Review – Vaccine Rebirth

The original Resident Evil is a game I’ve not actually played. Despite being a massive fan of the franchise, my only experience with the original game was with the remake, which is pretty much perfection, in my opinion. It’s a game that’s been copied a lot recently with games like Tormented Souls perfectly recapturing that style. However, the original’s style doesn’t see too much love outside of games like Alisa and Rainy Night Creations’ Vaccine Rebirth.

Vaccine Rebirth suits of armor

No armour traps here.

The really heavy original Resident Evil inspirations are on full display here. Everything from the story that involves a special forces unit heading over, to a mansion to investigate a killing, is there. It does differ slightly in a couple areas, though. Once arriving, your partner will be infected and you will have to find a cure. If you are playing on higher difficulties, this will include a timer.

Gameplay is what you’d expect. Vaccine Rebirth uses the classic fixed camera angles that defined the Resident Evil franchise for years, before Resident Evil 4 switched to third-person. I’m a big fan of this approach. The fixed cameras can feel like it’s directing the tension, making you question what is around each corner. However, whilst the camera shifts, you do also have full control over them. Being able to move the camera around to scope out the room. Along with this, we also have tank controls. If you’re not familiar with this control scheme, it might be a little bit of an adjustment.

Once you grab the vaccine, you will be chased by a Tyrant-like enemy who will follow you all across the map. I highly recommend to make sure you’ve explored everywhere before picking it up. Once you’ve returned to your starting room, the next chapter will start. Next, it will take you to different locations with tougher enemies; if you aren’t properly equipped you will have some issues.

Vaccine Rebirth vending machines

Vending machines act like stores.

It’s important to know going into it that instead of having a focused, linear path, Vaccine Rebirth has roguelike elements. Each playthrough is essentially a short run through the game, taking roughly an hour or two for a completed run. If you die it’s back to the start, as is normal for the genre. Other roguelike trappings are here as well, such as randomising the level designs, item placement, and enemies. This makes each run feel different. Normally I’m a fan of the rogue genre; games like Hades and Othercide have provided me with hours of enjoyment. But I can’t help but feel like this game would have functioned better as a more traditional survival horror experience. Perhaps having a randomiser as an extra mode to encourage repeat playthroughs, would have been a stronger option.

One thing you will either love or hate is its PlayStation 1 visuals. Everything, from the low-poly environments and character models, are faithfully recreated. It might not be to everyone’s liking, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s a charm to classic art styles and it’s well represented here. However, the enemy designs and environments are all really lacking in variety.

Vaccine Rebirth mansion

How many mansions does Spencer have?!

Similarly, sound design replicates that classic original Resident Evil perfectly, and again – this will be something you either love or hate. Vaccine Rebirth has some truly terrible voice acting, such as the opening cutscene or the seemingly random yelling of “GET BACK” from your main character. However, Vaccine Rebirth‘s sound design doesn’t have the charm of “I hope this isn’t Chris’ blood”. I found myself disliking it the more I played; from the random times when the music ramps up despite nothing happening, to the annoying zombie groans that get old pretty fast.

Vaccine Rebirth recaptures the look and feel of PlayStation 1-era gaming and I respect that approach. Old-school survival horror still has its charm, but the forced roguelike elements feel out of place. Everything, down to the visuals and controls, is perfectly replicated. However, outside of the nostalgia, Vaccine Rebirth doesn’t offer anything substantial.


Graphics: 6.0

Recreates that classic look with some more modern but lacking visual variety.

Gameplay: 5.0

Pretty standard survival horror experience, let down by a forced roguelike setting.

Sound: 3.0

Despite the terrible voice acting being probably intentional, I found it more annoying than charming.

Fun Factor: 5.0

Vaccine Rebirth offers little more than mimicking old school gameplay.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Vaccine Rebirth is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Vaccine Rebirth was provided by the publisher.