dislike:
- No item box
- Lots and lots of backtracking