Rated: M For Mature
Release Date: January 25th, 2019
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
When the original Resident Evil 2 launched in January of 1998, it changed survival horror as we know it. Granted, 20 years ago, we didn’t have fancy graphics or high powered consoles to run on, but what we were given was outstanding. A story that was told across 2 discs, featuring 2 different protagonists.
Let’s take a leap into the modern age, January 2019 to be exact. Resident Evil 2 has been remastered as well as re-cut. It’s the same story, but this time with minor alterations. When you begin the game, you’re given a choice between Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie cop whose first day on the job leads him to battle some of the most bizarre creatures known to man or Claire Redfield. A college student who is looking for her brother, fan favorite and later boulder puncher, Chris Redfield. No matter who you pick, the story, for the most part, is roughly the same. With two exceptions. Mr. X(AKA Tyrant. We’ll get to him in a second) and the sidekick that shows up throughout the story. For Leon, it’s Ada Wong. A mysterious “FBI” agent who is trying to get the virus that caused the zombie outbreak to happen back, so it can be destroyed. For Claire, it’s Sherry Burkin, the daughter of William Burkin. Without spoiling the story, William Burkin has a major role in the creation of the outbreak, as well as the overall plot of the game.
The core gameplay remains the same with some major updates. Gone are the fixed cameras of the past and the required ink ribbons to save the game. Now the game is told through an over the shoulder perspective, much like Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6 and when playing on the Assisted Difficulty, and Standard Difficulty saving is unlimited. You find a save room that has a typewriter and you save. When playing on Hardcore though, ink ribbons are required, autosaves are disabled and the game is just overall more difficult. You’ll start the game at the famous RCPD (Raccoon City Police Department) where you’re tasked with finding out what went wrong. You’ll meet an interesting character named Marvin, who is a police officer, that was badly injured during the initial outbreak. Marvin will help you throughout the beginning of your journey before things turn dark. While exploring through the police department, at a certain point, a Tyrant code-named Mr. X will appear and stalk you. His intent is to eliminate every last survivor in Raccoon City. This dynamic is similar to that of Jack Baker from Resident Evil 7, as he follows you all over the police department trying to kill you.
Battling Mr. X does no good, as he’s meant to serve one purpose, scare the crap out of you when you think you’re safe. You do eventually battle him but that is a story you’re best to experience and tell yourself. The sound design is really well done this time around as the entire games audio has been updated to fit a more modern 1998. There is an option, however, to purchase the original games soundtrack/effects. It’s $3.99 USD on the PlayStation and Xbox Marketplace. Normally, I wouldn’t mention extra content, but that is a piece that I couldn’t resist as it took me back to my childhood, hearing the startup screen chime with “Resident Evil 2” like back in 1998.
I do have a couple of issues that stop this from being a perfect experience. The major one is the zombies are bullet sponges. The idea of just a simple headshot to finish one off is gone, as it takes multiple headshots to down a zombie and that doesn’t always mean they’re dead. You get combat knives that have a finite amount of uses. You can always swipe once or twice at a laying zombie to see if it’s alive still, but be careful as the knives can break. The number of bullets that you’re given and the amount of shots it takes to put one down for good is sometimes annoying, but we do get a shotgun, a flamethrower, a grenade launcher, a minigun, sub-machine gun, as well as a few other weapons spread across the two characters to toy around with. The other issue I have actually isn’t a negative per-say, but the game has the length of the original. So you’ll be seeing the credits within just a few hours of starting it. The game doesn’t end there though as once you complete the story of one character, the second side opens up for the other character. So if you start with Leon, you’ll clear his A side and unlock Claire’s B side. Once beating the B side of either character’s story, you get the “real” ending. You also unlock a 4th story, where you play as Hunk, a member of Umbrella’s Special Ops unit. Hunk is known as Mr. Death or The Grim Reaper as he has never faced a foe he couldn’t kill. Beating Hunk’s story unlocks the even more bonus, Tofu story. Where you play as, you guessed it, a block of Tofu. Those stories are best experienced on their own.
Overall, Resident Evil 2 Remastered is a terrifyingly good time, that honestly shouldn’t be missed. This is how a remaster should be done and I’m looking forward to seeing where and how Capcom takes the series next.