PC Version Reviewed
The Spencer Mansion, that place I left behind back in 1996. Many zombies, Hunters and mutated spiders fell to the slugs that spewed out of my Colt Python handgun and ripped their tender flesh to pieces. I played the game so much; I was giving tips to my friends on how to solve this puzzle, where to go next. I was the true Master of Unlocking.
After the inevitable sequels, which were also amazing under Director Shinji Mikami’s guiding hand, came the REmake (or REbirth) on Gamecube. That was a game changer. Updated visuals, story changes, new items, new weapons as well as extra unlocks. I didn’t play much of the Gamecube version as I didn’t own the console right away. I’m glad I didn’t play it now as I can now enjoy the newly released HD Remastered version in glorious HD, updated controls, widescreen support, 5.1 surround sound and above all, 60 Frames per Second. It’s glorious.
Most, if not all of the areas have been touched up in some way. Some effects and shadows have even been re-done so the old assets don’t stick out so much in higher resolutions. The pre-rendered backgrounds still look surprisingly fresh given the amount of time that’s passed although there’s the odd area that looks a little ropey.
The updated control scheme feels a little unnatural for me; I’m a Resident Evil purist, so tank controls suit me perfectly. It’s still a nice addition though and will likely appeal to first time players of the franchise.
Playing the game on PC is a treat. There’s full controller support, keyboard and mouse works rather well, lots of bells and whistles to tweak in the option menu. The big change though is the framerate. Playing at 60FPS is butter smooth and really feels awesome. I’m really surprised that Capcom only has this feature on PC, surely the Xbox One and PS4 are capable of running the game above 30FPS. Weird.
The audio is spot on. Haunting musical scores fill your ears with doom and dread as well as the sound of a nearby Hunter, clicking, waiting for its next meal.. the zombies, generic in their moans but still terrifying when you’re least expecting it. Then there are the Crimson Heads… the game changing raging counterparts of zombies you thought you’d killed a few minutes before. Use the kerosene on their corpses or take their heads clean off, it’s the only way to stop them coming back. An ingenious and downright terrifying addition to the game.
Of all the Resident Evil games out there, this and the original are by far the best. You genuinely have that feeling of tension and dread. Ammo is so scarce that every shot counts, particularly on the higher difficulty settings. The fixed camera angles add a sense of uncertainty and the door loading screens, although not technically necessary; still add a lot of atmosphere.
Now that Capcom have concrete evidence that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks (recent reports show REMaster is the best-selling digital only title they’ve produced), perhaps we can look forward to a HD Remaster of Resident Evil 2? It would surely be rude not to.