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So it's come to this
We all know what happens if you make a copy of a copy – it's never nearly as good as the original. Fortunately, Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil is more of a re-hash than a remake of the 2002 Gamecube title, which itself, is a remake of the 1996 PlayStation classic.
The game's release is part of an ongoing trend for the Nintendo Wii. The re-issue of popular Gamecube titles, though this is the first of its kind to be made by a company besides Nintendo.
Games like Mario Power Tennis, Pikmin and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat were released as part of Ninteno's new series “New Play Control” with Wii-centered controls which oftentimes do add another dimension to the game. For Capcom's immortal adventure of survival horror, this just isn't the case. The game unfortunately doesn't take advantage of the Wii's best features, especially its trademark - innovative controls.
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Nothing new to see here
While some of Nintendo's re-issues will harness innovative controls and be worthwhile purchases, the sad truth is Resident Evil Archives doesn't offer anything worthwhile to gamers who already own the Gamecube remake. Sure, there are new Wii controls, but they don't take advantage of what makes Wii controls so unique.
The game doesn't play anything like Resident Evil 4 did, due to obvious differences in gameplay. In fact, you can still use a Gamecube controller with the game.
That said, the Wii controls are fairly easy to pick up and are fairly effective. Unfortunately, they are bit dull and lack the dynamic configuration that made RE4 so enjoyable.
Apart from adapting the game to utilize Wii controls, it appears that Nintendo has not added or altered any other fundamental aspect of the game. This is particularly disappointing when you think about how much the game could have been improved upon. While not at the cutting edge of technological advancement - the Wii does represent an upgrade from the Gamecube and Archives could have easily reflected this, at the very least, from a graphics standpoint.
Some game historians and hardcore Resident Evil fans make disagree with me, but why couldn't the horrific voice acting and dialogue be touched up a bit? I always felt it was the one thing the held the original back from being the best game in its era. All these years later, while the rest of the game ages well, the voice acting becomes more and more of a distraction from an otherwise masterpiece of gaming.
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Shovelware or valuable software?
For gamers who somehow missed the Gamecube remake, there is admittedly some value here. The game still looks absolutely gorgeous (though as I said, it could look better) and serves as a constant reminder of how effective the franchise has been, more or less, over the years.
Despite having played the game multiple times on both the Gamecube and PS1, I still jumped several times and there are some genuine scares throughout the game. The dialogue between characters is still horrendous and among the worst in any generation of video games (though they have an unintentional humorous effect that can help calm the otherwise tense moments of the game.)
It appears Nintendo's trying to breathe fresh life into its game library which is already a bit stagnant, mostly due to the fact that Nintendo already has a growing number of mindless and mostly unplayable shovelware dished out by third-party companies – most seem to simply be capitalizing on the novelty of the Wii's otherwise innovative controls.
The real question is, do these re-releases from the Gamecube add or detract to Nintendo's catalog issue?
The answer is clearly a subjective one and though we may not have a definitive answer for some time, it is logical to simply take it on a title by title basis.
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When it comes to Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil, the verdict is unfortunate for Nintendo and Capcom. The rehash offers absolutely nothing new to gamers who own or have already played the Gamecube version. The only value is for players who've managed to have missed it the first time around. This represents a sad and lazy effort from Capcom to cash in on its greatest franchise. This carbon-copy of the Gamecube version doesn't represent much value either - a used copy on the previous console will likely be the same price, if not cheaper, than Archives. Capcom has shown the ability to try something new with this franchise - see Umbrella Chronicles - here, they simply mail it in.
As the title implies, this game is only the first in a series. Nintendo and Capcom will be following this up with Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil 0 due to be released sometime later this year. I don't see any reason to expect anything else from it than a well-made, but ultimately useless remake. Unless the game is somehow remade or adapted to harness the controls which made Resident Evil 4 such a dynamic experience, the game will ultimately fail as this title has.