Resident Evil is a survival horror video game developed and released by Capcom originally for the Sony PlayStation and marks the beginning of one of the most influential titles in video-game history. I don't even feel like I need to explain about it. Since 1996, there have been around twenty installments to the franchise itself, such as remakes and standalone titles. This also led to a film franchise, that isn't exactly critically acclaimed, has been largely successful from a financial standpoint. It has since been ported for the Sega Saturn and Microsoft platforms, and been re-released for the Nintendo DS and the Sony PlayStation Network.
A lot of people hold Resident Evil fondly as a franchise but does the first installment holdup as a worthy first installment to the massive franchise?
I wasn't a big fan of Resident Evil when I was younger but that was mostly because I didn't have access to it. I think the same can be said for Silent Hill. I was interested but I wasn't able to pick to pursue them until much later down the line. The first installment that I ever played was Resident Evil 0. Since then, I have bought several others and enjoyed some of them. (Resident Evil 4 and 5 in-particular)
This review was written after my first time playing and fully beating Resident Evil, however.
The story isn't anything too elaborate or witted. The Player takes the role of either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine. Both are members of the Alpha Team and both offer basically the same experience. The difference is that Jill has the ability to lock-pick and a larger inventory whereas Chris is more durable. Choosing Chris Redfield will offer a fuller experience, but that's neither here nor there. The objective at first is to find survivors from the Bravo Team, however, that changes fast. After seeking refuge in a nearby mansion believed to be abandoned, everything suddenly becomes more about survival than anything else. You'll learn some information about the Umbrella Corporation that becomes more important in later installments but other-wise it's a very simple and easy to follow storyline.
The cut-scenes are something interesting, even now we don't see anything like it very often. They are done live-action with actually actors taking the reins of a respective character. I haven't taken the time to see what the reception to this was but I have heard that some like it. I don't have much of an opinion on it. I think that it's nice for the time and that it definitely adds to the B-movie feeling that the first Resident Evil offers as a whole. I wouldn't call it anything that I'd like to see come back though.
The voice-acting is godawful. But most everybody already knew that.
I don't even know what to write about it. I feel like it's almost unfair to criticize. Resident Evil has since evolved into something a little more serious and less cheesy but everybody will admit how bad the voice-acting and dialogue is. Whether it be Jill Sandwich or Chris Redfield getting to the root of the problem after stopping the giant plant, the dialogue and delivery is completely cheap and worthless. And from that standpoint, once the characters become that way, everything to do with the storyline suffers as well.
Fortunately, that isn't what makes the first Resident Evil enjoyable. I found Resident Evil for the PlayStation at a local store, asking for about twenty bucks. That seems pricey considering that you could likely find Resident Evil 5 and Operation Raccoon City both for that but it is actually a bargain. I was worried about not liking it because of the controls, camera-angles, and things like that, but I am happy to say that those nuisances were easily conquered.
The controls might offer a little bit of frustrations at first because of certain movements, but there isn't anything too bad about them. I like the combat. I like fighting the zombies and all of the puzzles that come with it. There might be an overabundance of creatures to fight. If this were Resident Evil 4, or something more serious where it would seem disproportionate to the themes, I might be bothered but it didn't really bother me here. Enormous spiders and serpents slither and crawl amongst the crevices ready to wreak havoc at you. Sharks swim around certain areas without any reason whatsoever of them being there.
The puzzles are some of the funnest aspects about Resident Evil. I don't think they are by any means the hardest that we'd eventually see in the franchise but there are more than a few fun ones there.
The inventory system has become famous in Resident Evil and so has the Ink Ribbons. I don't think either of them really add enough to the challenge. They add something. They definitely add something. And at times, I remember desperately needing a Green Herb and not being able to pick one up. You can't discard of items which is a wrong since rectified in later installments. I wouldn't have this criticism if I could have done that. Instead of being challenged, I feel like I spent most of my time backtracking back to the safehouses and that seems more tedious than anything else. The Ink Ribbons are dumb. I don't even have anything else more to say about them. They are an example of making it more tedious than challenging.
The voice-acting is awful. The story doesn't offer too much for the gamer to sink their teeth into. And for the most part, it feels ridiculously cheese more often than anything else. Those are a few things that you can take away from the first installment in the Resident Evil franchise.
It's fun though. Very fun. Incredibly enjoyable. While I don't think that certain elements helped add t the challenge, I do think that Resident Evil offers a damn-good challenge more often than not. It is tremendously easy to become overzealous with the herbs and run out, or other things like that. Strategy can become very necessary for your survival. Some certain factors might keep me from calling Resident Evil a Great Game. But the exploration, the puzzles, and fun to be had will make me fight tooth and nail that it is an above-average one...
Thanks for reading...
Rating: Above Average