A love letter written to fans in gory detail, Resident Evil 2 remake makes the otherwise grim situation a brilliant beauty to behold. Taking the original game which was released in 1998 on the PS1, RE2 remake polishes it up for the modern era, with all new content, better camera angles and graphics that highlight the gory goodness that is Zombies tearing into people like they’re candy floss. Straying very little from the source material, the game gives you the true Resident Evil experience of terror, fun and intense inventory management! So, allow me to be your guide in this not-so-wholesome tour of Raccoon City!
Taking place in said Raccoon City, your standard run-of-the-mill small city is situated in midwestern US. Despite going by the surprisingly nice name of Raccoon city, it isn’t quite what you’d expect, as our unfortunate protagonists Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy find themselves not enjoying their visit in what is apparently a zombie-infested hellhole. What could possibly bring them to the city? Well, Claire is searching for her brother, Chris, whilst Leon is enjoying his first day on duty as a Police Officer (which is a well-deserved FML situation).
Upon arriving, they find that things may not be going as well as expected, with zombie-filled streets and abandoned fiery vehicles littered everywhere. Wandering around the city trying to find out what happened, our two protagonists attempt to investigate the city and try to make it out alive. The plot thickens more and more as details emerge about a pharmaceutical company being responsible for the crisis that has befallen Racoon City. Unfortunately, said company is inclined to not leave any survivors to tell the tale, leading to an additional dash of gasoline being added to the dumpster fire that is Raccoon city; in the form of BOWs (Bio-organic weapons) and other terrifying man-made monstrosities.
Overall, the story is quite simplistic…on surface that is, but, just like the story and its location upon digging deeper, it has a lot more going on than one would expect, with a tonne of details relating to other games and a plethora of themes and subplots including romance, betrayal and corruption. RE2 is a real mixed cocktail of emotions. The story strings you along and provides background information through the player finding dossiers, documents and computer files throughout the game. This leads to a fantastic feeling of immersion and pacing as by the end you find all your questions answered (for the most part, you still need to complete all the campaigns to fully satiate your Scooby Doo mystery solving needs). You heard me correctly, there are multiple campaigns including Claire A, B, Leon A, B, Hunk’s campaign and the legendary Tofu run, with the last being a gag campaign. Now you may be wondering what all this A and B nonsense is, and I can tell you it’s something that makes the game all the better, with A and B denoting different campaigns where characters take an alternative path to the original; B is only unlocked after completing A and also includes its own secret boss.
Now onto gameplay, featuring Resident Evil 4 style gameplay but with considerably better graphics, the game plays exceptionally well. But be warned, if you’re new to the Resident Evil series and are expecting some form of hack-n-slash shoot ‘em up, you are poorly mistaken. A staple feature of RE2 remake is that ammunition is scarce and you don’t have a full armoury of six or more weapons; gradually throughout the game you will upgrade your weapons and every so often acquire a new one (a maximum of 4-5 weapons per campaign). Just acting as General Hindsight yet again: don’t expect to pop a cap in every single zombie you see, sometimes it’s simply better to walk past or dodge them. This is because, unlike the classic action horror stereotype, it requires multiple shots to the head to take down a standard zombie. Putting aside the details of the action genre, the horror element of the game really comes into play when running low on ammo or dealing with enemies that you’re not necessarily well equipped for, i.e. a massive trench-coat-and-matching-hat-wearing brick shit-house combined with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr Freeze, minus the puns.
The game is a remake after all, so how does it vary from the original you might ask? Honestly speaking, there are quite a lot of variations from the original, for example Lieutenant Marvin Branagh actively helps the player as opposed to being dead the moment you walk into the police station, along with a lot of other details that I cannot mention due to my desire not to spoil the game too much (you can’t get me for the Lieutenant Marvin spoiler, that was in the demo!). But overall certain scenes play out somewhat differently from the original, with one minor boss fight being a welcoming variation from the original. Also, for all you arachnophobes out there they’ve taken the giant spiders out of the remake, so the game just may be palatable for you now, if you get past all the gore and footstep inducing panic. It may not have spiders included but for those wanting to intensify their feeling of nostalgia, Capcom currently has DLC that allows for the original game’s music to play instead of the remastered soundtrack. The remastered soundtrack, by the way, is fantastically well done and also includes some touching new additions.
Overall, Resident Evil 2 remake has my seal of approval, ditching the typical bad camera angles that plague the early games, RE2 really shines as a perfect example of how to remake a game and then just make it that much better. The only fault that I could possibly have with the game is that there isn’t more, however, this may be sufficed with the upcoming DLC that Capcom is adding for free! And if that isn’t enough for you, mods and costumes are available on steam to customize your experience even more cough having DMX play every time Mr X appears end cough. So happy hunting for ammo as you have ‘DMX- X Gon’ Give It To Ya’ playing as Mr Freeze chases you.