Nothing makes horror gaming fans more excited than when Capcom announces a new Resident Evil game. And when that game is a remake of the original survival horror classic Resident Evil 2, there is all the more reason to get pumped up. How would a remastered version feel like? After all, Resident Evil 2 came out way back in 1998 for the PlayStation 1 and after 20 years, we get to play it again on the PS4 (reviewed), as well as Xbox One and Windows PC.
Is the new game more action-driven or does it invoke the same sense of dread and queasiness as the original game?
Upgraded Visuals, New Camera Angle = Heightened Scares
As good as the original Resident Evil 2 was, let’s admit that it has dated terribly. A fixed camera system that feels extremely restrictive, difficult aiming, annoying controls and frustrating loading time between the changes of scenesares enough to make one pull their hair out.
This is where Capcom triumphs with the Resident Evil 2 remake. Not only are the visuals an astounding spatter of blood-drenched delights, but the over-the-shoulder camera angle, first introduced in Resident Evil 4, makes the entire experience more claustrophobic.
There is palpable tension throughout in an atmosphere of dread, as shadows and flashlights are deftly used to build an impending sense of doom. Zombies jump at you from seemingly nowhere, crashing through random windows, falling over a stairway banister and grabbing you with manic frenzy. Although the camera system has a free look, all the monsters are hidden away and you will get scared out of your wits once you encounter any of them.
Tyrant’s Reign of Terror
The main antagonist of Resident Evil 2 is Tyrant or Mr. X – a huge, menacing biologically engineered supersoldier created by the Umbrella Corporation. Nearly indestructible and relentless in its pursuit, he unleashes a reign of terror upon the two main characters – Leon and Claire. The moment you heard his heavy footsteps, there is no escaping the horror. In fact, game director Yasuhiro Anpo has suggested that you just run as fast as possible!
“If you hear its footsteps, then I’d say run like hell. I recommend also knowing your surroundings and constantly knowing what your escape routes are. Nothing spells out imminent doom like being trapped in a corner with no place to hide.”
According to Anpo, Tyrant’s objective differs greatly from the original version of Resident Evil 2, where he just had a main goal of capturing Sherry’s pendant.
“In order to up the ante and instill an extra level of fear into its existence, we changed the Tyrant’s objective to be the obliteration of any evidence leading to Umbrella, including the eradication of any and all lifeforms still remaining within the vicinity. To make matters even more intense, once it finds a target, it follows after them in an endless pursuit until that target is dead. Even if you’re in the room next door, if you make a sound, the Tyrant will track you and hunt you down.”
The mere presence of Tyrant is certainly to set your heart aflutter and the nerve-wracking tension only adds to the morbid, visceral thrills provided by Resident Evil 2.
Revisiting the Nightmares of Survival Horror
The USP of the original Resident Evil 2 was that it was a survival horror game in the truest sense. Ammo was scarce, the inventory limited and more often than not, you were dependent on item boxes in ‘safe’ rooms. The Resident Evil 2 remake takes survival horror to the next level through its gorgeously rendered graphics, which heightens the tension for the player, while staying faithful to the original game for most of the gaming time. The puzzles are new and modernized, the ambient sounds are mesmerizingly creepy, the motion capture is excellent, and the environment design is meticulously crafted. You would certainly want a second look at each and every detail of your surrounding!
Minor Drawbacks – New Zapping System, Short Run Time
While the Resident Evil 2 remake is an absolute must-buy, it is only fair that a few hiccups should be mentioned. For instance, the original game had a unique ‘Zapping System’ where decisions taken in the first run by Leon would affect the second run by Claire (you have to play the game twice to get the overall picture).
So if you took an item while playing as Leon, the same won’t be available when you play as Claire. This made the original Resident Evil 2 a cerebral delight, because you had to be cautious of what decisions you made. However, the same cannot be said for the remake, where you will see the same items being available despite an action performed by Leon.
Another grouse (well okay, not a grouse but a review by some players) is that the RE:2 is a fairly short game. There are four different story scenarios, but most of them have a similar playthrough.
However, these are overall very small flaws in a masterpiece of survival horror that is Resident Evil 2.
Capcom has redefined the standards of horror with this terrifying, heart-pounding adventure that not only is a hark back to the nostalgia of the iconic Resident Evil 2 but also an immensely satisfying standalone experience for those gamers looking for their dose of genuine fear-inducing terror.