Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster & Why Ports Aren’t Bad
Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster has been announced to release in early 2016. Some people are bummed, as this was not the Resident Evil 2 remake they were very vocal about. And I share the same feelings as them to an extent. The reason why I’m not as bummed or shocked is because rumors about an RE0 remaster were circulating rather quickly after the remaster of REmake came out. So it was something that I guess you could say I anticipated. Not to mention it makes sense that it’d happen before an RE2 remake. Slightly enhancing RE0 would be considerably easier, faster, and cheaper than rebuilding Resident Evil 2 from the ground up. Since they did REmake, they might as well just get RE0 out of the way. This port isn’t going to stop Capcom from remaking RE2 if they indeed have any intention of ever doing so. This upcoming remaster should be appreciated for what it is instead of bashed because of what it isn’t.
I think some people may have forgotten, but it’s the same as REmake in that it’s always been exclusive to Nintendo until now. Since 2002, you could only play it if you had a Nintendo GameCube, or if you had a Nintendo Wii and bought the port in 2009. Now, with it being released on more platforms, non-Nintendo ones for the first time, it’s more accessible to a wider range of people. Sometimes we roll our eyes at ports and get frustrated because initially we’ll just think “ugh, well, it’s just another cash grab!” or “why don’t you come up with something NEW?” Even if they are partially true, ports are still a beneficial thing and help prevent games from becoming lost in time and space and then being sold for a ridiculous price online. How are you all enjoying Rule Of Rose? Don’t answer that if you actually have it–I’ll be very upset, ok.
Before getting into Resident Evil 0 itself, I feel like addressing one more thing that I see quite a bit, and that’s the negativity when it comes to hearing the words “remake” and “remaster.” I saw it for REmake and now I see it again for RE0. I feel some people focus too much on these words and then get mad because “It’s still the same! This isn’t a REAL remake!” They’re right. That’s why we should look at it more as just an enhanced port. They could have just ported it as is, but to be nice, they went out of their way to do some touch ups.
Now, as promised, let’s get into Resident Evil 0, the game. Fans seem very divided about it. You’ve got the side that loves it, and then you have the side that says it outright sucks. The common critiques and complaints I see are usually about its rather absurd story and how it kinda feels shoe-horned into the timeline. And also the absence of item boxes, thus making some players feel the act of constant backtracking (in order to get a herb or important item you had to drop somewhere) to be a bit tedious. I believe I’ve also seen some players claim they did not enjoy having an AI partner, which I can understand since I’m usually not a fan of those either. But I will say with how it was handled in RE0, I did not mind it at all. RE0 attempted to switch up the formula a bit and bring some new things to the table rather than just do exactly what its predecessors did. And that’s something previous titles also attempted to do. Like RE3 giving you the ability to make your own ammo. Not exactly something I would want to become a norm for the series but as a one time experiment, I was cool with it. Sometimes a series will try something new and it just won’t click with you. That’s just how experiments go sometimes.
Part of why I enjoy the old Resident Evil games is because of management. I like planning and deciding what is most important to keep in my inventory and what I simply have to leave behind so I’ll have at least 2 or 3 empty slots for herbs, or items for a puzzle I know I’m going to have to do soon. With RE0, instead of managing one character and their limited inventory, you’re managing two: Billy and Rebecca. And while planning and managing, you have to keep in mind that there are times when the two need to split up for puzzles in order to advance; which is something unique to this game when it comes to old-school RE. I love the AI partner system in this because you have complete control over both characters. You can even choose to make your partner stay in one room while you use your other character to run all over the mansion if you so desired. You can also determine if you want your AI partner to conserve ammo or not, by giving or taking away their ability to attack. Of course, this can put them in danger, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s fine. And unlike what I saw in Resident Evil Revelations, in this game you are responsible for the lives of both characters. Your AI partner does not have infinite health. There’s also the added bonus of not having in-game dialogue between your two characters. It’s just not something I’m a fan of as I much prefer to focus on the atmosphere in the game. Things just feel more eerie if no one is saying anything rather than if Billy were to glance at Rebecca and say something witty like “it’s dark in here.” Yes it is dark, hypothetical Billy. That’s of course strictly personal preference.
Visually Resident Evil 0 is a beautiful game with great atmosphere much like REmake. That sort of quality is what I so desire for a Resident Evil 2 remake. We could only be so lucky. Resident Evil 0 begins in a beautifully crafted and rather cramped train before events unfold and you end up in a mansion. Of course it’ll never be as good as the mansion from REmake, but it’s nothing to scoff at either. Those beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds… covered in glorious leech eggs. Do you like leeches? No? Perfect. Put them in a horror game. That’s what I like in my horror games. They look super cool in this game and can be a tough enemy when they gather in numbers and form a leech clone of Marcus, the main villain in this game. He’s uh..something. Also, Wesker and Birkin are bro-ing out like good little scientists somewhere. It’s nice to see them. Especially Birkin. Would have loved if he stuck around a little longer in the series. I’ve grown to like the character after reading a bit more about him in Wesker’s Report II, something I’d love to see have something done with one day but anywayyyyyy…
If you’re looking for something that incorporates everything the Resident Evil series used to be in its glory days, Resident Evil 0 is just that. I highly recommend it to newcomers to the series as well as anyone who has just never played this specific one. It’s a good Resident Evil game and a good old-school survival horror game. I encourage people to buy it at launch, even those who may already have the game or who have played it. Speak to Capcom with your wallets if you will. REmake HD did exceptionally well and people took notice. I was honestly so proud that there was as much support and love as there was. I worried that maybe it’d do poorly and not enough old fans and new fans would support it and then Capcom would be afraid of ever investing in oldschool survival horror again. But in the end the exact opposite happened. I’d love if Resident Evil 0 received the same support. Maybe that will help solidify any resolve Capcom has on whether a Resident Evil 2 remake will be profitable and if they will do it. Not that it shouldn’t be obvious already.