I'm going to start off by saying that I have never played either the original or GameCube release of Resident Evil and so I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started playing the HD re-master of the game.
The most I know about Resident Evil is that it is one of the first games that defined what the survival horror genre is, and that there were a lot of puzzles, very little opportunities to save, little ammo and very little guidance.
You go to investigate a missing S.T.A.R.S team deep in a forest and then shit goes wrong and you end up inside some super creepy mansion that looks like it had been abandoned for a long time. The more you explore of the mansion the more it becomes clear that things aren't exactly as they seem.
Now the biggest issue I have noticed with HD remakes is that most of the time, yes, they update the graphics, but then they completely butcher the gameplay. This one doesn't however, and only updates the graphical side of things, which is excellent.
You will notice before you load into the game that there are a few options for you to go through. These range from deciding to play in widescreen or the game's original 4:3 aspect, and then you've also got the option to toggle between 30fps/60fps, and what control set you'd like to use. The control set varies from an updated version of the controls which are presumably "easier", then we have the original "tank" controls from the PS1 version.
I went with a widescreen, 60fps, tank control experience and I have no regrets after finishing the game. Despite the controls being the tank version it just felt natural and right to use with Resident Evil.
Alright lets choose our character, (Chris/Jill, I chose Chris) and get this thing started. Those of you that are familiar with the game will probably have memories come flooding back about the start of this game because everything looks and feels exactly the same as the older versions of the game.
This game isn't for those of you that like to be guided along the way because this is still what I would call and "old-school" game, where there's no literally no guidance about what to do other than hints and clues in the items you pick up through the game.
Resident Evil was the first time in a long time that I had played a game and actually feared for my life. You don't die and respawn a few doors back, you die and respawn where you last saved. This can easily be 30-45 minutes of gameplay if you run out of ink ribbons in a crucial part and really makes you think carefully about how you're going to tackle each area.
I will admit right now that I got stuck, a lot, like, properly stuck. I was running around the mansion for sometimes over 45 minutes trying to figure out what'd I'd missed. This only helped with the satisfaction when you figured out what exactly you should be doing though, when things start to all make sense and slip into place it is a great feeling.
Your inventory slots are also rather limited, with just six for Chris and eight for Jill, you really have to make use of item boxes (global boxes where you store stuff that you can use later on) and be careful about what you pick up. If you pick something up then realise you don't want it you can't drop it so you end up having to backtrack to an item box to drop it off.
I often found myself having to run straight past a lot of threats because shooting them just wasn't worth the ammunition. There is ammo around the mansion but it is scarce. Even when you think you have a lot of ammo it soon disappears if you get yourself in a bit of a tight spot with enemies.
The puzzles in this game aren't always that straight forward as well, more often than not you will have to do some research into how the puzzle works, reading clues in the room before actually doing anything. You may find yourself picking an item up at some point wondering what it is for and then getting to a puzzle two hours later and being able to use it. Or having to backtrack to an item box to go and get the damn thing. Sometimes the clues are as simple as using the "Examine" option on items in the inventory - pro tip - that happens quite a bit.
The HD re-master of the game looks good, and works well in the widescreen graphics option. There's no missing resolutions and you can happily play in 1080p without the game looking odd.
I did notice that there were a few sections where the backgrounds didn't look as good as other areas of the game, but it isn't a major issue. The voice acting is certainly much improved over the famous PS1 voice-acting, and uses the GameCube VO and dialogue if I'm not mistaken.
The actual interface of the game was easy enough to use and looked alright, the only major gripe was that you couldn't use the mouse to navigate the menus from what I tried. The only time you really saw it was looking at the inventory, map or main menu though so not really a big deal.
Overall, Resident Evil HD REMASTER is a brilliant example about how games should be re-mastered into HD. All you do is update the graphics and don't muck around with the classic gameplay that everyone is used to.
I had a lot of fun playing this game even though I had never played Resident Evil before, and got lost a lot. This was a proper old-school game with no guidance and it made it all that more enjoyable.
Hopefully Capcom can bring back the second and third games in the Resident Evil series as well since I have only played the series from the fourth game where it started to go away from its roots.
I spent 15 hours playing this game and completed it in 9 hours 40 minutes, slaying 69 creatures and saving 35 times.