Review of Resident Evil 2 - more than a remake

Author: Czarny Wilk
Date: 2019-01-22 12:00:00
The review was based on the PS4 version. Also applies to the PC version, XONE

I like remakes. Video games are constantly evolving and setting new standards - all to make them better. The victim of these changes, however, is the shadow of many successful mechanics who once gave us a lot of joy. Fortunately, thanks to proper dusting and plastic surgery, the old works have the opportunity to shine again.

And then there is the sentimental issue - it's just so nice to play a game again, which we admired in childhood , without risking brutal disappointment, when it turns out that the photorealistic setting we remember is actually a hideous cluster of dozens of polygons.

Having said all this, however, it is appropriate to reveal the cards. Resident Evil 2 is not a remake. At least not traditional, like Shadow of the Colossus or Spyro Reignited Trilogy , for which we got the same games that we knew and liked, but with new graphics and a handful of small improvements. No, Capcom employees funded the 20-year-old classic not so much as a beautifying operation, but a full reconstruction , based on the very skeleton of the game, creating a de facto new product with barely familiar motifs.

You probably suspected the mark in the corner of the review before you even read it, so don't bother - replacing rotting meat with a fresh set of muscles, organs and skin worked wonders. Resident Evil 2 rules!

So where are these raccoons?

The game is set in Raccoon City, somewhere in the USA. Its inhabitants were infected with a mysterious virus that changed all creatures - both living and dead - into bloodthirsty, driven solely by instinct, decaying beasts. Leon Kennedy, a young police officer who was about to start working at the local police station, and Claire Redfield, a student looking for her missing brother, find themselves in chaos. Trying to survive and get out of hell on earth, the characters learn the backstage of the events that led to the destruction of the city.

Like the original from two decades ago, the new Resident Evil 2 offers two main story campaigns - one for Leon and Claire . To fully understand the whole story and see the correct ending, you must complete both scenarios. The story in general assumptions is similar to that of the original, but the details can be very different, making even the greatest veterans expect many smaller and a few bigger surprises. The changes can be seen at the very beginning of the game - meeting a pair of main characters does not look like we remembered.

Importantly, modifications to the script are not art for the sake of art, thanks to which the narrative becomes more cinematic and addictive. The effect turns out to be really satisfactory - although the story at its base is still quite cheap actress with one-dimensional heroes, but the dialogues do not sound extremely kitschy, the action scenes are in suspense, and dramatic or touching moments play on the right strings. Resident Evil 2 is not a game whose story is mentioned for years, but it has been invented well enough to motivate you to delve into the depths of a nightmare , and even interest the entire universe and encourage you to reach for other items from the series.

However, I must mention one thing that did not play in the story. While initially the scenarios of Claire and Leon efficiently intertwine with each other, creating a logical whole, so from some point the events in both begin to diverge quite strongly , being somehow alternative versions of the same situations. This only happens in a few moments, so that a moment later both stories start to merge again. The effect is quite strange and spoils the narrative, and since the writers already rewrote the whole story and were not afraid to make changes to it, it could easily be avoided by modifying a few sequences.

As if someone were constantly lurking behind us

The game in the original Resident Evil 2 consisted of exploring subsequent rooms, collecting limited supplies, solving puzzles and fighting, or running away from the creatures that clashed with us. The gameplay in the new game consists of the same elements, but their implementation looks quite different.

The most important change is the location of the camera. In the past it did not follow the player, but jumped between points defined by the creators. Because of this, we were not always able to determine what was ahead of us. Sometimes we had to take a step into the unknown in which the enemy could lurk. It was not the most convenient solution, but it effectively deepened the atmosphere of terror.

However, times have changed and today such an approach would irritate too many recipients, so Capcom prepared a modern camera suspended behind the hero / heroine, which can be freely rotated with an analog stick. And in fact, as you might expect, the effect of this change is to capture the game with a bit of horror. Fortunately, this is not a big loss - the developers still have enough resources to give us a faster heartbeat, and willingly use them. And the new way of operating the camera turns out to be much more convenient and allows you to find out more easily about the surroundings or find objects of interest to us, so in the end this modification turned out to be a plus.

Human to human zombie, and zombie to human zombie

The basic zombies are found in many visually different variants, but they are merely an appetizer to prepare us for clashes with much more dangerous monsters. In order not to spoil the hair-raising surprises on your head, which are most often collisions with other nasties, I will only mention that Capcom has done a great deal of work, redesigning classic opponents .

Not only have their looks been tweaked, which makes them look repugnant and frightening in the 21st century, but they've also been taught new tricks, so using old tactics can prove ineffective. A certain disgrace with the nickname Mr. X - already in the original version he could steal the whole show, but as you see what Capcom has done with him now, I guarantee that you will fall in awe. Or in horror. In any case, the sounds of powerful steps heralding his closeness will make even more sensitive individuals dream at night.

From time to time , bosses also get in the way. This element of the game was implemented decently , according to the old rules of the genre consisting in finding the weaknesses of our enemies. The main attraction of these fights is that they allow you to use all your ammunition reserves without remorse, but as such they do not stand out particularly against what we know from many other titles - neither on plus nor on the minus. They just are.

The brain used as more than food

The fight for survival is one thing, but Resident Evil 2 also faces exploration and thinking . While playing, we visit a small section of Raccoon City, which includes, among others, the streets witnessing recent chaos and the iconic police station. The latter, as it once housed a museum, can boast of a very unique style and gloomy appearance. The place makes a great impression from the first moment when we find ourselves in the main hall and see a well-known monumental statue.

Gee, how it looks, how it sounds!

Resident Evil 2 looks phenomenal. The already mentioned great designs of the post in Raccoon City and other locations please the eyes with an impressive attachment to details and a fantastic play of lights, from which the designers squeezed a lot, making walks in places hidden in the darkness saturated with climate.

Character models are no less impressive, especially decomposing zombies. The developers have put a lot of effort into making the shooting look macabre. It's nice to see how zombies react extremely differently to bullets depending on what they are hit with - a shot in the hand can immobilize it or even completely tear it off, hitting the leg slows down an unpleasant person, etc.

Added to this are the grotesque designs of other creatures that we have to face, in the prototype they are impressive mainly on artwork, now they are finally shown in all their glory in the game itself. However strange it would sound, until you want to admire these abominations (and - which is nice - you can do it in the built-in model browser, which, as we progress, is supplemented with more characters and opponents).

The new Resident Evil 2 is one of the best-looking productions on PlayStation 4, and even if it is largely due to hiding a large part of the surroundings in the shade (which frees up hardware resources), and not the technological virtuosity known from the works of Naughty Dog, it doesn't mean anything to him downgrades.

I can't fail to mention the incredibly realized ambient sounds . The sound of wind on the upper floors of the police station, raindrops hitting the windows and roof, dripping from broken pipes underground, the moans of enemies or the sound of powerful steps Mr. X create a gloomy symphony that creates a fantastic atmosphere. Suffice it to say that this is the first game since Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice , which I had to go through with earphones from beginning to end. Unless I usually attach so much importance to the quality of the sound, being satisfied with the speakers, in this case this element was just too well done to make compromises.