Review – Resident Evil (Switch)

While it’s widely known that 1992’s Alone in Dark kickstarted what we currently know as the survival horror genre, it was 1996’s Resident Evil that cemented it as one of the most appreciated niche genres in gaming. Its iconic setting and unforgiving gameplay became staples of the genre, even if its tank controls and deliciously terrible voice acting didn’t stand up to the test of time. In 2002, Capcom released a full-fledged remake of the game for the Nintendo Gamecube, which became one of the best titles released for the system. After being remastered and re-released for half a dozen other systems over the past few years (it’s a Capcom game, duh), Resident Evil, the remake, is now available on the Switch. For the first time ever we can play this game on-the-go, and oh boy was it worth the wait.

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Hello m’lady, can I give you a smooch?

In theory, everything that was present in the 2002 remake is present here. The mansion layout is the same. The voice acting is the same, which is a shame, as it’s still cheesy, but not in the “so terrible I absolutely love it” way that the original 1996 voice acting was. The gameplay is still the same, for the most part. The game retains the same fixed camera angles, limited ammo and item supply, as well as limited save system. However, there are new control configuration options as well as the option to play the remake without tank controls… but it’s not like it makes the act of controlling Jill or Chris less convoluted.

Yes it’s true, you can play the game without tank controls. By tilting the control stick to any direction, that will make your character run in said direction. This is great, but it doesn’t fix the fact that you will still crash into walls constantly, as the game still features the same fixed camera angles and angle changes from before. It will take a while for you to get used to the weird and dated controls, but since the map is so small, you won’t have that much trouble. It will be more of a nuisance than a deal-breaking hindrance.

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And stay down!!

With that being said, the rest of Resident Evil did age quite well. The visuals are impressive. It’s a testament to how groundbreaking those graphics were in 2002, since they still look excellent in freaking 2019. The fact that you’re playing the game on a smaller screen makes the pre-rendered backgrounds look less dated. I mean let’s face it, we’re basically walking around on top of a bunch of (well-detailed) JPEG pictures. The character models and lighting effects all look great as well, with the exception of Jill’s, err, “jiggle physics”.

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Well, you’re basically moving in front of a JPEG, but it’s a damn detailed JPEG.

With this game, you know what you’re getting. It’s the same Resident Evil from 2002, but with a few extra quality of life improvements, as well as the fact you can play it on-the-go. Honestly, that’s all that was needed. It’s a game that managed to age much better than a lot of its peers, despite the confusing control layout and slightly long loading times. If you’re a Resident Evil and horror fan, don’t think twice. You may think that playing a game like this on a small screen might reduce its overall scare factor, but you’re wrong. It’s as tense as ever and that makes it as fun as it has ever been.

 

Graphics: 8.5

Resident Evil still looks formidable for a game released eighteen years ago on the Gamecube. The pre-rendered backgrounds look great on a small screen.

Gameplay: 6.5

The controls are good as tank controls can be, but at the end of the day, they’re still tank controls with fixed camera angles.

Sound: 7.0

The sound effects are as creepy as they have ever been, but the same can’t be said about the voice acting. It’s cheesy and amateurish, but nowhere near as charming as the original voice acting from 1996.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Resident Evil is challenging, unsettling and unforgiving. It’s a game that managed to stand the test of time, even if its voice acting and gameplay haven’t aged as gracefully.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Resident Evil is available now on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Gamecube, Wii and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

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