A friend of mine, let’s call him Dave, has been a fan of the Resident Evil series for many years. He has tried to get me to play the games without success. I was always reluctant because I had the feeling that I’d be helpless and just running away from zombies. I want to feel like I’m in control when I’m playing. Even when the situation is bleak, like in Project Zomboid, at least I have a say in how and when I go. Resident Evil always felt to me like I would be helpless and just along for the ride. Find out how wrong I was in our Resident Evil 2 Remake review.
What happened in Raccoon City?
I got to play the remake of the 1998 classic horror survival game for this review. I had seen references to Raccoon City and Leon in other games (like The Division 2), but to finally experience the actual game for myself was a different experience. The game takes place mostly inside the Raccoon City police station., Apparently there is more to the police station than meets the eye. Shortly after discovering the fact that there is a zombie outbreak happening, the rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy runs into Claire Redfield. Claire is a girl who is looking for her brother and just finds out about the zombie outbreak. Although their paths diverge early on in the game, their stories are intertwined throughout as they discover what happened within the police station and beyond.
The game involves many puzzles, diary entries and collectibles which provide more information on what happened in Raccoon City. I very quickly got the sense of dread that I was worried about, but I didn’t really feel as helpless as I expected. The game perfectly balances the horror elements with some intense action sequences. But strangely, due to the puzzles, inventory management and level design, it was almost like I was too distracted to feel helpless. I always had things to do and think about, so especially in the beginning, the zombies were an annoyance, but not too much of a threat. I had other things to do!
Crafted to create tension
The level design is great. It is crafted to create tension. The narrow hallways force the player down a path, leading them to more difficult and terrifying creatures. My first encounter with the Lickers raised my heartbeat quite a bit and this was the first time that slight annoyance turned into fear. By the time I fought my first boss, I had gotten a better feel for the gameplay and felt like I was mostly back in control over my nerves.
It almost seemed like the game knew exactly how many resources I had and could find in that area, because I managed to take the boss down with the very last item that I had available to fight it. I wasn’t sure if it was scripted to be this way or not. It sure managed to ramp up the excitement at that moment. It took a while for me to truly get into the game. But at this point I could no longer put the controller down.
The visuals of the game are really good. The characters are detailed, the lighting is atmospheric and serves the story well, and the environmental effects are fine. Sure, there are moments where the game shows its age a little bit. The helicopter crash comes to mind. But it never bothered me. The sound design was good enough for me to start playing with headphones just so that I could experience it all better. I was starting to see why my friend had recommended this game to me for all these years.
And then the Tyrant started following me around. For the first time, I did feel helpless. The relentless monster was hardly bothered by the weapons that I had and would just continuously follow me around as I was trying to do the puzzles I needed to do. The great sound design that I mentioned added to the feeling of dread and there was not much more I could do but try and get out of the police station as soon as I could.
The Tyrant brings me to the boss fights in the game. Apparently these fights were changed up a bit for the remake so even veterans of the game might find some added difficulties. The fights are definitely challenging, but they pretty much all have a ‘trick’ to them. As soon as you figure out what to do, it just becomes a matter of doing it. That doesn’t mean the fights are easy, though.
Resident Evil 2 offers great replayability. There are multiple character campaigns and alternative scenarios that you can play through and there are enough differences to keep the game fresh. The game offers alternative scenarios based on if it is your first or second run. However, the first and second run differences are a lot smaller in scope compared to the A and B scenarios of the original Resident Evil 2. I enjoyed my time in both campaigns and coming back to places I had been before, but I would have liked there to be a few more differences. However, you can increase the difficulty on a replay, there are plenty of collectibles and S+ Ranks you can achieve. Overall, if you like the game, there is plenty there to keep you entertained.
Therefore, I can write a lot of words in this conclusion, but I can also keep it short and to the point. Sorry, Dave, I was wrong and I will be looking into the rest of the series with great excitement. Resident Evil 2 Remake is an excellent game.
- Gripping story with replayability
- Gameplay with a good balance of horror and action (and control!)
- Great level design
- Decent graphics for 2023
- Superb sound design
- The Tyrant (although this is a personal con)
- The game shows its age in some minor ways
That was it for our Resident Evil 2 Remake review. Resident Evil 2 Remake is available through Boosteroid, GeForce Now and PlayStation Plus Premium. You can follow our Twitter account to stay up to date with the latest changes.