The backgrounds are also exquisitely detailed. When I first saw the way the glow from the lightning burst through the train windows at E3, I had no question that this was the best looking game of the year. The backgrounds are alive with detail, much of it moving and changing as you move by it. They are still pre-rendered backgrounds, but there is no doubt they are the best yet.
Early on Resident Evil grips you with one amazing visual after another. At first it’s just the lighting effects, but soon the fire starts eating away passenger car, and you’re forced to head outside the moving train. With the trees coming at you at rapid fire, and the rain beating down, it’s an effect that’s hard to forget. An hour into Resident Evil Zero, you will be convinced that this is the best looking game ever.
Problem is, the train is just a brief, albeit refreshing, introduction to the greater quest. After spending a few hours speeding down the tracks, your ride derails, and sends you flying into a whole different location. Soon enough you find yourself in the Umbrellas Research Center, which looks an awful lot like a giant mansion. From here on the game takes an extremely predictable turn, which was a unexpected, and a little disappointing.
As Rebecca and Billy search the Research Center, they learn all about the T-Virus, and the events that would eventually lead to a whole string of sequels. It is here that Billy’s violent past is uncovered, including just why he’s up for execution. The interplay between the two characters is far from Hollywood-grade, but is better than the first couple games in the series. Billy is voiced by a slightly more convincing actor, while Rebecca is stuck with unconvincing lines of dialog.
While this is all going on, the game cuts back and forth to cinemas showing that our two heroes are being watched on the security cameras by a certain S.T.A.R.S. member who has traitorous plans of his own. There is also a side plot regarding a mysterious man in a long white robe. From the onset, the man seems to have a gift allowing him to control small worm-like creature.
Eventually all of these stories collide, but not before asking, and answering, a number of important questions. Other Resident Evil games have been more focused on the survival aspect, but Zero manages to fill in some of the back-story surrounding the disaster in Raccoon City. You may not get all of your questions answered, but you’ll come away more knowledgeable about Umbrella than ever before.
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