Seeing The Resident Evil 2 Remake In Action Soothes My Sceptical Heart

Seeing The Resident Evil 2 Remake In Action Soothes My Sceptical Heart
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When Resident Evil 2 released in 1998, it had to follow up on a game that defined a new genre of horror. Not only did it manage to improve the formula, it went on to be what many people consider the best game in the series. After a long stretch with no new information besides “it’s coming”, we’ve finally seen Resident Evil 2‘s remake in action, and it’s very different from the original.

Resident Evil 2 follows rookie cop Leon Kennedy and survivor Claire Redfield as they are caught in a zombie outbreak in the fictional Raccoon City. The pair hole up in the city’s police department and are eventually drawn into a B-movie plot’s worth of evil scientists and freaky monsters.

I wasn’t at E3 this year and regrettably didn’t get to play the game myself. I have a long, fond history with the Resident Evil series, and looking over the footage and gameplay coming out of E3, I’m finding that where I was originally sceptical, I’m now excited.

One of the things I appreciated about the Resident Evil Remake (affectionately called REmake by fans) was how it retained most of the original design of the source material.

Full game remakes weren’t as common when REmake released on the Gamecube in 2002, and instead of try to drastically change the game, it was mostly about new content that built upon the original. REmake still had tank controls and pre-rendered backgrounds, keeping the gameplay the same while sneaking in fresh additions.

The Resident Evil 2 remake takes a different approach and completely reimagines how the game plays.

The biggest change is the perspective. Resident Evil 2‘s remake embraces an over-the-shoulder camera style similar to Resident Evil 4, allowing players to control Leon or Claire with much more fluidity. I’m a big fan of how tank controls work in Resident Evil; they stifle movements and make dodging enemies consistently tense. Seeing the camera change in RE2‘s remake was disheartening at first, but watching the game in action is changing my mind.

Zombies seem particularly nasty, able to withstand a ton of bullets and lunge quickly at Leon if they get close. Quite a few gameplay demos I’ve watch have shown players sneaking around enemies instead of engaging, and I enjoy the idea that the Raccoon City Police Department will always remain dangerous. Resident Evil 2‘s action looks quick and there’s plenty of gunplay, but the increased enemy toughness should keep things from feeling too safe.

I’ve also noticed how bloody the game is. Resident Evil 7 leaned into grindhouse violence, and Resident Evil 2‘s demo shows an equally gleeful use of gore.

This time, it’s less The Devil’s Rejects and more Day of the Dead. Shotgun blasts can peel the skin from a zombies face, police officers are torn apart at the waist, and it’s even possible to shoot at limbs until they stretch apart into a sinewy mess, bones clattering to the floor.

Resident Evil‘s always had its share of decapitations and torn throats, but Resident Evil 2‘s increased visual fidelity really helps the gore shine. I can’t wait to see what happens if Mr X or the mutant crocodile lays hands on the player.

The Resident Evil 2 remake seems to pull heavily from many of the different projects involving Leon Kennedy.

The camera recalls Resident Evil 4, while the dark environment – which requires a torch to properly traverse – calls to mind the “Hook Man” concept video for that game, which was a Resident Evil 4 prototype game set in a dark mansion. Seeing Leon wander the dark RPD halls feels like a long term validation for that concept, which relied heavily of light and shadows.

This is a dark game, and if Resident Evil 2 takes advantage of that, it could be make for tense encounters and exploration.

I wasn’t sure about the Resident Evil 2 remake when I saw the reveal trailer at Sony’s E3 2018 press conference. I’m a sentimental fool who would have preferred a very literal remake, without much risk taken or changes made.

But watching the gameplay in action, I’m intrigued. The designers seem to be assembling a devious little Frankenstein’s monster, cobbling together pieces of various games and aiming to unite them into a game that matches the original’s reputation. So far, it looks as though they’re on the right track.


  • “This time, it’s less The Devil’s Rejects and more Day of the Dead.

    What an utterly bizarre comparison to make? Love both movies… but still?

    That aside, this really does look great. I cannot wait to play it!

    • Maybe TDR refers to the hilly billy antics in re7. But I dunno!

      Either way I am too excited about this game to function properly!!!

      • Aaaaaaaaah that makes sense then. Been marking assessments all day and brain hadn’t clicked. In that case it’s more than valid.

      • Wouldn’t House of 1000 Corpses, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or the original The Hills Have Eyes fit the bill better?

        I always thought of The Devil’s Rejects as a sweet road trip film with a charismatic group of evil friends. Damn good film too.

  • I disagree with the opinion on tank controls. Suited the pre rendered back grounds of the earlier games but very dated now – made the gameplay very clunky.
    It artificially made the game more tense, it wasn’t deliberate

    • Agreed, it was great for the time, but times change. This looks like RE2 in a RE4 suit and I couldn;t be happier.

    • It artificially made the game more tenseI’ve always disliked this line of thinking. The tight OTS camera kicked off in the series by RE4 does the same thing. And clunkiness, or an unintuitive control scheme, is present in RE4 and onward in the series e.g. holding down+run to do a 180 degree spin, or aiming your firearm to reload it.

      The controls might be getting better but they’re still full of legacy design and they still fall victim to the same criticisms of the tank control scheme.

  • I’m a sentimental fool who would have preferred a very literal remake, without much risk taken or changes made.

    Uhhh…it *is* a literal remake.

    What you’re referring to is a remaster – taking the original game and giving it a new coat of paint but keeping the gameplay experience more or less the same. This is what the Gamecube RE game was – it was a remaster, rather than a remake. This is not a remaster, but a complete remake from the ground up.

    • I’d consider a remaster to be a version that takes the original code/assets and modifies that, maybe updating to higher resolution textures, rendering at a higher resolution, etc.

      A remake would instead reimplement the original game. It could introduce new mechanics like this one has, or try to stay close to the original game play. Presumably the article author wanted the latter.

      • It’s confusing actually, because if he wanted the latter, he wouldn’t have said “without much risk taken or changes made”. But because he said that, it seems to indicate he was talking about a remaster – that is, keep the experience the same and just make it look sparkly new. I certainly interpreted it as meaning that he would have preferred a remaster, rather than a remake (especially given the tone of the rest of the article), and he’s just chosen the wrong word here.

  • As an insane RE 2 fan, this makes me happy. Imo, hands down the best in the series. I remember back in the day when I was but a wee lad, struggling to play through RE 1 because it scared the shit out of me, but something about RE 2’s setting resonated with me, and I was able to finish it back to front, front to back, Leon A, B, G, Z, Claire B, D P and Hunk P, Z, O etc (I then went back to number 1 and was able to finish it). Number 3 felt like such a step back wards imo. The single character. The single play through (other than the few sparse branching moments) and just way smaller content given that 2 had 4 ways to finish the original campaign with four different stories playing out. RE2 4 lyf!

    • I know the feeling. RE2 just flowed, and when you hit the zone it was a thing of beauty, and you were able to put all kinds of insane self imposed challenges to try and unlock everything in those pre-GameFAQs days. I lost count of the playthroughs, but I never did manage to unlock Tofu, so I must have been doing something wrong somewhere.

      I did enjoy RE3 tho, RE4 was where I lost the series, dipping toes briefly into 5, before I fell in love again with 7.

      • Yeah I never unlocked Tofu either. I could never get that A ranking 🙁 Think it was the finishing it under 3 hours I could never nail.

        -No First Aid Sprays
        -5 saves or less
        -No special weapons
        -Beat the game under 3 hours

        • My best time was under 2 hours for Leon A. They key was not killing things. You had to just learn where most of the zombies would reset in a room and run around them when you needed to go through a room. Oh and just not stopping to pick up a whole lot of stuff.
          If you finished in under 2.5 hours, no health sprays, and maximum 2 saves, that’d net you an S rank. I would save right before the William sewer fight and right before the final boss.

          I miss Resident Evil 2 so much. 🙁

          • Yeah I was thinking that.. I got the A rank, never the S rank. But I read a guide somewhere that said A was the highest. Should’ve trusted my memory.

          • If I remember right, S rank got you the rocket launcher from the Mr X fight with infinite ammo.

            You could also get infinite SMG, infinite grenade launcher, and infinite magnum. Leon got an alternate costume that i think was his original character design from Resident Evil 1.5. He held his gun on the side like an idiot and shot faster. Claire got a cowgirl outfit with a sixshooter that shot REALLY quickly and from memory she also had her Resident Evil 1.5 costume, as well.

    • This is one of the very few games I will buy full price. I might even break my own rule and pre-order it.

      I am SO READY to play RE2 again.

  • Eww. Looks like deadspace crossed with RE4.

    This remake totally misses the point of what people loved about RE2. It was the beautiful environments, the puzzle solving and exploration, and item / ammo management with the slow and infrequent enemy encounters.

    It was never a fighting /shooter game, so it’s rather daft that they’re championing this point of the remake in lieu of the things that actually made the original popular.

    I had thought this would be like the RE1 remake. I was excited for that. But this..thing? Not at all what I wanted. Thoroughly dissapointed.

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