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Letters from the Front

( Editor’s note: This was written on January 25th and at the time of publishing, I have completed Claire’s campaign and I’m on my second run through as Leon. First Impressions will be up tomorrow, FI was also written on January 25th. Sorry for the delay.)

To call Resident Evil 2 a simple remake would be disingenuous. It isn’t a simple remake at all but a full-blown re-imagining meant for the modern day. Better controls, a re-engineered camera meant for the 21st century, sporting a nice upgrade to the graphics, and much more makes Resident Evil 2 a real labor of love and not another simple remake.

After the original Resident Evil 2 came out at the tail end of the 20th century, Resident Evil has wavered. Resident Evil 4 was a gem of the early 2000s, encapsulating what made the series so great but as its successors later released on what was then a new generation, hasn’t reached the same heights as it did with Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. After taking a long break during the early years of the Xbox One / PS4 generation, Capcom returned with Resident Evil 7. It showed that Capcom still had it in them which went a long way to restore the franchise’s credibility after the disaster that was Resident Evil 6.

Capcom took what was great in Resident Evil 7 and translated into Resident Evil 2, this isn’t just a remake but a re-imagining with brand new bolts and screws that makes Resident Evil 2 seem like a game that just released in 2019. Capcom has woven modern day mechanics into a late 20th century game and never abandoned what made the original so special. The end result is a product made out of pure love, fresh, a great looking game that could fool you into thinking it was a brand new game in 2019, and evokes memories of the original. If Capcom keeps this up for not only Resident Evil 2 but for Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil 4 then I believe the franchise will truly make a comeback after the successes of Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2: Remake.

Resident Evil 2 begins just like its original version that released in 1998: Rookie cop Leon Kennedy and College student Claire Redfield trek to the town of Raccon City for two totally different reasons. Leon Kennedy’s reason is that he must report to the RCPD as today is his first day on the job while Claire Redfield is looking for her brother, Chris, who is with S.T.A.R.S and the two are united by a chance encounter but separated as the city falls to a Zombie outbreak that was engineered by Umbrella Corporation, a massive company that resides in Racoon City. What follows is terror and horror in its most evilest form as both of them must escape the city alive but both get caught up in something much much bigger.

The story begins at the Police Station and you would think that the Police Station would be one of refuge and a safe place but that too has fallen to Zombies as Claire or Leon arrive at Racoon City in the middle of the outbreak. Raccoon City’s police force is either undead or has become Zombie food and all supplies have been spent and the halls are filled with corpses, either reanimated or truly dead which up the paranoia factor.

Resident Evil 2 forces me back into old habits, a habit that I haven’t learned in some time and have completely forgotten. Conserve ammo and run or dodge when I can. The zombies stalk me through the iconic police station, they break through windows and doors, upending any expectation that has come to be expected of how zombies behave in the Resident Evil games, these zombies aren’t as dumb as in previous entries. They’re immediately terrifying.

Meanwhile, I’m attempting to dome zombies in the head, I am tasked with solving puzzles. The bizzare puzzles take me back to a different era and take me back to my childhood, I sprint room to room in search of the heart key and diamond key to unlock doors while I develop film that have been scattered across the station as I find a notebook that I rip from a dead police officer’s hand which contain the solution to getting out of the police station and this is where the genuis of Resident Evil 2 kicks in.

While certain things in the game, including the puzzles, are a callback to the 1998 version, everything else in the game has been reinvented for the modern day. Claire does not move like a tank nor does she look like a video game character but instead a real character that you can get to know on a personal level. Claire is slickly rendered and she acts like an actual human being with shit aim, she becomes sweaty, dirty, and bloody as she progresses through the police station and she actually looks like an action hero.

Without saying too much ( to be reserved later.), Resident Evil 2 showcases that Capcom still has it in them despite them not knowing how to control what they created at the very end of the 1990s. After evolving from true survival horror to something that was Michael Bay-inspired, the Resident Evil games have been a constant hit or miss but Resident Evil 2 showcases the very best of what the franchise is capable of. This is not a game that you should not miss.

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