REVIEW – Resident Evil 2 (2019)

I tend not to get into “survival horror” (let alone horror) so I’ve never played a Resident Evil game in my life (although I’m familiar with them through “internet osmosis” as well as watching the various live-action and animated movies). In fact, my gaming tastes are very narrow. Not only in terms of style of game but also in the sense that I pretty much stick with a handful of titles (these days I tend to focus on Halo, Gears of War, Mortal Kombat, and the Arkham series).

However, I was rather curious about the Resident Evil 2 remake after watching my mate, ItsameFigaRo, play it on his YouTube channel. And I must say I was really impressed and enjoyed the hell out of this remake.

You play as Leon Kennedy and as Claire Redfield but in two separate parts of the story, one after the other (they’re meant to run parallel, but we’ll get to that) and you both arrive in Raccoon City and get caught up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse thanks to Umbrella Corp.

Both Leon and Claire make their way separately to the police station to find answers and other survivors but end up having to fight for their own survival as well as search for a way out.

The Resident Evil 2 remake is a beautiful looking game. The graphics are top-notch and help create the creepy atmosphere of this story. The characters all look fantastic and the monsters are incredibly scary, not just in the way they look but also in how they behave.

Being a remake of a 20-year-old game, this is a bit more considered than many of the actions titles these days. It was remade from the ground up and with only a passing familiarity with the original 1998 game (again watching my mate play it), I can only assume that this remake streamlines a lot of the story as well as game/plot elements from the original and I think it’s all the better for it.

The “survival” aspect of the game is not something I am accustomed to but I really took to this in the minor crafting and searching of items. However, despite being a fan of a few first and third-person shooters I’m not that great at them so I struggled with my ammo here. It’s constantly in short supply so you have to be clever in how to craft it as well as when to use it.

Most of the time that’s absolutely frustrating because some of the zombies are just bullet sponges but a handy trick I got told was to aim for their knees to slow them down instead of trying to stop them with a bullet to the head.

Speaking of frustrating, I’ve read that some absolutely hate Mr X, who randomly stalks you through the halls of the police station, etc and I sometimes hate him too but I reckon that adds to the tension of this game.

Although, I played on “Normal” I died so many times on the final boss the game asked me if I wanted to change to “assisted”.

I really dug the story too. Long-time fans may not get many surprises despite some drastic changes but it worked for me for the most part. The two parts of the campaign are meant to run parallel but the continuity breaks down in certain areas where there are crossovers that deal with repeating the actions the other character already took.

By default you’re encouraged to play as Leon first and then when you complete his run you play as Claire, but having watched that play out already via YouTube I decided to go with Claire for the A-scenario and personally I thought that was a bit more fun.

RE2 remake is so much fun I reckon it momentarily revived (pun intended) a long-waning interest in zombies, something that had been over-used to the point of over-saturation in the various media. But only momentarily.

After missing out on the introductory price I hunted down a pre-owned copy for my Xbox One as I wanted to spend as little on it as I could for something that was still a bit of a gamble for me. As much fun as I had with this, I don’t know about paying full price (JB HiFi has come down to AUD$69 at the moment). Fans of the series will no doubt already have this but if you’re curious and want to take a punt then I would either wait or search around for a cheaper price.

Overall, I had a lot of creepy fun in this fresh take on not only an old game but a worn out genre and it was great to expand my usual tastes to experience this.

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