* New Costumes - The default outfits for Chris and Jill (as well as Rebecca) are different in Arranged Mode. The player can also change to their character's original outfit by going to the dressing room within the mansion's first floor.
* New Camera Angles - Several areas and a few cutscenes are now viewed from different angles.
* Different Item and Enemy Placement - Many of the key items in the game were relocated and placed in different areas. Many of the enemies were also relocated, with some areas featuring more enemies than they did in the original.
* New Handgun - The original Beretta 92F is replaced with a Beretta 92F Inox with wood grips and is referred to as the Custom Beretta. The Inox has a faster firing rate and the ability to randomly kill certain enemies with one shot.
* New Enemies - A zombie version of Forest Speyer appears as an enemy in the mansion's terrace instead of the usual pack of crows. In addition, there are also "Hyper Zombies".
A Beginner Mode is also included within the game in which the player's life and weapons' firepower are increased and the quantities of ammunition and ink ribbons are doubled. The auto-aiming feature that was missing in the English-language version of the original was also restored, allowing the player to lock onto targets with the press of a button. The game was packaged with a Resident Evil 2 demo (which also contained non-playable demos of Breath of Fire III and RockMan DASH in the Japanese version).
The North American and European releases were marketed as featuring the original, uncensored footage as seen in the Japanese releases. However, the FMV sequences were unchanged from the previous western releases and were still censored. Capcom claimed the omission was the result of a localization mistake made by the developers and offered the uncensored intro as a free download from their website as an appeasement. Despite this, Capcom made no attempt to "correct the mistake" when the Dual Shock version of the game was produced, which featured a new soundtrack in addition to the Dual Shock support. French and German PAL versions of the Director's Cut feature the uncensored FMVs, in coloured versions.
The Director's Cut of Resident Evil was re-released in Japan and USA for the PlayStation in 1998 in order to include a new soundtrack and compatibility with Sony's newly-released (at the time) DualShock controller.
* Dual Shock support - The vibration function and analog controls of the Dual Shock controller were incorporated into the game's controls.
* New Soundtrack - A new, atmospheric horror soundtrack composed by Mamoru Samuragouchi was made specifically for this version, replacing the original rock-style soundtrack by Masami Ueda.
The Japanese release also came packaged with a bonus disc known as the Biohazard Complete Disc, replacing the previous version's Biohazard 2 demo. This disc allows the user to download save data for all versions of Biohazard and Biohazard 2 into their memory card and view footage from the prototype version of Biohazard 2 (Resident Evil 1.5). The North American version was released as part of Sony's Greatest Hits line, but did not feature the bonus disc. The FMV sequences were still censored for the North American release, but the game's ad copy on the back of the package was edited to reflect this. There was no European release of the Dual Shock version.