Story - 84%
Graphics - 87%
Audio - 79%
Gameplay - 80%
Replayability - 70%
Zombies in HD.
A revival of one of CAPCOM’s most famous franchises has hit the stores as of 22 January 2016. The Resident Evil series that we all know and love has seen some HD remakes, with the first Resident Evil HD-remaster in 2015, and now Resident Evil Zero’s HD-remaster in 2016, and both have been included into one exciting box-set: the Resident Evil Origins Collection (or Biohazard Origins Collection) for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Being a fan of survival horror, I was so happy to finally get my hands on these games and to play it for myself. I can still vividly remember watching my brother play the first Resident Evil on the first PlayStation. The mechanics were new and different to any other game we had seen and the scenes were pretty frightening. Now all that is frightening of the original is the graphics compared to what we get now, though the memories will still be looked upon fondly. The HD-remake of Resident Evil (can also be abbreviated to “REmake”) introduces new and better textures and 3D models, as well as an improved soundtrack and voice-recordings. The new aesthetics are visually pleasing and also succeeds in reviving the creepy atmosphere of the mansion from the original, immersing you into the game like it should and scaring you the way it used to, using the fixed camera angles to elicit dread.
Let's not forget this frightful cinematic
Several additions and changes have been made to the game aside from it’s graphics and sound, while a lot of other elements still remain the same. I will first cover what has remained the same… The overall plotline of the game is still the same, with some exceptions, as well as the overall layout of the mansion, with some improvements that I will come to in a minute. The tiny 6- or 8-slot inventory (depending on who you play as) is also still present, annoyingly enough, and so are the item boxes at the save points, which has me debating with myself whether or not it’s a good or bad thing, what with spending an indefinite amount of time figuring out which items I don’t need (but in actual fact do need), for the next 10 minutes… The save mechanic is also still the same, and so is the difficulty of killing your undead foes. Considering all of this, it still feels like the original game.
The changes excluding graphics and sound, are as follows. In the plot-line, some slight changes have been made, such as the implication that Wesker managed to escape into the night, the addition of George Trevor’s diaries, and what has been termed the Barry Lives ending. Several new areas and rooms were added to the game, such as a graveyard and a cabin in the woods, as well as some instances where two rooms have become one single room, such as the Tyrant and Wesker scene. The player’s character is now able to equip both an Offensive weapon (such as the Handgun or Shotgun, etc.) and a Defensive weapon, that can be used to escape the clutches of a zombie when they have grabbed you. When you get the lighter and fuel canteen, you need to burn the zombies’ bodies after killing them to prevent them coming back as deadly “Crimson Heads”. The puzzles are different, which I think is a good thing, so as to give you a new challenge whilst playing the same game. A wide angle 16:9 camera perspective was also implemented. The crest items from the original are also still present, but are now used to obtain the Colt Python. A new controller scheme has also been introduced making it, in my opinion, easier to navigate your character instead of with the classic controls. But if you still like the classic controls and prefer using it, it is possible to change back to that control scheme. An easier game difficulty has also been added. Chris and Jill are still the only two selectable characters, but you are now able to choose playing in their classic S.T.A.R.S uniform, or their BSAA uniforms, added as a special feature thanks to an internet campaign named Raccoon City Contagion.
A lot of core details are the same, even though according to Shinji Mikami, the “Father” of Resident Evil and Survival Horror, the remake is 70% different from the original.
Now for Resident Evil Zero, which serves as the above game’s prequel, and is also the fifth installment to the main series. Besides the gameplay textures and models actually having been revamped pretty decently, the intro movie cinematics are not as impressive as I was expecting in comparison to REmake, which leads me to think they did not reanimate this cinematic, though a few other cinematics later on in the game make up for this and fit in better with HD-textures. The voice-acting also left something to be desired every now and then. I am a story fanatic, and if the story coupled with the gameplay mechanics are captivating enough, I can look past flaws like a few graphic inconsistencies and “iffy” voice-acting. Luckily Resident Evil Zero did succeed in it’s story, and even though a lot of the events that transpired felt like they happened a bit “too conveniently”, this still served as an adequate prequel.
The game basically takes place at the same time as Resident Evil, but in a different location. Rebecca Chambers, who was part of the Bravo team from the aforementioned game, but their helicopter needed to make an emergency landing. The team then discovers an overturned MP vehicle with it’s driver dead, and discovering that the escaped convict, a now Ex-Lieutenant Billy Coen, was in transit. The events unfold when she discovers an abandoned train with many of it’s passengers mysteriously dead, but soon stir back to life. Billy Coen finds her, and they form an alliance to survive the horrors of the night. It’s a fairly shorter game compared to REmake, but still has decent play-time to it. This game comes with added features too, such as new outfits for both Rebecca and Billy. There is a lot more action in this game however. The game introduces a character switching mechanic which is necessary for completing many difficult puzzles in the game.
TL;DR version – the Resident Evil Origins Collection succeeds in reviving the old franchise’s charm. There are many changes, but also many similarities to give it the same feel as if you were playing it like you did about 20 (or less) years ago. The first game was released in 1996 after all. These changes give new challenges, so that you can enjoy the game as if it were your first time playing it again, and allowing you to relive the story with better aesthetics, tense atmospheres and good scares. I overall enjoyed playing these games, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to play the Resident Evil titles or wish to relive these classics, I would recommend this collection.
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Available on: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Survival Horror, Action
Age Rating: Mature
- PC: R445.00
- PS4 and Xbox One: R535.00
Release Date: 22 January 2016
- The story is intriguing
- Reliving the classics
- RE Zero needed some cinematic revamps and improved voice-acting
- Anything dead running after me!