Let us first preface this Resident Evil 2 review with the fact that the reviewer in question, yours truly, has never played the original Resident Evil 2 back in the day. As such, the review will be approached from the perspective of a first timer who’s otherwise familiar with the other mainline games with the exception of 6 and 7.
Anyway, fast forward over 20 years since the launch of Resident Evil 2, we finally have our hands on the remake. As you may already know, Capcom gave the first game in the franchise a similar treatment as well, although that was more of a graphical overhaul than anything else, as much of the gameplay elements were retained. For the second installment, we are given a complete makeover.
While we are on that topic, let us talk about the graphics, which have been greatly enhanced thanks to the RE Engine previously seen used for Resident Evil 7. Characters are incredibly lifelike and the environments give off a grounded sense of realism. The game ditches the fixed camera positions of the original three games in favour of the over-the-shoulder view first implemented in Resident Evil 4. This is especially useful for those who got into the franchise from the fourth game onwards. The loss of claustrophobic-inducing angles do not affect the spook factor at all, as it keeps the action up much more close and personal.
Other modern quality of life upgrades such as the tweaked inventory management are very welcomed here as well. While your item slots are still for the most part limited, you can expand them with hip pouches you find along the way to appease the inner hoarder in you.
And you definitely need all the little help you can get, as the game can be fairly challenging even on the normal difficulty. Zombies are particularly sturdy and require quite a bit of work to take down. While in other similar games where headshots usually do the trick, they do not guarantee a kill here. Instead you have to make sure you completely blow it off and that is entirely dependent on RNG. Coupled with the very limited amount of ammo, you are usually better off just running away from most fights.
That is pretty much the feeling that the game is trying to go for, as the enemies here are relentless and it creates a feeling of constant dread. Later on you encounter a certain boss type enemy that stalks you throughout the whole game. Putting this enemy down is futile as it takes way too much ammunition to do so, and it only buys you few precious minutes, as it will just get back up to do what it was programmed to. As such there are almost no moments where you are able to catch your breath other than the safe room, as dangers lurk around every corner. While the original Resident Evil pioneered the term “survival horror”, it is the sequel that truly embodies it, as that is all you do in this game – trying to survive the horrors that are out to get you.
With two protagonists, you are able to play experience the main campaign from different perspectives, giving you a fairly reasonable run time. However finishing both stories simply unlock two new very unique game modes in the form of Tofu Survivor and The 4th Survivor. In the former, you play as a block of tofu armed with only a knife. Here you will be able to test your survival skills to the fullest. As for the latter mode, you take on the role of an agent contracted by the Umbrella Security Service. Your mission is to obtain a sample of the G-Virus before escaping Raccoon City.
Much like with the remake of the First Resident Evil, Capcom has succeeded in taking an older entry from the franchise and revamp it to the point it becomes an entirely new experience. A definite must-play for fans of the series and horror game enthusiasts alike.
Resident Evil 2 Review
A re-imagination of a classic that stays true to its roots while enhancing the experience in manner.
- As scary as ever
- Drop-dead gorgeous graphics
- Can be challenging to franchise newbies
We Give Resident Evil 2 9 out of 10