A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Resident Evil is a downloadable atmospheric survival horror game with lots of violence and gore. Player characters are frequently attacked by human monsters and other creatures. Monsters can be slain with guns and knives, resulting in sprays of blood, burst skulls, and exposed viscera. Tension is heightened when players run out of ammunition and are forced to evade attacking creatures. Some mild to strong language pops up occasionally, usually in text notes. Non-interactive bottles of alcohol and sexy posters of women appear. One puzzle has players piecing together a painting of a nude woman. Unlike more recent Resident Evil games, there's no online play here.
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What's it about?
This remastered version of Capcom's 1998 survival horror classic is actually based on the remake that arrived on GameCube in 2002. Renowned as one of the games that kick-started the genre, RESIDENT EVIL puts players in the shoes of one of two characters: Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine. Both are part of a special team of police officers in the fictional American town of Raccoon City. They're sent to investigate the disappearance of a group of fellow officers near a mansion on the outskirts of town but quickly find themselves fighting for their lives as they encounter a house full of biological experiments gone awry. Play involves exploring the old manor room by room, solving puzzles, and finding keys to unlock new areas. As the story progresses, tougher and more aggressive monsters begin to show up more frequently. However, limited ammunition and finite saves mean players need to be wise about when they want to fight, when they want to run, and when they ought to record their progress. Once the game ends, players can work through the story again from the perspective of the other hero, with some puzzles and story elements slightly altered.
Is it any good?
Resident Evil -- or at least the GameCube remake of it -- has aged surprisingly well. Younger players likely will find the dated controls a bit awkward (camera angles change automatically, and controls for aiming map to the character's perspective rather than the player's), and the writing is undeniably corny by today's standards. But the graphics, including some lovely real-time shadow and reflection effects, hold up nicely, and there are still some legitimately creepy moments, especially when off-screen sounds alert you that something's coming without revealing what it might be.
The real fun, though, is in exploring the mansion. The satisfaction and excitement that come with each new discovery of a puzzle piece, key, or artifact is tangible, and the slow but steady tension-building pace is a nice change from today's overly frenetic horror adventures. Many players -- even returning fans -- likely will get a bit frustrated with quaint old game concepts such as Jill and Chris's tiny item inventories and the inability to fast-travel to previously visited locations, but if you can settle in with these old-fashioned quirks you'll quickly come to remember and/or realize that this game of thrills and chills, puzzles, and exploration deserves its status as a classic within the genre.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you find violence has a different impact on different members of your family? How has violence in media affected people you know?
Families can talk about what they find scary. Do you think fantastical monsters in games and movies are frightening? What about media that realistically depicts other, more lifelike forms of terror?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: January 20, 2015
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.