December 4, 2019 at 10:10 PM #557
Resident Evil 2
Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding
Resident Evil 2 Remake – Through the eyes of a RE2 newcomer
Game: Resident Evil 2 Remake
Designer: Hidehiro Goda
Rating/Ages/Target User: M
Being a first time RE2 player that’s never played the original, I didn’t know what was in store for me so it’s as if this wasn’t even a remake at all, rather a completely new Resident Evil game. Unlike the past action variants of Resident Evil since RE5, this game has embraced its horror survival puzzle roots while showing much respect to one of the most iconic zombie games that set the bar for years to come. The story revolves around two playable characters; Leon and Claire, as they travel right into the mouth of the chaos of a relentless viral zombie outbreak in Raccoon City. The protagonist regardless of whom you choose ventures into to the Raccoon City Police Department in hopes of finding answers to their respective situations. Claire must find her brother Chris who has disappeared from the face of the earth without notice. Leon, a newly recruited Raccoon City police rookie, is on his first day on the job, wants to save the world and impress his new co workers. Little do they know, they’re walking into a Police station that has since been remodeled over a very complex Museum full of rotting reanimated corpses and monsters with many puzzling rooms to tackle. The gameplay loop involves exploring the very large police station while managing short ammo availability and inventory space, also solving puzzles while being chased by hordes of zombies that you most likely avoided killing due to the lack of ammo available to the player.
Enjoyable aspects of the game
The greatest aspects of this game boils down to its roots, what Resident Evil was meant to be; Survival, Horror, Puzzle. The player must learn to adapt and survive with a very limited amount of ammo and inventory space. Key items like keys, pliers, and gears take up space however they receive a red check mark once you’ve unlocked every obstacle you can with the items which makes it easy to discard them on the fly.. As a hoarder in games I’m very happy about the storage box system they provide for the players to store extra unused items. There’s always a catch though, the storage boxes are located only in safe rooms along with the old typewriters used to save the game, so if the player needs to save or get rid of bulk, they must venture through the dangerous corners of the building once more. The threat of the zombies accumulate as you avoid killing every single one and it makes things seem a bit risky. Sometimes you think you’ve defeated a zombie and while coming back from another room it would all of a sudden get up and try to get a piece of you once more. Once you get your hands on the handcannon, you can turn their heads into pasta to get a safe confirmed kill stopping them from getting up again. Don’t worry, they’ll get their revenge in RE4. There’s a love hate relationship with the puzzle aspects of the game, but the best part is that there are a nice variety of them scattered throughout the game. Some puzzles to name include slot machine type rotators, locker combinations, memory games, audio wave alignment, door puzzles, and even x-ray vision hacking puzzles which I’ll get into later.
In terms of story, I enjoyed the whole format of everything, playing Leon’s unique part of the overall arch had a very adventurous feel to it and brought back memories of playing Resident Evil 4 as Leon once again has a running away sequence and a gigantic ferocious beast to kill. After a certain point, it will switch over to Ada who brings new mechanics to the Resident Evil franchise; akin to something out of Watch Dogs, Ada wields a gun that can allow her to hack through walls while seeing every line of electronic fuses through any physical boundary. Claire’s campaign seemed more horror survival oriented as she and her new child friend Sherry try to work their way out of the dangers of the museum. Sherry takes the wheel during Claire’s story in which she must stealthily avoid a creepy old man from capturing her. Ironically this part of the story was one of the most frightening, more so than the zombies. Each character has their own weapon loadouts as well, so if you want to experience every weapon in the game, playing both characters is a must.
Frustrating or difficult aspects about the game
Nothing exists without flaws however, these very core aspects of the game each have their own downfalls. This takes me to one of the more frustrating aspects of the game in terms of puzzle. The entire map is considered a puzzle due to the fact that the player must travel to one side of the map to unlock the path to another side of the map which unlocks a chest that the player must open to obtain a key to once more traverse to the furthest end of the map to unlock a door to the next area where the whole cycle begins anew. I’ve spent so much time running back and forth around the same rooms that I’ve literally memorized the entire layout of the Raccoon City Police Department. Once you’ve seen everything, the whole zombie thing becomes boring as it feels less of a threat as the player tackles the same chores to speed through running back and forth from room to room. At a certain point in the story a big indestructible and unkillable man named Mr X chases you around the house and at first it’s a little intimidating but it becomes pesky.
What falls short the most for me is the 2nd playthrough mode. Once the game is beaten with one character, the player must do the 2nd playthrough to experience the full ending which sounds like a fantastic idea until you’ve all of a sudden seen the same exact boss that the last character had already defeated. Somewhere in the story on my first playthrough, Claire defeats a particular boss while Leon supposedly is off doing his own thing. The game handles this well at first as each character has their own unique parts in the story, however nearing the end both stories seem to directly overlap as if maybe they didn’t have enough time to make 2 completely different paths. Perhaps it’s more of a case of Â¡Â°what ifÂ¡Â± and Leon/Claire are just 2 different parallel universes. One thing I disliked was also the weapon system. Rather than having a huge variety of weapons to collect, you are only able to collect parts to use to upgrade your weapon into a bigger weapon. For instance, Leon starts out with a Matilda that functions like a regular pistol, but once you’ve found the various upgrades, it turns into what the Matilda truly is, a pseudo burst fire rifle with a large stock. Claire also has a pistol that eventually evolves into a sort of silenced mp5. It would’ve been better to find each weapon individually in case I want my old weak pistol back.
How I would improve the game
Not that it isn’t close but Resident Evil 2 would have been a complete masterpiece if the individual character stories didn’t overlap in 2nd run mode. I would probably change it so that you’re constantly looking through the target character throughout the entire story and that means Leon and Claire should NOT be fighting the same bosses at all unless it’s in a different area or if they’re together. I’d also change the weapon system to have more variety instead of just putting upgrade over upgrade on guns to reveal what it’s actually supposed to be. Some things from Resident Evil 4 that I missed were QTEs and playing Tetris with my inventory, rotating guns around so that they fit in the box. Many people hated these things however I do wish they’d bring these features back. Opening doors and putting up barriers in this game isn’t as satisfying as it was in Resident Evil 4. You had the choice in 4, to open slowly or kick the door open, sometimes sending the poor chap behind the door flying. In RE2 remake all you can really do is walk up on the door and push it open. RE4 had some frantic situations where you had to lock yourself up in a house, bar the doors, and block the windows up. I didn’t feel this sense of urgency as often in this game. RE2 had window barriers but they didn’t do much. While it was good, RE2 Remake should take a few things from RE4. Something they can take from RE4~RE6 is the mercenaries mode which they might likely add later. There is a mode where you can play as Hunk but that’s about it. Resident Evil 7 had a very unique gameplay experience where the player could insert a VHS tape into a TV and take control of the individual on the screen; a game within a game if you will. Resident Evil 2 has VHS tapes but doesn’t have that freedom to actually play out what’s going on in the TV and it would’ve been interesting to be able to do something like that; perhaps in a future DLC this story framing will take place in a similar fashion. Finally, one major thing I would change in this game is the map system. I’m not sure how it might be done, but it would be more interesting to have randomized paths or at least randomized locations for the items. It would at least help the game to be more replayable.
Artwork and visual appearance
The artwork and overall appearance in the game is spectacular, the character models are incredibly attractive. You can see the pores in their skin and every other detail you can think of, and later during the game you’ll notice how muddied up the character is from all the adventures. The facial expressions of the characters have so much emphasis it’s like an actual live action movie. Sometimes maybe too much if you tweak some settings. I always ask myself Â¡Â°how much more real can we make video games look?Â¡Â± and Resident Evil sets the bar as one of the most graphically impressive games on the market. The sound is very well utilized and with extremely high quality. The quiet and creepy ambience and sudden glass breaking, doors banging, windows shattering, among other surprising loud effects set the tone for the horror genre that it is. The zombie voice actors take a whole new level in zombie noises, during the first few parts of the game you’ll hear a ghastly scream from a female zombie that will send chills down your spine until you shoot her and hear that wonderful noise of brains splattering from a clean head shot.
The repeatability in Resident Evil games has always been weak for my taste due to the fact that they’re mostly one time experiences then it just gets old. They stepped it up in this game with the 2nd run mode where you play as the character on the other side, but it quickly falls short once the campaigns overlap directly on top of eachother creating a bunch of plot holes. The professional speedrunners can take on the challenge of hardcore mode and once beaten will unlock a plethora of infinite ammo weapons so that finally all the zombies and monsters in the game can be completely obliterated without worry of losing ammo, but then you’re stuck running around an empty police station. The experience of running through everything in a speedy fashion isn’t very appealing to me, running through the same rooms from point a to b to c to a to b to c and back to a is not fun. Once you’ve experienced the story you already know what to expect and it just becomes a chore.
Many fans of the Resident Evil franchise will definitely love this game as it contains the basic bread and butter of a proper survival horror puzzle game and more. Old time RE2 players will appreciate that the game is not just remastered but completely remade but still follows almost the exact same map, story, and system, bitter fans of the franchise who watched RE5~RE6 transform a horror series into an action series can rejoice in that bloody horror once more. Though if you’re looking for a zombie action game with lots of gun play, this may not be for you. As an Assassin’s Creed fan, I am envious of the glorious path Resident Evil has taken. Ubisoft should take some notes from Capcom as remaking Assassins Creed 2 and going back to its stealth route will surely revive the series for me. I would recommend Resident Evil 2 Remake to anyone who’s into zombies because it’s a piece of history as it was literally the pioneer of zombie games of all kinds.
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