Resident Evil 2: Horror’s back and it’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane

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After a few times through with Resident Evil 2’s 1-Shot Demo, it’s time to talk about what the game does right and what it possibly gets wrong in its 30-minute demo that pushes players to navigate the Racoon City Police Department as swiftly as possible. Here are our thoughts.

If you were to ask me if a Resident Evil 2 remake could happen almost a year ago, I’d have told you no. I’d grown tired of seeing childhood classics such as Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot getting the remake and HD treatments. I’d seen some of my most beloved titles – namely Resident Evil 0 and Resident Evil; get HD treatments less than a year apart.

I’d even found a reason to once more love Resident Evil with the release of its main-entry title. It took a lot for me to love Resident Evil after the release of Resident Evil 6, a game that had more identity problems than I’d cared to imagine a game could have. Sadly, I’d fallen out of love with the series. The game that once struck gold for me begun to rust, losing its polish sooner than I’d ever imagined it could.

But, then we got the news at E3 2018. The Resident Evil 2 remake is real, the team had been hard at work listening to feedback from their fans and decided to win them over with one of the franchises most beloved titles. My interest was once again piqued and I’d find myself torn between wanting to dive back into Raccoon City or heading back into STEM with The Evil Within 2.

But over the past weekend, Capcom did the unexpected: They released a 30-minute 1-Shot demo for Resident Evil 2 and gave fans a chance to see what they’d been up to all this time. Much to my surprise, it was a trip down memory lane, but, you might be wondering; how does a game like this draw someone like myself back in if not for nostalgia? Well… Get comfy, this is going to be a bit of a read.

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It all starts the same, but somehow, something’s slightly different shortly after

Getting started wasn’t all that different. I’d turn off my bedroom lights, shut off the reading lamp in the corner of the room, get my settings for the game adjusted, and before I knew it – Leon S. Kennedy was once more stepping foot into the Raccoon City Police Department station. A scene I’d seen a dozen times before, but never in such a visually stunning manner.

But something was different and it stood out more than ever before. The room’s layout had been changed quite a bit. Small details that made more sense than they did when I was a kid. The receptionist desk was brought to the front instead of behind the Goddess Statue as it was before. The small steps were now inclined off to the sides with a newly placed Lion Statue at the top of a set of stairs that were never there before.

Now, the doors off to the sides were locked down by gates and shutters while doors locked by special keys remained inaccessible for the time being. Off to the right was a metal shutter, one that blocked my progression from moving in unless I flipped the security gates lever despite the big bold black letters saying “KEEP OUT” on a torn piece of cardboard near the main entry doors.

But let’s backtrack just a second as there are more than just a few subtle changes to the areas than before. In the main hall, details have been added that only add to the atmosphere itself. There’s a small trauma center near the Goddess Statue. Blood trails are strewn about freely, giving a sense of uneasiness as we don’t know what caused this mess and where it’s at.

Ammo cases, stretchers, and light reflections help add depth and realism to the all-too-familiar setting we’d come to know and love over the years. Even these subtle changes are welcomed throughout my stay in the RPD even after opening that metal security gate, letting it open enough to let Leon barely crawl through what little wiggle room it gives him.

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The sense of horror drives deeper as you explore

One of the hardest things to appreciate about Resident Evil 2 since its initial release was just under 21 years ago. Since then, graphics have come a long ways, making where Resident Evil 2 was then, not as terrifying as it had been when the game first released. Now, entering that very first door on the right isn’t one highlighted by the simple and pixelated opening of a door, but rather, Leon crawling underneath this security gate, shining his flashlight around in a pitch black room.

Something quite different than before. The hallway was smaller, tighter and didn’t offer as much detail as the one before me. Now, I’m uncomfortable, unlike all those years leading up to now. I’m cautious, hesitant this time around. I’m not used to hearing the zombies shamble about, the lights flicker, and my eyes dart back and forth watching for anything that could come after me within a moments notice.

Now, one’s tensions could be at an all-time high, causing a sense of paranoia to kick in at the sound of zombies lumbering about down the hall while a survivor screams for help behind another automated door. But the detail is something else. Just like in Resident Evil VII: biohazard, lighting effects, and atmospheric designs are of absolute importance, helping push the levels of immersion even further.

The detail to lighting, shadow effects, and even the various items laying around the ap are so well designed that they are almost as in-depth as one might expect due to the level of excruciating detail that has been put into the remake itself.

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The stakes are high and supplies are limited

One of the best things about the remake is how well everything has been modernized when it comes to pacing and the action. Due to the number of zombies lumbering around, one might begin to consider just how limited their resources actually are. Whether it’s healing items, ammunition, gunpowder, or ink ribbons in order to save; the latter being disabled during the course of the demo.

But wandering around and attempting to escape the RPD something else became very clear: No matter what you did to ensure your safety – you really aren’t all that safe. Zombies can crash through windows of they please. They take insane amounts of damage, often times eating a few more bullets than you would expect. Puzzles are more difficult to solve than before due to the minor, but nicely added layout changes.

Zombies can smash through any window that is left exposed and not boarded up. Even boards become another supply you’ll have to consider getting your hands on in order to get about and keep zombie hordes from flooding the hallways you’ll need to explore. But that doesn’t even bring forth the mention that lickers are back and more terrifying than ever before. Their fast, they’re agile and while we didn’t fight one, they are formidable foes we’ll need to keep our eyes peeled for in the final version.

But that’s where one minor problem returns and could use a bit of sorting out down the road and you might have guessed exactly what it is.

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Inventory management problems still exist

One of the biggest problems many have had with Resident Evil over the years is still one of its biggest yet and that just happens to be the inventory management we’re all too familiar with once again. It’s back and just like before, you’re going to do a lot of it over the course of a 30-minute period depending on just how crafty you actually are.

You’ll find yourself returning back and forth from your trunk, storing what you can inside of it before moving on. The only issue here? That’s a lot to do in a short 30-minute demo that emphasizes on you grabbing what you need and then moving onto your very next objective. While there’s little doubt you’ll be able to upgrade the things you need in order to carry on.

But, the bright side is there. We know ammo crafting is back, safe rooms exist, but we also now know inventory nightmares have returned and leave us to hope that they’ll be expanded upon in the future. However, how have we not touched on the most important feature of the entire game? How have we not discussed combat itself?

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The undead are extremely resilient to bodily harm

One of the few things I’d never thought I’d say is one of the most welcomed changes to the series: Zombies are extremely resilient to bodily harm. Want to kill one? Cutting off its arms or legs won’t do all that much harm. Headshots aren’t always an assured way to take one out. I’ve seen them get up after a round or nine to their temple. They just sometimes seem to get back up, groan, shake it off, and one more limp their way in my direction.

I’ve even gone as far as cutting one’s legs off with a knife to see how much harm it would do. Only to my surprise, I’d have been better off beating one half to death with a garbage can. The damage system itself has been vastly improved upon since the release of Resident Evil VII: biohazard.

Each attack whether it’s a slash, a gunshot, or even a subtle blow to the shoulder, every attack has a noticeable amount of weight to it that’s more than believable by any means possible. Something that the series has long since needed after the noticeable jump in graphics and animations with the re-release of Resident Evil 4.

But there is a laundry list of things we don’t know about the game just quite yet: How does damage affect bioweapons such as the Lickers and Hunter’s? How does it affect various other forms of infected and the Tyrants themselves? We’ll find out sooner than later with the release only a little over a week from now.

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“Thank you for playing.”

When all said and done, Resident Evil 2 has been rebuilt from the ground up in order to offer one of the most terrifying and exciting experiences yet. From the chilling new sound effects to the more-than-realistic animations, cutting-edge graphics, and some of the best voice acting to date in the series; there’s a lot of hope for what we’ll experience in the upcoming days and fortunately for us, the wait is almost over.

How soon? Well, glad you asked. Resident Evil 2 is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on January 25, 2018. Stay tuned for our full review of Resident Evil 2 in the upcoming days.


About the Writer(s):

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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