It’s a good time to be a fan of Resident Evil, both the classic survival-horror style AND the action style. In fact, this year at Tokyo Game Show, Capcom has more than enough zombie fun on offer to satiate the appetites of both types of fan, with playable versions of their two upcoming Resident Evil games Resident Evil Umbrella Corps (action) and Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster (classic survival horror).

We stopped by Capcom’s section to take a peek and ended up playing a little of Resident Evil 0 HD, somehow avoiding getting fatally leeched as we took on an entire train full of the rotting undead…

Resident Evil, known as Biohazard in Japan (which will be 20 years old next year, but you knew that, right?), has a very loyal fanbase which can be largely split into two groups: die-hard classic zombie-evading gamers who pride themselves on their item conservation and infected monster dodging skills, and gamers who much prefer shooting said monsters in the face with a variety of impressive weapons.

These days, Capcom seems to be struggling a little to satisfy both types of gamers, which led to the lukewarm reception to action-heavy Resident Evil 6, the most recent of the core games, and the creation of a sideline series, Resident Evil Revelations, which attempts to blend the two styles together. With the recent surprise success of an HD remaster of the 2002 remake of the original Resident Evil, Capcom’s gone full-on retro, announcing plans for a brand new remake of Resident Evil 2 and giving the prequel Resident Evil 0 a shiny new HD polish. Oh, and they’ve also just announced Resident Evil Umbrella Corps, a fast-paced, competitive third-person team shooter. Capcom has certainly been busy…

Umbrella Corps shares equal floorspace with Resident Evil 0 at the Capcom booth, and both feature playable content for fans to sink their teeth into. To be honest, while I love Resident Evil more than is probably healthy, I’m more in the “retro” camp and it bothers me a tiny bit that none of the core Resident Evil characters are currently set to appear in Umbrella Corps, which is shaping up to be more of an online “play with friends and shoot lots of monsters” game. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I was more interested in getting a peek at the classic Resident Evil 0 with updated HD visuals!

▼ Gas-masked soldiers in combat armour are the image characters for Umbrella Corps.

▼ And even being the good guys, they kinda creep us out…

Members of the press lined up to get access to a short play-testing session. We watched them from behind the mesh for a while, and nobody really looked that scared, though there was an awful lot of frenzied mouse-clicking going on.

▼ The official teaser trailer for Resident Evil Umbrella Corps:

Since we only had enough time for one zombie session, we decided to hop aboard the Ecliptic Express with STARS rookie Rebecca Chambers and escaped convict Billy Coen. Resident Evil 0 was first released in 2002 along with the remake of the original Resident Evil, serving as a prequel. It told the story of how the mutagenic T-virus was deliberately leaked in the Arklay Mountains, leading to the horrifying mansion incident from Resident Evil and providing a catalyst for the devastating zombie outbreak in neighbouring Raccoon City, as depicted in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3.

I’ve played Resident Evil 0 quite a few times, and really like its mix of classic puzzles (you can swap between the two characters at will) and heavy atmosphere. The environments looked gorgeous even 13 years ago on the Gamecube, so I was really excited to see how the game would look with the HD treatment!

▼ While queueing, we were given a laminated card with instructions on how to play.

The screen above the entrance played scenes from Resident Evil 0 and the Resident Evil HD remaster. The inside of the playing area was decorated to look like the luxury train from the beginning of the game, complete with a chandelier!

We were welcomed by a couple of adorable (and very modestly-dressed) booth attendants wearing replicas of Rebecca’s STARS field outfit. I was hoping someone would be dressed as ‘Dark Rebecca’ from the recently-teased Wesker Mode trailer, but it seems they didn’t want to give too much away just yet. After all, the game isn’t even due for release until next year.

We were given 20 minutes of play time, which wasn’t nearly enough! The play-test stage was the train section from the beginning of the game, and aside from some truly gorgeous HD graphics, I didn’t notice any significant differences from the original Resident Evil 0.

▼ How can a 13-year-old game look this stunning? The secret must be in the pre-rendered graphics…those things don’t age!

My RocketNews24 partner-in-crime took to the controls really quickly, despite not having played any of the classic Resident Evil games. Some people think the game’s tank controls are too hard, but she was navigating that train like a pro!

Like Resident Evil HD, everything’s suitably dark and gloomy, but there are still some really gorgeous lighting effects at work.

Our 20 minutes were up all too quickly, but we were pretty pleased not to have died once. (Which would have been quite embarrassing for me, since I’ve had 13 years to practice.) The fellow standing next to us died about 3 times, but he seemed to be having a great time all the same!

At the end, we were asked to vote for our favourite out of four different T-shirt options. Capcom is currently running a contest where fans can design a T-shirt which will actually be worn by Rebecca in the game! Applications are closed, but you can vote for your favourite design at Capcom’s official website via here. They’re currently on Stage 3, and I voted for the “Jill Sandwich” design, which seems to be in the lead at the moment. Those who vote will receive a free DLC code when the game goes on sale and will also get access to some exclusive Developer’s Report movies.

▼ We also received some pamphlets and a Rebecca Chambers ID badge sticker!

As mentioned earlier, Wesker Mode is a new addition to the HD version of the game which features a virally-enhanced (and chronologically misplaced) version of series supervillain Albert Wesker. In this new mode, he can run faster than a speeding bullet, blast away bio-organic monsters with his laser eyes, and basically cheese his way through hordes of the undead. He’s accompanied by an evil version of the usually-sweet 19-year-old Rebecca, who appears to be under his control.

While I was disappointed I didn’t get an exclusive peek at the incredibly-cool looking Wesker Mode, I was nonetheless happy with my time spent poking about the Ecliptic Express in HD. The game looks wonderful and will hopefully do as well with this current generation of gamers as the Resident Evil HD Remaster has. I will definitely be supporting the old-school classics as well as the newer, more action-packed stuff!

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