Seeing as you are completely rooted to the spot when you've got a weapon drawn, it's a relief to have use of an awfully generous auto-aiming system. As long as your weapon is pointing somewhere in the rough direction of an enemy, pulling the trigger will fill the undead nasty with lead. You can aim up and down too, so shotgun headshots are possible, while aiming down will let you finish off any wrigglers.
Boss encounters are a real highlight, which the game doesn't bombard you with, making them more exciting as a result. There's an awkwardness about fighting some of them, such is your restricted moment, which will cause more than a few expletive-filled outbursts, but it's all par for the course with the classic survival horror template. Thankfully the massive enemies are brilliant creations, and stand up well against modern Wii monsters. The game as a whole, in part thanks to its pre-rendered backgrounds, has held up very well indeed from a graphical point of view. The clunky way your character refuses to move beyond certain points and the awkward way they interact with invisible environment barriers shows the game's dated roots, but Zero has atmosphere dripping from every dank corner.
Little has been done to make this feel like a Wii game, which is perhaps more disappointing than it is surprising. There's no pointer usage at all, so if you have the option you're better off using a Classic Controller or a GameCube pad, like the game was originally designed to use. There's also no widescreen support, which is again expected, but a shame given that widescreen TVs are most definitely the norm these days.
It's somewhat frustrating that a few tweaks weren't made to make Zero more accessible to new gamers, gamers who won't accept the game's flaws just because that's "how it was back then". Take the ribbon and typewriter save system. These days checkpoints and auto saves are the norm, but in Zero you can only save if you have a ribbon in your inventory and you're next to a typewriter. This throws up situations where upwards of 20 minutes of gameplay can be wasted upon death, with you being forced to return to the last save. It was normal a few generations ago, but now it feels unfair and a complete waste of time.
Resident Evil Zero is a well designed survival horror game that offers more scares than Resident Evil 4 and 5 combined, but its dated gameplay will turn away many. Unless you can remember a time when tank controls and strict save points were the norm, Zero will be a harsh lesson in old-school gaming. With more forgiving, modern releases on the shelves, that's a lesson few newcomers will want to take.
VideoGamer.com Score6 Score out of 10
- Smart visuals and audio
- Excellent enemy designs
- Tiny inventory
- Clunky tank character controls