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Resident Evil 0 HD

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: May 21, 2019


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Switch Review - 'Resident Evil 0'

by Cody Medellin on Oct. 24, 2019 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

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.

Resident Evil 0 has probably one of the more interesting development tales, since it was originally developed to be an exclusive for the Nintendo 64 before it went dark and became a GameCube title instead. Since then, the game made a stop on the Wii unchanged before heading to other platforms with a completely new mode in tow. Capcom also saw fit to bring this game to the Switch, similar to the remake of the original Resident Evil.

For anyone who's unfamiliar with the game, Resident Evil 0 is a direct prequel to the original Resident Evil, as the events are set prior to that title. You take on the role of Rebecca Chambers, a rookie at S.T.A.R.S. and part of the alpha team sent to investigate the murders happening in the forests outside of Raccoon City. After crash-landing in the forest, the team finds an overturned military truck with information about the escaped convict Billy Coen, who was arrested for the murder of 23 civilians. Convinced that they found their suspect, the team splits up, and Rebecca finds Billy on a train that's infested with the undead.

With this being the last game before Resident Evil 4, it represents the final time that the classic traits of the series are used. That means that every scene uses the odd camera angles that are meant to increase tension by hiding obvious dangers. The tank controls have been modified for some analog movement, but they aren't as natural as what you'd see in later entries. Low ammo count means more strategic fighting, and the game has a much bigger focus on puzzles over combat. Finally, the limited save system means that you'll need to plan and take on bigger risks to complete tasks before using up a precious ink ribbon.

The first significant change is that you no longer have to choose which character you'll run the campaign with. Instead, you'll use both characters at the same time, with the AI controlling one while you commandeer the other. The game plays into this well by having Rebecca be the only one who can combine herbs while Billy is best at moving heavy objects, but the co-op aspect shines when you fight monsters, since the double firepower is most welcome. The good news is that you can take control of any character at any time, so you aren't always relying on the AI-controlled person.

It isn't co-op in the traditional sense since you can't have a second human player take control of your partner, and this is where some frustration comes into play. There are times when the AI stands in your way and won't realize until later. They also have a tendency to use their best weapons at inopportune times, so a simple zombie can get blown to smithereens by a grenade launcher if you can't take control of your partner in time.

The change from solo to co-op means that the item juggling has also changed. Instead of having to find chests to store extra items, you can drop it on the ground where it'll remain until you retrieve it later. On the one hand, this is great if you want to give an item to your partner, since it's much quicker than backtracking to a chest. On the other hand, this means you need to take mental note of where you left everything, since you're not leaving your stuff in designated places. With both characters having a paltry number of available equipment slots, this means more backtracking than one would like.

Another big change is something exclusive to the ports after the Wii: the addition of two modes that are unlocked after you beat the campaign. Leech Hunter has you hunting down the new enemy type that debuted in this game, but Wesker mode is the real draw. It lets you play through the campaign again with series villain Albert Wesker by your side instead of Billy. This isn't a mere model swap, as the version of Albert is the super-powered one from Resident Evil 5. That changes the dynamic completely, as it makes the game more action-heavy while still retaining the puzzle focus of the original campaign. It's a very fun bonus, similar to the Hunk missions in Resident Evil 2.

There is one thing here that is a step down, though: loading times. No matter which doorway you enter or which ladder you climb, every transition takes much longer to load than every other version that has been released thus far. This isn't similar to the Resident Evil port, as that only had long loading times for larger rooms. On top of that, the loading isn't clean; you'll see the animation for a door opening, the game pauses, continues a few seconds into darkness, and then the scene finally comes into view. You get the sense that the game may have crashed at this point, since there's no other animation present. Compared to the splatters of blood that appear in Resident Evil when the loading is taking longer than anticipated, this is simply messy.

Don't expect any changes in the presentation department for this port. As always for the series, the sound is well done, with the sparse music creating the appropriate mood, the sound effects are impactful, and the voice acting matches what came before it. Graphically, the game hasn't seen much of an upgrade if you're playing in docked mode due to the textures not being as clean as expected, but the device's lower-resolution screen makes for a much sharper image when playing in portable mode.

Resident Evil 0 remains a good game in the series. Even with your AI partner's occasional lapses in judgment, the dynamic makes the standard formula feel fresh, while the lack of chests can be either good or bad depending on your outlook. The stunted load times ruin the mood since they occur all the time. If you don't mind that and you want to own the game in a portable form, this port isn't all that bad.

Score: 7.0/10

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