Archives by Day

June 2021

Resident Evil 0 HD

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: Jan. 19, 2016

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

Xbox One Review - 'Resident Evil 0 HD'

by Brian Dumlao on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

Resident Evil 0 is the prequel to the original Resident Evil, and introduced the Partner Zapping system between the two main characters, rookie cop Rebecca and framed convict Billy.

Buy Resident Evil 0 HD

Resident Evil Zero officially debuted on the GameCube in 2002 with the same engine that ran the remake of the original Resident Evil, which had been released about a year prior. The story was the same on the Wii, when the game was released in 2009, a year after the remake of the original arrived, both sporting rather minimal upgrades over their GameCube counterparts. Resident Evil Zero has finally made the jump to multiple platforms, again one year after an HD remastering of the original's remake did the same.

Acting as a prologue to the series, Zero HD has you take on the role of Rebecca Chambers, a rookie field medic in the Bravo Team of STARS. On her way to investigate the cannibalistic murders in the Arklay Mountains, the helicopter is hit with engine trouble, forcing her and her team to crash-land in the forest. Soon, she finds an overturned military police truck with information indicating that it was transporting Billy Coen, a former soldier who is being sent off for execution for the murder of 23 civilians. Sensing that Coen is the one behind the murders, the team splits up, only for Rebecca to find a bunch of dead people who have been transformed into zombies. She finds Coen, and the two reluctantly team up to find out what's going on.

The story is fine and driven largely by the various relationships played throughout the game. The bickering between Rebecca and Coen comes from being forced to cooperate. The disagreements between Wesker and Birkin arise over how to best handle the T-Virus outbreak. Though none of those can be considered deep, they're functional enough to keep the player engaged through a fairly complicated tale. Since this is a prequel, the cast of characters is small enough that the story doesn't get too convoluted, but it still does a good job of being a stand-alone tale if you play the games out of the recommended order.

The gameplay is reminiscent of the more classic offerings in the series, which makes sense when you learn that this was the final title released before Resident Evil 4 completely changed things. The game is presented from fixed camera angles and perspectives that change from screen to screen for cinematic purposes and to hide some intentional surprises when you first venture into the environments. Most areas are sectioned off by stairs and ladders and doors. The technique was first used to disguise loading screens but is now employed simply for the sake of building tension. The game engages in a number of combat situations; some of the more thrilling ones occur during boss fights, but the limited ammunition at your disposal means that it's better to run or use your combat knife instead of relying on firearms. Also, saving your progress is limited by the placement of typewriters, and the requirement of ink ribbons to even attempt a save means that you have to think about when is the right time to attempt such an action.

Since this was the last of its type at the time, Zero HD allowed for experimentation with new mechanics. Gone are the storage chests where you normally drop off items to make room to pick up more stuff. Instead, you now have the ability to drop off your items anywhere in the world and come back later to retrieve it. It solves the issue of finding a storage chest, and the map automatically indicates exactly where you found new items and where you dropped something off. Unfortunately, this still brings up the issue of having to go back and forth between areas to pick up something you dropped off — an issue the storage chests solved since they were all interconnected. Also, both Coen and Rebecca can hold a small amount of items, each having only six slots before they need to start dropping items in the environment.

The big change is the ability to work with an AI partner. You can swap controls between Coen and Rebecca at any time with the press of a button, and unless you tell the other to stay put, your partner follows you. You can swap items without having to drop them on the floor first. Your AI partner also automatically attacks any enemy you come across, so you're never going into a fight short on firepower. The characters have limitations. For example, only Rebecca is capable of mixing herbs for a more potent healing solution while Coen is the only one capable of moving heavy objects. The game plays with this mechanic very well in lots of different situations. You'll find a number of puzzles where characters have to work in tandem to solve it. Other situations have the duo separate to solve a puzzle from great distances. The title does this sort of thing quite often but not to the point where the novelty wears off. In short, the mechanic is enjoyable and makes the series feel fresh.

At the same time, there are times when this doesn't work as well as expected. A few times, the AI player remains steadfast in blocking your path, and while you can eventually push him or her out of the way, it can be annoying that you have to do so in the first place. More annoying is that your AI partner has a tendency to be impractical when fighting against monsters, preferring to use powerful weaponry for easy foes. As a result, you'll either take control of the character with the most powerful weaponry or give your partner only one weapon so they don't blow through the ammo stash.

Even with all of these flaws, Zero HD still delivers what people have come to love from the older games. The actual scares may be gone, but that feeling of unease when rounding a corner is still there, as is the surprise of seeing previously cleared areas be repopulated with zombies. The paltry amount of available ammo does wonders in emphasizing survival above combat, since as trying to eliminate everyone is a quick recipe for making sure you're ill-equipped for boss fights. Even nonsensical puzzles end up being rather enjoyable if you accept them for what they are. In short, the game has everything that classic survival-horror fans will love.

The big advantage that the remaster has over the originals is the controls. Like the HD remaster of the Resident Evil remake, Zero HD sports full analog controls that give you finer control over whether you're running or walking in addition to better directional controls. You can opt for the more classic tank controls if you want, but if you're used to modern adventure games, it'll be hard to do that when the much more sensible option is present.

There isn't a night-and-day difference seen between this version and the GameCube release, but it can still be considered a good-looking title. As before, it is the character models that seem to get the most love. The pre-rendered backdrops look better this time around thanks to improved lighting, and there are certainly some impressive pieces on display, such as seeing the lights pass by objects when the train is in motion or you walking on the rooftops at the height of a storm. The textures begin to falter on the transition screens, though, as you'll see low-resolution signs and elements like wood and worn steel. Meanwhile, the full-motion video hasn't been touched much, and the upscaled resolution results in blurrier parts of the video and spaces where the color blending is rough. The other area that might displease players is the lack of 60fps. It is absolutely rock solid at 30fps, and some may prefer it this way since the transitions between gameplay and pre-rendered FMV aren't going to be as abrupt, but it would've been nice for the game to run as smoothly as it does on PC.

Like the graphics, the improvement to the sound isn't that dramatic, but it remains solid. The sound effects come in nice and clear, with loads of distinct ones doing a good job of filling the silence that permeates the game. The music remains rather sparse during gameplay, but it still does a great job of instilling anticipation. The voice work is about on the same level as the current games, where all of the performances are more than serviceable and there are no lines that are unintentionally humorous. Truthfully, most people would struggle to catch any differences between this and the GameCube and Wii releases. If you own a surround sound system, you'll greatly benefit from the game finally embracing its use. The addition of extra audio channels makes the experience immersive and breathes new life into the game, making it worthwhile for audiophiles.

The HD remastering of Resident Evil Zero may not have everything that the remake of the first game had, but it does feel like a more improved version of the original GameCube release. In particular, the analog movements make the game feel more modern even when everything else adheres to the original mechanics. The game still looks and sounds good even if there are parts that could have been done better, but the most important part — the gameplay — remains as good as it was all those years ago. If anything, it will be the fans who never owned any of the latter Nintendo consoles that will be thrilled with this release, since they can finally experience the game for the first time. Luckily for them and for anyone else who's a fan of the older style of Resident Evil games, the experience is better than ever.

Score: 8.0/10

More articles about Resident Evil 0 HD
blog comments powered by Disqus