Resident Evil HD Remaster

One glance at the screenshots and trailers for Capcom’s remastered, high definition version of the legendary 2002 GameCube Resident Evil remake is all it takes to tell the already gorgeous game is looking even better. However, what horror fans can’t appreciate yet is the impact the updated control scheme and widescreen view have on the game. We went hands on with these optional alternate features to see how they affect the classic horror game's tense gameplay.

Early Resident Evil games are infamous for their stiff tank controls players turn the character by pressing left and right, then press forward and backward to move in the direction they're aimed. Capcom is including a control scheme with a novel vision: characters move in the direction you point the analog stick. While I was playing the game with this method, I noticed Chris and Jill now default to running and can pivot on a dime. No need to press the run button. The enhanced agility makes the 180 degree quickturn defunct. I tested out Chris’ newfound spryness on one of the first zombies I encountered. Armed with only a knife, I easily ran circles around the ghoul while slashing him into submission.

The new controls offer a great introductory concession for newcomers who might dislike the tank controls, but they come at some cost. While it’s empowering to outmaneuver the enemy’s A.I., it reduces the tension of some encounters. Additionally, the game changes camera angles as you explore, which creates some issues with the modern control scheme, similar to early Devil May Cry games where you might suddenly start running in an unintended direction. Finally, the S.T.A.R.S. team members’ NFL running back-like dexterity sucks some of the grounded sense of weightiness. I enjoyed experimenting with this early version’s new controls, but I’m undecided whether I’ll end up preferring it to the original style.

Another big change involves the resolution. The 2002 GameCube Resident Evil was developed with standard definition TVs in mind, so its native resolution is 4:3. Playing with this original view means there are letterboxes on either side of the screen. Capcom can’t widen each of the mansion’s room to fit widescreen, so instead the optional 16:9 widescreen view zooms in on the environments. This means trimming off a bit of the original 4:3 view, so to compensate the camera tracks the character as they move through the game. This subtle panning is a great solution for folks playing in widescreen, and I hardly noticed the difference in the early sections I played. Purists are welcome to toggle back and forth between the aspect ratio on the fly, same as the control scheme.

Resident Evil the best horror game of all time in our Horror issue. We consider this enduringly creepy title worth checking out whether you’re traditionally a fan of horror or not, and RE HD Remaster’s optional features might make this one of the best jumping-on points for the series since Resident Evil 4.

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