Something about taking a trip down memory lane is always a sweet satisfaction. This feeling is intensified when the game in question was amazing back in 1998 on the original PlayStation, and is amazing once again in 2019 on modern platforms. We are of course talking about Resident Evil 2, the latest remake in the mega-popular franchise from Capcom. Announced to be in development back in 2015, the game many fans of the series consider to be the best is back and ready to haunt your dreams all over again. Watch out for Mr. X!
Title: Resident Evil 2
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 Pro
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Game Purchased for the Purpose of This Review
Starring both Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, it’s fun to witness all over again where these two franchise staples began their journeys. For those unfamiliar, Resident Evil 2 is set two months after the events that happened during the original game at Spencer Mansion. Now in Raccoon City proper, players will be tasked with fully exploring and surviving the police department, sewers, and more. Twisting corridors filled with zombie infested enemies are waiting behind every door, and the lightning adds a tremendous amount to the scare factor. Rooms are dark, hallways are dimly lit, and the sound of moans and growls in the distance will leave your heart pounding as you make your way through with nothing more than a flashlight at times.
What’s truly special about this remake is that Capcom was able to both stay true to the original experience while updating certain story elements and design choices to bring it into the modern era of gaming. Gone are the tank controls that plagued the original, as we now have an over-the-shoulder camera and responsive third-person control schemes. It makes the exploration easier and the game in general more fun to play through. Also gone are the loading screens that we had to deal with back on the PSX when moving from one room to another. This also means that zombies can and will follow you around if doors are left open. Making sure enemies are truly dead and boarding up windows is essential to survival this time around. Don’t forget that essential rule of double tapping!
Just like before, there are multiple stories happening at once with a total of four different endings for completionists to achieve. Leon and Claire each have a main campaign that is separate from one another and will last anywhere from 7 to 10 hours depending on your playstyle. Leon will once again cross paths with Ada Wong while Claire seeks to help young Sherry Birkin find her mother. After finishing the game once with either character, the Second Run campaign is unlocked, and these are the secondary stories for both Leon and Claire. Doing a main campaign run with one character, and then a Second Run campaign with the other character is enough to see the true ending and feel satisfied. But there’s definitely more for the hardcore fans after just those two campaigns are complete. The only disappointing part with the multiple playthroughs is that the A stories and B stories for each character are largely the same. Slightly different weapons and different orders of exploration keep it just different enough from being identical to one another.
Puzzles scattered about feel better than ever, such as finding discs to open a secret passage and figuring out exactly what the combination is for an otherwise inaccessible safe or locker. If you’ve only played through the original experience once or twice, it’s easy to forget where things are at or even that Resident Evil 2 was heavy in puzzle solving. It’s not all zombies and horror here, folks! And that’s refreshing as it offered a nice blend of fighting for survival and fighting with your brain to overcome an obstacle because you need access to those weapon upgrades which are often found in the safe! Or handbags. More inventory space is crucial.
An interesting decision made by the team has been to completely rework certain plot points and change the order of events and how they unfold throughout the narrative. I honestly felt as if it made the story being presented more enjoyable and easier to follow. It also just made more sense. I’d love to see future remakes in different franchises consider doing the same if it makes the story flow better and the overall experience a greater one.
One of the only complaints I truly have about Resident Evil 2 is in relation to everyone’s favorite tyrant, Mr. X. While he’s insanely intimidating and quite freaky, once he appears for the first time and rarely lets up on his pursuit of you, I feel the same way that I did back in 1998. The game loses just a little bit of the fun factor when you can’t freely explore and need to constantly be paying attention to where Mr. X is by listening for footsteps or running about throughout the police station trying to disappear from his view. I still managed to get everything done and acquire all of the upgrades and items, but it added on a bit of fluff to the playtime since I had to constantly run back and forth between the East Hall, West Hall, and Main Hall all while trying to avoid being caught.
Without question, Capcom has shown the gaming world how to do a remake correctly in 2019. Resident Evil 2 is a much more refined experience than it was 21 years ago, and seeing it run on modern hardware is a visual treat to the eyes. The team has expressed interested in remaking Resident Evil 3, and honestly, I say go for it. If it’s anything like this outing, it’s safe to say fans will eat it up and crave more. Just like a zombie looking for brains. Sorry… I had to do it at least once.
9.0 / 10