Resident Evil HD Remaster screenshot
Resident Evil HD Remaster screenshot

Last year, approximately 5,000,000 classic movies, books and TV shows were re-released onto formats they had not originated on. I exaggerate, of course: In reality I have no idea what the number is. Either way, every week it seems there's an announcement that film X or show Y are being given the HD treatment. Blu-ray, 1080p, the whole shooting match. Books get updated with forewords and introductions by the author or, if they're dead, someone speaking for or about them. Mad Men makes the transition from AMC to Netflix. It's the natural way of things.

No-one, unless it's a shoddy up-scaling job or an extras-free attempt at double-dip gouging the idiots, says a negative thing about it. They welcome it, as invariably they should. Yes, there's something to be said about owning the first hardback edition of A Farewell to Arms, or the first VHS release of Star Wars, before ol' George went about ruining your childhood, whatever that fucking means. But despite their value, sentimental or monetary, those things are delightful inconveniences, circumvented by Kindle or being able to stream via every device in your house, including, probably, the toilet.

So why, when it was announced that Capcom was re-releasing the 2002 remake of Resident Evil, was there a howl of derision from certain quarters? How dare Capcom spend all its precious time and money on this, another version of Resident Evil? Where's Resi 7? Where's my new version of Street Fighter IV? Oh, The original animated Transformers movie is out on Blu-ray. Must remember to get that.

On and on it went, as if people were truly affronted by what is, in any other medium, just another day.

This sort of moaning, to me, is utterly baffling. Why wouldn't you want one of the greatest games of all time to be playable on a machine that was made this decade? Why wouldn't you want that game, already excellent, made (hopefully) more so by the upscaling of the (now badly dated) original assets? Why, in short, moan about getting more of a good thing? Do you get upset when classic rock albums make it to Spotify or iTunes? No.

The reasons for these grumbles are varied, and all equally stupid. First up is people confusing remasters like Resident Evil HD, or Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition with 'remakes'. That word conjures up images of a dev team toiling over new assets, environments, and everything else, while staying true to the original 'vision'. This is what a remake actually is.

These games are not in any way 'remakes'. This newer version is only a remake if you consider Heat on Blu-ray to be a remake of Heat on VHS, which is of course total nonsense. Heat itself is based on a film called LA Takedown. That's a fucking remake. Everything else is just a remaster. (The irony, here, of course is that the GameCube version of Resident Evil was a full-blown remake, and it was and still is the biggest and best example of the craft.)

Next up seems to be the argument that developers are spending 'too much time' on these remasters, when they should be working on other things. As if they can only work on thing at a time (although, as Garry Newman of Rust and Garry's Mod fame recently found out, some people do actually believe this. The fools). Don't worry, relentlessly soul-crushing sequel 2,100,047 or inadvisable first new-generation console game will come out, guys. Up-res'ing an old classic won't affect it.

Granted, that this generation has opened with a large number of remasters may cause some to worry that we're going to be flooded with them, as publishers think they can crank out any old shit to make a quick buck. And if that's the case, then we'll call it out, as many other mediums do when someone decides to release a certain 80s action classic on Blu-ray and it's the worst transfer since Marouane Fellaini.

To dismiss the entire enterprise, however, is foolish. Our medium hasn't been the best custodian of its own legacy. If remasters give players a chance to check out classic or influential titles, then as long as they're priced right and aren't phoned in then what's wrong with that?

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User Comments

Ephidel's Avatar

Ephidel

My GameCube works fine, as do my copies of RE1, RE0, RE2, RE3, RE4 and RE:CVX for my GameCube.

My 360 works fine, as do my copies of RE4, RE5, RE6, RE:CVX, RE:Rev and RE:ORC for my 360.

As for the REmake, I beat it on Hard, Invisible Enemy Mode in under 3
hours and with no deaths for the infinite Rocket Launcher.

I really just don't have the desire to pay money to buy yet another re-re-release and play it all over again.

REmake RE2, RE3 or any of their neglected RE games, or release Final Fights 2 & 3 on XBLA, or rewrite the *****ty story to RE5, or add campaign co-op to RE:Rev, or even work on a new Zelda series with Nintendo's approval. Capcom could do any and/or all of these things to please people.

Instead we get a Re-RE-remake.

That we have to pay for.

Again.

Yay?

No.
Posted 23:11 on 08 August 2014
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ Woodfella

OH GOD NO! I meant Twin Peaks....
Posted 18:00 on 08 August 2014
Woodfella's Avatar

Woodfella@ Bloodstorm

i thought you were on about resident evil
Posted 17:32 on 08 August 2014
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

I can imagine someone doing that with a Frankenstein monster.

"IT'S ALIVE! IT'S ALIVE!"

"Yea but it runs like sh*t!"
Posted 17:06 on 08 August 2014
Lalaland's Avatar

Lalaland

I have to disagree simply because the process is so radically different between reissuing a film or book and games. Any film shot on actual 35mm acetate is already UltraHD and then some, reissues on new digital formats merely allow you to see more of the detail that *****ty digital codecs, inadequate spatial resolution or poor quality transfers masked. Books are completely irrelevant to this discussion as basically they are never remastered, text is text there is no technical aspect to their reissue.

Games however do require heavy investment to reissue them and this is where the 'groans' come from. If you invest too little you get dreck like the Silent Hill 2 reissue where Capcom's inadequete investment in the project led to the release that was actively worse than the original. The removal of the fog effect alone (ignoring the sound problems and myriad technical glitches unique to the reissue) completely recasts SH2 as a game where monsters loom up from thick fog as you slowly battle your way through the murk to one where you can sprint around easily avoiding the static zombies you can see from a mile off. Worse Capcom has already shown a disastrous tendency to fiddle with the properties they are reissuing. RE:Directors Cut replaced the original music with awful butt rock.

For me this is closer to the 'colorisation' process Turner unleashed on any B/W film he could get his hands on in the 90s or LucasFilm (under George Lucas anyway) and why fans are correct to be wary of reissues. LucasFilm reissued the original Star Wars trilogy but GL saw his chance to deliver the 'ultimate' experience and show horned in terrible CG everywhere, with awful sight gags that the cast don't react to (Han stepping on Jabba's tail for example) and that execrable music scene from Jabbas palace in Jedi. Or how about the recent Blu-Ray of ET that airbrushed out the FBI agents guns for walkie talkies?

Capcom equally are not reissuing the game that was REmake as they are not offering it in 4:3 it's original aspect ratio and are not investing enough to actually move the art to 16:9. Instead we are getting the ever terrible Pan & Scan treatment where the top and bottom half of the image are crudely cropped out. For examples of this wander onto the lesser documentary channels on your cable subscription to find all sorts of good, old tv documentaries rendered unwatchable because the names and titles of people being interviewed are below the crop.
Worse still is that seems to be some sort of automatic setting as several WW2 and WW1 docs I've watched have the entire damn subtitle track below the crop!

The only way we are getting anything like a Criterion Collection or Penguin Classics for games is with GoG and their reissues which offer the original game played with DOSbox (even then the CRT vs TFT thing can still be an issue). If what we got with each reissue was an emulation of the original hardware then I would rejoice but what we are being offered is a Frankenstein built by the lowest bidder.
Posted 16:53 on 08 August 2014
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

I know i can't take it back considering i sat with my ex and watched every episode over a week or so. I wasn't all that into it.
Posted 14:35 on 08 August 2014
Woodfella's Avatar

Woodfella@ Bloodstorm

Whoa now. Let's not say anything we can't take back.
Posted 14:27 on 08 August 2014
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

OH BOY! TIME TO BUY SHAW BROTHERS BLU-RAYS FOR OVER 20 QUID WHEN I COULD HAVE GOT THEM ON DVD FOR £2!!!
Posted 14:22 on 08 August 2014
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

^The original isn't that good anyway.
Posted 14:21 on 08 August 2014
Woodfella's Avatar

Woodfella

OH MY GOD LETS BUY THE TWIN PEAKS BLU RAY FOR 50 QUID AMAZING! Uhhhh another remake of a 12 year old game? Boring. Money grabbing. Out of ideas
Posted 13:39 on 08 August 2014
SharnOfTheDEAD's Avatar

SharnOfTheDEAD

Totally agree with Burns here, I am also very excited for this remaster/re-release. This was brilliant on Game Cube and it also gives this new generation of gamers a look at what a proper Resident Evil game looks like! I also feel that some of the older games outshine some of the newer modern titles we see today, nothing beats classics like DMC, Resident Evil, Onimusha (Seriously I want a Onimusha HD Collection) etc So I welcome many of these HD remasters for the nostalgia and the updated visuals that keep them current.
Posted 10:12 on 08 August 2014
IronMit's Avatar

IronMit

I get pretty excited if my favourite game has a HD release - Snake eater was perfectly done by bluepoint.

I was highly disappointed with The Hitman collection as blood money is one of my favourite games of all time. Just a slight upgrade there..so much lost promise to change the UI a bit, or enemy AI, animations or I don't no, make the graphics even better.

Prince of Persia HD was a bit poor as well. The sound too.

Basically square enix and ubisoft can shove their cheaply made HD collections.
Posted 17:51 on 07 August 2014
Moothead2's Avatar

Moothead2@ VGSteve

My only experience with the GC Resident Evil games is on a 40" LED through Component cables (how I wish I could find a decent CRT!) and I still think they hold up very well.

Not that I'm against remasterings though, and I hope it sells well in the minuscule hope Capcom pulls their finger out and remakes 2 and 3, but I don't think it's a game that needs remastering in the same way I felt the Silent Hill games needed doing. Seriously, the PS2 versions look like arse on my TV.
Posted 17:27 on 07 August 2014
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77

Thanks Steve for writing that article, i feel it was very much needed, i agree 100% and have been saying similar things on the site myself recently. I too struggle to understand the issues people have on the subject and hearing things about their childhoods being ruined is just bat s*it crazy.
How can a game/movie built today damage a game/movie built 3 or 10 years ago? What can it possibly take away from it? and when its all said and done if you really have that much of an issue with it, avoid it! and tell yourself i might not be interested but i suppose others will be.
Posted 17:09 on 07 August 2014
VGSteve's Avatar

VGSteve@ Moothead2

It's my favourite game of all time, and I still think it looks beautiful if played, like you say, on a CRT. But if that's the qualifier, then it is dated. Agree that a lot of PS2 games look terrible.
Posted 17:05 on 07 August 2014
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