Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

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Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by JaySevenZero » December 31st, 2017, 3:39 pm

Here's where you can leave your thoughts regarding Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0) for possible inclusion in the podcast when it's recorded.

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Re: 330: Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by fieldy » February 10th, 2018, 9:22 pm

Resident Evil Zero V7 I330

I first remember becoming aware of Resident evil zero as I’d did with so many games at that time after seeing screenshots in NGC magazine, being as I was so excited by the remake of the original RE and that this was a completely original entry into the series meant that this was a no brainer for me. The screenshots I saw were of the early part of the game with Rebecca and Billy in a train, there were also shots of a mysterious man in white robes on top of a hill all of this had me very interested as I tried to piece together the story before getting my hands on the game.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity (but was actually only around 6 months!) I had the game in my hands and settled in to play it. Initially I was gripped by the introduction to the game which promised an origin story of the umbrella corporation and the T-Virus. Then after a short cutscene I was straight into the action. Right off the bat zero felt very different to its predecessor, I still can’t define what it is but the characters movements feel slower than in previous resident evil games. In addition to this there were a few points that made this entry less enjoyable than others for me. The partner system which is introduced early on shows promise, helping solve puzzles that need the two lead characters to be in two different places at once was a fresh mechanic for the series but this quickly became stale and in the later stages of the game feelt like a chore. The battles with the leach man feel cheap with the bullet sponge enemy moving much faster than the player character and being able to hit at long distances in very confined spaces (I think this might be to try and induce fear but it just came off as irritating after about the third encounter)

These negative points aside I did mostly enjoy Zero the presentation was excellent with Capcom building on the already impressive graphics of the remake, the pre rendered backgrounds were even more detailed. Sound design also impressed again with a remarkable amount of detail from footsteps on different surfaces to the ambient noises in the train. The new ability to drop items anywhere on the map was also a welcome addition to the series meaning less backtracking.

The story was okay for the most part, explaining how Rebeca made it to the Spencer mansion and giving some history of the Umbrella corporation. I felt it fell very short however in its ambitious promise to explain the origins of Umbrella. I was also a little disappointed that there was no more back story for Billy or that we don’t really see him ever again!

Overall zero was an enjoyable experience but it did have its blemishes, I think Capcom were experimenting with the old Resident Evil formula in an attempt to give fresh life to the series something that they succeed in with in RE4 and 7 but here it feels like the additions are half baked and too little too late by this point. An enjoyable enough entry that falls short in my opinion.

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Re: 330: Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by Simonsloth » February 10th, 2018, 9:39 pm

I dont really have much to say that’s positive about this game. I played the Gamecube version of it on the wii after being blown away by resident evil 4. I couldn’t help but compare the two and although unfair on zero I can’t rewrite history. In every way this is inferior. The story and characters are potentially the weakest in the series. the gameplay isn’t bad compared to earlier games but it came at a time where it’s peers had moved on considerably whereas this felt stuck in the past.

Playing more recently my opinion hasn’t really changed. It’s an unnecessary title which serves very little purpose.

One little nugget of positivity though was that I liked that Rebecca and Billy parted ways with a thumbs up. Much like the gameplay it was certainly awkward but it was nice to see a female character not end up in the arms of her male counterpart. Compared to code Veronica where Steve tries to kiss Claire in her sleep this is a considerable step forward.

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Re: 330: Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by KSubzero1000 » May 11th, 2018, 10:40 am

Quite frankly, I think that Resident Evil Zero's greatest sins were to come out at a time when people were getting tired of the series, exclusive to a comparatively unpopular platform, and following in the footsteps of the excellent REmake. But when judged on its own merit, I don't think it is entirely deserving of the horrid reputation it now has.

First and foremost, the audiovisual presentation in this game is just as great, if not better than in REmake. The quality of the backgrounds is absolutely stunning. The Train section is one of my favorite locations in the series and I find it very impressive how much structural complexity the level designers have managed to squeeze out of such a simple premise. Fantastic tutorial level. The soundtrack is also on the level of quality that I've come to expect from the classic Resident Evil games.

The game also has what is probably the greatest set of puzzles in the series, with the animal statues being my personal favorite. Resident Evil Zero actually expects the player to put a bit of thought into solving these instead of relying on the usual "Run from point A to point B in order to jam item X into slot Z"-shtick. It's not on the level of Zero Escape or even Silent Hill, but it does come closer than any other title in the series.

The monster design is unfortunately rather uninspired in this game, with most being simple variations of existing animals. The Eliminators can be very frustrating to deal with and the Giant Bat is one of the worst bosses in the series. I like the Leechman's vulnerability to fire-based attacks which rewards the use and proper management of Molotov cocktails, but I do regret the lack of a body burning / Crimson Head mechanic, however.

The item management system without magical item boxes is a bit of a double-edged sword. It is much more "realistic" and isn't really an issue once the player knows what to expect, but it can probably be really annoying for first-time players who don't exactly know what to take and what to leave behind. My tip: Keep the Hookshot in close proximity at all times.

I think that the two character setup is a really nice feature once the player has grown familiar with the AI. It can make for some interesting strategies and rewards inventory specialization. I especially appreciate the neat little touch of being able to control the second character with the right analog stick.

The narrative strand about Marcus' resurrection is rather silly, but I very much enjoy the couple of scenes between Wesker and Birkin. Billy is a strangely charismatic, interesting character which I'm sad hasn't made any other appearance since, and the lack of obvious romantic tension between him and Rebecca also makes it stand out in comparison to similar stories. What little writing and dialogue there is isn't exactly highbrow literature, but it's usually enough to keep me interested throughout the game. Although I must admit to having a soft spot for stories with multiple protagonists in general.

For the longest period of time, I actually considered Zero to be ever so slightly superior to REmake. I've since come around to the more conventional opinion of REmake being a more polished and pure iteration of the classic Resident Evil formula, but it still baffles me just how often I see Zero being thrown under the bus. It is a flawed, but fantastic experience in its own right. And like CODE: Veronica before it, a lot of its gameplay quirks are significantly easier to deal with on repeated playthroughs.

PS: I also remember getting into hilariously overthought arguments with people as to whether or not the Marshaling Yard and connected Underground Lab/Factory traversed in this game are the same locations as the similar-looking one in Resident Evil 2. I still maintain that this was the clear intent of the designers despite minor retcons, as evidenced by the handful of throwbacks and references, but other opinions are available!

Three Word Review: Atmospheric, Coadjutant Adventure.

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Re: 330: Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by ReprobateGamer » July 9th, 2018, 5:19 pm

The main thing I remember about Resident Evil Zero was that this was the point that I truly realised quite how in love with the franchise my then girlfriend was.

Code Veronica was always her thing whilst we were at college (my issues with that game are expressed elsewhere) after having watched me playing RE2 and RE3 but I was keen to get a hold of both RE:0 and the Resident Evil remake. What clued me into her wanting those games also more than anything was walking into a Tower Records during a closing down sale and her walking out with a Gamecube copy of both games - quite ignoring that fact that we didn't, at the time, own a Gamecube ...

Zero itself is a good addition to the series (far better than RE:CV in my opinion). The graphics were great for their time and it nicely slotted into the lore. That it bills itself as the prequel explaining what happened to STARS Bravo team in the run up to the Mansion Incident is a bit of a misnomer as it barely touches on that (it seems to remember most of the way through that it needs to end up there ...) but it does serve as a prequel to the series and does explain, for the audience at least, some of the story regarding Wesker, Birkin and the origins of the T-Virus (Rebecaa and Billy never actually find out most of the info in the cut scenes that Wesker and Birkin feature in)

There was a good relationship between the two main characters - though it was a little jarring that Rebecca was so quick to be so trusting of Billy. After all, it's only his word against that of the official report. While I would like to know what became of him, there is something to having a character just no longer be part of the story and I think trying to bring him back into the series now would feel like deliberately crowbarring him in just for the sake of it, rather than as a nuanced addition to the story. He was only involved as he survived the attack on the military transport.

The control system worked well as you were able to control the second character so it was possible to set up flanking shots; quickly swopping between them was fine and I liked that items could be left rather than having to be discarded if you had a full inventory (though I wish that Capcom would have been able to have an 'annotated' map function so that you would be able to find the item again - especially if you managed to drop it behind a pre-rendered bit of scenary ...). It was a nice touch to return to the factory and lift from RE2 though that in of itself raised yet more questions about the already sketchy geography of Raccoon City ... and the time scale for the T-Virus infection as there is a section in Raccoon City's water treatment plant ...
Enemy design was a little poor in this game - the (very) loose set of rules that governed how a species reacted to the T-Virus to that point was truly nixed (in particular the giant bat that had standard sized bats with it; baboons changing colour and the damn leeches ... ) and the frog version hunters were ridiculous, particularly the one that sat in the way of a narrow walkway and would just eat you if you paused too close to it - this started a series long hate with enemies with one hit kills ...

The leech hunt mode was also an interesting addition to the RE minigame canon - not something I would necessarily replay but having to balance clearing out area's with an ever decreasing inventory made for an thought out version of the inventory management that was part and parcel of the RE experience at the time.

The Gamecube has been replaced by a Wii but the games remain in our collection - I would imagine that the HD versions will at some point find themselves on hard disk of the Xbox One next to it. She who was my girlfriend and now my wife remains disappointed that it isn't two player - which I think would make for an interesting spin on it.

I remember this game reasonably fondly despite the flaws though I haven't in truth played this game in a number of years and the switch to RE4 within the series meant that any features that could have been worked upon are null and void which is a little bit of a shame as you compare the progression through the series

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Re: 330: Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by Magical_Isopod » July 14th, 2018, 8:04 am

Resident Evil 0 is a game I'm very lukewarm on.

It retains most of the core mechanics of the 2002 REmake, which is a great thing, but despite having beaten it three times now, I always come off feeling a little disappointed. The graphics are outstanding, it plays well, the locales are interesting... But it's missing a certain "je ne sais quoi".
The character-swapping mechanic is interesting, but I don't feel it's ever utilized in clever enough ways to justify its inclusion. We're introduced to a cackling madman of a central antagonist, but this seems redundant in a series where the locales and their unspoken histories had, to this point, been the primary threats. The game doesn't make any sense at all as a prequel, for a litany of reasons that I hope you folks will elaborate upon in the podcast.

But one thing in particular bugs me to no end... The character of Billy Coen irritates more than even Steve Burnside. When we first meet this guy, we're introduced to him as a hardened criminal, who the straight-shooting Rebecca Chambers must team up with reluctantly to escape a nightmarish situation. That set-up is an interesting dynamic - someone virtuous working with someone more criminal to achieve a common goal. Will Billy betray Rebecca to save his own hide? Will the game make commentary on how crime is often committed out of survival and necessity? Nope. It pisses that potential away by painting Billy as another virtuous character - someone so morally "correct" that he's literally arrested for being TOO GOOD. We're being attacked by giant scorpions, hunted down by a leech man that belongs in Marvel Comics, trapped in a building with the shambling undead... And the folks who wrote this game somehow think it's important to spotlight just how great a guy Billy is, deep down? No! It's such a puzzling shift in direction - not only do we stop the action to go from Dawn of the Dead to First Blood, but any character tension that could possibly exist to make Rebecca and Billy a compelling odd couple is squandered. And to boot, we never see Billy again. He rides off into the sunset, while Rebecca walks right into yet another Umbrella facility, seemingly unaffected by the events of Zero. Where you at, Billy? Does your instinct not start screaming, "Hey, maybe I should make sure my new friend gets to safety"?

The reason I highlight this character element in particular is that I feel like the same attitude that went into writing Billy went into the rest of the game. The REmake engine is an incredible piece of tech, but the devs behind Zero seem to fundamentally misunderstand what made REmake work so well. The levels are not intricate puzzle boxes, the unsettling gothic horror of the original is replaced with the action movie heroics of Military Bloke and Herb Girl. I come away from Zero feeling as though the team was given a flawless Resident Evil canvass upon which to paint a masterpiece, but instead slapped some paint on carelessly and called 'er a day. The game works because it has just enough Resident Evil DNA to be recognizable - but it fails as a prequel, and is overall a disappointing follow-up to one of my favourite games of all time.

It's a telling tale when even Rebecca Chambers forgets RE0 even happened by the time she shows up in Resident Evil 1.

Three Word Review: "Where'd Billy Go?"

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Re: 330: Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by ReprobateGamer » July 14th, 2018, 5:49 pm

you know I had never released that RE:Remake was released before RE:0

Zero I believe was in development for the N64 first then had to be remade for the Gamecube which I imagine would impact on the construction of the game itself and would explain some of your concerns.

We know that Rebecca ultimately believed that Billy was set up (rather than be lying to her) as there is a file in Resident Evil 2 where Rebecca reports that Billy Koen (sic) still hasn't been found - so I always took her to be watching what she said to avoid revealing that Billy was still alive and also the implication from Enrico that STARS had been betrayed meant that she was maybe a little cautious in what she said to Chris.

Steve Burnside remains the most annoying character in the franchise so far (though there been a few other contenders over the years ...)
... your mileage may vary, of course ...

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Re: Our next Resident Evil podcast recording (29.7.18) - 330: Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0)

Post by ThirdDrawing » July 28th, 2018, 5:01 pm

To me, RE0 is the last true RE game until the Revelations games came out for PS3/360.

I think most of the complaints about the monsters are valid but I did like the disparity between Billy and Rebecca.

Billy is your kind of stock action hero that you would see in a lot of games of the time, and Rebecca is more like someone who would have been put in a kind of support role in a lot of games. (IE Like the Naomi role in MGS)

She's not big, she's not tough, she's tiny compared to the rest of her STARS team. She's somewhat of an unusual choice for a main character in an action game as she doesn't fit the normal mold for a main character of that era. Even Billy doesn't take her seriously when he first meets her and I think the contrast between playing as her and Billy is interesting.

It's by no means perfect, but it's the last game that really felt like a true Resident Evil game to me.

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