Horror in the hallways
Returning to a genre’s roots has been the inspiration for many a retro-inspired title, and this is no different. Indeed, developer Dual Effect makes it clear before you even hit the title screen that this game is designed to be a ‘return to classic survival horror’. While the studio certainly achieved that goal, though, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
The tropes are all here! Fixed camera angles and an abandoned mansion-slash-hospital are deliberate callbacks to the original Resident Evil as you take control of Caroline Walker, visiting this deathtrap after receiving a mysterious, blood-soaked Polaroid of twins in the post. Everything from the fact you can’t move while using a weapon to the menu design and puzzles are almost exact replicas of those in the titles which inspired it.
That’s just the problem. Because the formula’s so tightly adhered to, nothing about this experience offers anything that a veteran won’t have seen before. Even the flaws of the classics remain, with limited save opportunities a particularly egregious issue when your first chance to save doesn’t come until 45 minutes in and any death forces you to restart from the beginning.1
Admittedly, it is refreshing to see this classic style of game brought back to modern consoles, and some players may even appreciate the way this feels like an at-timesterrifying ’90s throwback. But even if you can look past its unoriginality, the lack of polish in stiff voice acting, character animation, and numerous bugs break the immersion.2 Retro revivals are cool, but if a game brings nothing new to the table and ends up worse than the existing ones it’ll inevitably be compared to, you may as well just dust off the old
PlayStation and play those instead.
FOOTNOTES 1 The number of times you can save is also limited. 2 A perfect example are the pre-rendered cutscenes that look worse than real-time action.