A Classic Reborn: How the ‘Resident Evil’ Remake Improves a Horror Game Icon

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A Classic Reborn: How the ‘Resident Evil’ Remake Improves a Horror Game Icon

Unlike movies, it can sometimes be difficult for newcomers to enjoy classic games. Sure, the movies might seem dated, but older video games can be plagued with issues that make the game side unpalatable to modern audiences. Not only can older graphics offer less clarity, but archaic control styles or design philosophies can challenge players accustomed to modern conveniences. This makes the video game remake an interesting proposition. How do you update a game without sacrificing what made the original so unique and beloved? In what ways can you add to the core concept without making it an entirely new experience? It’s a difficult line to walk, and even 20 years later, few games have managed it with the skill of the 2002 remake of the first. resident Evil.

The GameCube remake began production in 2001, just five years after the original game was released on PlayStation. While the technological leap between those generations was one of the steepest in gaming history, design philosophies hadn’t evolved that much. At that time, the main line resident Evil the games still used tank controls and still cameras, and hadn’t even made it to the game-changing fourth entry yet. In RE Remake, the fixed camera angles are still present, but a different control option has been added to the mix that removes the tank controls that many found quite clunky. This meant that the new version was more of a refinement than a reinvention, retaining much of the charm and tension of the original while creating a more fluid experience with its own identity.

Atmosphere is one of the remake’s strengths as it takes the iconic locations from the original and recreates them with higher fidelity pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D models. The developers made clever use of full-motion video overlays and particle effects to keep backgrounds from looking too static, bringing the Spencer mansion to life with unprecedented clarity. The new generation of consoles also meant they could do a lot more with lighting, creating the perfect interpretation of the creepy old mansion. The extra power and space allowed them to add areas and subplots that were cut from the original, creating surprises for longtime fans who thought they knew exactly what to expect without straying too far from the experience they were used to.

Along with the improved visuals, many quality of life improvements were made to the game. In addition to the aforementioned non-tank control options, players were also given a free slot in their inventory to carry a default item for their character, such as a lockpick for Jill. Although inventory management was part of the fun and challenge of the original, this helped the player by not forcing them to decide if they wanted to load a starting item they don’t use often into one of their precious inventory slots that could be used by a important key or ammunition. Another inventory tweak was the inclusion of a defensive item, which could be used to fend off a zombie while grabbing you. It’s a welcome change that gives you a huge choice in the moment: is this encounter desperate enough that I need to use my defensive item, or do I just take the hit and hope I can survive?

Me, resident Evil it’s about making compelling inventory decisions like that, and none are more compelling than those created by the best new addition to the game: the crimson-headed zombie. After a certain point in the game, zombies you’ve killed have a chance to return as faster, more deadly versions of their former form. Players have two options to prevent this from happening: decapitate a zombie when you initially kill it, or burn its corpse with a canteen and lighter.

The sheer number of stress-increasing decisions this change makes is staggering. Previously, as you progressed through the mansion, you analyzed each fight, determining if it was worth taking out a zombie from a hallway or just saving your ammo and running around each time. Now choosing to kill a zombie forces you to think more about how you want to do it. Should I wait for him to get close and hit him with a valuable shotgun shell in hopes of lopping off his head? Do I just drop him from a distance with my abundant pistol bullets and use one of my few canteen charges to burn his body? Or the even more tense options, do I kill him, leave his corpse and deal with the consequences later? It’s the perfect evolution of the franchise’s iconic enemy that ramps up the difficulty of him and forces you to think even harder every time you come across one.

Obviously, this wasn’t the last time Capcom remade an entry in this long and storied franchise. The RE2 and 3 remakes decided to go a different route and update the game to a more modern third person camera, bringing it in line with the RE4-6 style of gameplay. There were some great changes, like Mr. X’s stalker behavior from RE2, which had a huge impact on the game’s design, but I still can’t help but wonder if he missed something by giving the player more control of their view. Fixed camera angles give developers a lot of authorial control over in-game tension, while a player-controlled camera can sometimes cut off the “what’s around the next corner” feel of previous games .

I don’t know if it would have been what players wanted, but combining the classic perspective with some more modern design sensibilities could have created an experience more in line with what the originals and Resident Evil Remake did. , excellent. It’s tempting for a remake to smooth out all the harsh aspects of its source material, but Resident Evil Remake knows exactly what to keep without losing its charm. Although it will not be possible to do so with the next Resident Evil 4 Remakewhich already had the third person controls that modern gamers are used to in its original form, I would love for Capcom to take a chance and make a new version of veronica code in classic stills style as an experiment to see how the audience would take it.

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