Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster (PC) Review

By Athanasios 18.01.2016 10

Review for Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster on PC

It's the year 2015, and Capcom gives the first HD facelift to its extremely popular action-adventure franchise, with the first product of this process being the magnificent trip to the past, Resident Evil HD Remaster; a release that, unavoidably, gave high hopes that more were soon to come. For some strange reason, though, the second remastering wasn't applied on the highly successful sequel, but to Resident Evil 0, the GameCube-only prequel, which gave fans the opportunity to learn how this bio-hazardous brand of survival horror had begun, and this time through the eyes of one of the original's less explored characters, the young S.T.A.R.S. rookie Rebecca Chambers. The good news is that the job was carried out just fine, but was this title worth returning to?

Unlike the recent additions to the series, Resident Evil 0 goes back to the old-school-style mechanics of the initial trilogy, with 3D characters/pre-rendered backgrounds, less action/more puzzles, atmosphere-enhancing (or annoying) fixed camera angles, and the use of tank controls. Despite its technical superiority, however, this pales in comparison to its older siblings, mainly because of the reuse of many familiar and somewhat bland locations… as well as an overabundance of the colour brown.

Nonetheless, it is beautiful, and that becomes crystal clear in those rare occurrences when backgrounds are fully animated, bringing these few scenes to life, whether it's an ivy-filled stone wall or a candle-lit torture chamber. Naturally, the HD Remaster makes everything even better, and besides the completely reworked textures, widescreen resolutions, improved sound effects, and 5.1 surround support, this also adds a modernised control setting for the many tank control haters out there. Overall, and besides some flaws, this upgrade is fantastic, and the transition to the PC flawless.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster on PC

Taking place 24 hours before the iconic "Mansion Incident" that started it all, it follows the cute S.T.A.R.S. greenhorn Rebecca Chambers, who, led by some bizarre reports, sets off to investigate the outskirts of Raccoon City, which leads to the following predictable events: zombies appear, bullets are shot, and an uneasy alliance with a hunky beefcake/escaped criminal named Billy Coen is made. Thus begins their ordeal… along with a couple of shortcomings. For starters, there isn't really much of a plot, which is quite disappointing for an origin story. Sure, the series isn't exactly known for its storytelling gems, but most of them were very entertaining in their own B-movie-ish way, and each one actually added to the lore - something that doesn't happen here. What little storyline there is available is given in tiny - and not that tasty - portions, making this feel more like a side-story, rather than a complete episode.

Besides some recurring characters or further delving into Umbrella's plans regarding B.O.W. development, as a prequel, this feels disappointingly isolated from its source material. The worst thing, however, is that this must be one of the least scary/atmospheric titles in the franchise; a franchise that wasn't exactly very good at horror to begin with. The reasons for this are numerous, but the most important one is the fact that compared to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, where the titular villain would frequently come out of nowhere (always hungry for Jill Sandwich), or Resident Evil 2, where the main antagonist would constantly make his presence felt, this rarely creates the required feeling of dread, and that's because more than 70% of this, otherwise short, quest focuses on the search for keys.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster on PC

Fellow fans! Gather around, listen, and accept this simple truth: the classic Resident Evil trilogy was a jack of many trades, yet master of none. The pleasure that derived from them was the result of a correct balance between their various ingredients; killing, puzzle-solving, item-hunting, and scattered note-reading. Resident Evil 0 performs well on puzzles, okay-ish on battles, has some issues story-wise, and gets unbelievably bad when it comes searching for key items. That last problem lies in how stale the "use A to get B to open C" formula has grown, as well as the lack of balance between tinkering with machinery and dealing with enemies, but the worst issue here is none other than the extremely limited inventory.

Many weapons use two whole slots out of the six(!) available and there are usually way too many key items to carry around, and yet, it could be argued that this is what adds a tactical layer to the genre, since it forces sitting down and thinking when to carry what, but, unfortunately, this time it all feels tedious, rather than challenging, with players having to spent much time backpedalling to get what is needed for the occasion - and get increasingly aggravated by the many loading screens in the process, since, unlike in most PC ports of the series, they are non-skippable. Additionally, the ability to leave items anywhere on the map doesn't make things better, since discovering a new location means having to travel back to get that wretched giant rocket launcher that was left behind.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster on PC

What about this new companion mechanic, though - isn't it a great idea? After all, it enables swapping between the two characters, permits visiting a different location with each one, lets them exchange items, and, finally adds a second gun to battles. Alas, the execution is subpar. For starters, survival horror really needs the element of loneliness, which, apart from a few occasions when Rebecca goes solo, is absent here. Secondly, it would be better if each character had a truly unique skill, instead of just having Becky mix herbs and "Me so tough!" Bill push crates. The worst problem, however, is - once again - the heavy emphasis on key items. Even when using one companion as a walking private stash, it's impossible to avoid the backtracking that is needed - with a perfect example being a part were "accidentally" sending Billy to a dead-end that only Rebecca can get out of results in one hour of pointlessly running back to fix things.

Despite the overall negativity, there is actually some fun to be found here (especially for fans of the original trilogy), with one notable example being those puzzles that needed both Rebecca and Billy, and that effectively became some of the best and most intricate ones in the series' history. Furthermore, like with all titles in the franchise, the replay value is more than decent, since this is very speedrun-friendly, and besides the Leech Hunt mode, which (similar to RE3's Mercenaries mode) focuses more on fighting monsters, this version introduces the Wesker mode; exchanging Billy Coen for the insanely faster Albert Wesker - and, yeah, having the chance to battle with the imposing Tyrant is always a pleasure. Wrapping up: Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster almost flawlessly improves a game that does have many issues, although it's far from terrible.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

A stumbling point for many reviewers is that headache-inducing moment when it's hard to decide whether a remastered title should be judged solely on its improvements, or rather on its actual value as a game, upgraded or not. The best course of action is, quite possibly, to do a little bit of both, but mostly focus on the core material, instead of the enhanced "wrapping." Therefore, going back to the previously asked question: is this title worth returning to? For those who loved the original GameCube version, Cubed3's three-step advice is simple: open wallet, give money, and scream for joy, because, although Resident Evil 0 is almost identical to the original, the HD makeover is marvellous. As for the rest: tread carefully, because the heavily chore-ish gameplay overshadows its few good aspects.

Also known as

Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Hoping to blast through this in next few weeks with my Resi mate. We did Resi 1 last year, and still need to finish off 6 in co-op.

From what I remember, Zero was decent, but lacked the scare factor, and the small inventory was a frustration, despite being able to drop anywhere and having a partner character. It was a neat concept, but it kinda made me wish it had co-op of sorts, rather than the partner being only AI. Wesker mode looks cool to try out.

Speaking of, I should be getting my costume DLC codes through for this, after voting in the fan contests.

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Our member of the week

I wonder if there will be some residentevil.net integration in the end, like they added for the remaster of RE:Rebirth. I know from a simple look at the website that it's not yet supported, but the other remaster wasn't supported right from the start either.

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I was just saying to my friend how good this looks. It's bonkers that the in-game graphics are way better than the FMVs. Smilie

Only played through Resident Evil 0 the once so looking forward to replaying it.

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Jambo said:
I was just saying to my friend how good this looks. It's bonkers that the in-game graphics are way better than the FMVs. Smilie

Yeah, that buggered me too. After the HD remaster the FMVs look out of place.

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

Also, and it's a super small thing, pressing X should make you run like in RE:make HD but in Resi 0 HD it opens the inventory. Again, a small thing, but it's just inconsistency between the titles.

Of course, with a Steam Controller it doesn't matter as you can just map the buttons to your satisfaction...

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Our member of the week

So the game doesn't let you remap the buttons to your convenience? That was already a bbig problem for me in Resi 4 HD remaster which I reviewed on PC for Cubed3. It was possible to remap them by editing a config file manually but it was a pain to make it work as the actions to which the buttons are associated are referenced in Japanese in the config file itself. I guess it must be possible here too, just painfully so.

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

You get the choice of tank controls or 'alternative' controls and you can choose from four or five control 'Types' which is essentially minor button placements, but not full customisation.

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Our member of the week

I see. In Resi 4 HD, the game didn't let you replace buttons at all for any pad that wasn't an XBox 360 one, despite the config file holding button configs for "generic" pads as well. And even with a 360 one, you still counldn't really fully customise them.

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Re-mapping controls has never been something I consider a problem unless it's a real mess. While it's odd that the layout is different to RE - remaster it's not bad you also have to remember they needed more functions this time round too.
 

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

Oh, for sure. It's by no means a deal breaker, just a minor annoyance. 

( Edited 13.07.2017 18:53 by Guest )

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