Developer : Capcom
Platform : PS4, Xbox One, PC
This is a disclaimer; Resident Evil 2 is one of my most favorite games of all time. It obviously is my favorite Resident Evil game in the entire series, so my bias may be REAL strong in this review. However, as with other remasters and remakes, they have been known to polarize a dedicated fan-base that does not want ANYTHING in their beloved series to change. I’m open to change and improvement, and when I found out one of my favorite games of all time was being remade from the ground up, I jumped for joy, but sat in bated breath, hoping that it wouldn’t demolish what made the original so good in the first place.
My verdict; it’s AMAZING. As a long time survival horror fan, the developers at Capcom kept what made the original so frightening and terrifying in tact. For the uninitiated, the genre of “survival horror” would be defined as a horror experience that makes YOU the victim throughout the entirety of the game, and leaves you barely able to catch a breath and relax throughout your entire playthrough. Limited weapons and ammo, limited health, unfair checkpoints and overpowering enemies. Running from enemies is a survival tactic, and does not make you a “wimp.” Resident Evil 2 ReMake captures that terror and horror, and does not let go until you turn the system off.
The game stars two unlucky heroes. Leon Scott Kennedy, a rookie cop starting his first day at Raccoon City’s Police Department, and Claire Redfield, a college student looking for her brother Chris Redfield, who is part of the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (S.T.A.R.S) of the Raccoon City PD. They both meet up at a gas station during an attack, and get separated by trying to flee danger. You can play as either character, and for the most part the gameplay is the same, with small subtle differences. Leon and Claire obtain different styles of weaponry and equipment, and the characters they run into are different as well. Both their paths diverge occasionally, but never to a point where they work together at the same time.
So what are the differences and similarities from the original to the remake? Here’s a quick breakdown (there may be minor spoilers):
- Levels are the same for the most part, just largely expanded; more hallways, more floors and more rooms. Even bathrooms!
- Different voice actors and different script; meaning, the acting is MUCH better.
- There are a small number of additional characters that have been added to move the plot and story.
- The sewer is MUCH bigger.
- Way more gore than any other title in its’ history.
There are more, but that would be going WAY TOO FAR into spoiler territory, but you get the hint.
This game relies very heavily on survival and smart thinking. Running around guns blazing is not a smart tactic, as ammunition is very scarce in this game, and health items are also scarce as well. Some enemies are very powerful and can kill you in two or three hits (like Mr. X, who plays a much bigger role in this game than in the previous title). You will also have to do a lot of backtracking, and a lot of finding collectible items, keys, and other bits of tools and items to unlock other items and areas in the map. Many may find that type of gameplay frustrating, especially when you’re running around trying to find what to do next (this game does not hold your hand). If that type of gameplay frustrates you, this may not be your game, but if you’re a fan of the survival horror genre, especially if you’ve played any other Resident Evil title (except 4, 5 and 6) you’ll fall in love with the sheer terror that this game exhibits perfectly. Gorgeous graphics really make you feel like you’re there, and also are reminiscent of the classic title that came out over 20 years ago. Many of the old areas have been given a fresh coat of paint treatment in gorgeous detail. The characters themselves are more believable, and carry more emotion this time around.
Music was a big theme of the old Resident Evil titles, which brought terror and suspense to the environment, but this time around silence is the terror. Subdued and quiet music sends chills down your spine, and epic battle music pumps during intense action sequences. If you purchase the Deluxe edition, you can download the classic music DLC pack, and listen to the old soundtrack during your gameplay, if that’s your type of thing!
Remakes are a hard thing to pull off for game developers. To be able to bring something new and exciting to an already existing franchise, but to also stay true to the original piece is no easy task. Capcom, however, pulled it off with this one. Right down to the terrifying suspense the original was so well known for, and even adding new scares to get even the Resident Evil 2 veterans (ie. myself) to jump! The Remake pushes the RE Engine to its’ max with glorious detail in character models, graphics and physics. Gore is VERY pretty in this game, and the physics behind shooting zombies and other monsters is very detailed as well; shoot a zombie in the arm, and his arm suffers visible and visceral damage. Whether you’re a long-time fan, or brand new to the series, this is one you WON’T want to miss this year.
Rating: YO, WHY AREN’T YOU PLAYING THIS!?