Review: Resident Evil Zero (PS4)

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Title: Resident Evil Zero
Format: PlayStation Network Download (11.32 GB) / Blu-ray Disc**
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: M
Resident Evil Zero is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo GameCube, and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

** Available as part of the Resident Evil Origins Collection

Gameplay:
You can either use the atrocious tank controls of 2002 or, as with the Resident Evil remaster from a few months ago, the updated controls. The fixed camera can still be a hindrance to accurate shooting and gameplay but that handicap is one thing which gives these old games their edgy “I’M GONNA DIE!” atmosphere.

There are TEN differing control schemes, five for each in the original tank format and five for the newer alternate format. There are three difficulty levels, Easy, Normal, and Hard. But the best HERE is that the download includes a MANUAL which does not link to an outside site, open your browser, or take you out of the game. That kind of manual always stinks. This manual is in-game, easy to manipulate, and full of useful information. I heartily suggest availing yourself of it before you even begin playing.

As in days of old, the game tells you that you have to create save data or you can’t play it. Completely unnecessary but I guess CAPCOM was going for nostalgia.

Unfortunately saving is old school Resident Evil. I understand why they’ve done this, preserving an element of the original gameplay that is necessary to the franchise in its heyday. It’s a REMASTER, not a REMAKE… all the crazy retro-isms notwithstanding. SO! Find those ink spools for those typewriters, kids, or you’ll be sorry!

Realize too that you have multiple save slots and do not put all your eggs in one basket. Otherwise if you die, you’ll have to go all the way back to that manual save point. You will be sad. Another element now with Trophies added is that if you are Joshing the game and can find the place (probably by watching a walkthrough on YouTube, hate the game not the playa) where you missed a collectible, you’ll have better odds at having a save in that part of the game.

… that isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a two-gen-ago thing. …
WARNING!: If you hit the Options button to pause during a cutscene, you may skip the cutscene. I discovered this at the beginning of the game so I restarted to catch the opening again.

The mechanic of being responsible for the movements and actions of two characters at once is still quite unique even after fourteen years of game development. The only other game which comes readily to mind is the far more recent “Indie style” game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

Pro Tip
I heartily suggest, even if you choose an Alternate control scheme, that you begin the game by checking out how the aiming and movement work. When you enter the first area there are no enemies which makes it the perfect time and place to do so.

Try the D-pad to more precisely control your aim, the choices for which are HIGH, CENTER, LOW. BUT do not actually fire your weapon! Ammunition is a commodity not to be wasted in any Resident Evil game. NO consumables should be wasted in a Resident Evil game!

Once you hit your Aim Button all you can do is aim and shoot. You cannot move. No strafing allowed and as ammo is gold that isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a two-gen-ago thing.

Making matters a bit more confusing is the fact that, at least for the Alternate Control method I have chosen, the Cross button is BOTH SHOOT and ACTION. While trying to conserve ammo it seems anti-intuitive to make you worry about wasting resources if you just gotta open a door.

The thing to remember is that if you are not aiming you can hit the ACTION button at will without wasting ammo. The upside is that after playing for a short time the weirdo controls start to make sense. Like driving a manual transmission after years of automatic. You feel like, “Ok now! Let’s lap the Indy 500 track at 250 MPH for old time’s sake…VROOM!

Pro Tip
Read the manual! I was going to add a more detailed PRO TIP here but I could fill the review with them. Just know that resources are important. For that reason, read the manual as a refresher if you haven’t played one of these older Resident Evil games in a long time or if you never have. Waste no resources.

Mmmmmmm… crustacean T-virus. Two orders, please, with extra wasabi! Ah, to be polite. (I hear the chef is a real handful!)

Pro Tip
Yeah, I know. I was cutting back but you need to know this. Since there’s a Trophy for Joshing this game by finding everything, you need to realize that because the camera is fixed, and because there are no on-screen prompts, and because there are sometimes actual blind spots, when you enter a room go ahead and gather the obvious items and then go around hitting the cross button to make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you don’t, you will.

The game harkens back to a time of very little hand-holding. Hence no indicators of what to do in the form of Action Button press instructions. There is no tutorial in the game. Wanna know how to do stuff? Consult your manual. *Fresh manual smell not included.

As for Trophies, there is a Platinum. To achieve the Platinum the game must be played on Hard difficulty at some point. The game must also be played without saving which I will assume means you can suspend play so you can go to work.

You have to finish the game without using first aid spray. You must finish the game without using recovery items including Green Chemicals. You have to Josh collectibles. You get the idea. All in all there are forty-seven Trophies, including twenty-eight hidden Trophies, required to pop the Plat. This is a challenging Fuji to climb!

DOGBONE

Game Plus is included and after your first playthrough you get some nifty superage, like using your glowing-red eyes to explode enemy heads! That might make the playthrough on HARD more manageable as well as getting the other more difficult trophies.

Visuals:
You have the option of widescreen or original. I chose widescreen because the remaster is what we’re all here for, right? Another option is to either use the TV controls to adjust the brightness or to do so via game settings. Really? Not on your nellie, Captain Peacock. I am not readjusting my HDTV settings! I have got them just where I like them, ta very much.

… escapees from a Final Fantasy game …
There is a gallery which collects your videos to be viewed later in the menus. There is tons of space for entries….

Like the God Of War HD collections before it, the cutscenes don’t look as good as the gameplay but they’re still better than the GoW HD remasters although the colors tend toward the grey, pink, and green of an aged VHS tape.

Resident Evil 0_20160114183030

It’s a small thing to be sure, but when you think about video games and you think about what happens if you put down the controller for a few minutes you can recall your favorite characters having animations that make them look impatient or bored or maybe they’ll even juggle. Resident Evil 0, because it is of a certain period in gaming, also displays a similar animation for its characters. (Editor’s Note: These are called Idle Animations and they’re always awesome)

Considering the seriousness of the subject matter of this series it is a real hoot and a holler to see the main character stop and cross her arms and look around in deep contemplation while I type this. They also suddenly look like escapees from a Final Fantasy game.

Rebecca waits

Remember hitting the ACTION button to go through a door and how terrifying that was because there was this three or four second animation of the door opening and you never had any IDEA what was on the other side? I hate to tell you guys… it is still that frightening. Hairs standing-up all over your body… ALL over… exhilarating. The very nature of the fixed camera does not allow a view around corners.

Audio:
Listening options include TV, Midnight, or Home Theater as well as subwoofer on or off and BGM and SFX & Voices adjustable by sliders. There are also a plethora of language settings including Japanese with subtitles for those brave few who had imported the original original game from Nippon when it was called Biohazard 0 or for the purists バイオハザード0.

The ambient surround sounds are a great addition to the atmosphere which has always been a strength of the Resident Evil franchise. The games would be nowhere if it weren’t for the creepy sounds. The new surround sound is great.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component. However… you play the game as two characters, Billy and STARS puppet Rebecca. You will switch between these two characters as the gameplay dictates in some instances and on the fly any way you like at other times.

It’s not unlike Resident Evil Revelations 2 with the exception that there is no couch co-op. This is single player only. However, you can always play hot potato with the controller and a friend. When the action gets intense just hit the Switch Character button, toss the controller over, and let your friend take the heat!

Regardless of who is controlling either character as “primary” or “secondary”, their movement is dictated by the thumb sticks and the player always controls BOTH CHARACTERS SIMULTANEOUSLY.

… NIGHTBREED …
Conclusion:
I am completely flabbergasted as to why they would leave all the old control options, apart from original controls and 4:3 screen option, in the game. Maybe there is some 40-year-old cellar-dweller who wants to hook their PS4 up to an old Zenith 480i, 19 inch color TV. I’m not counting off for it but it seems like a waste of resources unless you’re playing the game from within your blanket fort.

On the other hand, props to CAPCOM for indulging their fans’ longing for nostalgia which still makes their games look as good as they remember them even when they know better intellectually.

Overall I have to opine that these older generation games have their appeal. There may be the option of playing these video games on older consoles, buying the original versions and playing them on a 19″ Zenith television. In your mother’s basement. If she still lives and she hasn’t been moved to a care facility.

Or you could buy this for twenty bucks.

A word about “hardcore” gaming. Hardcore has come to mean a LONG, open world campaign with a lot of Trophies, and online multiplayer victories predicated upon any number of factors from a low KDR to a Platinum Trophy and/or online multiplayer filled with trolls and/or gamers who have, and more power to them, spent a ridiculous number of hours racking-up RPG-like advantage over players who can not devote as much time to the online multiplayer scene who then only become meat for the beast, to quote a favorite film of mine, NIGHTBREED.

(HEY EDITOR: A LINK TO THE CABAL CUT OF NIGHTBREED HERE ON BLU-RAY WOULD NOT GO AMISS!!!!!!)

(HEY REVIEWER: WELL DUH, I THOUGHT YOU KNEW ME BETTER THAN THAT)

This is an actual hardcore video game. Sink or swim. Live or die. Save MANUALLY or risk replaying two hours of the game. And we, we happy few, took that in stride in 2002. That’s all we knew before gaming hit the masses and had to be softened to stroke the ego of the random populace in order to make sales because game development became a multi-hundred-million-dollar affair.

Enjoy this game, my friends. Enjoy a simpler more death and failure-riddled gaming experience. And at least you don’t have to shell-out quarters for it. Enjoy!

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Keith Dunn-Fernández

Keith Dunn-Fernández

An actor/director and more lucratively an Administrative Assistant at a small paper company in NYC, Keith loves his games. And he loves to write. And he is a bit of a sarcasmo.

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