The Resident Evil series has a long history and Capcom certainly isn’t afraid to remake and port nearly every game in their catalog. The latest port of Resident Evil is of the RESIDENT EVIL ORIGINS COLLECTION, which contains the HD version of the 2002 remake of the original and the 2016 remastered version of Resident Evil Zero. That may sound overly complicated, but essentially you’re getting the best versions of Resident Evil and its prequel in a physical compilation or separately if you choose to go digitally. And given how poorly Zero has aged, you may want to buy them separately.
Both of these games have the classic RE gameplay, which revolves around running around pre-rendered environments solving box puzzles, managing your inventory, and shooting zombies in the head. Pay close attention to the last point as shooting the undead foes in their body is a total waste of your time and ammunition. One important change has been made, though, as the antiquated tank controls have been made optional and now more conventional control methods have been added. This helps both games feel much more modern and makes them far more accessible. While they still have their defenders, tank controls just don’t make much sense for controlling a human being.
As far as the ports go, both games run well and look great on Nintendo Switch. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise since both were originally released on the GameCube, and the Resident Evil Zero enhanced port came out for last-generation consoles. They’re also solid portable plays and the system’s sleep mode helps alleviate the annoyance of their limited save spots. Neither game is especially long if you know what you’re doing and where to go. They can both be finished in a few lengthy gaming sessions but the original is worth taking your time in since every area is memorable in its own way.
Resident Evil Origins Collection Switch Review | Zero hasn’t aged well
Resident Evil Zero is the weakest part of the package, and arguably the biggest reason to just buy piecemeal rather than a compilation. If the remake of the original is an incredible reimagining that made an outdated classic into a must-play, then this is an update to a title that wasn’t worth playing when it was released in 2002. Sure, you can now play it without tank controls, and there is a new easy mode that makes it less frustrating to get through, but the dated game design hasn’t been altered a bit.
It has a strong start, as the beginning sections inside the train are the most enjoyable moments, but it quickly becomes a lot of uninspired puzzle solving and clunky combat that never feels all that enjoyable. It’s a shame since a ton of work went into actually creating this remaster as a lot of assets and effects had to be redone, so this isn’t a simple upscale. The newly added Wesker mode, which replaces the criminal Billy Coen with Umbrella Corporation’s evil mastermind, is certainly a cool idea and addition, but the core is rotten. The amount of effort is admirable but it seems to be wasted since this just isn’t a game worth revisiting.
That being said, Zero isn’t a terrible game even if there aren’t a ton of great things to say about it. The problem is that it just feels worse than the Resident Evil remake in every area and this is highlighted when playing both back-to-back. Unless you have an extreme fondness for the traditional survival horror gameplay or want to experience every bit of Resident Evil lore, then this is a completely skippable title despite its fun tie-ins to the original game.
Resident Evil Origins Collection Switch Review | A classic remake
The remake of Resident Evil is definitely the highlight in this collection. Even if you played the original PlayStation title a ton, there are enough differences and updated moments that make it feel worth playing. That being said, this game has been re-released so many times that the remake might be even more well-known than the 1996 classic at this point. Either way, it’s a treat making your way through the mysterious mansion that is filled with as many secrets as there are zombies to kill.
While Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 remake set a new standard for how a remake should be done earlier this year, this had set the previous benchmark. It looked absolutely stunning graphically in 2002 and it still looks impressive in 2019 thanks to how well done the pre-rendered areas were made. The gameplay may feel dated in a few spots, but it still manages to set a haunting mood like none other. Ammo conservation is also key, as Resident Evil is oftentimes more about the bullets you don’t use than the ones you shoot. It all gels to create a satisfying experience that keeps you on edge throughout.
There is a definite layer of cheese in the storytelling across both games, as Resident Evil has never been the benchmark of high drama, but it still manages to deliver scary moments. Everyone remembers the dogs jumping through the window for good reason and the jump scares are still effective despite the game being released dozens of times throughout the years. Resident Evil is the most famous example of survival horror for good reason and its importance to the genre is well-demonstrated in the remake.
Whether you want to buy the complete Resident Evil Origins Collection or prefer to experience the original game on the go, Capcom did a great job with these handheld ports. Not only do both look just as good as ever before, but they are a natural fit on Nintendo Switch. The dated gameplay won’t appeal to everyone and Zero is a bummer, but the quality of the remastering can’t be denied and the REmake has plenty of fantastic scares for players to enjoy. It’s a great history lesson, even if it just serves as a reminder of how far the series has come over time.
GameRevolution reviewed Resident Evil Origins Collection on Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher.