Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster
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 Zero HD Remaster is a visually upgraded version of a game that originally launched in 2002. It's focused on two people -- a field medic and a military convict -- forced to defend themselves from a variety of zombies and mutated monsters created by an evil corporation. Play involves a mix of contextual puzzles and graphic combat in which players use handguns, shotguns, and grenade launchers to destroy their non-human attackers. Expect large splashes of blood, exploding heads, and dead bodies littering the ground. Text includes some minor profanity, including the words "hell" and "damn."
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What's it about?
RESIDENT EVIL ZERO HD REMASTER isn't a brand-new Resident Evil game but rather a spiffed-up version of a game originally released for GameCube. It's a prequel that explains what happened in the hours leading up to the events of the very first Resident Evil. Sent out as part of a team to investigate a series of countryside murders, young field medic Rebecca Chambers forms an unlikely alliance with military convict Billy Coen. The pair fight to survive an onslaught of mutated monsters, the products of a corporate-developed virus unleashed on both humans and animals. Together they explore a train, a mansion, and a couple of underground facilities where they battle zombies and solve a procession of contextual puzzles involving machines, keys, and chemicals to gain access to new areas. New elements include "modern" control options unavailable in the original release, as well as a bonus mode that allows players to replay the game with notorious Resident Evil villain Albert Wesker taking the place of Billy Coen.
Is it any good?
This survival horror title was never among the most popular games in the series, but it was one of the final entries to follow the formula established in the original game. That means the camera is fixed, players need to stop and pivot to aim and shoot, inventory space is extremely limited, and the focus is more on puzzles than action. It doesn't quite give rise to the same sort of nostalgia as the original Resident Evil, but it has enough of the same ingredients that it should intrigue players who wished recent entries in Capcom's survival horror franchise were a little more like those that came before.
There are reasons, though, why Zero never enjoyed the popularity of its predecessors. One of them is the lack of storage containers where players can keep -- and later retrieve -- excess items, such as ammunition and weapons. Without these boxes, players end up frequently backtracking to fetch items they left in previous areas. Plus, Zero relies on a teamwork system that requires players to constantly switch between the two lead characters. It's fine most of the time but can become frustrating -- especially when the heroes are separated and need to swap a key item or during puzzles in which each performs a specific and repetitive task. But even with these problems, Zero should prove a minor treat for anyone longing for a truly retro Resident Evil adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Is there a difference between games that require characters to defend themselves from aggressors and those in which the heroes attack their enemies? Is this difference significant?
Discuss Rebecca Chambers, the female star in this game. Is she as powerful as her male counterpart? Which abilities do the two leads share, and which are different? Do the differences feel as though they're based on gender?
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