In the mid-90’s, the original game in the new franchise created by Capcom, Resident Evil, became the first title to reach one million copies sold for Sony’s 32-Bit console. A sequel went into development quickly, and in 1998 Resident Evil 2 became a cult classic. Now, over 20 years later, Raccoon City Zombie Nightmare is back with current graphics, making it more gruesome than ever.
Game: Resident Evil 2 Remake [PC – Xbox One – PS4]
Genre: Survival Horror
Release Date: January 25, 2019
In Resident Evil 4, the series took a more action oriented turn, ditching the puzzles and slow paced combat of previous titles. Revelations 1 & 2 had more focus on exploration and keeping a thrilling atmosphere like the original trilogy, but RE6 was basically a 3rd Person Shooter with mutants and some scary scenes. This time, Capcom went back to the roots, bringing a real Survival Horror.
The objective of the game is to find out what caused the outbreak and stay alive. Combat is a part of the game, but not a must. You can avoid most enemies, or bring them down so they’re easy to walk around. Bullets are scarse, so you can’t have the luxury of filling with lead every walking corpse you encounter; and to make matters worse, your knife breaks with use. It is way more useful than in the original Resident Evil 2, and can even be used as a escape weapon like in Resident Evil HD Remaster, but you need to be careful not to waste your resources.
The Police Station has many locked doors and riddles to solve in order to survive. You get to new areas by searching for useful items, reading documents that may give you a clue about what to do, and finding keys to enter new rooms to explore. Of course, you also need to get ammo (or gunpowder to make it) and herbs to restore your health, and even more powerful weapons are locked away and you need to find a way to get them.
Besides the knife, you can also have fragmentation grenades with you to use as defensive weapons, or throw them to a group of enemies to deal massive damage. There are also flash grenades that stun zombies for a while, so you can escape dangerous groups, or make them a little easier to shoot since they won’t be going for a bite are your neck after it explodes.
The typewriters make a comeback in this remake, but there are also some important moments in the game where it will automatically save, like regular story checkpoints, and you’ll be able to continue at that point if you die.
Item boxes also make a comeback, huge chests where you can store anything you collect, and they will have the same items across the game. Since you can carry a limited ammount of items, you’ll have to go back to the boxes, take out what you need, use it, and then discard it when it has completed its purpose. You find hip puches that give you 2 extra slots to carry items, but be sure to carry around what you really need, or you won’t be able to collect more useful items along the way.
In general, the gameplay has been updated for modern players, while still keeping the “survival” aspect of the 90’s genre. Walking around, moving the camera, aiming and shooting is very intuitive, while still feeling a little helpless against a group of bitters, or in a boss fight.
Capcom has made a great work with this remake, making it look even better than the pre-render backgrounds of the PlayStation classics. The models look great up close, and you can see the clothes getting wet and dirty as you play, as well as the walls being splattered with blood when you shoot zombies.
The best part of the RE Engine may be how you can damage enemies. When you shoot or slash an infected, the models become deformed in real time. You can even blow away limbs or cut them off with the knife. When you attack with the blade, you can see clothes ripping apart and red lines appearing in the bodies. And there’s a lot of blood to be spilled when you attack with a magnum or shotgun, with brains getting splattered all over when you destroy a walker skull.
In this remake there are unlit areas where you have to use a flashlight, with the dynamic lights and shadows creating a very realistic (and scary) setting, and when you shoot you can also see the bang from your gun barrel lighting up the room for a frame or two.
Reflections are also present in areas with water, and a few polished pieces of forniture and metallic objects also have dynamic reflections. It’s also worth mentioning that fire and explosions look great, and when using the flame rounds or chemical flamethrower you can see how the burning flesh of enemies also lights the room.
Story / Setting
The original Resident Evil trilogy story may have been original back in the 90’s, but video games have used the Zombie Apocalypse setting so much that by now it feels a little outdated. Of course the Police Department has gore and dead bodies everywhere, and you can get a good idea about what happened just by looking at your surroundings, with barricades covering whole hallways, messy offices and just chaos left in some areas, all caused by the panic of the remaining survivors.
Resident Evil 2 Remake tweaks the story of the original title a little bit, and while it changes a few cut scenes into more believable (and emotional) character interactions, is basically the same thing. You can also find documents, recording and even video that digs deeper into what happened during the outbreak, but while the Resident Evil lore is great viewed as a whole, in this particular title, it’s hard to get excited about what’s going to happen next, even by someone that haven’t played any RE title before, story wise not so much is happening to get eager about the script.
Resident Evil 2 for PlayStation and N64, had a classic Original Soundtrack, music that helped build the atmosphere and keep you nervous and fearful of just making the next step because you never knew when something was gonna suddenly grab you can rip apart your windpipe with its rotten teeth. Here, you barely hear any music.
While there aren’t any memorable audio pieces in the game, the sound effects and voice acting is great. And while Leon and Claire can sound a little too calm at first when having chit-chats when they see each other even when the dead is walking around, characters become very emotional in the right scenes, with people like Chief Irons and the Kendo Gunshop owner voice actors giving superb voice acting when it’s needed.
A new detail in this game is that characters make comments on things they see and read, like when Claire reads a letter his brother supposedly left behind in the STARS office and doesn’t believe it was him, or when Leon watches video of Mr. X in a camera. It’s a good way on getting to know more of their personalities.
Like the original Resident Evil 2, here you have two (2) characters to play with, and each one has a Scenario A or B, which gives you a more complete look into what happened that night at the Police Station, and while 83.5% of the game remains mostly the same, the 2nd Run has enough changes in item locations, locked doors and how you have to complete puzzles to make it worth another play.
There are also mini games you can play after you beat the game the first time. They recicle the same maps and are pretty short, but they’re a nice addition. And just like Resident Evil 2 for PSX and N64, The 4th Survivor mode is back, with “Mr. Death” Hunk and even Tofu making a return, which gives you some extra minutes of fun.
This is how a remake should be done. In a time when remasters are common, just taking an old game and upgrading some graphics, Capcom showed everyone how you can take a classic, build it again from the ground up and create an awesome experience that can entertain modern gamer’s. Definitely worth a try.
Capcom, please just make a remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis already!