Resident Evil HD Review: Together, In Hell


Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Platforms: PC (Version Reviewed), Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3

Release Date: January 20th

If I had to come up with one word to perfectly encapsulate this edition of Resident Evil, it would be compromise. Capcom’s “evolution” of the Resident Evil brand has taken a more action-packed route over the past decade, with games focusing on creating a thrilling shooter within a universe known for its zombies and parasitic creatures. Bringing players back to the beginning of the series, entangled within its survival horror roots, requires tact and patience. Thankfully, Capcom did a great enough job reminding us what made the series so great, while opening the eyes of a newer generation of gaming fans.

Resident Evil takes place just outside of Raccoon City, where members of the local crime enforcement team S.T.A.R.S. have answered the call to investigate the Raccoon Forrest. Driven into the nearby Spencer Mansion, you take control of either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine as you navigate through the supernatural horrors within. Zombies, rabid dogs and biological weapons are just some of the enemies that must be dealt with in your quest to uncover the truth behind these mysterious events and get the hell out of there.

Those who are most familiar with the Resident Evil series from Resident Evil 4 onwards will initially be thrown for a loop, based solely on this remaster’s more methodical style of gameplay. Instead of brute-forcing your way through mobs of enemies, combat commonly takes place in narrow corridors with few monsters per encounter. Instead of picking up item drops, however, ammunition and health items are placed strategically through the game’s map. Use up your ammo and health items too early, and you will find yourself in quite a bind.

It’s also where we see our first bit of compromise in this new HD remaster of the Resident Evil Remake. In an effort to cater to the needs of both the more casual audience and seasoned fans alike, Capcom has offered a great deal of controls and gameplay options. Not only is there a new “Very Easy” difficulty option for new players to dip their toes with, but the alternative directional controls new to the HD version come as the standard option.

Sadly, by keeping this new method of travel as standard, a fair amount of players will be kept unfairly unaware about how Resident Evil is truly meant to be played.

Previously, players relied on what the gaming community has delicately titled as “tank controls” to navigate the playable map. Whichever direction you were aiming at, your player character would go forward towards. The game is actually designed around these parameters, as precise movement inputs were necessary to dodge incoming zombie lunges and other attacks. However, Capcom knows that the modern player is expected to use a precise control scheme, so 360-degree analog control is considered the game’s norm.

While thankfully players can change this toggle almost on the fly, my fear is that the ease of access the standard provides becomes too enticing for new players that the classic tank controls will be deemed unnecessary and garish in comparison. Being able to spin around in circles while moonwalking away from slow enemies goes so inherently against the high-stakes intensity the game is designed around. When monsters crash through a door unexpectedly, or return from the dead once more, that heightened level of fear and suspense should become a factor in fight-or-flight navigation.

Sadly, by keeping this new method of travel as standard, a fair amount of players will be kept unfairly unaware about how Resident Evil is truly meant to be played.

As part of the remaster process for this remake of Resident Evil, Capcom developers had to overcome several obstacles. This isn’t yet another remake, so the technical team had to compromise by upscaling the game’s graphics to meet its 1080p output. The character models have had their share of work done on them, as they look as detailed and animated as ever. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the pre-rendered backgrounds that the game enjoyed back in 2002.

Players are forced to keep their wits about them at all times.

While the beauty of the design of the game’s original picturesque imagery mainly stays intact (especially outdoors), there are too many low-resolution textures that make up the backgrounds of the Spencer Mansion. Polygonal artifacts of bygone eras still make appearances throughout the campaigns’ several hours’ worth of adventure, indicative of trying to get everything running smoothly at full HD. Monsters, NPC’s and bosses, all as moving objects on the map, took up most of the enhancements’ efforts, while some rooms have been completely remade entirely (as seen above) to great effect.

More importantly, the PC version reliably outputs at a steady 60 FPS while only requiring an Nvidia GTX 560 to max out the game’s available graphics. While that may be indicative of the overall graphical fidelity of the best HD Resident Evil experience, the ability to (at minimum) double the smoothness of the action over the console versions is a welcomed bonus. Graphical options are available to provide as many different PC specifications as possible, with a locked 30 FPS option available to those who want it (for whatever reason).

When it’s all said and done, these inconveniences do not tarnish near-perfect survival horror experience that is Resident Evil HD. The developers’ efforts to stay true to the original title shines through, as everything from door loading screens (completely revamped in HD) to combat mechanics to solving physical and logical puzzles retain the same charm almost 13 years later. It’s through compromising in minor battles that have Resident Evil win the war; by sticking with the difficult gameplay over a traditional run and gun approach.

Resident Evil is paced slower than Resident Evil 5. The campaign doesn’t branch out as wide as Resident Evil 6’s story. The action isn’t as busy as in Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil is a deliberate piece of unnerving horror, throwing uncertainty around every corner. When zombies can be killed, only to come back to life as a much more menacing (and dangerously fast) Crimson Head, everything you know about basic survival is tossed out the window.

More from Reviews

Players are forced to keep their wits about them at all times. Even basic puzzles can mean uncertain death, especially if key items aren’t examined to their fullest potential. It’s outrageously more rewarding and entertaining to overcome the plethora of challenges that face you in Resident Evil, especially if you are frightened in horror games. Overcoming adversity generally leads to rich gameplay experiences, and with Capcom releasing this game across almost all major gaming platforms at a reasonable cost, a wider range of fans will have the easiest opportunity yet to treasure the game responsible for many gamers’ sole reason why they hold onto hope for Resident Evil’s potential future.


Resident Evil HD is the definitive edition of one of the series’ greatest works. The brilliant level design, lighting engine, scare tactics and mood-altering score nails the deeply atmospheric vibe as great as we’ve ever seen. It’s the same Resident Evil you know and love; it’s just got an extra coat of paint added on top. Even with some of the blemishes littered around the upscaled full HD output, I’d heavily recommend picking this up to anyone looking for a true survival horror experience.

The golden days of Resident Evil may be behind us for good. Instead of lamenting what it has become, let us compromise by appreciating what made the series great in the first place.

A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.