PlatformOVERALL
PC9.70
Overall 9.70
Original Resident Evil 2 is one of my favorite games, to me it was the epitome of the survival horror formula with the tightest level design, a great balance of horror and action, and it was one hell of a ride with zero bad moments. I always figured a remake of RE2 would be a fun update; with the changing gameplay styles I didn't know if they would be able to replicate the feel of RE2. Here I am now in complete awe that not only did they make a remake that captures everything that was great about RE2, it is the same leap in quality that RE2 made over RE1 with how much better this game is over what Capcom was starting in RE7. What is even more impressive about this remake is that it doesn't just have to exceed one game, it has to contend with 20 years worth of different styles and the task of updating a dated game to have modern gameplay sensibilities. Resident Evil 2 remake takes elements from nearly every RE game, brings back the core formula that made me fall in love with this formula and blends it together almost perfectly to make the best Resident Evil game since RE4.

Most of the praise has to be levied at the level design which I will hold up against any RE game including the original RE2 and REmake 1. This is not some modern half assed, toned down for the masses emulation of classic Resident Evil, it is maybe the best layout of the series. The RPD slowly opens up piece by piece, there is such a careful balance of pushing the player toward the correct path and then letting them loose at the right moment to create that sense of being lost in a danger filled hell house. There is always a new item around the corner which opens up new paths or is what you have been waiting for to unlock something seen before. Shortcuts open, paths get closed off, the levels stay dynamic and always keep surprising with new enemies or puzzles.

I always thought the hardest element to bring to modern gaming would be the zombie. In a tank control game with limited aiming a zombie can be a threat, with over the shoulder aiming wouldn't the player just head shot every zombie and kill them quickly, how would that work? Well miraculously they made the zombie a viable enemy, the toughest zombies since crimson heads, and because of that the entire game works. If these levels were filled with push over enemies, nothing matters, the whole formula breaks down. These bastards won't go down, some will complain that random damage is a cheap mechanic, I will say this series always had that element and here it works brilliantly. The zombies hit detection is as good as it gets, you can rip them apart limb from limb and they will use whatever body part is left to eat you. Zombies will lunge from a good distance with a split second for the player to react to run away from the attack oe caught in their death grip. Never have I feared the grunt enemy that is the zombie as much as in this game, when I am entering a room which I must cross and I see three or more in my way it made me hesitate.  All the aspects of survival horror start to come into play, is this enemy worth the ammo drain, should I clear a hallway I will use many times, do I leave that one legless so he eternally crawls on the floor desperate to bite my foot. Lets bot forget the Licker, which becomes a nightmare to fight with how agile and powerful they are. Nothing is a pushover in this game, each enemy represents a threat that must be respected.

Great level design and good enemies have been done in past RE games, what sets this one apart is the key ingredient of Mr. X, stalker extraordinaire. This game doubles down on the sense of panic of trying to navigate the maze world while clawling your way back to the save room by adding a monster that will block your path or make you use alternate routes you never had the intention of taking. It's the classic formula on overdrive, you can plan all you want but once Mr. X bursts through a door your plan is thrown out the window. survival takes over and that is when the fun really begins. There will be moments of limping around on danger, out of heavy weaponry, needing to reach that save room and BOOM here is Mr. X, now the only path I can take is either through him or back into the room with a zombies and licker; that feeling of despair is why this series worked. Jack in RE7 was a stalker enemy as well but there were still elements of the garbage hide and seek gameplay, there is no hide here. You can't hide from X, you run, you fight or die, and that is brilliant because there is no downtime. He is Nemesis without the weaponry but in a game that far better designed where the stalker elements perfectly align with the level design to heighten the fear of exploring and wasting your ammo.

REmake2 takes those elements I mentioned above and puts them into the over the shoulder style which allows this game to feel as modern as possible. Aiming feels just right, character weight is perfect, movement is smooth and responsive; it is perfectly balanced so that it never tilts too much into action. REmake2 stays on the line between functionality and restriction so that player never feels overpowered and at the same time doesn't feel cheated by restrictive controls. Boss battles benefit the most from the new perspective as now they can have specific targets to aim at, no longer are they just bullet sponges. These battles are well designed and bosses have a good amount of attacks and ways to deal with them.  The sense of scale is also much improved with some grandiose boss locations which makes the moment that much more dramatic. The bosses aren't as creative as the action game RE bosses but they can't be because of this game adhering to a past game and trying to keep that balance of restriction and functionality.

There are a whole host of other nice improvements and elements that make this game stand out. The middle sections are totally different for each character including gameplay sections with Ada or Sherry that have new gameplay elements. The sewers are drastically redesigned with an all new enemy. Puzzles are way improved over RE2 which had some of the worst in the series, as a nice bonus they change from one run to the next. The pacing is damn near perfect, I miss the tight well designed action adventure game so much. Yes maybe it's on the short side but with the two campaigns and multiple ways to play them I have plenty of content to keep busy with. Also like past RE games this is a speedrunners dream game and there are nice rewards for doing so. I rarely replay games anymore let alone master them, games are not designed for that in mind anymore. It is so refreshing to have that game that begs to be replayed and mastered once again.

As for negatives there are a few which mostly deal with changes they made that removed enemies or features. RE2 was known for the zapping system and having two story lines directly affect each other, this game has two story lines but no care was put into having them influence one another or even make sense from a story point of view. I am not sure where this went wrong because it seems like all the elements for it to work just like RE2 are there but they just half assed the connecting part. I greatly miss being able to examine objects in the background and having a blurb come up. I assume they felt that would disrupt the flow as this game is far more intense, still this leads to some loss of personality that the original locations had. The loss of the spiders, the moth and even the crows hurts a little, none of them were major enemies and only appeared a hand full of time but they helped flesh out the world to show a better variety of monsters.  It's a shame because REmake 1 cut nothing, every single aspect of the original was recreated and built upon. In contrast REmake 2 picks and chooses elements and remixes them, the core of RE2 is absolutely there but this is not a faithful adaptation.

On the technical front the game is a marvel. It's gorgeous to look at, runs incredible on whatever system you are playing on. The RE engine truly is a remarkable engine that can set a mood with lighting like no other. This  game should win some award for best sound because not only are the effects great all around but they play a key part in the actual gameplay. The footsteps of Mr. X can be heard on a 7.1 sound system exactly where they are coming from. You will hear the footsteps above you, to the left or under you and to the right, which allows you to pinpoint where he is. I wish the music was as impressive as the sound effects. Sadly everything is subdued, many times there is no music and nothing is as memorable as the original soundtrack. There are a few standout songs like Mr. X's i'm here theme and the boss battles have some excellent battle music. Those with the deluxe version have the option to play the whole game with the original soundtrack and menu sound effects which is a great option to have.  The new voice cast does a great job, we are so far removed from the cheesy B movie acting days, now its a proper movie like script with good performances all around.

I have not been this in love with a game in a long time. To think this formula was run into the ground back in the day due to countless clones and many sequels and now that same formula 20 years later is a breath of fresh air in a sea of bloated open world games. This game takes every element that made Resident Evil the gold standard of horror games and ties them all together in a modern package that can stand on it's own as one of the best games this generation. It pulls no punches, when they could have made the formula easier and more accessible they went the hardcore route of making it harder and more about managing your ammo and health than ever before. This feels like the survival horror formula perfected. It has only been out a few days, I still have to play it many more times to form a concrete opinion but this might be my second favorite RE game behind RE4.
Posted by Dvader Thu, 31 Jan 2019 06:53:55
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