Resident Evil 2 (2019): An Ode to Horror
1998 was a riveting time in gaming. Capcom, the Japanese publisher, was virtually every where. Street Fighter Alpha was in the arcades, Mega Man was maturing into X, and a burgeoning young developer by the name of Hideki Kamiya was about to produce a landmark achievement in gaming. It was during this time we were beginning to see the Japanese giant evolve from anime inspired fighting games / arcade titles / platformers – into something far more serious. The gaming world was about to be turned upside down thanks to….Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 2 is what many consider the innovator of horror gaming. Released on the original PS1, it was a game that managed to frighten gamers, punish them mercilessly, and wasn’t afraid to mock them for their failings. The series went onto become a cultural and financial juggernaut and launched the horror gaming genre into the mainstream.
20 years later here we are in 2019. Resident Evil 2 has been remade from the ground up with the breathtaking RE Engine. The question is – can the once revered grandfather of horror measure up and manage to frighten an entirely new generation?
(Spoiler alert – Yes it can)
Resident Evil 2 follows the story of Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Claire visits Raccoon city in search for her brother. Leon is a rookie cop whose on his first day at the job. The stories will parallel and diverge, leading to different scenarios. The core story remains faithful to the original, while adding just the perfect amount of modern flourishes to be an homage and less of a retread.
You’ll notice changes in this remake as multiple interactions, characters, and environments have been remixed to give a fresh perspective. Zombies are more vicious than ever as it can get very difficult to avoid them. They now have the ability to open doors and enter different locales. Players will not be abusing the loading door screen anymore!
On Assisted and standard mode, You can save your progress without the need to collect ink ribbons as you can walk up to any typewriter and just save. On hardcore, saving requires ink ribbons and you won’t get autosave. In addition, you’ll notice numerous changes with the puzzles elements compared to the original.
The biggest upgrade thus far is the embrace of traditional third person controls. Players will be elated to know that tank controls have officially been retired. Gun play is the best in the series by far. Headshots are more satisfying than ever and using a launcher or a mini gun can make you feel unstoppable. Just like the original, the game has a variety of weapons. Don’t be fooled though, the name of the game is conservation. Supplies are limited. This is Resident Evil after all.
Graphically, Resident Evil 2 is atmospheric and breathtaking on the PS4 Pro. The game runs in 60 FPS with checkerboard rendering that had my jaw on the floor every 5 minutes. Details are eeking from every decapitated head, food item, and character model. The lighting, a hall mark of any horror game, is done in a tasteful way, that helps insure players always know what and where to go. To put it bluntly, this could be confused for something designed by Sony’s first party with the likes of Naughty Dog or Sony Santa Monica. Yes. It’s that good.
However, with all this talk about visual fidelity, the real star of the show is the audio design. I’ll say this up front – you need to play this game with headphones. The claustrophobic corridors, the whispers of the wind, the creakiness of the world, and moans of the undead will TINGLE your spine. Some of the best moments in the game are heightened by an incredible audio design that is designed to not only scare you, but to make you feel the morbidity in the world.
If you can’t tell by now – Resident Evil 2 (2019) is a must buy game. Everything about this game, from the graphics, to the soundtrack, to the pacing – is done masterfully. Although this game has a few changes, it still captures the essence of the original. Resident Evil 2 (2019) has set a new benchmark on how a remake should be made. The real question you want to ask is – how does the Resident Evil 2 of 2019 stack up to the rest of the games in the franchise?
Ahem: Resident Evil 2 Remake is the best Resident Evil experience to date. Full stop.
A review code was provided by Capcom Europe to review.
Developer: Capcom R&D Division / Publisher Capcom
Release date: 25/01/2019
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
“Resident Evil 2 has set a new benchmark on how a remake should be made”