Resident Evil 0 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 06.06.2019

Review for Resident Evil 0 on Nintendo Switch

As many know by now, Resident Evil 0 began development as a Nintendo 64 title, and then was redeveloped from scratched for the GameCube. It was one of the four titles that got released as part of the five game deal that Nintendo and Capcom, a time before Resident Evil 4 revolutionized third-person action games. This was a time of the last days of the traditional survival-horror, where the genre had more in common with point-and-click adventure games than action. Resident Evil 0 was the culmination of over a decade of making so many similar styled horror titles over the years and the developers becoming completely dried of ideas, and now their efforts have been ported to the Nintendo Switch.

The Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil 0's initial release on GameCube were not the successes that Capcom hoped for. While the former would inevitably find its audience when it got an HD re-release on PlayStation 3, 4 and Xbox One, Resident Evil 0 still just could not impress the same way the remake could. There are several reasons why and a lot of it has to do with fundamental flaws in the game's design compounded with a story that is extremely sloppy and ultimately inconsequential.

Inventory management was one aspect of old school horror games that added a meta game element to play. Considering what would take up precious item slots was a careful balancing act, and those who were careless would find themselves backtracking to a universal storage box. The overly cautious who would pack a ton of heat and ammo would inevitably be unable to pick up important key-items that were ultimately necessary. It was a deep system and elegantly simple.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 on Nintendo Switch

Resident Evil 0 dares to break new ground by allowing items to be dropped and picked up where they were left at the player's will. The world is your item box now... but this experiment backfires and creates new problems, since now your inventory can potentially become scattered across the game world's areas. It becomes much less convenient and less enjoyable than just one or two reliable item boxes that share whatever is placed in them. As if it wasn't annoying enough, this conversion for Switch is rotten with the longest load times than any Resident Evil up until now.

Yes it is true; Resident Evil 0's load times are shockingly long. Anyone who is familiar with old-school Resident Evil entries knows that door opening transition animations served as segue between rooms as well as functioned as a loading screen. While playing this port of a port, the door opening animations will play as usual and will then be followed up by a pause with a swirling red icon indicating that the game is still decompressing the assets for use. Timing these pauses shows that load times have doubled in some cases, and are longer than that in other situations. In a confined survival-horror that relies on tank-controls for fluid navigation in very small rooms, it is not unlikely that players may spend more time looking at this spinning loading icon than actual playing.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 on Nintendo Switch

The real new wrinkle added in Resident Evil 0 was that there is two characters to play as and both had their respective strengths and weaknesses, much like how Chris and Jill, or Claire and Leon worked. The distinction here is that both characters are played with at the same time and can be switched to on the fly. This had potential and in some cases does sort of work in the end product. The idea was to create more elaborate puzzle scenarios where both characters would have to work together like in The Lost Vikings. The problem in here is that Rebecca and Billy are invalids compared to what has already been established in the canon of the series.

For some reason Rebecca is weaker than a 12 year-old Sherry Birkin in Resident Evil 2, and is unable to push boxes. Billy is so dumb, he can't figure out how to mash to herbs together, which was something even the dense meat-head Chris Redfield could do. Instead of making two complete characters that would be fun to use, the designers opted to give two incomplete dolts who lack basic functions. Roaming around as Rebecca is a waste of time, because she is so weak and vulnerable that it's so much better to just ditch her in the safest place possible and do most of the operations as Billy.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 on Nintendo Switch

Making a prequel to the original mansion incident turned out to be a complete waste of time since nothing of value is learned. The only thing that the story reveals is that everything bad that happens in the story was because Rebecca is terrible at her job because all she had to do was follow her orders. She was never a great character to begin with, and was there only because she was cute - but here we also see that she is incompetent. Nothing feels like it should be connected as a precursor to the events that will happen in the next story. There are only sloppily implemented mentions here and there about Umbrella this, and Wesker that.

If there is one redeeming quality about Resident Evil 0, it's the visuals and atmosphere. This was one of the last horror games made in this style that used pre-rendered backgrounds, which also means it was one of the most advanced too. This still looks amazing and holds up gorgeously despite coming out in 2002. Backdrops were designed in a panoramic view so now the fixed camera could now slightly pan and track Billy or Rebecca horizontally. Even the quality of pre-rendered animation for the backgrounds has been stepped up, and can create some very impressive atmospheric effects that just were not possible to do with 3D graphics at the time. If there was any reason to give Resident Evil 0 a look, it would be for its ambiance.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 0 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Resident Evil 0 was already widely considered one of the weakest traditional entries in the series, due to its meaningless story and tedious game design. There were so many possibilities that could have worked out so much better if some of its design got tweaked, and if Rebecca was a new and totally different character so the story wouldn't clash with the established canon. While it is an exceptional looking title, the ridiculously longer load times is a good way to ruin the mood to keep playing on top of the gameplay being inferior to older entries.

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

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   

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