Res­i­dent Evil 2

We head back into Rac­coon City and go hands on with ev­ery­one’s fa­vorite rookie

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - PREVIEW - Adam Bryant

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.

Po­lice gory

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.

Pure evil

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.

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