Review by grandmasterk

Reviewed: 09/06/05

Just "looks" different, same ghost house with same scare

Hi. It's late summer of 2005 and I can already see so many reviews for this game so I wonder who cares? However, for anyone who's not wanting to see another 9 or 10, I hope I can grab some attention. This is my first vid game review ever so bear with me if I suck.

I'm a hardcore RE fan and I started out with RE2 and moved on to 3 (my favorite two in the series pre RE 4) and on and on, not including the gun survivors and Gaiden. I usually play an RE game stripping it down to the bones by unlocking just about everything in it and trying a lot of different tricks.

Despite my kind and generous personality and my love for the series, I tried really hard to be critical with my review here.

Story: 6
Visual:10
Sound: 8
Control/play mechanics: 6
Replay Value:5

Overall: 7

Story: 6

When it comes to vid games, story is very important to me. As for this game, because I couldn't stand the horrendous graphics and bad acting of the original game, the "Infamous mansion incident" was always a mystery to me while I was busting ass at Raccoon city and Rockfort island. When the remake came out, it was a blessing to me. Unfortunately, it was not very compelling. The whole plot was basically as I have known it. S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Squad) bravo team was sent into investigate bizarre murder cases around Raccoon forest but lost contact with R.P.D. (RE 0). The Alpha team led by Albert Wesker was sent in later. They were attacked by zombie dogs and Joseph was killed. Chris, Jill, Barry, and Wesker ran to the mansion to seek refuge of the situation, which turned out to be a suicidal act. That's how it all starts.

Now the impression I got throughout the game was that I was running around all over the place solving puzzles while so little about Umbrella Inc. or character themselves were revealed. The only kind of info I could extract about the STARS were based on their written info from various internet sources. RE may have started out as a B movie game but time has gone enough to start making changes to incorporate some revelation elements as to explain Chris being in the Air Force or Jill being a thief rather just being one dimensional American soldiers. Albert Wesker is pretty much the only interesting character in the game, not to mention the entire series with the recent release of "Wesker's report" and all. Making the game a character driven drama could have helped the players feel more in touch with their situation.

Umbrella Inc. continues to stay in the dark. The mansion was just a place where the scientist stayed and did research, (with insane labyrinths and a tiny ass lab for work.)

Although the story was new to me, it was essentially not new at all. It was the same formula in a much simpler scale. For those who have played the original before could have used some more background info. I really wanted to hear more about Barry's conversation with Wesker when he was first threatened or Wesker's intentions subtly surfacing the premise of the story like seeing him sneaking around doing nefarious monologues as he proceeds with his big plan. Both scenarios are pretty much identical which makes the player going through the other character really redundant and making it like a one scenario RE such as 0 or 3. RE 2 or Code:Veronica forced the player to play through the 2nd character to see the true ending which was a more complete satisfaction for the hours invested. If you count the number of character who should survive the nightmare, you would notice that Chris and Jill always fail to save one character. The different endings are based on how many characters you end up with and rather or not you manage to blow up the mansion. This would have worked with the original since there were no sequels and we had no idea how the story would continue back then. Today we all know the mansion blew up and all the worthy characters are alive and well, with RE 3's epilogues. There should have been a few cut scenes hinting about how the proceeding events would take place.

I was rather disappointed since there really wasn't a story to tell. Added to the fact that the series was already on its downfall with the repetitive ways, which triggered the change in RE 4, didn't help either. This game could have been more rich to save the players dying interest of the war with Umbrella.

Visual: 10

The only reason how this game lives and works as a remake is the visual. It is the same reason I bought NGC in the first place is to just experience the survival horror it was meant to be. The environment is very well rendered with its lighting effects on classy looking rooms or demonic looking dungeons. When you step outside to the forest area, the fog is just amazingly placed it really gives the chill. Tree leaves and bushes move in the wind and candle lights dance around, making it dynamic than static. The monsters are heavily detailed, allowing you to see the effects of the terrible T virus in its work rather than shooting at blocks of polygons. Weapons maintain their authentic look on the screen with its flashes and smoke adding the realistic look. Finally, the character modeling is gorgeous. The details on their gear are well represented. Jill is such a hot babe. She is the most beautiful looking female game character up to date. (Eyes, lips, body, she got my 10). Chris is your regular hunk. He is tall, well built, and tough. Walking, running, backtracking, and shooting are well captured. Easily spoken, this is one of most beautiful looking video games in this generation consoles.

Audio: 8

Audio has never been a problem with RE. Monster screams, gun shooting, wall/window breaking are traditionally well done with this game. Some of the better aspects is the ambient noises such as winds, trees leaves/bushes, old floor cracking as the character walks, and the occasional thunders(it's strange because it's not raining outside.) The voice acting is MUCH better than the original. The dialogues are still rather simplistic but the voice chosen represents personality quite well. Jill is sexy yet warm and kind hearted who looks out for others. Barry is like your lovable uncle but with tough yells in tight spots. Wesker is by far the best with its low tone voice and casual yet charming villain voice which started off in Code:Veronica and now in 0 and 4. The only downfall of the audio aspect is the music because there's basically none. It reused some from the original but it could have come up with more mind breaking dissonant tunes and dramatic score like in RE 3's city music.

Control/play mechanic: 6

The same old thing over and over and over. You basically control a remote controlled robot based on the character's perspective of left and right and not yours. The zombies are really tough and they are toughest in the series. A zombie could take from 8-12 pistol shots to die and they don't fall back but continue to advance which is annoying if your retreat is blocked off by another zombie and the areas are mostly narrow corridors. You shoot a few shots, move back, shoot a few more, move back until it's dead. It's actually more work than previous games. Certain areas will trigger zombies to break through windows or replace them with Hunters but if the player remembers these areas and timing which it will happen, all he has to do is take a short0cut which makes the whole point of placing the enemies in those areas pointless. Just killing the zombies is not a wise decision either because they come back to life as a crimson head, red colored zombie with claws. This is very annoying because certain areas are revisited many times so a player has to be careful which zombies are put down and make sure the killed ones are burned with kerosene, placed around the mention, or the heads or legs are decapitated. I can see how the developers wanted to add a lot of challenge in the game but it forces the players to be more strategic and cautious than out right action oriented to blast whatever gets in their way. With its revamped puzzles with slightly altered locations and answers, the entire game becomes a treasure hunt with lack of some action to alter the pace with more adrenaline. There are no "groups" of enemies to blow away with shotguns but one or two spaced around in the shadows, making the action slow paced and static because a player can easily avoid them. The ammo may seem scarce but with all the above elements put together, you can actually end up with so much ammo left in the end that it feels ashamed to just go and kill the final boss. Some of the positive addition is the defensive weapons, taser shock for Jill, flash grenade for Chris, and dagger for both. Because zombies can walk up to you even after taking 7-8 shots, these weapons can really save your butt. Also sometimes zombies will hit on doors and jump out with a scary music, adding some horror element. Nevertheless, this is more of a puzzle game than survival horror in its mechanical aspect. The necessity of fighting your way through the game is so diminished but more of a "Forest Gumping" your way is emphasized, makes it a dull and boring action game throughout the experience.

Replay value: 5

My love for RE series is that after all the hardwork, you get to see the characters in different looks with incredible firepower like Gatling guns and rocket launchers. This game added 2 extra costumes each for Chris and Jill, one for Rebecca if you change Chris's, 2 extra weapons, and extra play modes. This is where the game seriously fails. The extra mode such as invisible enemy where you can't see any monsters at all, or real survival mode which auto aim is off and item boxes are not linked are rather too out of the way to add incredible challenge to a game that is already challenging in a stagnant way. By the time you have unlocked these modes, a player have tasted enough of the game the going back to fight your way blindly or traveling miles to carry items from place to place seem ridiculous. These modes are only for hardcore fans. However I believe Capcom really has to think about appealing to more casual and general consumers rather than adding bonuses that only old time hardcore players will enjoy. The costumes are a nice change as I have said, visual is the best aspect of this game. Nevertheless, Jill has a costume from RE 3 and Chris has one from Code: Veronica and despite seeing them in better graphics, Capcom could have put in some newer and interesting costumes. Re 3 had five costumes for God's sake. The Rocket launcher is a traditional add on but the other weapon is just an enhanced pistol with infinite ammo. If I wanted to feel like God walking around in the game and put out my frustrations of ammo conservation in my replay, I would have preferred a Gatling gun, the laser gun which was scrapped from the earlier design, the hand to hand combat which was also scrapped, or a light saber like Silent Hill 3.

Overall, the idea of revamping the original was a good idea and it surely must have gained some revenue but RE was already a dying series before RE4. Much like MGS: The Twin Snakes, it failed to expand upon old school originality and just continued to boil drinks off the same tea bag. After all the hoping and wishing of wondering how great the first game must have been, it wasn't a memorable experience, but reconfirmed the need for a big change.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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