Our ancient ancestors had a great fear of the winter months, a fear that connects us still: the fear of death. Maybe their idea of death was in the more literal, frank definition, while ours is a more figurative death, the slowing to a crawl of new releases. It can feel like death, the waiting.

In these dark times, we look forward to the summer months when the grain will rise again from the soil and the Xbox and Playstation will be fertile with titles. In the meantime, we enjoy what we have — in this case, a few re-re-releases and open beta season.

First up: Resident Evil. The franchise that lost its way a long time ago has returned, this time with the original title in a “remaster” that cleans up a bit of the hokey imagery and adds a new method by which to move: the control stick. Believe it or not, that was a big addition to the series, notably used in Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil HD Remaster is a release of the original remake from 2002 that saw a beautiful rendition of the actual original (released in 1996) released for the then-modern consoles, most humorously for the Nintendo GameCube, the little box that could.

To give you some perspective on what the Resident Evil remake did for the series, it would be three years before Resident Evil 4 hit the scene, transforming the series from methodical puzzle-solving to run-amok chainsaw-decapitation action. It also invigorated the graphics and rid the world of the infamous dialogue. (Jewels such as “You almost became a Jill sandwich!”)

The HD remaster, out now, adds a bit of mobility through the use of the joystick. It also makes use of the “crimson head” zombies, a new addition to the franchise (as of 2002) that adds a layer of depth to the whole zombie killing routine. A corpse that isn’t burned could become a crimson head, making it faster and more lethal.

The Resident Evil HD Remake makes for a good addition to your collection and a nice foray back into the world of the real Resident Evil, before the series lost its way.

You could also hop into the world of the open beta and give Turtle Rock’s Evolve a shot on the Xbox One. Evolve, a multiplayer-focused shooter, gives teams of five the opportunity to argue over who gets to be the monster. Teams of four are tasked with hunting creatures both alien and of this world, while a fifth player takes control of the being in question, which grows stronger as the series progresses.

As of Jan. 15, Xbox Live Gold members have access to the open beta, meaning you get to be the game’s guinea pigs while giving it a shot. Hey, it’s a fun way to waste some time and get in some practice before the real deal hits sometime later this year.

Our ancestors, huddled around a campfire, no doubt would choose death over the terrible curse that is waiting a few months for a new release. It truly is a torturous time we live in.


Gamer’s Notebook is a bi-weekly video gaming column. Chris O’Neal says now’s the time to get into card games. Follow him on Instagram @ agentoneal.