If the 8th Generation of video games has been anything, it’s been a generation of remakes. Mostly excellent remakes, but remakes nonetheless. From Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to Final Fantasy, so many iconic games from the PS1 & PS2 eras have been given a fresh coat of paint on new, beefier consoles that it’s easy to lose count.
One of the series that benefitted from the remake treatment this gen is the storied Resident Evil franchise. Between new releases, remastered ports, and remakes, there are over 10 games in the series available on the PS4 alone! In 2019, Capcom released Resident Evil 2, a remake of the 1998 game of the same name. This remake used Capcom’s shiny new RE Engine, previously used in Resident Evil VII, and ditched the fixed camera angles of the original in favour of a third-person camera more reminiscent of later games in the series. This remake was a resounding success, with critics and fans alike praising the game’s oppressive, bleak atmosphere and tight survival horror gameplay. With RE2 Remake, Capcom took a classic and seamlessly translated it into the gaming sensibilities of the modern day, and fans were left clamouring for more.
Cut to one year later, and Capcom release a remake of the next game in the series: 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. This, much like the original RE3, would prove a little more divisive among fans. Still present were the RE Engine graphics and third-person gameplay, but a host of puzzling omissions from the already slight original made this entry feel a little more lacking. However, the great character performances and dense atmosphere of RE2 were still largely intact in this less substantial sequel.
So, what’s next?
With the success of the previous two RE Engine remakes, it seems inevitable that Capcom will be gussying up another game from the vault for newer consoles. Rumours suggest that Resident Evil 4 will be the next game to get the RE Engine treatment, but is this the best choice? Join us as we go through each game in the series and determine if it should be the next recipient of Capcom’s efforts.
Resident Evil 1 (1996)
“But Danny!” I hear you yell. “Resident Evil 1 already got a remake! And that remake is one of the most critically acclaimed horror games of all time!” Well, you’re not wrong. The game that started it all did indeed receive a fantastic remake, originally on the GameCube in 2002, but later remastered to HD and ported to many other consoles. This remake, opting to keep the fixed camera angles and core gameplay from the original, added all-new graphics, content and quality of life improvements, cementing 2002’s Resident Evil remake as the definitive way to enjoy Capcom’s seminal Survival Horror work.
So, you might think it wouldn’t make sense to remake Resident Evil 1 again. However, there’s an argument to be made that a RE Engine remake of RE1 would be worthwhile. Exploring the RPD station in Resi 2’s remake (and again briefly in Resi 3) proved to be an intense, atmospheric and satisfying experience. This would undoubtedly adapt well to the first game – investigating the dusty, sprawling Spencer Mansion in a similar vein could certainly be worthwhile. Combine that with the improved character writing in the newer games, and you could end up with an excellent, cohesive Resident Evil Remake trilogy.
Resident Evil Zero
Next, we come to one of the lesser-discussed entries into the series. A prequel to the first game, Zero released in the same year as the Resident Evil 1 remake, again for the GameCube. Like the first GameCube remake, Zero took a higher-fidelity approach to Resi’s original fixed-camera style and received an HD port to newer consoles.
Despite being another solid example of classic Resident Evil gameplay and being a solid addition to the overall Resi timeline, Zero is a little more divisive than Remake among fans nowadays. A slightly weaker story, less memorable characters and settings and a near-aggressive adhesion to the core Resi gameplay loop mean that RE: Zero isn’t held in the highest regard among fans these days. While it might be cool to see the memorable train opening lovingly recreated in the RE Engine, I think there are many other series classics far more deserving of a remake. The HD versions will do for now.
Resident Evil Code Veronica
Ooooh, now we get to the good stuff. Resident Evil: Code Veronica is a fan-favourite pick for a remake, and it’s not hard to see why. RE fans love Code Veronica, with some even hailing it as the true Resident Evil 3 in place of the lightweight threequel, Nemesis. Released for the Dreamcast and later for the PS2 (with an extra-cool “X” appended to the title of the PS2 version,) Code Veronica told an isolated, tense story with the underappreciated Claire Redfield at the centre. It’s also one of the few Resident Evil games to have not seen any kind of HD upgrade to newer consoles.
And it could certainly do with one: RE: CV is old-school to a fault, with the classic fixed camera angles and limited saves still intact, so a more accessible way for newer players to enjoy Code Veronica’s story certainly wouldn’t go amiss. Also, Code Veronica’s unique Rockford Island setting is prime material for an HD reimagining, especially taking into account the original’s aging early-3D graphics. It’s a solid pick for a remake, and could bring new fans to one of the series’ lesser-known (and harder to play) titles.
Resident Evil 4
It’s an inside joke within the gaming community that Resident Evil 4 is one of the most playable games out there. Not because of any easy gameplay or ahead-of-its-time accessibility features, but because of the sheer number of consoles that the game was ported to. Capcom’s iconic 4th mainline RE game has been ported to many systems over the years, earning it a seat with the likes of Skyrim and DOOM as one of the most ported games out there. So, why not throw another into the pile?
I used to dislike the idea of an RE4 remake. I thought that it was solid enough to stand on its own, especially with the existence of the many available HD versions. People know about it, people can play it easily. But upon another recent playthrough, it’s easy to see that those 2005 cracks are starting to show. Environmental textures look very low-res, even more apparent in the less-forgiving crispness of the HD versions. The gameplay, while solid, is starting to show its age too, especially in comparison to the newer 3rd-person RE games. This is for sure one of the most beloved games in the series, so it does make sense that Capcom seem to have decided on this one as the pick for their next coat of RE Engine paint.
Resident Evil 5 Onwards
I’ll keep this section short. I’ve seen some murmurs online about the likes of Resident Evil 5 or 6 getting remade, or a remake of the Revelations games. I don’t think these games are old enough yet to warrant remakes, nor do I think that 5 or 6 are good enough games on their own merits to deserve a remake. You can’t fix the issues of those games by remaking the game – you’d need to completely overhaul them for them to even stand a chance. Moving on…
Other Capcom properties
Long ago, Capcom’s Survival Horror pedigree extended outside the boundaries of just the Resident Evil series. In the PS1 & PS2 eras, we saw the likes of Clock Tower, Dino Crisis, Haunting Ground and more come from Capcom’s hallowed halls. There is a cogent argument to make that perhaps we’ve seen enough RE, and it’s time to let some of these other series shine. They’ve all got cult-like followings, but bringing them to a more mainstream audience could prove beneficial for diehard fans and newcomers alike. In particular, Shinji Mikami’s Dino Crisis duology – yes, there are only two games in the series, no more questions – is another fan-favourite pick for the remake treatment. All those dinosaurs in glorious HD would certainly be a sight to behold!
To conclude, there’s clearly a lot of subjectivity to this topic – there are reasons for and against remaking any of these. But, personally, here’s my ranking, from most to least deserving of a remake.
- Code Veronica
- Resident Evil 4
- Dino Crisis
- Resident Evil 1
- Resident Evil Zero
- Anything from Resident Evil 5 onwards
What’s your pick for Capcom’s next remake? Leave your thoughts in the comments! Also, why not check out our YouTube channel?
How come Resident Evil never got a PSP release? What’d it be like if we got it? I wrote a bit about it in an article about PSP ports – check it out!
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