Resident Evil 2 is one of those video games that’s worthy of being labelled ‘genre-defining’. The Franchise has been around for more than two decades, or a SKOAR! (score…), and is what comes to mind when you mention zombies in the context of video games. The video game franchise hasn’t stuck to a simple formula unlike many other popular contemporary franchises. From the era of being a zombie game, to becoming more action oriented with RE5 and RE6, to returning back to the survival horror genre in RE7, it has been a fun ride. While the folks over at CAPCOM decide how to move the series forward in a meaningful manner, they’ve decided to grace us with a remake of the second game in the series, Resident Evil 2.
Let’s get one thing out of the way from the get go, Resident Evil 2 is a proper remake and by that we mean that it remains true to the original title. Aside from the massive graphics overhaul (thanks to the RE Engine) and a few quality of life upgrades, the game is practically the same. The game is set a few months after Resident Evil and most of the people in Raccoon City are now mindless zombies out to kill anything that still remains unblemished. You get to play as one of the two protagonists, Leon S Kennedy or Claire Redfield, with each playthrough unlocking more of the game’s subplots that helps you piece together the entire story.
The second playthrough is tied in with the events of the first but occurs from another perspective. Don’t mistake this for the zapping mechanism from the original game, there are no points in the gameplay where you can simply switch to the other character. You have to finish the playthrough with one to unlock the other. Other differences include getting different weapons and having to look for items in different locations, presumably because you already hit the usual spot in the first playthrough. However, anything that’s got to do with furthering the storyline remains fixed.
Resident Evil 2 goes back to being a third-person shooter (RE7 was first-person) and makes good use of the typical jump scares that we’re all too familiar with. You face your first zombie within a few moments of starting your playthrough and get a good idea of how resilient they are. The playthroughs aren’t that long, if you are familiar with the controls then you should knock out each playthrough in about eight or so hours. Overall, we have the same storyline as the original game but a much better experience thanks to all the technology upgrades over the years.
With improvement in graphics, building an atmosphere of horror has become immensely easier. The original Resident Evil 2 led to many sleepless nights and the creatures back them were ridiculously pixelated. For its time, it felt like a massive upgrade but the disconnect was always there. With the remake, the immersion makes your experience, for lack of a better word, spookier. Back then, the emphasis was on the SFX since the visuals could only do so much. With the new RE engine, you are guaranteed to shit your pants even if you have all the lights set to maximum brightness. The PlayStation variant of the game has limited graphics options and you really don’t need to fiddle around with it much but the PC version has a myriad set of granular controls. Something we hope every console-first game should include in its PC variant.
With all the bling set to maximum, you can really see the difference. Close up shots of zombies as they bear down upon you seem much more horrifying and should they manage to sink their teeth in, you can literally see the muscle strands tear one after the other. You don’t have to wait long to experience these things, the very first zombie encounter in the game should be enough to trigger your fear response.
Resident Evil 2 – The final word
Developer – Capcom
Publisher – Capcom
Platforms – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Price – Rs. 4499 / 3499 / 2999
Resident Evil 2 is what a remake should be like. A significant time has passed since the game’s original release and the visual overhaul seems all the more meaningful. Capcom has ensured to keep most of the gameplay unchanged. This way, the game appeals to both, the fans of the original as well as those who’re playing it for the first time. The remake makes proper use of horror elements coupled with eerie sound effects to keep you on the edge of your seat at all times.
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