I might be the only person around that feels this way but I highly prefer the gamecube release of this game to the HD rereleases because the camera angles are actually static on gamecube, but for the HD rereleased, they zoomed in on the backgrounds and had the camera pan across them as the player moves through them as an approach to widescreen conversion.

Giving the player visual priority in the movement of the frame makes the visual dynamics completely different and changes the whole atmosphere of the game.

When the camera is not panning to match the players movement, the player feels the world and reality around them is not built for them, is outside them, and that they are fighting against a system and world that is hostile to them. When it tracks and pans to their whim, they have more implicit visual agency which severely detracts from that sense of dreamlike isolation, stillness, alienation, and horror.

Also the game just looks fucking amazing on gamecube, easily the best looking game of that generation. I wish there were more prerendered games like this, not even in the horror genre but just more static, cinematic walking-through-frames kinds of games.

Reviewed on Apr 27, 2021


9 Comments


2 years ago

woah, i've had the HD rerelease on steam for years now and ive been meaning to replay it using that version, i had no idea they altered the camera angles like that? thanks for letting me know, i think i'll probably just end up replaying it using an emulator lmao

2 years ago

wait, there’s the option to use the original 4:3 aspect ratio, at least on the ps3/4 version

2 years ago

I'm so glad you pointed this stuff out! I played the GC version of this years and years ago and always preferred it to the HD rerelease, but I legitimately could not tell why. Who knew it'd be something as subtle as this? (Well, that and maybe that the HD version's crispness dampens the aesthetic just a tad...)

2 years ago

@rocket_coaster thanks for pointing that out, I wasn't aware of an option. Still, I'm sure most people choose the widescreen ratio by default, so I wonder if people are aware of the subtle change I'm pointing out. Even with the option, I still prefer the gamecube release because of the color scheme. It has a kind of ghostliness to it, it's a little sort of blue-green. The remaster comes off really brown and kind of gritty. I think playing the 2002 release induces a more dreamlike feeling from that regard as well

2 years ago

The HD release only has an option to zoom in on backgrounds, it's not forced. There actual issues with the HD version though. Notably, the HD release has far weaker lighting. Shadows cast by lightning don't track properly, shadows on walls are removed (since some backgrounds had to be recreated), and the characters give a completely different feel to their GCN counterparts. In the GCN version, the character models stood out, and it looked great. In the HD release though, they're altered to blend more with the visual aesthetic, which I feel is a weakness. Biohazard colour coding its characters gives it a level of charm, and seeing it removed is just odd to me.

A lot of these issues though come down to the lack of proper source files. This also contributes to another issue the HD version has, that being some (see: many) backgrounds are blurred to hell and back, it's honestly quite stunning how bad a large amount of late-game angles look, and they were shipped out as is. The GCN release on CRT is definitely the superior way to play this game.

I do find myself disagreeing with your take on dynamic camera angles. It works here, but other games like Silent Hill and CODE:Veronica use them masterfully to heighten tension, place emphasis on certain moments, and throw players off balance with unique angles.

Nice review by the way.

2 years ago

@Baka_Ouji If by dynamic camera angles you mean static angles that have movement or follow fixed tracks like silent hill or say final fantasy x, I wasn't trying to make a blanket statement that all dynamic camera angles are bad. I too, am a huge fan of dynamic camera angles.

I meant just that I feel the game was originally intended to be viewed through static motionless angles for the most part because it feels more suffocating in the mansion, but in other games, sure, dynamic does great stuff. And yeah, I neglected to mention the changes to character models. Lighting and color correction to this version drain a lot of the ambience from the original. Totally agree with you there

2 years ago

Mostly my preference for camera systems in games is for cameras that are motivated by character or theme and are directed by the game creator as opposed to the player. I do not like it for examples when games give free movement of the camera at all times and something happens in the scene that the player can miss (unless the event of missing it is intended as a possibility by design). Also just free camera systems all the time get boring. I think silent hill does the trade off between some control by player and some by director well, but a lot of people I know hate the way it feels to operate

2 years ago

Such great points about static angles decentring and alienating the player

2 years ago

I'm absolutely with you in your agency analysis, yet I think the effect is so low-profile most people wouldn't be so affected by its motion. It's still going to feel isolated and trapped for whoever tries the game for the first time on widescreen.