Redfield gets a fright, and brings out the big guns
Our latest hands-on with Resident Evil 2 proves Claire-ing is scaring
Like a corpse that just won’t stay dead, you’ve already heard us moan and groan on and on about just how good Resident Evil 2 is looking. And we’re justified. It’s a remake that packs so much fun, Capcom has dropped the ‘Remake’ from the title. The reintroduction of Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield feels so fresh here, it’s more of a reimagining than a remake.
While we saw Leon Kennedy exploring the ruined Raccoon City police department on his first day on the job at E3, in our most recent time with the game Claire Redfield has also found her way to the station. After the events of the first game her brother Chris has gone missing and, being the good soul she is, she’s set out to search for him, coming up against the Raccoon City zombie outbreak in the process.
Of course, being the little sister of a badass STARS agent, albeit a missing one, Claire’s a bit of a rebel herself (she even rides a motorcycle, so you know it’s true). She’s more than adequately kitted up by the point in the game we get hands-on with, toting a pistol, a submachine gun, and even a grenade launcher. And she’s a crafty character too, able to whip up some acid rounds to pop into the grenade launcher before going into battle.
TANKS A LOT
The game’s being made in the RE Engine that was developed for Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. A similar crafting system is present, making Resi 2 as easy to get to grips with as the seventh entry in the series was. Yet it all translates perfectly into a third-person adventure, where Leon and Claire are very much present in front of you, ensuring you flinch as you watch them get grabbed by glistening zombie fingers and then mauled.
The early Resident Evil titles were well known for their tank controls, but movement here feels free and easy – though that doesn’t mean our
heroes will be ducking and weaving effortlessly around zombies. A return to third-person this reinvention of Resident Evil 2 may be, but survival is still very much the name of the game. Movement isn’t a chore, but you nonetheless need to be careful and measured as you explore the darkened station, constantly worrying about what’s hiding around the next corner, or what might be coming up on you when your back is turned.
Not that Claire has to worry too much about sneaky zombies in our hands-on session. After taking some time to get the hang of how she moves, we encounter Sherry, a young schoolgirl who’s hiding out in the station and has managed to survive on her own. When we ask if she needs help, she warns that we’re actually the one who should worry, and then we’re set upon by a hulking, half-mutated monster zombie with a massive, creepy eye embedded into his arm. Groaning about Sherry, it’s the G-virusmutated form of William Birkin, Sherry’s father – now simply known as “G”. He’s a pain in the decaying neck throughout the game, further mutating as time goes on.
From this redo of Claire’s first encounter with him it’s apparent how much the dev team has been The Resi series has a lot of awesome female protagonists. Claire Redfield is one of the best. able to step things up with this freshly polished version of Resident Evil 2. Just like the stunningly grim zombies that haunt the halls, G is grotesque – a true monstrosity in 4K. Structurally he’s the same as in the original game, but now he glistens stickily, and there’s a real sense of depth in that enormous, flicking, bloodshot eye.
In this form, it’s hard to tell where G begins and William ends. Every groan and movement looks pained. But he’s in full-on attack mode, lumbering quickly at us, smashing away with his huge arm. One nasty attack when we get too close sees him grab Claire’s head in his squelchy hand, and once again we can’t help but wince as he savagely comes at Claire, and yelp as he gets too close for comfort.
It’s a struggle to maintain distance as we juggle our inventory and weapons around in a mad panic. How much ammo can we afford to plug into him? we wonder, before deciding, of course: all of it. He’s just too scary. He soaks up bullets before we remember the grenades. Getting
HOW MUCH AMMO CAN WE AFFORD TO PLUG INTO HIM? WE WONDER, BEFORE DECIDING: ALL OF IT.
a small moment before he charges at us, we fire away. He’s soaked in flames, moaning in pain, and we get a brief moment of respite.
After we manage to break away from G-Birkin this time, Sherry in tow, we bump up against yet another obstacle – the car park’s in lockdown (meanwhile, elsewhere in the station, Leon is trying to find a secret exit). Before we can make it through, we’re stopped by Police Chief Irons, who has an issue with Claire hanging out with Sherry. He’s a piece of work. As if Claire doesn’t have enough on her plate as it is.
Resident Evil 2 is very much a game of two halves, with more unique moments for its characters’ campaigns than in the first. Both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield have found themselves caught up in the midst of the zombie outbreak for different reasons. Getting back behind the controller for both of them feels so new and exciting, even though we’ve done it before. Perhaps revisiting its roots for this reimagining is just the beginning – this fresh twist on the classic formula proves old school Resi can come back to life much more easily than we first thought. What would you like to see from the series? Tell us at email@example.com.
G is real nightmare material. Why is that eye on his arm even there?
Claire pokes around the station, searching for clues on the missing Chris.