Resident Evil 0 is a video game with a troubled and particular history: born on Gamecube in 2002 and then brought to Wii a few years later, Nintendo remained exclusive until 2016, the year in which Capcom finally decided to bring the first chapter and this prequel on all other platforms. Often snubbed even by fans of the brand, it is instead a key chapter to understand the whole timeline and lore di Resident Evil. Set before the Spencer villa events narrated in the first title, Resident Evil 0 reveals many background stories regarding the origin of T virus and of the same Umbrella Corporation.
A hybrid of old and new
The game also offers an interesting fusion of mechanics old school and more modern features, allowing even the less accustomed players to the fixed camera and the iconic pre-rendered backgrounds of the first chapters of the brand, to become familiar with the latter. The setting and the level design in fact they are certainly more inspired and complex than those of the first Resident Evil, and also for the first time in the saga the possibility of interchange control of two characters, Rebecca and Billy, each with their own peculiarities. This feature is certainly the basis of the gameplay of this chapter, which has allowed game designers to create puzzles with new mechanics for the Resident Evil brand, which has always accustomed us to face our fears ourselves.
However, despite the presence of two characters on the screen, the game is no longer easy, rather. The much loved one magic chest where to deposit the objects present in each safe house since the first RE it has been completely eliminated in this chapter, and this makes the management of the inventory even more problematic than it already is in a survival horror as difficult as this. The fact of having to leave objects around forces the player to a backtracking crazy to try to recover the (few) useful resources at our disposal. The difference between the difficulty levels is also decidedly high by today's standards: the enemies already at intermediate difficulty struggle to go down, and extreme scarcity of ammunition and healing objects does nothing but increase the terror of turning the corner and finding two monsters in front.
Exactly, I talked about monsters and not zombies: although the saga of RE has always accustomed us to a variety of extra creatures besides the undead classics, in this title the "advanced" enemies already arrive early in the game, making us tremble every time we open a door to an unknown corridor. The settings in this Resident Evil 0 also mark without a shadow of a doubt a step forward compared to the first chapter: the backgrounds are much more elaborate, and the camera in some rooms also performs small movements horizontally or vertically, making the frame more dynamic. Even the same luoghi that we explore are definitely more varied, the prologue takes place in a spectral train invaded by monsters, while later we find ourselves in a mysterious training center of Umbrella, and the surprises do not end there.
A game born on Nintendo, which returns to Nintendo
Going deeper into what are the most technical aspects of this porting on Nintendo Switch, Resident Evil 0 is very close to the remastered versions published by Capcom a couple of years ago on other platforms, except of course for the resolution. The framerate is fixed to 30fps, but almost no performance losses are found, which instead are even more present in the porting of the first Resident Evil. However, the most annoying problem is without a doubt the long one loading time which is accompanied by the animation of the opening of the doors. In a title of the 2019 that promotes so much backtracking it is unacceptable that in addition to the classic animation of the door between one room and another, there is also a period of time in which the screen turns black and the loading symbol appears, making us arrive to wait sometimes even more than one about ten seconds. Imagine finding yourself in the situation of having to retrieve an object that is on the other side of the map or on another floor of the structure to solve an enigma: in the three minutes of the journey to get to that room, you can find yourself waiting for two more in various loadings, then add us the return route, and you realize by yourself that the tension and the immersion tend to fade away, leaving behind frustration and boredom.
To conclude, despite some trimming, Resident Evil 0 it is a chapter that cannot be missed in the library of a fan of the saga, or even of those who want to approach it for the first time. Despite the fact that 17 has passed since its first release, the title has aged more than brilliantly, and offers good longevity combined with a considerable level of challenge by today's standards. A bitter taste remains for the politics of the pricing for these remastered, promoted at a higher price than any other platform. Of course, the advantage of being able to enjoy masterpieces of survival horror like these in portable mode is not to be underestimated, and that is why I do not feel I would advise against buying Resident Evil 0 on Nintendo Switch. We only hope that with the Resident Evil 5 and 6 remastered announced in this E3 2019 Capcom can adopt a different approach, perhaps proposing both titles a 30 euro in a bundle, rather than making them pay each at that price.