Resident Evil 2 – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: PS4

Resident Evil 2 – Review

Site Score
9.6
Good: Survival Horror masterpiece, Successful remake, Back to roots
Bad: Tough zombies, Unnecessary "love-interest"
User Score
9.3
(8 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.3/10 (8 votes cast)

Resident Evil 2 is a Survival Horror game, developed and published by Capcom. It is a remake of the 1998 game with the same name. Resident Evil is a very popular franchise with many great titles, and a few duds. Ever since the successful remake of the first Resident Evil game in 2002, fans have been crying out to Capcom for a remake of one the best rated games in the franchise to date, namely, Resident Evil 2. With the succes of Resident Evil 7, it has been proven that staying true to their roots has been great for Capcom and with it comes, not only a nostalgia-filled game, honoring a twenty-year old game, but a chance for new audiences to enjoy the classic Resident Evil experience. Resident Evil 2 is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. 

Story

You can choose to play as two characters; Leon, a rookie police officer, or Claire, a biker girl looking for her long lost brother. Leon is on his way to Raccoon City to start his first day at the Raccoon Police Department. On the way he stops at a gas station where he stumbles upon Claire, who is also headed for Raccoon City to find her brother, Chris Redfield, a member of an elite police force named S.T.A.R.S., who has been missing. Unfortunately, their drive over is cut short when an out of control truck separates them from each other. They each make their way to the police station, where they will try to survive the horror that plagues Raccoon City, and the Raccoon Police Station for that matter. They will each meet unique characters and unravel the mystery that surrounds the sudden zombie outbreak. The story is great, but it could have been even better with even more moments of Leon and Claire together, and the flirting between characters was sometimes a bit too on the nose, and ultimately, not necessary. The game also follows two different perspectives and although they are very different, they could have been even more unique from one another. Resident Evil 2 follows, more or less, the same plot points as the original, with some changes made here and there to keep it fresh for the fans of the original. The story plays out much more fluent as in the original, and the pacing is much better. 

When you finish the story with, let’s say Leon, you will unlock a second play-through with Claire, where you will see the game from her perspective, with different areas to visit, different characters to meet, remixed puzzles to solve, different bosses to fight and ultimately, acquiring the true ending. Or vice versa, you can first finish Claire’s story and play the second play-through with Leon. In the original game this was called; Leon A and Claire B, and Claire A and Leon B. An “A play-through” will take you about 6 hours to complete and a “B play-through” will take about four hours, depending on your skill and difficulty setting. There is a lot of replay value in Resident Evil 2, by switching the sides, attempting a speedrun or attempting a handicapped run, where you try to complete the game without using the box or without using any restorative items.

Graphics

The graphics in Resident Evil 2 are phenomenal. From the get-go, you can see that the developers paid a lot of attention to detail, reinvigorating the world of Resident Evil 2. The streets and the police station feel ironically lively and are filled with all sorts of mayhem. The areas in the game feel very realistic, and you can almost imagine what life would have been before the apocalypse. The character models are amazing with believable facial expressions and lip syncing from the characters, or the fleshy textures on the Lickers together with their iconic movement, to chunks of flesh shot from zombies. Talking about the zombies, you can shoot off their arms, legs, make their guts spill or even make their head burst into many gory pieces. 

The lighting in horror games is probably one of the most important features to get right, because good use of lighting, and shadows, can add a lot to a suspenseful atmosphere. Resident Evil 2 gets this more than right. Where the original was overall quite bright, with all the lights in the police station turned on, the remake chose a much darker approach. Leon, or Claire, has to navigate dark narrow hallways, with only a flashlight to guide them. The main hall of the police station, which acts as a central safe haven, is very bright, while the surrounding hallways are dark and filled with horrors. 

Sound

The sound in the original is very iconic, and the remake does this justice. The music fits the horrific setting perfectly, with a subtle eerie soundtrack when you’re not in immediate danger, to uncomfortable suspenseful tracks when you’re running for your life, adding to the thrill and keeping you, like it should be, on the edge of your seat at all times. There is even an option to use the original 1998 soundtrack, but unfortunately, this comes at a small price in the store. 

Resident Evil isn’t known for great voice acting, and where the original was very cringe-worthy, the remake actually has good voice acting. The characters come off very believable, with a seemingly effortless blend of great facial expressions, lip syncing and voice acting. Talking about voice acting, notably, the sounds of the zombies are terrifying, from the typical moaning or grunting to the ear deafening screeches that will make you jump out of your seat. For the fans, some typical noises will sound very familiar and make for great nostalgia, such as the typing on the typewriter, the peaceful piano in safe zones and the sound of your shoes when running on the tiles or wooden floors. 

Gameplay

Resident Evil 2 returns to its roots, in every way possible, and the gameplay makes no exception. This game is a true Survival Horror game, so forget the action-based combat you’ve seen in recent Resident Evils, with the exception of Resident Evil 7, of course. Ammo and restorative items such as herbs will be scarce, and you will have to manage your limited inventory constantly. Initially, you won’t be able to visit each room in the police station, so you will have to navigate the station’s dangerously tight corridors, solving intricate puzzles and looking for key items to upgrade your weapons, or find new ones, or unlock otherwise locked-off areas. Because of the complex layout of the game, with its many locked doors, you will have to remember which type of key fits which door, and which item can be used where. This means you will often be backtracking. A new player to the franchise can easily find himself lost, but ultimately, try to check every corner, examine each item, read the files you’ve previously picked up and try to remember where you’ve already been, and you’ll be fine, all things considering. Finding a map of a part of the police station helps a lot with the navigation and the game even lets you know when you’ve missed an item by coloring the room on the map red. 

The station is filled with relentless zombies and more are trying to bash their way through the windows, so be sure to board some of them up if you get the chance. Zombies don’t even stop following you when you enter different rooms, they just bash open the door and follow you, so be careful not to get cornered. The first rule when it comes to zombies, is to shoot them in the head, but unfortunately, in this game, zombies who’ve taken five to six shots to the head, can still get up and this often feels very unsatisfying. Lickers, gory skinless monsters, are a staple to the franchise and they were actually introduced in the original Resident Evil 2. These are one of the most dangerous monsters you will come across and they are very hard to deal with. Luckily, they are as blind as bats, so stay quiet and try not to panic and start running when you see one. Additionally, your idea of cute loving dogs may change after playing this game, because the Raccoon Police Department is very proud of their award-winning kennel. Without spoiling anything to new players, just when you’ve become more comfortable with the enemies in the game and it feels like you can take a breather, the game introduces a unique monster that you won’t get rid of that easily. He’ll follow you wherever you go and your bullets won’t make much of a difference, and this makes for some of the most tense sections of the game. You’ll feel yourself tense up when you hear his loud footsteps come closer and closer. Luckily, Some places in the station can be considered relatively safe, where you can save your game at a typewriter or open “the box”, where you can store items for later. So if you ever feel like you need to relax for just a second, and you will, find one of these rooms. 

The game lends a mechanic from the remake of the first Resident Evil game, and that is the use of defensive weapons. Throughout the game, you will find combat knives and grenades. These can be used when grabbed by a monster. When executed correctly, your character will use the defensive weapon and save you from taking damage. Unfortunately, these items are dispensable so make sure not to rely on them too often. There are three difficulty settings to choose from; Assisted, being easy mode, where you will heal yourself with time and the game assists you in combat, Standard, or normal mode and lastly, Hardcore mode, where enemies will be tougher and do more damage and the autosave will be disabled, and saving is limited with the use of the original ink ribbons. The game also offers a list of challenges to complete. These challenges involve combat, collectibles, handicaps or completing the game under certain conditions. When completed, each of these challenges can unlock concept art, character models, infinite ammo with certain weapons, or even a brand new game mode. 

Conclusion

Resident Evil 2 is a great game, if not a masterpiece amongst Horror games. The game stays true to its roots, pleasing the diehard fans with subtle fan-service, nostalgic scenery, very reminiscent boss-fights and more, while also being extremely accessible to players new to the franchise or Resident Evil players who’ve never played the original game. The game masterfully blends nostalgia with authenticity and freshness, an almost impossible feat to pull off for a remake, and not often seen in the past. This game could easily be one of the best Resident Evil games to date, if not the best. Resident Evil 2 is a solid must-play for fans of Survival Horror. 

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Rating: 9.3/10 (8 votes cast)
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Resident Evil 2 - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 8 ratings
GlennVR


"I do not have the gospel of faith to share with you today. I have, and I offer.. the Gospel of Doubt." - G.O.D

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