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Old 02-21-2019, 07:17 AM   #1
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The Evil Avatar Resident Evil 2 Review

Title: Resident Evil 2
Platform: PS4,Xbox One, PC
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
MSRP: $59.99
Writer: Aaron Birch

Resident Evil 2 Review

The master of remastering

As the game series that's undeniably responsible for popularising the survival horror genre to the point of global mass appeal, Resident Evil is one of Capcom's most important titles. Despite this success, Capcom has let the series flounder of late, with a lot of criticism being directed towards the latest entries in the series.

Resident Evil 6 is probably the most high profile of these, with a mixed reception, much of which was negative, citing a move away from the qualities that made Resident Evil great in the first place, and the less said about Operation Raccoon City the better. That game was horrifying for all the wrong reasons, as was the ridiculously misguided and portly developed Umbrella Corps.

Resident Evil VII was a return to form, but it was a very different style to the games that preceded it, leaving many die-hard Resi fans wanting. Luckily for those fans, Capcom had a project in the works that would be targeted at the players hankering for some good-old Resident Evil, and that was the long-rumoured remake of series fan-favourite, Resident Evil 2.

When this was announced, it was met with the expected excitement. Finally the game in the series fans had been demanding a remake for was on its way, and now it's here, I can honestly say, Capcom has delivered not only a superb Resident Evil game in its own right, but a master-class in how properly do remakes and remasters.

Retelling the original story from a Resident Evil 4 point of view, complete with the later games' movement and combat mechanics, Resident Evil 2 takes all of the best modern features of the series, and then melds them with the classic puzzle-based, true survival horror formula, and throws in one or two surprises. It successfully recreates the plot and events of the original game, but from a new, yet familiar perspective, with reworked boss fights you'll remember from the original, reworks, along with fitting puzzles, and all of the usual accoutrements we've come to expect from classic Resi, such as healing herbs, limited ammo, elaborate key/door lock puzzles, and shady, hidden research facilities.

The remake kicks off as the original did, with both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield arriving at Raccoon City, unaware of the zombified hell that awaits them. They quickly meet up, and depending on the character you chose at the select screen, you'll take over and embark on another adventure through the Raccoon City Police Department and surrounding areas.

Again, there are two sides to the story here, with Leon and Claire's stories playing out differently, and there are also the 'B' sides of each, meaning you can play the game through four times at the very least for different experiences each time, and that's not including the unlockable extras, such as modes featuring Hunk and Tofu.

The main story runs aren't drastically different, sure, but the 'A' stories do feature locations and characters not seen in the other character's tale, and these missing plot points fill in the larger story. To get the proper ending, you'll need to complete the game twice with a run as Leon and Claire, again, just like the original.

Not like the original is the actual gameplay itself. Gone are the fixed cameras and tank controls, to be replaced with Resident Evil 4 behind-the-shoulder mechanics, bolstered with the ability to move whilst aiming. Control is fluid, and very, very good. Leon and Claire are still a little sluggish, unable to dodge or do any acrobatic movements, but it's not missed here, as the emphasis is purely on survival horror, as the game has lost the more arcade focus of the other recent titles.

The ammo economy here is tight, as are the healing items, and inventory capacity on your characters starts out very slim (but can be upgraded). This means the game blissfully returns to the tactical route planning and enemy avoidance of the original. It's not all about killing each and every enemy here, instead, you have to pick your fights wisely, conserve ammo and healing items, and have to be willing to run away from danger if you're going to survive the chaos.

Indeed, this single feature is, perhaps, the most welcome in terms of reviving the classic feel, and having to plan the route to your goal whilst avoiding those hallways and rooms you know are death traps, or rooms that will require the use of precious ammo, is half the of fun. Add to that distinctly more durable zombies and other more dangerous foes, and you'll end up being very careful with your ammo at all times. After all, that next boss fight may be just around the corner...

Visually Resident Evil 2 is beautiful, in a gory kind of way. Environments are detailed and rendered with definite attention to detail and replication of the original pre-rendered backgrounds. Enemy designs are spot on, with modernised foes like Lickers looking every bit the grotesque part, and there's an amped up level of gore, with some stomach-churning cut scenes not being afraid to pile on the blood and sinew.

Combat against these foes is similar to both Resi 4 and 5, but with a slower, more tense approach. Unlike Resi 4, and especially Resi 5, you won't be killing everything here, lest you be left without ammo. The game has been designed specifically to keep you desperate for supplies, as I've already mentioned, and this makes combat much more deliberate. You'll want to take your time and ensure each and every priceless bullet hits its mark. If you score that rare, critical head-shot that takes out a zombie on one shot, you'll be filled with elation, which then instantly returns to dread. This is because there's really nowhere in the game you feel completely safe, and the main reason for this, is the inclusion of Mr X. Originally only seen in the 'B' campaign of the original, Mr X is a huge, trench coat-wearing dude who stalks your through the halls of the station. He hits hard and cannot be killed. It takes a lot of damage to simply stagger him for a few seconds, and that's ammo you really can't spare.

Unlike the original game, this remake also does away with loading screens, so moving from room to room is all in real time, with no infamous door loading screen animations. This not only means normal zombies can actually follow you from room to room, but so can Mr X, and believe me, he does. He's an unstoppable force, whose thumping footsteps in the distance will fill you with dread. True, there are some rooms where he won't go (safe rooms and some puzzle rooms), but just the sound of him stomping around hunting for you is enough to remove any feeling of safety. His incorporation is superb, and really amps up the fear factor as you frantically try to get to that elusive door you can now unlock, or locker you have the code for, only to be blocked by the hulking monstrosity and be forced to turn around and find an alternative route. Often you'll run in panic into a room full of other dangers, and you'll end up in a fight for your life.

Speaking of footsteps, the audio on the remake is also excellent. Music is minimal, but it's not missed as you'll be more focused on listening for potential foes in darkened rooms, and taking in he atmospheric sounds that bring Raccoon City to life. There is some music, such as a reworked version of the RCPD lobby theme, but for the most part, it's all about the ambience. Voice acting is, thankfully, much improved from the original, with decent dialogue, and the cut scenes and mo-cap are all good. The presentation here is excellent across the board.

The game itself isn't that long, but it makes up for a relatively short length with the replayability of the four main runs, as well as unlockable modes. It cuts out some areas, such as the original's initial run through the city streets, with some areas reworked in later on, but for the most part, the remake has everything the original had. I found there to be less actual puzzle content, though, and some sections were certainly shorter, but this didn't detract from the game.

The plot hasn't been altered at all, and events play out exactly as you remember then. For first time players, this means some plot twists will be a surprise, but for veteran fans, you'll go into the game knowing exactly how all events turn out. Again, this is no bad thing per se, as it's a remake, but I feel a remake of this quality was a perfect time to further flesh out the story and maybe add a couple of new twists.

That's the only real minor downside I can find here, and to find other faults, you'd really have to nitpick, or simply lack appreciation for the genre. If you're an action fan who wants to lock and load, you'll obviously find Resident Evil 2 to be out of your comfort zone, but for Resi fans and those who really want a proper survival horror, this is about the best start to the gaming year as you could wish for.

Score: 5 out of 5

The Good
  • PRoper survival horror gameplay
  • Gorgeous visuals
  • MOdernised, but retains the classic feel
The Bad
  • slow pace won't be for everybody
  • Could have expanding the story
The Ugly
  • The 'jaw-dropping' cut scene
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Old 02-21-2019, 07:44 AM   #2
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Very likely to be GOTY
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:09 AM   #3
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Best game I have played in years. Simply fantastic and above all expectations.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by alienchild View Post
Best game I have played in years. Simply fantastic and above all expectations.
This. Proper way to do a remake.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:27 PM   #5
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Agreed Juan. It's definitely my 'way too early' nominee for GOTY. Played the Leon A and Claire B. Gonna tackle some DLC this weekend.

BTW- Nice review Evil.
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:01 PM   #6
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I loved the game it. Few things I wish they added, such as crouching and taking cover.
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Old 02-22-2019, 01:33 AM   #7
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To make it scarier use this mod, imagine that thing chasing you round the Station.

Steam ID: Meusli
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:50 AM   #8
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GOTY contender for sure. I love the hell out of this game. Play it a few hours every night. RE2 blew my mind when I first played it on N64 - it was the first (only?) game on the N64 that has some FMV, which was impressive back in the day. Needless to say this remake is better than the original and better than most current games. It's just beautiful.

The only competition it has for GOTY for me is MK11. As much as I love MK I wouldn't be surprised if RE2 won out. Both series have been with me for a majority of my life, love them.
I used to indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.

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Old 02-22-2019, 01:59 PM   #9
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Protip: If you have an LG OLED you need to disable Dymamic Tone Mapping FOR THIS GAME ONLY or the HDR looks like shit. Unless they fixed it recently, haven't checked.
Proud to be perma-banned 5 times on NeoGAF.
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Old 02-22-2019, 02:02 PM   #10
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Oh yeah MK love in the house!!!!! I playtested the first "modern" MK game with my wife in like 2010 or something and made live recommendations about how to improve it which they seemed to listen to, so you can thank me. Sadly they have not innovated much since then. WB needs to invite me back.
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