Because I’ve previously reviewed the Resident Evil games 5 – 7 on this blog (as well as the REmake and Code: Veronica) and because I’ve been on a bit of a Capcom kick recently, I decided that for reference’s sake I would also post the written out reviews of the old school Resident Evil games on the PlayStation. I may also later post a review on Resident Evil 4 and Zero, but you can already read about my thoughts on those games in my Top-5 Resident Evil games list.
On with the reviews…
Gameplay: 3½/5 – Despite being the first game of the series, RE1’s controls are very easy to get into if you have any prior experience with the series. There’s a few slightly clunky aspects to it (exiting from Menus for instance) which slow you down a bit. There are no evasion moves or quick turns which definitely makes dodging attacks a little difficult (plus some corridors are designed intentionally so that you can’t ignore enemies without getting hit). However, in all, the gameplay is fine.
Graphics: 4/5 – I don’t want to be too harsh on the game since it was a first wave PlayStation game and as such, the level of detail in most locations and even on the character models is quite good. All the zombies look pretty same though which I guess is my biggest minus. Also, some of the pre-rendered rooms look incredibly barren when compared to the sequels. However, there’s nice over-all variety in the game’s look.
Animation: 5/5 – There are lots of cutscenes and they are all very entertaining because of the cheesy acting. There’s also lots of animation on all the characters and enemies which is quite good. The live-action intro is hilarious.
Music: 4/5 – I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Resident Evil soundtracks, but I do have to say that the music in this game has a nice cheesy 90s vibe to it. Also, a few of the themes are genuinely very creepy and get under my skin. I quite like the boss music too. The soundtrack isn’t really very memorable but high quality and fills the scenes well.
Sound: 5/5 – “You were almost a Jill sandwich.” – I love the cheesy voice-acting in this game. It honestly just brightens up the game and compared to the rather dull voice-acting of the remake, it also brings a lot of life to both Jill and Chris’s stories. The sound design in all is very well done with plenty of creepy sound-effects even in locations which don’t have any enemies.
Replay value: 4/5 – I just love the straight-forward nature of this game but there are of course alternate endings for you to discover as well. This is the one old school Resident Evil game that I always feel comfortable just picking up and playing.
Score: 85% – The original Resident Evil’s held up extremely well as a fun, creepy survival horror title. It has enough of an entertainment factor that the rather barren appearance won’t bother you. Subsequent games streamlined the menus a bit and made more superficial changes but the original is still hands down the best of the old school titles by far.
Gameplay: 4/5 – The gameplay’s largely the same as the first game but with the menus being slightly smoother to get in and out of. One consistent annoyance is not being able to walk on stairs (you have to stop and press a button).
Graphics: 4/5 – The game has decent graphic variety as well though barring the police-station there’s really nothing here you didn’t see in the first game. However, I think Capcom did a slightly better job of filling the space. The zombies are also vastly different depending on the location you’re at.
Animation: 4/5 – The cutscenes aren’t bad but they really lack the humorous edge of the previous game. I can still sit through them though and they look quite good. Enemies also have decent amounts of animation.
Music: 4/5 – I rank this about the same as the first game. I really like the music inside the Police Station, the rest of the themes are just okay.
Sound: 3½/5 – This is really the biggest let-down. The voice-acting is still a bit slip-shotty but it’s not as rip-roaringly funny as the first game. Now, it’s just kind of awkward, Claire being particularly flat. Leon however sounds good to me, but I might be biased since he’s my favourite RE protagonist.
Replay value: 4/5 – Just as with the first Resident Evil, I think both main characters’ storylines are actually worth-while and have interesting parts. They’re also way more different which is nice. The game’s a little too easy for my liking but that probably also makes it a bit more beginner friendly. Plus, you can play the alternate Game B after beating it the first time which is really nice.
Score: 78% – While most people seem to think this game is superior to RE1, I feel its improvements over the first game are more superficial. I like the game, I still enjoy the atmosphere. I’m just not a fan of the setting, but I still think the locations are fine. However, RE2 does have points where it feels like “more of the same” rather than its own game. A lot of the boss fights are actually disappointingly easy. However, I still consider this easily the second best of the Classic Style games.
Gameplay: 4/5 – Pretty much the same as the two previous games. You have a lot more options for creating ammo which is a nice touch but nothing mind-blowing.
Graphics: 3/5 – I’ve never really liked the graphic look of this game. I seriously don’t think a zombie-infested city would be that dangerous. The game itself seems painfully aware of this, artificially blocking your path with piled on cars, giant chasms in the cement and alleyways which are completely unrealistically built. Even though I get a nice whiff of nostalgia from revisiting Raccoon City PD, I think most of the locations just look the same. Also weirdly for this series, important inventory items don’t stick out well enough in my view. I got stuck more times because I forgot to pick something up than in any other Resident Evil game before or since.
Animation: 3½/5 – The cutscenes aren’t bad but they really don’t stick in my mind. Plus, the game intercuts with the ugly-looking pre-rendered cutscenes which produces a really jarring effect.
Music: 4/5 – I will give credit here, the music does pump up nicely, especially whenever Nemesis appears so in this regard the game has not gotten any worse.
Sound: 3½/5 – The voice-acting is professional… and kinda boring. Jill sounds okay though.
Replay value: 2½/5 – The game appears more smooth-lined than RE1 and RE2 – but you end up running back and forth in the same locations a lot more than either of those games. In RE1 and 2 you were locked inside of buildings so it made sense. Here, you’re supposed to be in a city. Also, having Nemesis occasionally jump you is more annoying than scary. I also think most of the characters in-game are just kinda boring and dumb. And lastly, there isn’t even a second character to pick. Nothing in the game is unfair – but everything is just kinda mediocre.
Score: 68% – Resident Evil 3 is a game that just runs out of steam half-way through. It really feels like “more of the same” but without any noted improvements or novel elements to make it stand out. I just don’t enjoy myself playing this game.