Last week, Capcom took its Resident Evil Fright Club to Los Angeles, in the heart of Hollywood, at the Dirty Laundry nightclub and bar. The location seems rather appropriate for the subject matter of the video games. The dilapidated looking Dirty Laundry resembles some rooms and locations that would fit right at home in the Resident Evil franchise. Funny enough, Capcom was even selling umbrellas designed like the Umbrella Corp. logo from the games.
For the Fright Club event this year, Capcom is putting forth its big push for Resident Evil, with the HD remaster release of the classic original video game of the franchise, which was first released in 1996. Of course, this newest HD version is a remastering of the 2002 Gamecube remake of the 1996 original. So while I would love to see HD remastered versions of Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, it simply might not be feasible in the foreseeable future. The existence of the Gamecube version made the new HD update much easier. The Capcom reps at the Fright Club made it clear that an HD remaster of Resident Evil 2, while everyone would love to make it, would easily cost in the seven figure range. The Capcom reps sounded open to the idea of releasing HD updates for other installments of the franchise; but ultimately, that will depend on the numbers for the Resident Evil HD REmake.
I got the chance to play the HD remake for a considerable amount of time, and it was quite a nostalgic, awe-inspiring experience. The game looks practically brand new. Capcom did a great job in giving the new game a fresh coat of paint. The developers painstakingly upgraded and polished every single room in the game. Other than some of the stiffer, less detailed character models in the cut scenes, it is almost impossible to tell this is a remake of a game originally released over 10 years ago. When I first played the original Resident Evil in the mid-1990s, the experience was riveting. It was equally riveting to re-experience similar moments all over again when the STARS team takes refuge in the Spencer mansion. I enjoyed seeing some twists on the original. In the original, if a player tried to open the front door, there was a cut scene showing the zombie dogs getting in. Here, if you open that door, a zombie dog will make it in and punish you for making such a stupid decision.
It was a bit of an adjustment period getting used to the original game’s classic control scheme again. That was the case for the original game as well, but after a while, I got used to it. Considering I had the original on the first PlayStation console, it felt good to play the HD remake on a PlayStation controller. While the control scheme might be a challenge to new players, Capcom has thankfully included an alternate control scheme option that is a bit more streamlined and modern. However, I recommend trying out the classic scheme to get that old school, survival horror feel.
Capcom also had the Resident Evil Revelations 2 demo, a new mid-quel game set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. It is fantastic to get Claire Redfield back–long overdue for the franchise. Not to mention, this is really the first canonical game in the franchise where fans get to play as classic character Barry Burton. I am not counting Mercenaries or Gaiden. One of the more intriguing aspects of Revelations 2 is the mystery villain. I have racked my brain over who it could be. I suspect it is someone like Annette Birkin, but she did die in the second game. However…since when has death stopped anyone in the Resident Evil universe? Albert Wesker “died” at the end of the first game, and he became a menace to Chris Redfield and the BSAA ever since that installment. Annette was a scientist and Umbrella researcher. She worked alongside her husband for both T-Virus and G-Virus projects. Who is to say that she did not experiment on herself in a similar fashion to Wesker? Years later, it would not be hard to believe that Annette has a personal vendetta against Claire Redfield. There is no way it’s Ada Wong. My other suspect is Alexia Ashford. Is it so hard to believe she could have survived Code Veronica? The reason my mind goes to Alexia is because the villain has a clear vendetta against Claire Redfield.
Let us look at the facts. One of the producers said the villain is an existing character in the continuity. It will take a hardcore fan to know who the villain is. The villain is definitely a female character. The soldiers who crash the TerraSave party are specifically looking for Claire Redfield. Redfield is knocked out and taken prisoner. She and Moira Burton are thrown in a dilapidated facility on a remote island filled with monsters. If this person really wanted to kill Claire, she easily could have done it. Instead, she wants to mess with Claire Redfield and torture her. She wants to make her suffer. She wants to play mind games with Claire, and forces Claire to take part in a deadly cat-and-mouse game. This is not just some Umbrella, Tricell or Neo-Umbrella stooge. This person clearly hates Claire and wants to torture her and make her suffer. My only other idea is that the villain happens to be Steve Burnside’s mother, who blames Claire for her son’s death. Mrs. Burnside is supposed to be dead, but little about her was revealed in the first place, so there you go.
So far, I like what Revelations 2 has in store. The digital episodic format is a little different. I am really happy that Claire is playable again, and players get to play as Barry for real this time. The story plays very dark and isolated. The gameplay comes off as more of a return to form for the franchise than some of the previous installments. I cannot wait to play the final products.
The HD remaster of Resident Evil is now available for the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Steam. Resident Evil Revelations 2, Episode One, launches on the PlayStation Store on February 24. It will then hit Xbox Live Global Steam Global and other international territories on February 25. The retail disc for the game arrives on the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows PC on March 10.