I decided I wanted to play a Resident Evil game over Halloween. I decided to take it further and aim to work my way through a couple, if not all, of the Resident evils. I also realised that the Xbox One and PS4 as a generation have all the mainline games in one form or another playable on a single platform. I own the HD remasters of 0, 1 and 4, the recent remakes of 2 and 3, Resident Evil 7, and Code Veronica X via 360 backwards compatibility.

I played the remake of 2 back at the start of this year after bagging it in a sale, and it was everything I had hoped for and more, a tough feat given how highly I regard the original version. I played it through as Leon and always intended to return and play through as Claire. 

Here was my chance I thought, then I could jump right into the Resident Evil 3 remake – I’ve never played the original but my brother-in-law always speaks highly of it, so I am very much looking forward to experiencing that. 

Which brings me up to resident Evil 4. As a huge fan of the Gamecube, and an owner when it was current, I guess it may be quite a surprise I’ve never played Resident Evil 4. I just never owned it at the time, then the Wii version I picked up the other year for cheap has sat in the backlog. I bought the remake of Resident Evil when I first got my Gamecube, and a university housemate bought Zero for it at the same time (another I’m yet to play), but I just never picked up 4.

I will need to pick up 5 and 6 as I approach time to play them. I played a demo of 5 back on the 360 when it was just coming out and remember thinking how different it was, more action-focused from 1 & 2 that I knew so well. 6 I have heard is awful.. but I guess I will have to find that out for myself. 

I played the resident evil 7 prologue demo last year and shat myself.. so yeah – not in any rush to get to that one, even though it looks amazing. I will fit Code Veronica in there too somewhere. I do have my original Dreamcast copy, but sticking with the Xbox collection I think I’ll try the 360 version: Code Veronica X. 

I considered starting with Resident Evil 0, but decided I wanted to start with something familiar, an old Skool fav, fit zero in at some point along the journey, and frankly speed up me getting stuck into the remake of 2 & 3!

So I embark on my journey, boot up Resident Evil, select Jill Valentine, and off I go, hoping to get through it quickly so I can get to the good stuff… Little did I know I was going to fall in love with this game all over again. 

When Resident Evil came out for the PlayStation I went nuts for it, here was a game that had everything I ever wanted and didn’t know I needed. I was (and still am to a degree) a huge horror movie fan, I drew warped stuff and read some pretty strange things too. When I saw the screenshots in a mag I had to play it. I didn’t have a PlayStation, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I found out a friend of mine; Andrew, had the game and I spent every spare hour I had at his until we had completed it together. 

I went on to pick up the PC version when it came out and sunk a ton of hours into that after school. I remember poking around in the games installed files and on the CD and finding that gawd-awful voice acting as individual audio files. I made great use of them, mapping some to Red Alert F key audio taunts when facing off against my brother and Sister, and likely given the era – mashed them into a couple of Dance EJay songs for good measure. Come to think of it, I use to do this with Worms too. Ahhh.. those were the days.

As previously mentioned, I bought the remake for the Gamecube at university and played through it, I recall noting how many things were different or expanded upon alongside the graphical (and audio!) update and being impressed, but I’ve never been drawn back to it in the 15 years since then. 

Which brings us to late October 2020, the year right out of a horror film, a really poor one at that. I finally set on starting with the HD remastered original from the “Origins Collection” and let me just get this out the way now, that frickin’ tank control system has not aged well! Combined with the camera angles changing multiple times in each pre-rendered environment/area, often resulting in me going round in circles when simply trying to go up some stairs, or when outside in the courtyard area ending back at the cabin multiple times completely unaware of where I was getting spun around. It can quickly get infuriating, especially when attempting to dodge enemies, but it is what it is.

That aside, the aforementioned changes and expanded vision of the game slowly started to reveal themselves to me once again, and I began to enjoy the relaxed pace of the game, the exploration and puzzle-solving my mind’s eye had forgotten about, coupled with the resource management and it was honestly a really great way to relax at the end of a days work, and slowly, but surely, I got really into it.

Whilst playing I was transported back to playing the original at my mate Dans house when staying over and bricking it when we found the spider room. The countless hours I played my PC version of it after school a few years later. This game means a lot to me.. and I had forgotten. 

But it’s far from a simple case of nostalgia. The addition of the Crimson head zombies adds a further variable to the resource management and the split-second decision making between engaging or dodging enemies. If you don’t decapitate or burn every zombie you kill you risk them coming back as a Crimson Head later on, likely when you least expect it. A psychotic and much faster zombie springing up and chasing you in what was a cleared corridor or room is not fun I can assure you… well, it IS fun, but you know what I mean. This addition alone adds so much, with your flask only able to carry enough fuel to light 2 fires at a time between refills it does make you question if you really need to drop that rotting dude waving his arm at you.

There are countless new areas and refined/completely re-imagined puzzles throughout, alongside a few quality of life improvements like the placement of safe rooms and such. But I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

I had such a good time with this game, it felt like a familiar friend that I hadn’t seen for many years rocked up out of the blue, sporting serious cosmetic surgery, and as the nights draw in and the temperature drops, greets me with a big warm hug.

By the end of the game I just want to dive back in and play as Chris.. and then go for some of the speed runs and such.

I finished Jill’s campaign the evening before I received my Xbox series X. I can’t possibly break that new beast of a console in on Resident Evil, can I?

..Can I? 🙂