For nearly a decade, Resident Evil has struggled to stay afloat and is struggling to find its identity. Resident Evil 4 placed a good amount of focus on action which was expanded upon in Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 lost its way which made the franchise dormant for nearly 5 years until Resident Evil 7 came along. Resident Evil 7 breathed new life into the franchise with a radical reinvention inspired by the likes of P.T and Amnesia and Capcom may have found lightning in a bottle again with both Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2: Remake, the latter is a phenomenal game that paves the future of the franchise in ways that makes me not only excited but happy to see the return of Resident Evil.
In its era, at the end of the 20th century when videogames were still considered to be bizarre and for losers, Resident Evil 2 was the highlight and was the pinnacle for what would become the survival horror genre. In 1998, it raised the bar for only survival horror but what horror games could be in the new century and what video games, in general, could become. Unfortunately, the game that paved the way for games like Dead Space, Alien Isolation, and more didn’t hold up so Capcom decided to rebuild the game from the ground up.
Originally announced in 2015, Resident Evil 2: Remake was built from the ground up using the RE Engine that powered Resident Evil 7 which technically makes it a new game entirely. To call Resident Evil 2: Remake a remake would be completely disingenuous as the new engine creates a darker, more haunting, and scary vibe to Raccoon City. The atmosphere is one of creepiness and one of immersing you into this city that has gone to hell. Much like its atmosphere, everything within Resident Evil 2 has been built from the ground up which includes more realistic puzzles, environmental puzzles, and the zombies themselves. The zombies are grotesque in nature and actually looks like zombies, the zombies shamble forward like wind up toys which create a very tense and frightening meta game in which you have to aim your shots perfectly and if they fail to hit, they keep shambling forward meaning that two or more zombies will spell disaster for you.
The neatest thing, however, is the third person camera which does even more to update the action. Resident Evil 2: remake returns to the series’ traditional horror roots which means a little bit slower paced than recent entries like Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 which is a great thing. Resident Evil 2: remake is probably one of the most intense games in the franchise, the action doesn’t diminish its intensity and the action feels great.
Unlike the original Playstation 1 game, the remake sports a 2nd run playthrough which allows you to play the second half of the story with the second character you didn’t play as in your original playthrough. These two campaigns don’t affect each other as in the original PS1 classic but they do link up at the very end. Both characters’ storylines are very different as they take very different routes to the same destination and both stories give out different rewards which offer the incentive for you to try it out but I would recommend to do it anyway if you want to see the full story of the game play out.
Resident Evil fell from grace in the years prior to Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2: remake but it is safe to say that the franchise is in good hands after two hits back to back. It’s great to see Capcom bringing back their bread and butter franchise from the dead and reviving it with a remake of one of the 20th century’s greatest games. If this game was a brand new game in a newly released franchise that released in 2019, I would definitely give it Game of the Year. It’s a masterpiece, you shouldn’t miss out.
* * *