Resident Evil 2
Title: RESIDENT EVIL 2
Developer: CAPCOM CO., LTD.
Publisher: CAPCOM CO., LTD.
Genre: Adventure, Action, Horror
Platform: PS4, PC and Xbox
Audience: 18. Violence and bad language.
Release Date: 25/01/2019
Price: £44.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Originally released in 1998, Resident Evil 2, one of the most iconic games of all time, returns completely reimagined for next-gen consoles.
Play individual campaigns for both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield using an all new 3rd person view as you explore the zombie infested areas of Raccoon City, now stunningly re-built using Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine. New puzzles, storylines and areas mean both new and seasoned fans will find horrifying new surprises await them!
At E3 2018, Capcom sent fans of the survival horror genre into a frenzy when they revealed a remake for the acclaimed 1998 PlayStation classic, Resident Evil 2. Two weeks before release, a 30-minute, 1-shot demo allowed players to get a taste of the newly reimagined title and, with over 4.7 million downloads, it was clear that fans were ‘dying’ to revisit the zombie-ridden Racoon City.
Set in 1998, Resident Evil 2 offers two main campaigns, which can be played in third-person across either of the lead protagonists. Players can choose between Leon Kennedy who, after a few days of radio silence, ventures into Racoon City to uncover a nightmare in his new place of employment, or Claire Redfield, who is on the search for her brother when the outbreak occurs. Irrespective of whom you select, the two characters cross paths on several occasions throughout the story.
Playing through each character’s campaign is therefore highly encouraged, as it explores the journey up to these interactions and adds depth to the overall plot. This approach also introduces a wider range of NPCs. However, locations are fairly consistent across both characters’ storylines so the environments will feel familiar. Voice actors Nick Apostolides and Stephanie Panisello put in solid performances as the leads, particularly given that this is their first outing as the iconic characters.
Upon completing the main campaign, a second run for the alternative character will be unlocked (i.e. Leon’s initial campaign will make Claire’s ‘second run’ available). This takes events from the original run-through but allows the player to experience them from the other character’s perspective. Completing this will, in turn, unlock the initial character’s second run (i.e. Claire’s ‘second run’ will make Leon’s ‘second run’ available). Capcom has stated that completing the campaign in a specific order reveals a ‘true’ ending, but I will leave that for you to uncover.
Looks and Sounds
Running on the same engine used for Resident Evil 7, RE2 looks fantastic. The enemies are disturbing and utterly grotesque, and Capcom have certainly not held back on the gore. Dispatching enemies by shooting at their appendages results in body parts exploding and splattering to gruesome effect. The bosses and ‘Lickers’ are particularly repulsive, and I genuinely found myself wincing at the level of violence and gore. Knowing that these could be lurking around each corner only added to the fear experienced when negotiating my way through the story.
While RE2 has been produced with the original composer, Shusaku Uchiyama, there are differences between the original and remade scores. Audio elements have been implemented to enhance tension and immersion, and Capcom has undoubtedly succeeded in producing a more considered soundtrack. Traversal across the environment is accompanied by an unsettling score that takes a back seat in comparison to the original, allowing you to listen out for screams and movement to unnerving effect.
Whether it’s an enemy’s distinct cries or the thunderous footsteps from a more immediate foe, listening closely to your surroundings can prove the difference between life and death. Playing this game with headphones is, therefore, a must. Not only are enemy noises clearer, but the atmosphere is also heightened immeasurably – be prepared to jump out of your skin regularly!
Gameplay and Replayability
My first approach to Resident Evil 2 was very methodical and involved carefully exploring the impeccably designed, interconnected map. Playing as Claire or Leon affects item placement and each character has a unique set of firepower at their disposal. It is highly beneficial to scour your surroundings in an attempt to find valuable items, ammunition and weapon upgrades, as this will significantly improve your chances of survival.
Ammo conservation and effective inventory management have always been staples of the Resident Evil franchise and will help turn the tide in your favour when you encounter more challenging foes. The use of a coloured map is a welcome aid to item collection; areas that have been emptied of items will show up blue, while rooms that still contain items will remain red until they are entirely looted. If you carefully manage your ammunition and items, it shouldn’t be too problematic to make it through the campaign on the standard difficulty.
Bringing the fight to the zombies is terrifying and not particularly wise. The police station’s claustrophobic hallways prove a difficult arena for close range combat and, more often than not, the best method of survival is to stun an enemy with a bullet and run away to fight another day. When your back is against the wall, the weaponry on offer packs a punch and blowing off an enemy’s head, arms or legs is incredibly satisfying.
There are plenty of notes and documents to collect as you explore each area, giving much-needed backstory and information to what exactly has been going on in Racoon City. Another staple in the franchise is the use of puzzle mechanics. These are very similar in both Claire and Leon’s campaigns, and after a couple of playthroughs, it becomes much easier to solve and manipulate them.
Some of these notes also include safe combinations, allowing you to access a variety of useful equipment. Hip pouches, for example, add more inventory slots, permitting you to carry more weaponry and critical items needed for solving the intricately designed puzzles.
Upon completing any of the four campaigns, you are awarded a rank – the highest being S+. This is based on overall completion time and the number of times you used the iconic typewriter to save your progress. After completing both Leon’s and Claire’s stories, I set myself the challenge of achieving an S rank. At a limited save range of three or less, the S+ will have to wait for another day. By chasing the S rank, my experience of RE2 changed entirely. Gone was my systematic approach to searching every nook and cranny for anything I could find.
This new approach forced me into memorising key item locations and stocking up on resources so that I was able to stack ammunition for challenging encounters later in the game. Trophy/achievement hunters will be pleased with RE2’s excellent trophy list that includes multiple campaign runs. ‘A Small Carbon Footprint’, for example, tasks you with completing a playthrough by taking 14,000 steps or fewer, while ‘Minimalist’ will challenge you to clear the game without opening the item storage box, thus putting your inventory management skills to the ultimate test.
Fans of the franchise will also be pleased to hear Capcom’s recent announcement that three free DLC stories will be available shortly. Each story will follow one of three other characters that survived the outbreak in Racoon City, principally a gun shop owner, the mayor’s daughter and a solider. The first story, titled ‘No Time to Mourn’, is set to land on February 15th.
Capcom’s reimagining of the 1998 classic is an utter triumph. I can say with high confidence that Resident Evil 2 is the best remake I have ever experienced. Exploring Racoon City and surviving to tell the tale is simultaneously terrifying and rewarding, and Capcom has shown once again that they reign supreme in the survival horror genre. Each enemy you encounter is not only a threat to your survival but also can make you shout out loud in fear. Despite being released in the first month of 2019, it’s safe to say that Resident Evil 2 will be in many discussions for Game of the Year.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase RESIDENT EVIL 2 on the following links:
Xbox – https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/resident-evil-2/bwmh951m3g3p?activetab=pivot%3Aoverviewtab
PlayStation – https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP0102-CUSA09171_00-BH2R000000000001