25 January 2019 (released)
28 January 2019
Since the first Resident Evil Remake, fans have been awaiting for news of a remake for Resident Evil 2. Finally it’s arrived and anticipation has been extremely high since it’s reveal at E3 2018. So let’s not waste any time and get right to the review. Dare I ask if this is the perfect remake of a classic? Will fans old and young love this “re-imagining” and does it build on the foundations of the 1998 classic in the right ways?
Let’s find out.
Resident evil 2 Remake is a faithful reconstruction of the original game, while adding new elements to change the formula enough to make a familiar and engaging experience. Sticking to its roots, we see Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield enter Raccoon City on a miserable night, only to find them in a living Hell. Zombies have taken over the city and are tearing it apart, along with anyone unlucky enough to be alive. Claire and Leon’s journey starts off rough enough, but things take a sharp turn for the worse when they enter the police station. They thought they were safe, but the zombies and other creatures have the city covered.
This epic survival horror takes players through a number of locations including the hellish city streets, decaying police station and the under belly of the city which harbours a few dark secrets. Leon and Claire manage to meet a few other survivors along the way and form uneasy alliances as they uncover the truth behind the outbreak and fight the ultimate evil.
For those who’ve played the original game, the story keeps to the structure of the original yet infuses some new story elements. Adding a little more depth to characters such as Ada and even fleshing out minor characters such as Kendo. Certain events are changed around yet the game follows the same highly engaging plot from 1998 for the most part. While the Remake does well to expand on the more sinister elements of the original, others feel a little underwhelming. The original had quite a few iconic moments which were truly horrifying. Here, they’re a little underplayed which is a shame. I won’t spoil anything but considering the game does include some gruesome imagery, it tones it down for moments critical in the original.
However the presentation and themes linked the Noir genre are absolutely mesmerising. The rain soaked streets, the dark, enclosed hallways of the police and the blood soaked aftermaths of previous battles are bone chilling yet wonderful to experience in this remake. The environments are lovingly crafted with plenty of small details and décor to make them feel organic and lived in. The original had the issue of looking too clean, while the remake makes the city and all the environments you explore feel alive (Aside from the living dead lurking around).
Resident Evil 2 indeed manages to stay true to its survival horror roots and builds much stronger gameplay with innovated elements. You’ll explore large areas to find key items and resources in order to survive and progress. Resource management plays an important role as players will need to find resources such as weapons, ammo and healing items while having limited inventory space. Making use of storage boxes is vital as well as backtracking every so often. For Veteran Resident Evil players such as me, backtracking and keeping as many resources as you can is second nature. For new comers, it may take some time to and patience at first but soon enough you’ll become immersed in the routines survival horror provides.
But finding new items, key items, solving puzzles and progressing to new areas is absolutely compelling as Resident Evil 2 has great pacing and a steady flow of events to keep things interesting.
This is a fairly challenging game even on the average difficulty, but never unfair for the most part. Even the cheap moments such as a random zombie behind a door can be forgiven as the game does teach you to be cautious at all times. But if you fancied an even tougher experience and one that replicates the 1998 game, there’s a difficulty mode for that. Limited saves, no auto save and much tougher enemies.
On the lateral side for the remake, it’s not been improved massively. Puzzles are the weaker aspect for gameplay as they tend to be a little too easy or simplified. But then again the same was with the original game. Boss battles on the other hand have been immensely revamped for the remake and stand out as some of the more impressive for the entire franchise. They’re again challenging but with enough resources you can overcome them.
I did manage to do well enough to survive with only a couple of deaths through my playthroughs. At times I had no ammo, but the game did always provide enough to keep me going and as it is, with all Resident Evil games, you can avoid most enemies and fend them off with a few new tricks.
One of the more prominent opponents to get a bigger role is Mr. X, a hulking brute wearing a trench coat and neat Fedora. He comes in towards the end of the first act of the game and provides some intense cat and mouse gameplay. He may seem like a massive threat (and he is) but can be avoided and doesn’t outstay his welcome thankfully. Other websites do mention he becomes a burden but I never found him to be. He comes in for what feels like the right amount of time and can be lured away for long enough you can do what needs to be done.
Overall, everything seems great with the Resident Evil 2 Remake. But I do have one complaint as it’s a pretty big one. Now for those who play each campaign will get a second run. Now in the 1998 game, we had Scenario A and B which offered different perspectives on the campaign overall. The same concept is introduced here but sadly it appears the developers went a little cheap on this and repeat way too many elements to make the 2nd run worthy. It’s still fine and offers one or two different areas, but bosses are repeated and they seem out of place as an alternative path in the campaign.
Still, the campaigns are pretty amazing and highly entertaining but the 2nd Runs are a let-down for both new and old fans.
The Resident Evil 2 Remake is staggering and an absolute for any RE fans and gamers who love survival horror. My only complaints are the underwhelming plays for certain story elements, the lacklustre lateral elements and the disappointing 2nd feature which could’ve been much better. Still the intense horror, survival gameplay, boss battles and visuals are truly brilliant.
++ Immense and satisfying survival gameplay
+ Visually stunning with great sound design
+ Tons of unlockable content
-- 2nd Runs are disappointing in execution
- Lacklustre lateral elements