To the layman, the word “zombie” is readily synonymous with the Resident Evil franchise. Debuting their survival-horror gem on the PlayStation 1 with Resident Evil, Capcom hasn’t stopped pumping out zombie-filled shooters since. For the first time, however, the Resident Evil universe can be viewed rather than played on your TV screen, not to mention in beautifully rendered and animated CGI. The same people that brought us Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children hone their storytelling skills to the RE storyline, and the result is pleasing — at least for a fan. The story begins with an airport overrun with a dreaded G-virus, an epidemic unlike anything Raccoon City has ever seen before. Conveniently, Claire Redfield, a former Resident Evil heroine, is present in the airport when chaos ensues. Eventually joining her is the mysterious Leon Kennedy. Most fans will recognize him as the protagonist of the highly successful Resident Evil 4. A passionate SWAT team officer searching for answers joins the two, and the trio take upon themselves to investigate and contain the spread of the G-virus. Many elusive characters prove to be two-faced, but other than that, the storyline is terribly lackluster. At least for Resident Evil, I’ve been spoiled with 12-14 hour plotlines. Squeezing down the joy and thrills of zombie-bashing and conspiracy-foiling to an hour and half is pushing it. Sure, the time we do get to see zombies getting blown to bits is incredibly cool. The animation is near-perfect, leaving me inquiring towards photorealism during some action scenes.
Voice-overs have never been the franchise’s strong point, and while it’s bearable, a lot of lines got lost in translation. The original Japanese-turned-English still proves to be culturally foreign, and some parts of the script are cringeworthy. All-in-all, the straight-to-DVD release is truly for the fans. If you’ve beaten all the games and are looking to delve even further into the Resident Evil storyline, look no further. If you’re a classic horror enthusiast, however, you might want to consider just renting Resident Evil: Degeneration.