The Legend of Resident Evil 2
Will the Real Resident Evil Please Stand Up
The Resident Evil 2 that we know and love today is because Hideki Kamiya and his team locked themselves in their offices and pounded away for days and days, months and months to make things right.
Elza was removed entirely and in her place was Chris Redfield’s sister Claire. Leon was demoted to a rookie, and unlike in RE1.5, both characters would meet at the outset of the game before going their separate ways. A reshaped gameplay mechanic called the Zapping System was put in place. Where one playthrough as a character would directly affect the other character on the next playthrough. For example, if Leon picked up a health herb in a certain room, it wouldn’t be there during your playthrough with Claire. Zombies got remodeled, the entire precinct was changed for the better and creepier. And some characters were re-rolled while certain plot devices were altered.
These changes along with an overall more cinematic experience boosted RE2 into “best game ever” debates when it debuted in January of 1998. Beyond critical acclaim, the game went on to sell 4.96 million copies, and get a port on nearly every major platform at the time. Resident Evil 2 was a mega success. More so, it changed the notion that big games could only come out during the holidays. Before Resident Evil 2 it was nearly unheard of for a AAA game to come out in January and now, 21 years later, video games are released every day, holiday season be damned.
We Do It!
In those 21 years, Capcom has gone on to make tons of Resident Evil games. All varying in quality. They haven’t been shy about remakes either. The infamous Resident Evil 1 remake for the Gamecube blew gamers away in 2002. They’ve released Resident Evil games on almost every platform available. Yet, no RE2. This always felt like a head-scratcher. It was obviously a huge game for Capcom, and yet everyone’s been lefting wondering where is Resident Evil 2’s remake? Well, in 2015 Capcom answered our calls with a strange presentation and a very enthusiastic Yoshiaki Hirabyashi. Standing in front of a monitor with the words “Resident Evil 2 remake”, Hirabyashi or “H” announced Resident Evil 2 was finally getting the game we all wanted. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much else to say so naturally it left a lot of longtime fans with a ton of questions.
Nevertheless, the announcement was made, and with very little to show for it Capcom went dark on the project. A few screenshots were released and while things looked good, it was still far too early to tell. Fast forward to E3 2018 and we finally got to see a reveal trailer that looked amazing. You could tell Capcom was not here to play around. Hyper-realistic character models, super slick graphics, tons of great looking gore, and a remodeled precinct that was soaked in a dreary atmosphere. It took E3 attendees by surprise and even managed to win a few Game Of Show awards along the way.
Since June of 2018 Capcom has done well to provide a steady stream of marketing material. In August a gameplay trailer finally showing off Claire Redfield in action was released and that got everyone hyped. Soon after that talks of a demo started to make its rounds.
On January 11th Capcom finally dropped a demo titled “One-Shot”. Gamers got 30 minutes to play through a portion of the completed game as Leon Kennedy. For all the shit Capcom gets about their Street Fighter V rollouts they’ve managed to do Resident Evil 2 justice with their marketing campaign. Enthusiasm for the remake is at a fever pitch right now, with old gamers like me hoping to relive the old glory days and new gamers trying to see if the hype is worth it.
While I haven’t got my hands on the full game, it is garnering good reviews and other critics seem generally happy with the design choices Capcom’s made. Here are some [spoiler free] takeaways from the reviews and previews I’ve read on the game so far.
- It’s harder than the original Resident Evil 2. Perhaps as a call back to what Capcom was trying to accomplish for RE1.5. Zombies are harder to down, but at least ammo is plentiful.
- The tone is more in line with the excellent Resident Evil 7.
- Some events have been switched around so long time fans could still be in for a few surprises.
- It controls more like Resident Evil 4 than the tank controls is RE2. And it loses the fixed camera angles also. Which is a total bummer.
- Claire’s vehicles of choice is a motorcycle this time around which is a call back to the Elza Walker that never was. She even has a biker costume as DLC.
And there we have it. A brand new RE2 remake comes out today and I’m incredibly excited to see what’s in store. Perhaps finally the concept formally known as Resident Evil 2 has been perfected. I may not have a review up for a while because I plan to take my time with it, but hey at least I got a shotgun.