Resident Evil 0 (2016 Remaster) Preview

Back to Ground Zero.

Playable at the Capcom booth stood the latest Resident Evil HD remaster, Resident Evil 0. The original game, released on Gamecube in 2002, was a follow-up to Resident Evil. This was all before RE4 would change the series in 2005 with a focus on action and (somewhat) less cheesy storytelling.

For those not familiar, Resident Evil 0 is set before the events of the original Resident Evil. In the mountains surrounding Raccoon City, S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team is called in to investigate a series of brutal murders. A plane crash strands Bravo member Rebecca Chambers alone to fight off T-Virus monstrosities… until she meets wanted felon Billy Coen. (Sparks fly!)

I don’t remember playing Zero a whole lot back in the day, so sitting down to try the demo was filled with old-school thrills. It starts off with Rebecca Chambers stuck in a tight claustrophobic setting: a train. Chambers is in close quarters but not alone. Zombies, the fun, slow kind, are everywhere.

Visually, this looks better than the last HD release, Resident Evil HD, that was on the PS4 and Xbox One if just by virtue of the source material. (This demo was on the PS4.) Both games have terrific art direction via the backgrounds, but overall, Zero looks sharper. There are some nice lighting effects inside and outside the train compartments. Chambers’ facial animations are crisp enough considering this is a bump up from Gamecube code. What attracted me most was how the game has that creepy feeling that recent titles like RE6 lack.

If you’re new to Zero but dug Revelations 1 and 2, you’ll be right home. You can choose between the original and alternate control schemes just like in RE: HD, but the big hook is swapping between characters. Many fans consider the Revelations installments to be truer to the spirit of the old RE games and Zero pretty much confirms it.

Soon enough, Rebecca gets trapped in a room with no way to open a door. In order to escape, you take control of Billy to send up items via a service elevator. It’s all very obvious, and not at all challenging but then again, the goal is to keep players invested. Even better, at least in the demo, I never got overly frustrated.

If I remember correctly, Rebecca can’t carry as many items as Billy who is also tougher. It’s up to the player to choose whichever character they want to control for the bulk of the campaign. I typically play RE games as the female characters, so I’m not an expert on Billy in Zero.

I’m looking forward to finally playing Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster to completion when releases Early 2016 on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.