If you've never played a Resident Evil game before, this week's re-release is an excellent entry point. That said, it's still a game with roots in 1996 game design. Excessive inventory management, unexplained mechanics, and a super weird save system are just the beginning.
I wrote about what this updated Resident Evil means for series diehards yesterday. The game allows you to ditch tank controls and view the game in widescreen. Is it worth another trip? Totally. But hey, maybe you're new to Raccoon City. It's a scary place. I've got you covered!
Into the mansion we go...
Their storylines are a little bit different. While the plot moves in the same general direction, it's substantial enough to warrant a second playthrough. There are gameplay differences, too. Jill has more inventory slots than Chris and carries a lockpick, which gains her early entry to rooms with substantial amounts of additional health and ammo. Chris can't carry as many items, but he can take more damage, run faster, and aim more accurately. If you want an easier experience your first time, you'll want to go with Jill. Plus, Jill gets to hang out with Barry!
As I'm exploring the mansion for the first time, I'm picking up ammo, medicinal herbs, and other random items scattered about. Pretty quickly, my inventory is completely full, but I've also run out of rooms to explore. Everything is locked. I've found a key on the ground, but Jill can't pick it up. After another 15 minutes of exploration, I'm convinced I've somehow missed a storage box to stash my stuff. A walkthrough on GameFAQs, however, tells me otherwise. My only option, the one way to pick up that key, was to consume an herb and free up a slot. Ugh.
Most games are terrified players won't find everything, which means items and other objects are often sparkling in plain view. While a few items are given this royal treatment in Resident Evil, plenty of them aren't. Often, spare healing items and other useful equipment either won't be highlighted or require blindly investigating a drawer or shelf. Sure, you might end up reading the description of a painting one too many times, but you'll be thankful for the extra bullets.
Most of the time, the most effective strategy is to simply pull out your gun and shoot. Once you obtain the shotgun, however, there's a little more nuance. In Resident Evil, players can shoot forward, up, and down. Enemies often temporarily fall to the ground after a few shots, which gives you a chance to put them down permanently by aiming down. With a shotgun, if you aim towards the sky, it's also possible to blow off a zombie's head with a single, clean shot.
Firing bullets is the easy way out, but it can get you into trouble later. Ammunition is scarce, especially in the early hours, so you'll want to conserve as much as you can. Most rooms have space to navigate, giving you the freedom to run around a shambling zombie. Run away! Plus…
A big change with REmake was the introduction of crimson zombies. Crimson zombies are faster, scarier, and more powerful. When you kill a zombie, consider setting it on fire. While you only have access to limited amounts of gasoline, there's nothing more terrifying than walking through a hallway and being unsure whether a zombie's going to rise from the dead all over again. If you happen to decapitate a zombie with a shotgun or magnum, they'll also stay down.
One might call it an option of last resort, but when a zombie takes a few shots, it falls to the ground. That's a perfect opportunity to get a few stabs in by aiming downwards. More often than not, the stab wounds will prevent the zombie from getting up, saving you a few bullets.
Constant inventory management is an enormous (and still annoying) part of the Resident Evil experience. Thankfully, storage boxes are universal in this game. Whatever you put in one box will show up in another. It's worth hustling back to a storage box to store an extra herb.
Sound and lighting are key to Resident Evil. Not only are the developers trying to freak you out, but they've also given you plenty of clues about the dangers ahead. The funky camera angles might prevent you from seeing where exactly a zombie is hiding, but the ambient shuffling lets you know how close an enemy is and shadows can tip off what side of the room they're on.
You don't have infinite save slots. While each save requires using an ink ribbon, the game gives you plenty. In the first hour, you'll have nearly 10. There are surprises around every corner, which means you're going to die a bunch. If you're headed to a new area, save. There will be plenty of ink ribbons where you're going. Why? Well, don't think about that part too much.
While there's an in-game, it's basics. It tells you what doors are locked but not why. Getting around the mansion becomes second nature pretty quickly, but remembering what keys are used for what doors is fairly confusing, once you gain access to armor, helmet, and sword keys.
Well, this one's self-explanatory.