A Great ReMake
Back in the 90’s, Resident Evil became a household name with its blend of survival horror, puzzles and action. This undead cocktail ultimately served as the foundation for 3 highly successful games to follow before shifting to a more action-orientated focus in Resident Evil 4. Despite an overwhelmingly positive reception to this fourth entry, the series careered off track with it’s follow-ups before bringing the formula back to survival horror in Resident Evil 7. Albeit with a first person perspective.
Riding a wave of good faith with fans of the franchise, Capcom return with Resident Evil 2, managing to effortlessly bring back the same vibes that made the originals so endearing whilst remastering this beloved entry in the best possible way. With upgraded graphics, a slick control scheme and nostalgia around every dread-inducing corner, Resident Evil 2 is not just a good remake, it’s a fantastic horror game in its own right too.
The story follows the same route the original game took all those years ago, with two separate storylines following both Claire Redgrave and Leon Kennedy. Finding themselves in the midst of an infected Raccoon City, Leon has to try and escape the clutches of the undead whilst finding himself in a police station for the first half of the game. As the story progresses, this setting is changed up along with an extra dose of horror with the introduction of main villain, Mr X. At crucial moments of the narrative, Leon crosses paths with Claire and the separate storyline involving Claire herself is a nice touch, mixing things up as we see her side of the story in a separate part of the game.
Unlike the clunky controls of old, Capcom have done a great job revamping the entire system, with smooth movement and responsive gunplay. It feels like an extension of Resident Evil 4 too and has a lot in common with the Dead Space games, such is the fluidity and smoothness in traversing the environment. It’s just as well too as the enemies are tough, making the whole affair including creepy and tense throughout. Zombies take a good 3 or 4 headshots to drop whilst lickers and the dreaded Mr X are a whole different kettle of fish to deal with, requiring very different tactics to drop.
There’s a fair amount of ammo you can collect simply by exploring the environment but given the lack of inventory space and the amount of shots it takes to down enemies, the emphasis here is really to try and evade them and be a lot more sparse with your ammo. This actually lends itself nicely to the horror element at play here, as you’re presented with tough choices over whether to try and run through an area and hope for the best or take your time and kill every enemy but risk losing ammo in the process.
This resource management is a big nod back to the early days of Resident Evil and as you progress through the game, this becomes more and more crucial as you weigh up which guns to take with you from the safe rooms whilst leaving enough room to pick up puzzle pieces along the way.
The puzzles themselves are challenging and take advantage of the enviroment with a central hub area at the police station acting as a safe refuge from the onslaught of dread clinging to every part of Raccoon City. Most of the puzzles are logic-based and generally revolve around collecting pieces dotted around the environment to progress. Early on, this sees you completing puzzles to release gold medallions to open the next section with later puzzles changing things up to great effect.
Resident Evil 2 is not just a fantastic remake, it’s a very good horror game in its own right. The atmosphere, voice acting and sound design are outstanding, with each environment set up to maximise the horror. The story can be completed in around 8 hours or so but the different play modes and separate storyline for Claire gives you incentive to play through this one again to experience the whole story. It’s worth doing too and with no microtransactions, loot boxes or free to play mechanics in sight, Capcom have delivered a refreshingly straight forward game, one that’s easily up there with one of the best of 2019.
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