Resident Evil 2 remake improves on original concepts

Photo courtesy of Sergey Galyonkin, Wikipedia

The “Resident Evil” video game series has spawned numerous media franchises since the release of the first game in 1996, and it has been one of the most recognizable video games in the world despite its many missteps in recent years.

The franchise returned to its previous fame with the release of “Resident Evil 7” and the newest installment, the remake of the second game from 1998, continues in the same direction. 

The original “Resident Evil 2” was critically acclaimed because of its atmosphere, and the graphical and audio achievements. Even though the inventory system garnered some criticism, and the voice acting was laughably bad, that did not stop the game from being heralded as one of the best games of all time. This 2019 remake retains all the qualities the original one had to offer, and it mostly improves on all the weak spots that were criticized in the 1998 release.

The story follows two characters, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, allowing the game to branch out into different storylines, depending on whom the player chooses in the beginning just like in the original installment.

Leon’s storyline follows his first day on the police force in Raccoon City, as he tries to piece together the reason why the zombie apocalypse began in the city he just moved to.

On the other hand, Claire’ storyline is quite different. She is a college student searching for her brother in the zombie infested city, and even though her and Leon’s paths cross quite a few times, their adventures are vastly different.

The biggest change is the fact that the camera is not fixed anymore, copying the style of “Resident Evil 4” and turning it into an over-the-shoulder third person shooter perspective, which is no way a negative. The new camera movement causes the same amount of tension and uncertainty as the previous arrangement.

The inventory system is mostly the same as in the original, and even though some mechanics are made easier, it is still limited and stressful to organize, making the survival even more difficult.

The enemies are completely identical to the original game, which does not make them any less threatening and horrifying. The graphical improvements are also incredible, making it almost impossible to go back to replay the original when the remake has introduced such a visible upgrade.

The gameplay remains as unforgiving as ever, sometimes even too unforgiving, especially when the zombies perform an annoyingly long lunge that is usually almost impossible to evade, but that is the charm of this series. Every bullet that the player fires makes them ache, because it is well known that the ammunition and supplies are very limited, making the saying “choose your battles carefully” very relevant when it comes to this game.

Still, the fights never cease being fun and enthralling, with each one being as the dangerous as the next one.

The sometimes nonsensical storyline and the at times questionable voice acting are the only downsides, even though the voice acting is a massive improvement when compared to the original installment.

The remake of “Resident Evil 2” has no right to be such a fun and thrilling game, but it absolutely is in almost every aspect. Even though it has its flaws in some departments, the excitement and anticipation that the players will feel in every play-through out of the at least five available is promised.

“Resident Evil 2” is a must buy not only for fans of the survival horror genre, but also for anyone who cherishes challenging well-developed games.

4 stars