Resident Evil 2
We head back into Raccoon City and go hands on with everyone’s favorite rookie
PUBLISHER Capcom Developer Capcom Format Xbox One ETA January 25 2019
When we were told that we’d actually get up close to this highly anticipated remake, to step back into the shoes of Leon S Kennedy once more and roam the dark, bloody halls, and corridors of the Raccoon City Police Department, we were filled with an overwhelming sense of excitement and apprehension. Excitement, because we’d already spent three years itching to find out what Capcom had been getting up to, and apprehension, because we all have fond memories of the original game, and know all too well how difficult it can be to create a remake that meets everyone’s expectations. It didn’t take us long to realize that there was nothing to fear. Well, aside from the flesh-eating zombies lurking in the dark, that is.
We join a much younger and more naive Leon than the one we’ve come to know and love during his first day on the job as Raccoon City’s latest police recruit. We’re pretty sure the last thing he was expecting was to arrive in a city overrun by zombies in which death and destruction can be found at every turn. After meeting, and almost immediately being separated from, college student Claire Redfield, who’s searching for her brother, Chris, Leon makes his way to the city’s police station, and to what he thinks is relative safety.
This is where we take our first tentative steps and notice, aside from how gorgeous the game looks, that they’ve moved away from the fixed camera angles and tank controls of the original game and opted for a more modern over-the-shoulder free camera approach that was used in most of the later games. We then realized that the main hall’s layout is different than we remember. The reception desk which was once situated towards the back of the hall has now been brought forward to a more sensible spot facing the front entrance, and the doors that you could enter previously are either locked or non-existent. Things are not as we remember. This is indicative of pretty much every room we explore, with each location sporting changes both large and small. But that’s not all, the narrative beats have changed, too. In fact, although it retains the same dark foreboding mood and general gist of the story, most of what transpires during the demo never actually happened in the original. Compare this to the remake of the first game, which had similar visual changes, but where the story remained untouched and played out almost identically as it did originally. What resulted was of course a visually impressive recreation, but it was essentially the same old game. With the remake of Resident Evil 2, however, Capcom has gone all the way
“It’s a new experience for old-school fans as well as newcomers”
and in doing so offered up a brand new experience for old-school fans as well as newcomers, while at the same time retaining the original’s essence.
We don’t hang around for long inside the main hall, and after checking the security camera feed and seeing a fellow officer in trouble, we head towards his location. We crawl under an emergency shutter door on the east side of the hall and into the
darkness of the corridor beyond. With our handgun and flashlight primed, we cautiously push forward, the oppressive atmosphere closing in all around us. Eventually we hear the cries of a police officer and rush to his aid. Another emergency shutter blocks our path to him, but we pry it open just enough for him to shuffle through. Grabbing his hands, we begin to pull him through, but something on the other side catches up with him, and the man wails in agony. We attempt to pull him free, but it’s no good. As the screams stop, we discover that the man has been torn in two. The camera lingers for a fraction longer than we’re comfortable with on the poor guy’s entrails. Capcom has most definitely not held back in the horror and gore department, depicting all the wet ugliness you can imagine. It’s clear from this scene alone that it is taking full advantage of the graphical capabilities that the relatively new RE Engine, that was used in Resident Evil 7, provides. This is without a doubt the most gruesome
Resident Evil to date. This gruesomeness extends to the destruction of the enemies, too, which is just as bloody, but is dynamic and contextual. Immediately after the police officer dies, a zombie barges through the door and attacks us. In our panic we miss a bunch of shots, but finally land a clean headshot. In previous games this would have been enough to finish the zombie off, but all it did was blow a chunk of its head away, and it continues moving toward us. We experiment with shooting different parts of the zombie’s body and, sure enough, if we shoot an arm or a leg, a couple of times it blasts the thing off. Apart from looking really grim, you’ll be able to use this tactically to slow zombies down.
After wasting all of our bullets and getting ambushed by a bunch of other zombies, we run back to the main hall. As we crawl back under the emergency shutter from earlier, a zombie grabs our ankle. Thankfully trusty police lieutenant Marvin Branagh comes to the rescue and slams the shutter down on the monster’s head. This is another example of narrative differences. In the original game Marvin is found slouched against some lockers looking worse for wear and hands you a key card. Here he saves us from a zombie attack and supplies us with a combat knife. He still looks pretty awful though.
The developers are doing an impressive job of retaining the same sense of horror and tension that made the original such a beloved classic, while at the same time adding elements to make the game feel fresh and keep you on your toes. A great example of this is when we obtain the combat knife and gain access to the west side of the hall. This area famously led to the iconic moment where we encountered the Licker monster for the first time. Leading up to the hallway, we anticipated catching a glimpse of the creature as it crawls past the window from the outside, but this doesn’t occur. When we enter the corridor we experience something different. The Licker is nowhere to be seen; instead, two mutilated corpses are found, and large claw marks are gouged out of the walls. A clear indication that the Licker was here not too long ago. Anyone who has ever played the original game will immediately be taken out of their comfort zone, and any confidence they may have had will be washed away as they won’t have a clue as to what lurks behind the next door. Despite the sheer amount of changes to the game though, at no point does it betray the original in any way. Instead it actually improves on it.
We’re beyond excited for the return of Resident Evil 2, and everything we’ve seen so far has exceeded our expectations. Sadly we only got a chance to play as Leon during this demo, but you will get the opportunity, as in the original, to play a completely different campaign as Claire Redfield. And although we didn’t complete any puzzles or crack any lock we saw plenty of opportunities to do so. Fear not, this game truly is classic ResidentEvil2.
“The destruction of enemies is bloody, but dynamic and contextual”
Main Rookie cop Leon S Kennedy returns in the remake of the 1998 classic.
Below Raccoon City Police Department is under seige from the dead as the city burns.