"Traindead on arrival."
Resident Evil Zero attempts to answer a burning question that practically nobody ever asked: just what was Rebecca Chambers up to in the original game, before you found her? The thing is, a lot of you never witnessed the answer to that question, due to Capcomís short-lived Gamecube series exclusivity. Ignorance was a valid excuse for all but the seven people who owned that system, but it's a valid excuse no longer! As one of the newest members of the near dangerously obligatory HD remaster crowd, Resident Evil Zerohas since been splashed across all current platforms, with shinier graphics and that obsolete tank control scheme banished back to the late 90ís. Zeroís been elevated to its highest plane of existence to date. Itís still not very good.
I mean, itís not awful; itís just the victim of some really sloppy design choices. The sad thing is that it doesnít start out that way. During the pursuit of an escaped death row inmate, Billy Coen, Rebecca finds herself trapped on a runaway train filled with the undead. She has no choice but to team up with her quarry, and from there the two uneasy allies make their way through the claustrophobic cabins, given little room or time to react when any of the corpses slumped in their luxury seats reanimate and make spirited attempts to claw through the heroes' throats. Itís excellently paced; though the game never punishes you for taking your time, thereís a real sense of urgency. Youíre hurtling through the night to an unknown destination and, judging by the remains of the previous travelers, itís not a journey you should be excited about making. Tandem efforts to stop the train mean utilizing begrudging teamwork to bypass obstacles the other canít, or to find a way back to each other once separated. Thereís no wasted motion, no endless backtracking and no period where youíre meandering around, just trying to figure out what to do. The train is by far the highlight of the game, laser-focused into forcing the pair into a reluctant team and driving them to bond through their macabre discovers. Itís over in about half an hour.
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