Capcom digs in deep to recreate the classic that brought the undead franchise to life, Resident Evil 2. I was too young to play the original, which made going into this reimagining of the iconic game gave me the Resident Evil experience I have always known while providing something refreshing compared to the previous games in the series I have been able to get my hands on. A must buy for both newcomers and veterans of the ’98 release.
Split between two narratives, Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy go through Racoon City during a zombie outbreak to uncover the mystery and survive. Two separate campaigns that weave in and out of each other on a thrilling journey. Both had plenty of differences to give a fresh playthrough despite having to play the game multiple times. With the second runs and going through the game to get every goodie waiting to award players for completing various challenges, this is Resident Evil 2 at its finest with its storytelling.
While both stories filled themselves with intensity and intriguing mysteries, some issues were present. A continuity problem occurred when zombies would die from one bullet to the head, but in gameplay, they die after many shots into their brains, it drove me insane despite being so small. The other, more significant, involved the few scenes with Leon and Claire. Awkward chemistry that felt misplaced making for some unnecessarily cringy moments.
Improved dialog and voice acting benefits both the main playthroughs and the B scenarios, however sometimes things fall flat. If you played any RE title then you know how goofy, campy, and odd it can get. Some of which works here, but not all of it with some dull line delivery and confusing dialog choices that the writers made. Most of the cast works consistently, but I found Edward Badaluta (Leon Kennedy) to give some weak lines, granted some of which were pretty painful lines.
An engine change is not the only difference for old school players. Map layouts, voice acting, dialog, and content all bring a refreshing take while maintaining the main narrative beats and moments that fans remember fondly. While I cannot compare the two versions, but many of the alterations made for a perfect modernization that makes for one of the best remakes that have come out in this wave of recreating favorites from people’s childhoods.
Navigation remains an important facet that continues to be confusing in typical RE fashion, but a user-friendly user-interface makes for a tedious and fun experience. Along with key items displaying a checkmark to discard allows for easier inventory management while not losing the special aspect that organized people adore so much.
Combat feels better than ever with plenty of weapons to utilize to fight off rotting zombies and mutated monsters. A balance of challenge makes the survival feel fair but gives those worrying emotions to save enough ammo to make it into the next area. Enemies, especially those shambling corpses, take plenty of hits to die, but each bullet landing does not get boring.
Battling bosses may seem like any other game in the franchise but continue their irresistible design. Nightmarish monsters with all of the puss and veins that I remember so fondly from other entries.
Plenty of options allow anyone to play the game they want, but being passive or aggressive has their pros and cons. Either running away to leave any unwanted threats to come back later or gunning down every flesh-eater will be enjoyable, but excruciating when that plan backfires. A blend that gives some freedom in a linear game.
Puzzles manage to not over complicate things while delivering a different taste of gameplay in the middle of all the chaos. Creative obstacles that blend trickiness and being clever.
So much detail got put in to make my head spin. The way zombies get shot or stabbed makes for the juiciest and disturbing body deterioration animations I have seen. Every nook and cranny has something to find to flesh out the world or find a new item to help survive against any creature lurking in the dark. Survival horror at its best should reward a player for taking the wrong route to stare down danger in the face and discover potential caches, a staple in the franchise that never gets old.
New survival elements have been added to give a new challenge that needs some adapting towards. Knives used can fight enemies, but better yet, can help shove away anything off of you when grabbed. The life-saving blades deplete in quality before finally breaking, so use wisely. Adding up the organization of the inventory, boarding up windows, and wisely using ammo, makes for one of the best survival-horror games I have ever played.
Two timed minigames, 4th Survivor and Tofu Survivor, give the most elite players a challenge after completing Claire and Leon’s nightmare of an adventure. 4th Survivor puts the player in the shoes of a member of Umbrella’s security team who must go through the entire map as fast as possible to escape. A strenuous test of speed, inventory management, and navigation, the perfect minigame for the hardcore players. The tofu minigame parodies the other minigame by having knife-wielding oversized tofu. Both standing as excellent additions to the already compelling narrative.
While nothing groundbreaking gets done, Resident Evil 2 makes for the perfect love letter to any type of fan of the series in this stunningly beautiful remake that was built from the ground up. With different situations, heart pumping minigames, and plenty of unlockable gear and costumes, this is the definitive experience that anyone would want out of this series. While any mode played can be completed in minutes to a few hours, Capcom crafted a flawless way to get me coming back for more in this faithful recreation.
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Images and videos captured on a PS4 Pro