Resident Evil 2 (2019) - Review

Author: Mattia "Zave" Ravanelli
Date: 2020-03-02 23:13:56
It is the bittersweet fate of the hit series, that of showing your side in discussions and stances that are ever more heated if not poisoned. All the more when you made history ... and Resident Evil, history, really knew how to shape it. If you then add the burden of a Capcom often ready to review the structure at the base of the saga, chapter after chapter, then understand the existence of long-standing (and a little cloying) diatribes on what it is and what it should be or not to be the zombic epic par excellence, is reduced to a pure mathematical calculation.

With the Resident Evil 2 remake, the Japanese label tries to satisfy an easy, almost obvious request: the one supported, heart in hand, by a slice of players who has always seen in the first two or three chapters the "real" Resident Evil , gradually distorted (according to that "church") by more purely action game influences starting from the fourth release. A case of fan service done and finished therefore and for a quiet life we also silence the now ancient quarrels about Resident Evil 1.5. Dating back more than twenty years ago, just when Resident Evil 2 first hit stores.


By forcing the hand a little you can easily cut (with the hatchet) the speech by forming two groups: those who remained faithful to the Resident Evil of the PlayStation era, the first, and those who instead have safely experimented and enjoyed also subsequent publications without make it a worry. Until the umpteenth turn, the first-person one of Resident Evil 7. Who can and wants to get on the first team, does not need much to read more about this return of the second episode. It is precisely the Resident Evil 2 that you remember, although it is only roughly similar to the original. But memory plays hallucinating and hallucinating jokes and all in all Capcom has succeeded in a game of prestige not bad: keeping up with fantasies and nostalgia.

Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield are still grappling with the dramatic consequences of Umbrella's wrongdoings, mentioned in the first release. Raccoon City is on its knees. A substantial chunk of the game comes to life (or not-death) in an unlikely police station that more closely resembles a museum (and indeed ...) and the double adventure structure seen in 1998 is replicated. It means that it is tackled the game, at one's preference, with the blonde recruit on her first day or with the sister of the hero of Resident Evil 1, then continuing with a second turn in the shoes of the other, to insert the missing puzzle pieces (and reposition other theoretically already managed, but oh well).


What changes, compared to the original, is much of what is in the middle, between the beginning and the end. Not in the settings, except in the case of the only unpublished introduction in the form of an orphanage (a very short parenthesis), as much as in the game map. Or in puzzles. Or in the path that leads to the exploration of the station and other structures, one door unlocked after another. Capcom has shown intelligence and craft in re-proposing the same soup, elaborated through both ancient and modern ingredients and flavors. It all looks like it did then, but it isn't. Twenty years of experience in the genre bring an awareness in the care of movements that is from this era and not from the end of the 90s. The same applies to a series of subtle systems that help keep all useful information in check thanks to intelligent mapping.

The rhythm of the game is simply perfect, with phases of worrying quiet and roars of terror, which become almost unbearable when the heavy moving steps that announce the approach of the terrible T-00 are reverberating for the station. The Tyrant that you can try to imagine as a Inspector Gadget, because of that raincoat, if you really want to release the tension a little.

Just the T-00, conceptually later taken up in Resident Evil 3 Nemesis, is the gear that makes the whole system move at its best. You know it's there, you don't know where it is. You know it will come, you don't know where. You think it is a marble cerberus, untouchable and unbeatable, then you begin to glimpse cracks in its mutant armor. Hope and resignation alternate rhythmically as one door opens and then another and another. Without ever being able to do without engaging in the classic duels with a certain amount of standard zombies. For the occasion, ready to be torn and slaughtered like never before.