Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster brings the 2002 GameCube gem to the modern age with the typical treatment of HD visuals and details, improved sound, widescreen support, an optional modernized control system, etc.  By continuing to remaster the Resident Evil back catalog, Capcom keeps the franchise in the forefront of our minds here at the beginning of 2016.

The story of Resident Evil 0 is how the T-virus originally escaped and began the path to the outbreaks at the mansion and Raccoon City.  While I don’t always love prequels, Capcom did a good job with creating a narrative that both fits within the timeline and universe of Resident Evil.  Yes, I’m applauding the game’s plausibility in this universe – even if it would not fit in our own.  The game, of course, pairs up two unlikely allies: Rebecca Chambers, an eighteen-year-old S.T.A.R.S. rookie and Billy Coen, an escaped convicted solider.  The story certainly isn’t the star of the show, but it works in the framework of the game.

Resident Evil 0 is decidedly a classic Resident Evil game.  The enemies are familiar, including shambling zombies, mutated dogs and giant bosses that seemingly don’t belong, nor do you understand how they got there.  I’m looking at you giant scorpion that appeared on a rapidly traveling train.  Where RE0 hits is in its classic puzzles and mechanics.  The game’s presentation is much like the Resident Evil 1 HD Remaster from last year.  It has the resolution increased graphics with those (sometimes terrible) camera angles that can seriously impede your ability to fight, or see, or do anything, really.  Though any frustration you may feel from this can be chalked up to the design at the time.  And that is something I think you ought to keep in mind when you’re making a purchasing decision for Resident Evil 0.  This is not your typical 2016 AAA action release – where you would expect to move like Evie Frye from Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or a Lara Croft in Rise of the Tomb Raider.  Even using the “modernized controls” leads to head-scratching and out-loud questions to the on-screen characters of “Where are you going, Billy?!?”

My favorite aspects of a Resident Evil game are in the puzzles and the resource management.  In RE0, these come up in spades.  The game is full of seemingly obvious answers buried in piles of pointless descriptions through rooms you know are full of terrors and jump scares.  As you would expect, the game consistently has the “separate the characters to solve puzzles to re-unite them” sections that were well-thought-out at the time and still hold up today.  You are also severely limited in the objects you can carry, which adds further tension as you decide was is and is not worth your time to carry.

Overall, Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster is everything you would expect out from Capcom for a remastered Resident Evil game.  It has the updated graphics and the classic core puzzles and game play that made Resident Evil such a beloved franchise.  This is pretty easy to recommend to fans of the franchise, especially if you never owned a GameCube and have never experienced this story yet.  Those of you who want the next modern Resident Evil will be frustrated by the antiquated controls and the difficult to manage fixed camera angles.

You can pick up Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster on January 19, 2016 for Steam, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 digitally or can get a physical copy of the game bundled with Resident Evil HD in the Resident Evil Origins Collection on Xbox One and PS4 on the same day.