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Resident Evil's past and future: Hands-on with an HD remake and Revelations 2

Hayden Dingman | Nov. 3, 2014
I'm by no means a huge Resident Evil fan, but it got me way more interested than anything 5 or 6 did.

Resident Evil HD

Just in time for Halloween, I got to go hands on with the future of the Resident Evil series. And the past. The future-past of one of gaming's longest-running horror franchises. Capcom's got two Resident Evil games coming out soon--a re-remake of the original 1996 Resident Evil classic, and then Resident Evil: Revelations 2.

Revisiting Resident Evil
The original Resident Evil is eighteen years old, and before it heads off to college Capcom wants one last tearful moment with its sweet zombie baby. "Look at it, Bob! Look at our baby Resident Evil all grown up, with those fancy HD textures!"

You might recall that the original Resident Evil was already redone once, back during the Gamecube era. This new remake takes that Gamecube edition and retools it with high definition graphics and some new background elements. It is, essentially, a remake of a remake.

That being said, you'd hardly know this was an 18-year-old game by looking at it. The biggest giveaway is the menus, which are still very much PS1/PS2-era user interfaces. The graphics, though? Capcom's done a spiffy job of spit-shining these things to a polish. It's not the quality you'd expect from a brand-new game, but considering the source material I'm pretty impressed.

You can play in either 4:3 or widescreen, though widescreen introduces a strange pan-and-scan camera that somewhat impacts your ability to play the game. I noticed that long hallways in particular get a bit screwy--there could be a zombie at the other end, but until the camera pans up you won't be able to aim at them effectively. That might only be a second or two of downtime, but a second or two in a survival horror game could have dire consequences.

Capcom has rebuilt a lot of the environments in order to make them more dynamic, though. Objects that once were part of static backgrounds or (in the Gamecube remake) embedded in video files are now fully rendered 3D objects. It's a small change, maybe, but one that undoubtedly brings this upgraded Resident Evil in line with fans' memories of Resident Evil.

And to be honest, I think it's the opinion of longtime fans that will matter the most here. Capcom's tweaked the game to try and make it a bit more modern--namely, making it so you can play the game with the classic tank controls if you want but can also play with a friendlier "point the analogue stick and move in that direction" system.

You've also got all the updates and improvements made from the original game to the Gamecube remake. Both protagonists, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, use body language to communicate their health levels and can pick up defensive weapons occasionally as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

 

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