I think I made it pretty clear in the past that I do not like Prequels. In two previous reviews of Tomb Raider and Top 4 Reasons Why All Prequels Suck, I have made it pretty obvious why I do not like them and that opinion is not going to change. That being said… Resident Evil Zero is not the worst prequel ever made. This does not make the game ‘good’ per say or all that compelling of a story, but it isn’t the worst thing that I have ever seen. Resident Evil Zero is that perfect example of a game that is lost to time because of just how forgettable it is. There is nothing in here that is pant shittingly bad or annoying but it just is something that doesn’t leave any lasting impression. It was a game that nobody was really clamoring for and being another Nintendo exclusive leaves it drifting lifeless in the seas of obscurity.
Back when this game came out just after the REmake I feel like a lot of fervor was boiling between hardcore RE fans who were calling for a Rebecca Chambers central game. The character had yet to make an appearance in any of the sequels, making her the only original STARS survivor from the original game to fail to do so.
For anyone not familiar with the RE games, Rebecca Chambers was the 18 year old combat medic and the rookie member of STARS and the Raccoon Police Department in general. She was the NPC supporting character in the Chris Redfield storyline of the first game and remains as the only surviving member of the ill-fated Bravo Team. Unlike Jill Valentine’s NPC counterpart Barry Burton who was portrayed as a very rough and rowdy veteran, Rebecca was passed off as the rookie with one hell of a first assignment. Still wet behind the ears with a wide eyed expression and untrained mind, Rebecca felt like the character from the first game who had the most weight on her shoulders. Even the main characters had years of police training to prepare them for the horrors they were facing, Rebecca didn’t even have that. She could almost be called a symbol of the gamers who were playing the game, terrified, yet with an insatiable appetite to keep fighting.
There was a lot of character there to develop as the bright eyed young girl thrust into absolute hell. Sadly this position would later be filled by the much more popular Claire Redfield, since then and even tell now she fell into the forgotten realms of the franchise. So when it was announced of a Rebecca Chambers central game, the more hardcore fans were pumped… and immediately disappointed to learn that it was a prequel to the first game. It wasn’t enough to cry foul over but after the announcements fans (myself included) quickly began to lose interest in the game, not wishing to play a game that really had no sense of suspense (we know Bravo Team survives to the mansion) and with the protagonist being a character that only hardcore fans of the series would even remember, this was not a good start. The game limped into markets and continued to putter its way towards the finish line. Since then just like darling Rebecca the game has slipped into the realms of obscurity only to be dug up by old critics such as myself. There is a lot to look at so let’s get started.
It Does Give Us the Opportunity to Play as Rebecca Chambers and Expand the Mythos
I will say this… Fans asked for a Rebecca Chambers game… And they gave them what they wanted. Granted it didn’t work… AT ALL. But you have to give them credit where credit is due that they did hear what their fans wanted and actually did put forth… ‘effort’ in order to give it to them.
The game does allow you to play as Rebecca Chambers and by all accounts even if it is a prequel she is a very likable and enjoyable protagonist. I never got agitated with her or found her to be an unlikable person.
So really I can’t fault CAPCOM for at least making an attempt to create a game that fans were asking for even if they didn’t do it well.
It Brings Little New to the Table
Compared to REmake this game brought very little new to the table. It has a new story and new settings but everything else between gameplay and graphics felt almost like exact carbon copies of the other game. I’ll be honest if REmake was made in more recent years then I’m willing to bet that Resident Evil Zero would have become a DLC instead of its own seperate entity… Which I would actually be okay with. If they editted this down, removed all the parts involving James Marcus and just had the opening scene with Rebecca Chambers discovering the train, watching Edward Dewey die, and possibly finding and releasing Billy Coen… That actually would be a pretty damn good DLC. But on its own it just doesn’t bring enough to the table to make it a strong viable game.
… It is a Prequel
It is redundant I know but damn it this game is a prequel and has been and still is one of the main reasons why I hate prequels. Resident Evil Zero brought little new to the table and then just to pile the shit on top of the shit the game is a prequel and thus there is nothing at stake! This game is probably the worst culprit of that because the protagonist is a character who is a major supporting character in the game that comes after it. We know that she will live so there is no risk to her. The same can be said for all of Bravo Team who we know for a fact that most of them have to die in the mansion. Kevin Dooley and Edward Dewey are the only two who do not make it to the mansion so we know for a fact that they are the two that are going to die. William Birkin and Albert Wesker show up for a spell… Nothing is going to happen to them. The only two character that we do not already know there fates is James Marcus and Billy Coen and really that suspense from the characters alone is not enough to drive suspense for these characters. Really I could care less about either one of them and now come to mention it Billy Coen has not appeared in any future games and from the looks of it is not going to appear in any future games.
So really unless you are a hardcore fan of the games who wants to know a bunch of ‘back story’ that really rapes the realms of plausibility after playing the original, then there isn’t much of a fan base for this. It is just a cash in to make a little money off the title and also to give fans what they want, a Rebecca Chambers game but with little effort to put into it.
Bottom line there just really isn’t anything here. It is a cash in to create another game for the Gamecube that did expand the mythos but didn’t do a good job of it. While gameplay and graphics are decent, on par with REmake and some of the villains are quite challenging and original, the fact is without any suspense or worry the game just comes across as a mediocre game that will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth… Especially if you are a fan of the series.
Final Score 1/5
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