Biohazard HD Remaster

Platforms: PlayStation 3/PlayStation4/XBox 360/XBox One
Released: 11/27/2014 (PS3/XBox 360 - Japan), 01/20/2015 (PS4/XBox One - Japan, PS3/PS4/XBox 360/XBox One - US and PAL),
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Japanese Name: バイオハザード HDリマスター
Localized Name US: Resident Evil HD Remaster

It’s plain to see that HD remasters of PS2/XBox/GameCube titles were a mainstay of the PS3/XBox 360 generation, and for the relatively short time that it’s been going as of this writing, that trend is proving to continue throughout the PS4/XBox One generation as well. When these titles have been announced though, they tended to either come as collections or just be the latest and greatest entry in a franchise that was featured across that frequently remastered generation. That’s why the GameCube remake of Resident Evil/Biohazard being released as an HD remaster across every “modern” (the PS4/XBox One releases will not be included in this article, since they were actually released slightly later in Japan) non-Nintendo platform was a bit of a surprise. It’s pretty universally agreed upon that the the Resident Evil remake on GameCube (or REmake) was absolutely stunning, and a masterpiece in its own way even when compared to the Playstation original. So what exciting possibilities await in an HD remaster?

Biohazard HD Remaster - Light SourcingBiohazard HD Remaster - Enrico
Showing off the light sourcing with a nearly identical shot to one in my original REmake articleWell that’s a rather personal question Enrico!

The answers to that question vary depending on what angle you examine this HD remaster from. The most obvious place to start is the graphics, but how much better could this version of the game look than the already beautiful GameCube original? Well, it really depends on where you’re looking. If the hot rumor that began circulating shortly after its announcement is true, a lot of the non-character model assets of REmake were either lost or unusable in this case. So the actual GameCube assets, at 480p, had Photoshop filters applied to them to make them fit in with the rest of the HD remaster at 720p (For the PS3/XBox 360 versions anyway). I can’t say for certain whether this is true, but there are certainly parts, particularly when it comes to background textures, that this looks like it could be true. There are also parts where it absolutely cannot be true, so perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle. And regardless, the game still looks as amazing as it did on the GameCube, with the now added benefit of being able to display in either 16:9 or the original 4:3 aspect ratios. If you play all of your games on an HD TV, this version is worth playing for that feature alone over the older GameCube or Wii versions of REmake.

While Resident Evil was never a series particularly well known for its music, there’s no doubt that music and sound effects play a significant role in the overall package of REmake. Hearing it remastered in 5.1 surround sound is a very nice change, particularly when it comes to the sound effects. A re-release of the mockumentary Wesker’s Report I & II (previously only available as a pre-order DVD with the Playstation 2 version of Code:Veronica) comes along with this version of the game, as well as the first instance of Japanese voice tracks being available for this entry in the series. In the case of the VAs for Chris, Jill and Wesker, the same actors and actress who were featured as the Japanese voices of these characters in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Biohazard: Revelations and/or Biohazard 6 have returned to reprise their roles. The other characters are all voiced by reasonably notable VAs that have appeared in many different games and anime. Like the quality of the original English voice acting, it certainly isn’t anything life changing, but it’s a nice option to have.

Biohazard HD Remaster - Giant SpiderBiohazard HD Remaster - Tyrant
Yep, the giant spider is still creepy in HD!Well hello there Tyrant!

As if these differences were not enough, the one that made the biggest impact on me was the introduction of a non-tank control scheme. Hard core players may find it impossible to imagine an early RE game without those tank controls, but Remaster proves that it is absolutely possible and even works well! Those same people will likely argue that it makes the game too easy, but luckily it can be toggled back and forth at will (also not all of us are as good at this game as you). For anyone who never played through REmake because the tank controls were just too obtuse for them, there’s no longer a need to put off playing it.

No matter what nitpicks you may have with what wasn’t done to this remastered version of REmake, a great game is still a great game, and this is certainly the superior way to play it on an HD TV. While the XBox 360 version was download only across all regions, the PS3 version did get a disc release in Japan only. The later released PS4 and XBox One releases are both download only across all regions.