‘Resident Evil’: Enter The Survival Horror

Photo courtesy of Playstation

Photo courtesy of Playstation

“Resident Evil” is one of the most important game series ever made. Not only because it spawned the legendary game series but also because it has in large part helped shape the gaming industry into what it is today. This game single-handedly coined and created the survival horror game genre. Not only that but it also helped to give birth to the modern hack-and-slash genre because “Devil May Cry” was originally going to be “Resident Evil 4”. 

Even outside its genre Resident Evil has had massive effects on the industry because “Devil May Cry” also led to the creation of series like “God of War”, “Bayonetta”, “NieR”, “Ninja Gaiden”, and more. Furthermore, “Resident Evil 4” gave birth to the modern action games that we know today such as “Uncharted”, “Gears of War”, “Mass Effect”, “The Last of Us”, and more. Suffice it to say, “Resident Evil” is essentially the progenitor of modern gaming as we know it. 

Regardless, the 2002 remake of the original “Resident Evil” (also just called “Resident Evil”) is considered to be one of the best games in the series, elevating elevates the original to an even higher standard. So does it live up to those expectations? Absolutely yes.

Not only is this game the best “Resident Evil” game, but it’s also just one of the best games ever made. “Resident Evil” invented survival horror and remains the gold standard for all others to live up to.

“Resident Evil” is one of those games where almost every aspect is just near flawless. It knows exactly what it wants to do and how to do it – and it succeeds with flying colors. 

You follow Racoon City Special Tactics and Rescue Service officers, Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield, as they investigate strange reports near an abandoned mansion outside of the city. Before reaching the mansion, their helicopter crashes in the forest and they rush to safety within the mansion as they are chased by a pack of killer hounds.

Whether you play as Jill or Chris will largely determine how you tackle the game. By and large, Chris is the harder character to play because he has fewer inventory slots (which are a precious commodity) and he doesn’t have the ability to lockpick certain doors. Regardless of the protagonist though, the story still leads to the same essential destination, unlike “Resident Evil 2” where your choice of protagonist gives you entirely different stories.

The game is essentially just one ginormous puzzle where you have to piece together every piece of information and see where it fits, which creates an enormous sense of accomplishment as you progress throughout the game.

The game also does a good job of creating anxiety in the player and making them plan out their next move. Which items do I bring with me? Do I have enough room to hold ammo? How much ammo can I use on these zombies? These are all things you will have to keep in mind as you explore this creepy and mysterious manor. 

The resources you receive are limited so you have to use them cautiously and sparingly.

In a mansion littered with dangerous zombies and monsters that take a ton of damage, you have to ration your resources well, or else you can and will run out very quickly.

The mansion itself is also just an achievement within itself, from its art design, atmosphere, intuitive layout, and more. The entirety of the mansion is actually not being rendered in real-time as almost any other game does. Instead, the game essentially uses extremely well-placed PNGs as the background in order to be able to push the technology at the time to its absolute limits. This is aided by the fact that the game has a fixed camera angle so that the pre-rendered backgrounds aren’t even noticeable.

Admittedly the story isn’t all that great, but to be frank it doesn’t need or try to be. It has a simple premise and a simple story. It doesn’t need to be a deeply nuanced character study. It’s just more cheesy schlocky horror, and I wouldn’t want anything less from “Resident Evil.”

Overall, “Resident Evil” is a fantastic game with near-perfect gameplay, art style, level design, and atmosphere. Despite the cheesy story, this is one of the greatest games ever made and is still the highest benchmark for horror games to this day.

Score: 9/10