Sur­viv­ing by the skin of our teeth in ev­ery­one’s most an­tic­i­pated re­make yet

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START - Adam Bryant Pub­lisheR Cap­com De­vel­oper Cap­com ETA 22 Jan­uary 2019

“We turn to Birkin, take a deep breath and shoot straight into the eye­ball”

The mo­ment we fin­ished our pre­vi­ous hands-on ses­sion roam­ing the halls of the Ra­coon City Po­lice De­part­ment as rookie po­lice of­fi­cer Leon S Kennedy, we won­dered when we’d get a chance to play as Claire Red­field. Turns out we didn’t have to wait long.

Claire ar­rives on the out­skirts of Rac­coon City in search of her miss­ing brother, ex Spe­cial Tac­tics and Res­cue Ser­vice mem­ber Chris Red­field. In­stead she finds a de­stroyed city in­fested with zom­bies. Along the way she meets Leon, but they’re soon sep­a­rated fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent. Agree­ing to meet up at the po­lice sta­tion, they head off in dif­fer­ent direc­tions to look for sur­vivors.

Our demo starts a fair way through Claire’s cam­paign in a more lin­ear af­fair than our time with Leon, so we fol­low the only path avail­able to us. Al­ready pack­ing a knife, a re­volver, a sub­ma­chine gun and a grenade launcher we find our­selves in an aban­doned of­fice. With that type of weaponry we know to ex­pect a con­fronta­tion. We pick up the sup­plies dot­ted around and take the el­e­va­tor down to a lower level. With flash­light in hand we de­scend a flight of stairs and into an en­gine room of sorts. This is where we meet Sherry, and as we of­fer to lend a help­ing hand, she says we’re in fact the ones who need help. Turn­ing around we stand face to gi­ant eye­ball with a mu­tat­ing Wil­liam Birkin. Bran­dish­ing a large pipe, he swings and de­stroys the plat­form we’re stand­ing on. We fall to the level below and pre­pare our­selves for a fight.

Hor­ror sur­vives

We im­me­di­ately un­load our bul­lets on Birkin, specif­i­cally aim­ing for the bul­bous eye grow­ing on his shoul­der when­ever pos­si­ble. Ad­mit­tedly we miss more shots than we’d like, and find our­selves run­ning dan­ger­ously low on am­mu­ni­tion. We run around the path­ways in search of more sup­plies, find­ing ammo, heal­ing herbs and a grenade so we head back into bat­tle. The bar­rage of fire­power doesn’t seem to be hav­ing the de­sired ef­fect and Birkin still isn’t go­ing down.

We can’t help but won­der if we’re do­ing some­thing wrong. At this point we’ve used up all our heal­ing items and are left with only three bul­lets in our re­volver. We search one last time to see if there’s any­thing we missed. Noth­ing. We turn to Birkin who’s still hot on our tail. With the prospect of go­ing up against him with a knife hope drains from our bod­ies. We take a deep breath, aim and shoot straight into the eye­ball. He wails and stum­bles over the rail­ing, fall­ing into the dark­ness. Luck, it would seem, was on our side.

This in­tense bat­tle, which echoes ones from the orig­i­nal Res­i­dent Evil, re­in­forces the idea that this will be a true sur­vival hor­ror game. You’ll need to search ev­ery­where for am­mu­ni­tion and sup­plies to have any hope of mak­ing it out alive.

Fol­low­ing the bat­tle with Birkin we’re prop­erly in­tro­duced to Sherry and prom­ise to help re­unite her with her mother. A lit­tle walk and talk later and we ar­rive in the po­lice sta­tion car park and in the pres­ence of the de­spi­ca­ble Chief Irons, who af­ter beat­ing and ty­ing up Claire, kid­naps Sherry. We’ve said it be­fore and we’ll say it again: these cutscenes are phe­nom­e­nal, and re­ally raise the bar as high as it’s ever been for Res­i­dent

Evil’s nar­ra­tive chops. The orig­i­nal Res­i­dent Evil 2 went down in his­tory as one of the best sur­vival hor­ror games ever made so it’s only fit­ting that its re­make would hon­our that.

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