324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

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324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by JaySevenZero » December 31st, 2017, 4:24 pm

Here's where you can leave your thoughts regarding Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard) for possible inclusion in the podcast when it's recorded.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by aidopotato » January 9th, 2018, 10:24 pm

This was the game I bought a Playstation for, the prospect of taking part in an interactive zombie movie proving too seductive for the teenaged me to resist.
To this day I vividly recall the first encounter with a zombie; the dogs bursting through the windows; the battle with a giant snake; the first time I decapitated a zombie with one shot from the python; the rooftop showdown with the Tyrant.
While it’s been superseded every which way (not least by its own sequels, remakes and spiritual successors) I will always remember it fondly for minting many of the elements that make these games so compelling- the drip feed of ammo, weaponry and new enemies to use them on as a means of marking progress; the gasp of relief upon reaching a safe room; the peerless visuals; that wonderful Resi tone of storytelling, somewhere between stony-faced earnestness and wacky, schlocky kitch.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » January 10th, 2018, 1:53 am

I'll contribute more on the game itself later, but I'll say this for now: If any of you are planning on playing this along with the show and are opting for the recent HD remaster, please consider setting the game to its original 4:3 format in the menu. The quality of the prerendered backgrounds is one of the game's strongest point, and they are carefully crafted in order to convey very specific viewpoints. The new 16:9 option that cuts off big chunks on the top and at the bottom of every picture is just modern Capcom's latest effort to further bastardize their own franchises.
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(Notice the top chandelier.)

And as for the new optional non-tank controls...
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(This is not how the game is meant to be played either. Act accordingly.)

The same goes for Resident Evil Zero, obviously.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by Suits » January 10th, 2018, 12:53 pm

I'm a big fan of native 4:3.

I have a tendency to notice things like cropping almost immediately, especially on TV (Don't get me started on classic Simpsons :x ) good point there KSub.

I do know a lot of people who prefer to crop their games mind, in order to fill the screen at a sacrifice to the full picture.
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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by Alex79uk » January 10th, 2018, 2:37 pm

I had no idea that playing in 16:9 cropped the picture, I will rectify that immediately! I assumed they'd redone the graphics to accommodate, not just leave bits out! Thanks for the heads up.

(Although I'll still be using the modern controls thankyouverymuch! :lol:)

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » January 10th, 2018, 2:55 pm

Suits wrote:
January 10th, 2018, 12:53 pm
I do know a lot of people who prefer to crop their games mind, in order to fill the screen at a sacrifice to the full picture.
Of course, to each their own! But I think I've played the game enough times to tell how much the new default settings negatively impact the overall experience, so I thought I'd give people a heads-up. In my experience, people tend to just use default settings without thinking twice. At least now they can make an informed decision.

Another thing to keep in mind is that picture cropping is usually not as pernicious in games with controllable cameras. You rarely completely lose out on anything, unlike in this case.

Alex79uk wrote:
January 10th, 2018, 2:37 pm
I assumed they'd redone the graphics to accommodate, not just leave bits out!
Given the attention to detail that went into creating these backgrounds in the first place, as well as the sheer quantity of them, that would have been a huge undertaking. Much simpler to just zoom everything in, add a cheap camera pan effect and call it a day. It's post-2006 Capcom we're talking about here.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by Flabyo » January 10th, 2018, 4:20 pm

Weird that they’d do that given that when they remastered the Phoenix Wright games from GBA to DS they pretty much redid all the art to work with the different aspect ratio.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » January 10th, 2018, 5:00 pm

Flabyo wrote:
January 10th, 2018, 4:20 pm
Weird that they’d do that given that when they remastered the Phoenix Wright games from GBA to DS they pretty much redid all the art to work with the different aspect ratio.
What different aspect ratio? The original DS has two standard GBA screens. Everything on the GBA fits perfectly on either the top or the bottom DS screen, I just checked. Are you thinking of the 3DS?

In any case, it'd make sense that they would put more effort into that port, considering it was the first time these games were released internationally. There is a reasonable assumption to be made that Resident Evil had already reached its target audience when it first came out and that the new remaster should be a low-cost, low-effort affair.


PS: I'm sorry for derailing the thread. Feel free to move this discussion into the general RE thread if necessary...

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by Flabyo » January 10th, 2018, 5:48 pm

KSubzero1000 wrote:
January 10th, 2018, 5:00 pm
Flabyo wrote:
January 10th, 2018, 4:20 pm
Weird that they’d do that given that when they remastered the Phoenix Wright games from GBA to DS they pretty much redid all the art to work with the different aspect ratio.
What different aspect ratio? The original DS has two standard GBA screens. Everything on the GBA fits perfectly on either the top or the bottom DS screen, I just checked. Are you thinking of the 3DS?
It really doesn’t. The gba has a single screen at 240 x 160 and the DS has two screens at 256 x 192 each.

Not quite the same aspect, the gba is 3:2 and the DS is 4:3. Enough extra screen space to need new art doing, mostly the full screen character art.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » January 10th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Ah, good to know. My mistake!

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by fieldy » January 20th, 2018, 6:03 am

To say I was excited about this game would be an understatement, having only ever played Resident Evil 2 I was keen to see how the series started and when I heard that a remake of the original was heading to my favourite console I had to have it!

Initially picking this up on US import with the promise of Datels freeloader on the horizon I was disappointed when the region disabling disc was delayed meaning I had to wait for the European release but it was certainly worth the wait. After picking up my copy and completing it in a single weekend I immediately went back for more. This game looked stunning and still stands up today in my opinion (apart from the odd upscaled background on current gen consoles) I remember being amazed by the reflections on the marble floor in the mansions main hall and how detailed the character models were. Capcom’s use of pre rendered backgrounds, lighting and camera angles was masterful.

The remake played very similarly to the earlier games in the series meaning the controls were sometimes awkward and clunky but where others criticised the game for this I found it added more tension every time you were faced with an enemy. I found the game to be fairly well paced with puzzles breaking up the action between combat nicely. I will say however that this game is best played on one of the higher difficulty settings as I found the easier settings too easy, played on the harder difficulty it becomes a true survival horror. My only issue was that that was no quick switch for weapons meaning every time I wanted to swap my pistol for a shotgun for instance I would have to open the inventory screen and this broke the immersion for me, I’m not sure if this was a technical concern but it did annoy me, especially in boss battles.

The story was fairly simple with a twist that I think most people saw coming but this still kept me engaged, I still wanted to know more about Umbrella and what they had been up to.

Finally a special mention must go to the sound design which I thought along with the presentation was very impressive in its detail. Everything sounded as it should from the footsteps on wooden floors and wet paving to the ambient noise of crickets chirping on the mansion grounds or even unsettling rattle of a hunter lurking out of sight, all of the this made the experience more real and added to the atmosphere . As well as this the soundtrack although not omnipresent added a great deal to the overall feeling of fear and dread.
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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by DomsBeard » January 28th, 2018, 11:14 am

Just starting it now in 4:3 cheers for that

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by aidopotato » February 19th, 2018, 5:46 pm

just realised I posted my thoughts on the original here. D'oh.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by Craig » February 25th, 2018, 12:43 pm

I wasn't a huge fan of the original Resident Evil, but when I saw how gorgeous this looked on the Gamecube I figured I should give it a go when I saw it on sale. In that area, the game did not disappoint. It was the first game where I remember it feeling like you were playing the cutscenes and it was another watershed moment after Donkey Kong Country and Mortal Kombat where I thought to myself "This is it, games are never going to look better than this."

To play the game however, fills me with a huge sense of anxiety and dread which, while no doubt intentional, seriously dampens my enjoyment. I appreciate what it does, but too many of the systems together rub against my natural way of playing and I struggle to have a good time. A large part of it comes from being asked to make decisions without having the comfort of being fully informed. Take ink ribbons, for example. Sure, there's probably enough in the game to make it through reasonably saving, but how much is too much? What does the developer expect of me?

This came to a head when I found out I hadn't been managing my ammo efficiently. I made it someway through the game, downed some naughty sharks, and then on my return to the mansion suddenly there were very fast very powerful red zombies around. After consulting GameFAQs, I found out these Crimson Head Zombies appeared when you killed a zombie and didn't burn the corpse.

On my first playthrough, I had played it much like I would any game. I see something trying to kill me; I shot it to hell and back. Unless I ran out of ammo, in which case I ran away hoping I'd find some soon. As a result, I had a lot of powerful angry zombies and a lack of firepower.

On inquiring for help on the GameFAQ message boards, I was helpfully told that I shouldn't have shot up so many zombies and I should have conserved my ammo (and I'm sure you can imagine the oh so friendly tone in which the mid 2000s GameFAQs community told me.) Unfortunately, telling me to not do what I had already did didn't really help me progress through a game I wasn't very good at in the first place, and that was as far as I made it through the mansion.

Apologies if I`'m misremembering some details and there may very well have been an easier way to progress.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by seansthomas » April 19th, 2018, 10:51 pm

Its funny how your mind plays tricks on you. How places you recall being huge as a kid turn out to be tiny, or albums you loved as a teenager often turn out to be a bit rubbish years later.

This isn't something videogames play with very often, with repeated playthroughs usually yielding less challenge and faster times. But imagine if your memory was slightly off? If details you vividly remember are twisted and slightly disconcerting. This is why I love the remake of Resident Evil so much.

It toys with your recollection. It makes you revisit legendary moments in videogame history, but forces you to question their unravelling.

The opening minutes were only subtly different, but something felt different straight away. Was that there before? Is this the door I went through all those years ago? I spent those initial minutes feeling like my memory was clouded. Then I got to the corridor with the dog.

I hated that dog in the original Resident Evil. It made me jump out of my skin as a teenager. But after a few playthroughs, I'd overcome that fear, and it was merely a scripted moment I was ready for.

So I went into that better looking, more atmospheric corridor that oozed atmosphere and life a bit cockily. Gun ready. It's just a few more steps up here...

CRASH!

And there I was, panicking. Searching for the right button. Running into a wall. Because that dog had jumped out of a different window to the one I remember and scared the life out of me.

The game continues to play on and alter that fear. Where you first leave the mansion and know which frog like monster is due a visit. Zombies reappearing with crimson heads where normally there'd be empty corridors. When you enter the science lab and see water on the floor.

But the scene that'll always stay with me is the garden shed. Walking up that path seemed a terrible idea the moment I started doing so, because it was new. I asked myself, "This wasn't in the original, was it?" And then I caught sight of that terrifying psychopath walking towards my location out of the window. This moment would have been scary for someone playing a Resident Evil game for the first time. For someone with prior knowledge and experiencing an event that throws you so severely, it's far more memorable and arguably terrifying.

That's why this game is my favourite of the Resident Evil series. To remake a game so lovingly and beautifully is one thing, and it does still look insanely impressive for a game of this era. But to use that return visit as a twisted opportunity to toy with your memories in the way this title does, elevates this game to a unique gaming experiment and all time great.
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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » May 5th, 2018, 12:09 am

I think the term "survival horror" is a very interesting and oddly specific one in that it combines a mechanical genre descriptor ("survival") with a thematic genre descriptor ("horror"). The latter is easily understood: after all, horror fiction has existed within other forms of artistic expression for centuries and its defining tropes have long been codified. But the former is a bit more obscure, and this is where REmake truly shines. Obviously, this game knows how to create a fantastic horror atmosphere, but even if you take away the entire presentational aspect of REmake and consider only its bare-bone mechanical structure, you are still left with an incredibly layered, deep and demanding adventure game that has more in common with Monkey Island than with Outlast. And that is what sets it apart from the vast majority of horror-themed games in my eyes: It understands the importance of having a substantial mechanical foundation underneath its gloomy presentation.

The notion of "resource management" is often associated with hyper-complex real time strategy games with dozens if not hundreds of individual statistics and mechanics. And yet, the core gameplay loop of REmake is all about resource management and careful planning. The game is very deliberately set up so that the players are always on the verge of running out of something and are incentivized to plan several strategic steps ahead in order to secure their progress. Even the aftermath of some combat encounters has a strategic resource element, thanks to the ingenious body-burning mechanic and the fascinating short term / long term trade-off associated with it. Combat is almost always a simple progression-gating skill check in the vast majority of video games, something that rewards a certain amount of spontaneous dexterity and nothing more. But in REmake it becomes something that demands proper strategic consideration before and after.

This game is quite unique in the sense that it doesn't require a huge amount of rules to be memorized, but that it nevertheless keeps the player mentally engaged at all times. Orientation, environmental traversal, ammunition, inventory space, health restoration, saving. These are all elements that the vast majority of games prefer to simplify, often even taking care of them automatically. GPS, objective markers, infinite ammo, regenerating health and autosave systems are all commonplace nowadays. But REmake doesn't hesitate to trust the players to keep these various elements in mind and to calculate the ideal course of action themselves. Despite having played through this game dozens of time, I almost always get lost whenever I revisit it while mentally juggling all these delightfully convoluted elements and trying to remember the exact key item locations. Others may understandably find this off-putting and needlessly stressful, but to me, that is superb game design.

This design philosophy also effects the puzzles. A lot of games like to use dedicated puzzle sections as mere palate cleansers in-between more substantial action set pieces, to be solved and quickly forgotten about afterwards. The puzzles in this game are handled differently and often rely on the players' sense of observation and memorization of certain clues and segments that they might have seen several hours ago. None of them are particularly challenging, but I find the way in which they are structured to be very engaging.

But that is not to say that the audiovisual aspect is lagging behind. At a time when pre-rendered 2D backgrounds were starting to grow out of fashion, this game thankfully doubled down on its signature visual language and the end result has to be one of the most visually impressive experiences ever created. The quality of the backgrounds is absolutely baffling to me, with each of them being carefully drawn according to the established rules of photography, perspective play and picture composition so as to convey a specific viewpoint, brimming with fascinating little details and contributing to the fantastic sense of location of the Spencer Mansion and surrounding environments. The visual artists who worked on this game have done an incredible job and I'm quite sad to observe how the rest of the industry doesn't seem interested in recapturing this kind of magic nowadays. Thinking of how many players inadvertently missed out on this game's true beauty due to Capcom's ignominious frame cropping in the HD remastered version upsets me.

The story is inoffensive B-movie nonsense. It doesn't have anything particularly interesting to say and amounts to little more than a framing device, but the more mature way in which it is presented makes it significantly easier to accept than the original's amateur hour. As usual, the Resident Evil characters are a lot more memorable than they have any reason to be based on their writing alone. I'm especially fond of Jill's design in this game.


In an age when homogeneity and accessibility reign supreme and producers are becoming increasingly risk-adverse due to rising development costs, I often find myself longing for this type of idiosyncratic AAA experience which commits so firmly to a specific design philosophy. I very much doubt this game will ever be surpassed in the survival horror genre, but I do take comfort in its fantastic replayability. I do not believe true quality to be something that "ages" and fades away over time, and this game is one of the best examples to support that belief. It is just as great now as it was when it first came out and I firmly believe that it will retain its luster for decades to come. What a powerful, atmospheric, captivating, demanding, visually stunning experience.

In the end, even though I may ever so slightly prefer the impeccable pacing and sense of progression of RE2, I also believe that when observed under a more analytical lens, this game stands as the most accomplished iteration of the classic Resident Evil formula and therefore one of the greatest achievements of the medium and Mikami's purest statement of intent before he moved on to more popular pastures. I also think that this game is one of the very few remakes (together with Metroid: Zero Mission and Fire Emblem Echoes) that are of such high quality as to render their original versions borderline obsolete.


Three Word Review: Quintessential Survival Horror

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by TheProf » May 5th, 2018, 4:32 pm

I can't remember if I picked up this game close to release or whether it was a little later but I do remember being absolutely blown away by how good it looked. I had played the original Resident Evil on the Playstation when I was young and was so scared by the initial encounter with a zombie that I put down the controller and ran away. After this initial experience I hadn't played another Resident Evil game until this remake came around, and this time I was determined to see it through.

And wow, am I glad that I did. This game represents to me some of the best atmosphere created in any game, thanks to the wonderful soundtrack and effects and the stunningly detailed visuals, which look incredible still even on the Gamecube version running at 480p. I am a huge fan of pre-rendered backgrounds because of the level of detail they can contain, and fixed camera angles because of the control they can have in setting a scene, and to me this game is the epitome of both those things. The lighting is also fantastic, with the constant lightning flashes really adding to the mood.

As for the gameplay, to my tastes this is perfect. I enjoy games with some cerebral content more than those purely based on action and reflexes, but at the same time if the cerebral content is too hard I get frustrated and give up. Resident Evil (2002) hits the sweet spot for me of being just mentally challenging enough to make me feel like I'm achieving something without being too difficult. The mansion of course provides a perfect playground to face off against devious puzzles and challenging foes and ranks amongst the greatest of video game locations.

I can't speak as to the differences in gameplay between the original Playstation game and the remake, but I can say that I love this version of the game and it will always remain amongst my very favorites.

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Re: 324: Resident Evil (2002) (Biohazard)

Post by Sage + Onion Knight » May 19th, 2018, 10:20 pm

As a fairly big fan of horror games (especially many of the “classic survival horror” ilk), it’s kind of surprising how long it took me to actually play the first Resident Evil. Before I played the PS4 port this year, I wasn’t sure what my opinion would be – for all I’d heard about the creepy atmosphere of the mansion, there was lots that I’d heard that I assumed would undercut this. For example, the famous “campiness” of its tone; the game-iness of the puzzle-filled mansion with its absurd system of keys and locks; the fact that the grounds facilitate the habitat of murderous blood-thirsty sharks.

After taking a bit of time to get used to it though (I’m a film student with a hyper-awareness of how disorientating the camera angles are; and the ink ribbon system just doesn’t suit adult life), I came to appreciate how well Resident Evil creates and maintains a very specific tone. Through its creepily homely atmosphere, the setting of the Spencer Mansion allowed me to suspend my disbelief enough to be convinced that it followed in the ridiculous-yet-eerie Gothic eccentricity of the real-life “Winchester Mystery House”, rather than simply being – as I’d thought it might be – more just a vehicle for puzzling than a believable environment. Opening up more of the mansion is incredibly satisfying; at times, feeling like completing a jigsaw puzzle, albeit one that tries to gore you in the face at regular intervals.

This consistently low-level hum of creepiness and dread throughout the game reminded me a lot of how the really good old zombie films manage to transcend their low-budget ropiness in illustrating the characters’ fear and isolation in the face of the often-knowingly absurd situation of a zombie uprising.

I wonder how I would feel if I had played the original PS1 version (given the tank controls, I can’t guarantee that I would be intact psychologically), but I’m glad the podcast (and the compellingly low price of the game) convinced me to give the HD remake a try. I’m surprised it’s essentially a touched-up version of a 16-year-old GameCube game because it looks pretty stunning by today’s standards; and it’s been fun to compare it with Resi 7, which I also played fairly recently.

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