Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster Review

Before the third-person shooter style of Resident Evil games that have become the norm, the last of the classic “tank control” games was released on European GameCube in 2003. It was the swansong of the type of gameplay that divided opinions, before the series’ reinvention with Resident Evil 4. Given the success of Resident Evil HD Remastered last year, it seems to make sense to bring this one to current generation consoles.

As far as remastering this GameCube classic goes, Capcom have done another phenomenal restoration job. What were once surprisingly blurry textures and muffled sounds back on the GameCube have now been made much clearer and crisper. Character models which were relatively detailed back then have had a quite a bit of polish, so that they either looking more human or more horrifying. The same can’t be said for the cut-scenes however, which are incredibly blurry and honestly hard to watch.

This is the Resident Evil game you have to thank (or curse) for having cooperative partners, as Resident Evil Zero introduced Rebecca and Billy, a STARS operative and an ex-con who must work together to survive a zombie outbreak and leeches. It’s not exactly the most ground-breaking of scenarios, acting more as a precursor to the events in Resident Evil, but it’s enough to get you going. The voice acting is still as melodramatic as ever, with the HD version only improving the clarity.


If you hated the controls for classic Resident Evil games, this one isn’t going to change your mind. While analogue support has been implemented to allow for more normal movement, it wasn’t designed with the camera in mind, as I would frequently be turned backwards when the screen transitioned to the next angle. Shooting is as clumsy as ever, though unlike the GameCube Resident Evil remake, this is far less of an issue in Zero as the zombies don’t get back up.

Upon its original release, the partner swapping ability and the way Resident Evil Zero handled item swapping was met with divisive opinion among critics, and that has been preserved in this release. There haven’t been any changes in this department and while cooperative puzzle solving is still a really nice touch, the item swapping is a whole different story.

At times during my time with the game, I felt like a STARS Operative or an ex-army convict just trying to survive the biohazardous monstrosities in the mansion. However the majority of the time I was a courier; bringing item after item from one location to another, then dumping it for later use. This is particularly true of the easier difficulties, where there was a weapon or item I couldn’t do without, but neither character had space in their inventory to carry it. It’s an especially cumbersome system from a gameplay perspective.


Billy and Rebecca have their own individual traits that make for their own problems. Rebecca is the only one of the two who can combine herbs to make more potent healing items, while Billy has more stamina and can move big objects. As a consequence, I spent a lot of time in the inventory menu switching items around to give Rebecca the herbs to combine.

Resident Evil games of the classic style have usually been about killing monsters and solving puzzles. While there are a few new enemies which prove a suitable challenge on harder difficulties, such as the explosive Leech Zombies and savage Baboons, puzzles usually involve finding a key and opening a door. There are a few at least that require logic and perception.

Capcom usually put a few extra modes once you’ve completed a Resident Evil game within a certain timeframe, all of which are still intact as of this version, but Resident Evil Zero HD includes the all new Wesker Mode – unlocked after completing the main game. This replaces Billy with Wesker from Resident Evil 5, powers intact; who is accompanied by a corrupt looking Rebecca.


Wesker has additional tools in his arsenal, such as a dash and the “Death Stare” – a chargeable attack that deals heavy damage, or in the case of zombies makes their heads pop. It’s intended as a silly treat and accomplishes this well, though having to lug Rebecca around is a chore. It doesn’t take Billy out of the game fully however, as cut-scenes are left as they are, so take it with a pinch of salt.

What’s Good:

  • Another wonderful restoration job.
  • Great atmosphere with terrifying foes.
  • Wesker mode is incredibly silly.
  • Some great co-op puzzles.

What’s Bad:

  • Item management is incredbly clumsy.
  • Backtracking is the worst thanks to frequent courier trips.
  • Archaic controls.
  • Cut-scenes are still blurry.

Resident Evil Zero HD isn’t exactly the most beloved game in the franchise, yet the high quality of the HD upgrade makes it well worth a look for fans of the series. It still features the main issues that the previous version had, but the detail that’s gone into the restoration work is highly commendable and the new Wesker mode is worth unlocking. If only the base game wasn’t more inventory management than surviving a zombie outbreak.

Score: 7/10

Version tested: PlayStation 4


  1. Great review Dave
    It’s day 1 purchase for me =D
    Loved Resident Evil HD

  2. Residents evil 2 coming anytime soon?

    • Nope. These two remasters stemmed from the GameCube games. The original Resident Evil was the only one to be remade for the GC, with this game then an original game for the system. There’s nothing comparable for Capcom to work from for Resi 2.

      • I know it’s not gamecube but they did do a separate for the n64!

    • They said it will be a year or two after its 20th anniversary as its being built from the ground up

  3. Looking forward to playing 0 and the REmake but I wonder why they make the trophy lists so time consuming in these old RE games. I know they don’t really matter but it would be more fun knowing you’d get a platinum out of it.

    • If I recall even the PS3 RE games had horrid trophy lists, lots of co-op and re-playing, possibly with speed-runs or knife-only playthroughs too. Guess Capcom want to make them tough :(

      Same applies to Dead Rising 1 & 2 which I think were also Capcom games.

      • I don’t mind difficult trophies but there are some lists that I take one look at and think ‘well there’s no way I’m getting that platinum’.

        I got the platinums for RE5 and RE6 which weren’t too bad. Although I remember that first fight with Wesker in RE5 was pretty tough on the higher difficulties.

        I’ll see how I feel after I’ve played the game on normal. That should give me a feel for how frustrating it might be on the higher difficulties.

    • Definitely going to be a tricky 100% but don’t let the multiple play throughs put you off. Once you know what you are doing, a standard play through will take about 3 hours, which isn’t too bad really.
      REmake will feel less grindy than Zero however, as you have 2 separate stories to play through (Chris and Jill).
      As a huge fan of the series, I’m really looking forward to playing through these games again (this time with trophies!) :)

    • Just looked at the list and some are really tricky sounding. No saving, no using recovery items, S rank, knife only on bosses etc. It’s like they want to take all the fun out of the game. Plus I rarely play through games twice, let alone 4-5 times.

      • I like it when a trophy list encourages you explore parts of the game that you wouldn’t normally but those trophies for completing the game without dying, without using any health or just using the knife are for the real die hards. I don’t like RE enough to put myself through THAT much pain…

        I’ll probably just play through the game once for the story and depending on how much I like it, I might attempt the others.

      • Like Eldave0 said I played thsee game to death (except 0 as I never owned a Gamecube but played it once at my cousins)
        As for the trophies well it’s Capcom like Youles said and I have the RE HD Platinum on the PS4 and tempted to go through again for the PS3. They are not hard just have to be smart and remembering where the keys are and what to carry and leave some items behind as you’ll return to it at some point etc…. It’s a great feeling getting a Platinum. Think I completed it 5 times or maybe 6 lol. Cannot wait for 0 and I shall have that platinum no matter how many playthroughs it’s Resident freaking Evil

  4. Played these games to death back on the Gamecube (plus RE4, TimeSplitters2, Smash Bros and Mario Kart, of course).
    17 year old me was completely blown away by how good the visuals were and just how well they nailed that desperate feeling of survival.
    Shopto are selling the Origins pack for £25. Hmm, tempting…!

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