Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Resident Evil 2 is tough. Not just slightly tricky, or a bit taxing here and there. Like, properly unforgiving. It could be that being dumped midway through the game for our most recent hands-on made life slightly more difficult, or that ammunition is even more scarce than it was in the 1998 original. Or maybe its because zombies now take a far more concerted effort to bring down. Whatever the case, this is a remake (or reimagining, if you prefer) that doesn't pull any of its punches.
Much has been made of this new version of Resident Evil 2 changing or adding to the original game, but given the chance to play it again – and a pretty hefty chunk of it, at that – it feels comfortingly familiar, the layout of the old Raccoon Police Department still hauntingly intimate; etched into my brain as it was twenty years ago. There are additions and alterations – like an all-new 'Orphanage' section in which you play as Sherry Birkin - but the spirit remains the same.
The real change is in how events unfold within the confines of the Raccoon City Police Department building, Capcom choosing to squash together the previously separate A and B scenarios for both Leon and Claire. That means each character now gets a single storyline, collecting the best bits from the A and B scenarios, so that all-pervading sense of dread as stylish trenchcoat-wearing tyrant 'Mr. X' relentlessly stalks you throughout the game? That's in there. And the sequences in which he appears are more terrifyingly intense than you remember. He also wears a festive fedora now too. Fashionable.
During a recent, almost four-hour hands-on session, we got to not only encounter Mr. X on multiple occasions, but also explore the entirety of the R.P.D. grounds, from its imposing main hall to the expanded clock tower, right up to the attic, down to the basement, and beyond that to the sewers that run beneath it all, where a nasty surprise (an old friend) lurks beneath the flowing sewage and goodness-knows-what-else. Resident Evil 2 has myriad other surprises up its sleeve too, be it twists on scenes you think you know or entirely new ones that you definitely don't.
Like being able to play as Ada for an extended period, in a segment that introduces a variety of new game mechanics using an X-ray contraption that reveals electrical circuitry embedded in the walls. Using said doohickey, you can trace the wires to their source, power things on and off, throw switches, and ultimately solve puzzles to progress. Easier said than done, of course, especially when you've got a marauding Tyrant man threatening to pummel you into oblivion while twiddling with circuits, or when you're inside an incinerator about to burn to a crisp in less than sixty seconds.
It's these kind of curveballs that promise to keep even the most ardent of Resident Evil 2 fans on their toes, and when you take into consideration the number of bullets it now takes to bring down even the most basic of the slavering undead, you'll need to think twice before firing off multiple shots. Aiming for the head isn't even enough, unless you're able to go directly for the cranium, aiming for the brain. Every bullet leaves its mark, though, puncturing decaying flesh with a pleasingly icky and accurately mapped wound. It doesn't take much imagination to conceive of what a fully upgraded shotgun or Desert Eagle does to a squishy zombie noggin. Make no mistake; Resident Evil 2 takes the series' trademark gore to another grim and disturbing level.
You need only encounter a Licker, with their exposed glistening brain and musculature to understand that Capcom really does mean business with this version of Resident Evil 2. In the original, your first sight of a Licker was a memorable, chilling moment before they eventually became a fairly commonplace and not all that challenging enemy. Now, any time you run into a Licker, it's a genuine cause for alarm as their sinewy, contorted carcasses scuttle across the ceiling, drop on your head or aggressively leap at you, brandishing their razor-sharp claws. Suffice it to say, nowhere feels safe in Resident Evil 2.
Did we forget to mention that the game's G-Virus infected nasties can also follow you through doors now? Yeah, that. All of these elements combine to make Resident Evil 2 feel entirely fresh, almost like a completely new game, beyond the obvious changes. And while some will malign the remake ditching the fixed cameras and all that, Resident Evil 2 goes much further than a conventional remake, injecting a welcome dose of the unexpected to a game you may already have an intimate knowledge of. If the entire game can muster even more surprises, then Resident Evil 2 could end up completely rewriting the remake rulebook.
Resident Evil 2 is out for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on 25th January 2019.
Tuesday, December 04, 2018 @ 10:43 PM
Tuesday, December 04, 2018 @ 11:01 PM
Wednesday, December 05, 2018 @ 12:22 AM
Wednesday, December 05, 2018 @ 02:43 PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2018 @ 03:54 PM
Sunday, December 30, 2018 @ 09:00 PM
Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 07:15 AM