Resident Evil (GameCube)

What I wanted to do this week was to play Mass Effect 3 and tell you all how awesome the series is and that you should buy all of them but I can’t. Last week the nice people of Nvidia emailed me telling me that they were going to send me a new gaming PC and a copy of Mass Effect 3. This is great news but it just means that I have to wait for everyone to get past the red tape before it can start playing on it, which can take a wile. So in the mean wile I’m looking at my favourite remake of all time. Resident Evil on the GameCube.

I have mentioned in an earlier review that I am a big fan of the Resident Evil series. I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t for Resident Evil, I wouldn’t be the gamer I am now. I probably would have gone out, met people, been popular and enjoy playing FIFA (that’s a scary thought). The first, although I didn’t think was the best, was probably the most memorable. The amount of times I played/watched someone else play it, I could more or less narrate the game all the way through. So when I heard that Capcom were remaking it for the GameCube I was very excited.especially since my brother had just bought a GameCube.

Capcom originally stated that in making the remake they changed 70% of the game, and it shows without seeming like a completely different game. One of the biggest noticeable differences is graphically. It looks phenomenal. Even by today’s standard it looks amazing. It would not look out of place on the 360 or PS3. The realistic graphics and the ambient lighting (or should I say the lack of lighting) really do make the game what the original wanted to be. Where the original felt cheesy and comedic, the remake actually does feel scary. A must play in the dark when you’re in the house alone.

The story in essence is pretty much the same. S.T.A.R.S alpha team is trapped in a mansion and must escape from the horrors within. A few additional sub-plots have been added here and there, for example the George Trevor sub-plot. The game also contains new game play additions, including the defensive items which can be used to attack an enemy that is attacking you. Also the ability to burn corpses of zombies, because if you don’t after a period of time they will become one of the new enemies in the game, the Crimson Head. These are stronger, faster zombies with claws instead of fingers, basically the brick shit house of the zombie world. Another new enemy in the remake is Lisa Trevor, daughter of George Trevor. She’s wears shackles and a dead skin mask of her own mother (in some sort of Leatherface esc. way) and get this, she can’t die.

Also improved in the remake include the writing and dialogue. Let’s be honest, the dialogue of the original was the wrong kind of  good, it was so bad it was good, much like any film Steven Seagal’s been in. Although at times it can seem forced and awkward it’s still a massive improvement on the old dialogue. If you are unsure how bad the dialogue was go to YouTube and search for “Jill Sandwich”. Fans of the original will be left a bit disappointed by the removal of the “Jill Sandwich” line from the remake but it’s a small price to pay in the name of progress.

Now my final thought. It’s awesome, by far the greatest remake every made. True most of them are just to squeeze a few more pennies from their fans, but Resident Evil shows us just what a developer can do when given a second chance. It is a must buy for any GameCube owner and Resident Evil fan.

EXTRA CREDIT:

After writing this review and reading it back, I can’t help but think that this game is the last of it’s kind, a dying breed if you will. Ever since Survival Horror stopped being made in Japan and moved to the US it’s lost it’s subtlety and it’s charm. Modern so called “Survival Horror’s” such as Dead Space or Left 4 Dead aren’t even Survival Horrors any more. Gun control must have gone servilely lax given the amount of weapons, guns and ammo that litter these new instalments, eliminating any kind of survival element. As for the horror aspect, the bottom line is that they are just not scary. Developers need to learn what the difference is between shock and scare. It’s not hard to shock people, just have something unexpected happen. For example someone sneaks up behind you and slaps you on the back or have the cat jump on your face while your sleeping. This is scary the first time but when repeated over and over, which these games tend to do, it just gets annoying and predictable. A good horror game gives you the tools, sets the scene and your imagination does the rest. The Japanese are very good at this, The American’s are not. I bet you wouldn’t even find the word subtle in an American English dictionary. Probably think it’s some sort of sandwich, I digress.

Resident Evil I truly found scary. Since then I’ve not really found too many games to cure that certain itch. Siren Blood Curse helped for a little while but even then that was just a shadow of what the genre was. It seems that in this day and age of “instant gratification, multi-nuke launcher to the face, explode-splode, boom” style of computer games that are topping the sales chart there is no room for compelling story, intense atmosphere and immersibility. Nope, apparently all those qualities can go fuck themselves. Oh what sad times are these.

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Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, XBOX 360)

 

With the releases of Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica X in HD on the PSN and XBLA this is what I have been doing with myself.
First things first. I love the Resident Evil series. It takes me back to my pre-teens, back to a time where even it’s target audience would call Justin Bieber annoying and gay. I would meet at a friends house and we would play one of 3 games, 2 of those were Final Fantasy VII and Command & Conquer, but the one I want to focus on today was Resident Evil, believe it or not those graphics used to be good. The camera angles were always horrible mind, but the one thing I most enjoyed about the series was also it’s biggest flaw, the dialogue. The dialogue was that horrible and broken that it was laughable, which made it entertaining. Like watching a film with Steven Seagal in it. You don’t enjoy it because it’s a good film, you enjoy it because it’s a horribly bad film.
As sequel after sequel were released you saw minor improvements and minor tweaks that kept the games appealing to current fans, but less appealing to people new to the series, It was like opening a novel halfway through and to start reading from there. That is until Capcom decided that the series was in dire need of a 21st century reboot. At the release of Resident Evil 4 I was comfortably set in as a Resident Evil fan boy and was outraged by Capcom taking a series I loved and remould it to make it more mainstream so they could attract a wider audience and make more money, Capcom you sell-outs. To this day I still don’t know why it’s called Resident Evil (other than the obvious that it would sell better when a well known brand is stapled to it, see Silent Hill 4 for details). It has as much relevance to the original series as Custard does to the Custard Cream. It would be like playing Pokemon as Jeremy Clarkson and calling it the Top Gear Edition.
Lets start the “review” rather than rant about nostalgia and Capcom selling out shall we? Ok. The story has no relevance to the earlier games apart from the appearance of a few old faces. Leon S Kennedy from Resident Evil 2 is back and it’s his job to rescue the Presidents daughter who has been kidnapped for some reason and rather than going along with standard American foreign policy to send in an armed force, blow up half of every city, steal a few natural resources, announce victory and claim the lives of the that country have been significantly improved. Instead it’s decided that one agent armed with a pistol and a radio with a woman inside would be sufficient. The inevitable proverbial shit hits the fan and it’s up to Leon to take down a whole bio-terrorist cell single handed and rescue the princess… I mean the presidents daughter.
The biggest step away from the franchise was to not put zombies in a game that’s series was very big on zombies. Instead we have villagers who might as well be zombies but can open doors, use weapons and engage in light conversation with each other, although sometimes big bug things can appear out of the decapitated stumps of dead enemies randomly. Another huge difference was to chuck the fixed camera and go for an over the shoulder view instead. Making aiming for head shots infinity easier but having the disadvantage of not being able to see behind you. Just like real life. Although unlike real-life when aiming Leon must stand perfectly still for reasons unknown to man. Maybe it’s one of those “Men can’t multi-task” things where if Leon were to move and aim at the same time he would have to stop breathing or something similar, but I like to think women only say that to make up for their inability to priorities.
Overall I enjoyed it. The game-play was interesting enough for me to complete it back when I first played it and memorable enough for me to buy it and complete it again when released in HD. Although I still have that niggling feeling that it probably would have been a better game if it wasn’t a Resident Evil game, if it were instead the start of a new series to replace Resident Evil instead of re-branding it for a new generation who enjoyed the films (which btw. were a series of wank sandwiches each one having more filling than the last). Then again it wouldn’t have sold as well if it was called “Secret Agent no. 65,524 vs Spaniard Villagers”, but that’s just me.
The Resident Evil series has come a long way since me and my friends took the day off school so we could go into our local Blockbusters and rent out Resident Evil 2 on the day of release. Although Resident Evil 4 is a good game it doesn’t feel like a Resident Evil. The games I fell in love with and still feel nostalgic about are not in there which personally for me spoilt it slightly.
On a final note I do recommend it, it’s worth at least a play through, just leave all expectations at the door and try to imagine that it’s just a coincidence that the protagonist’s name is the same as the cop from Resident Evil 2.
Capcom you Sell-outs.