Capcom is dusting off one of his jewels. But this Resident Evil 2 would have deserved a more invigorated gameplay.

In 2017, Capcom offered the first thrills of the year with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the renewal episode for a franchise that had nothing left of survival. Two years later, the Japanese firm is doing it again with the remake of Resident Evil 2,in the hope of bringing back the shivers that are not new since the original title was released in 1998, in the golden age of the PlayStation.

Accustomed to recycling, sometimes opportunistic, Capcom has this time put its heart into the work. This Resident Evil 2 is not a simple port with smooth graphics and more in line with today’s consoles. The interest is twofold: to revive a myth (because Resident Evil 2 is a cult game) and to revive memories for those who had assumed their cold sweats more than twenty years ago. Is it working?

Test De Resident Evil 2: a Tribute Neither Old School Nor Modern

Resident Evil 2 // Source: Capcom

The benefits of the RE Engine

To revive his nugget that was beginning to seriously show its age, Capcom called on its in-house graphics engine, the RE Engine, already mobilized for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Thanks to him, Resident Evil 2 is shining brightly. It even tends to shine a little too brightly, which sometimes results in a superficial rendering (HDR does not help).

However, we have to admit that we will not deny our pleasure to see the survival-horror sublimated by this restoration. So much so that some will not fail to compare the two versions to realize how much technology has evolved over two decades. In a way, Resident Evil 2 is the materialization of several pages that have turned. The perfect illustration of this is the lighting, which is now sufficiently evolved to support an even more deleterious atmosphere. The paradox is posed: thanks to a better work on the lights, the environments allow themselves to be darker.

An even more deleterious atmosphere

Especially since the game offers the luxury of a framerate at 60 fps on PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. On this point, we would have liked to have had the choice between fluidity and image quality, as the bastard resolution gives rise to some very conspicuous artifices (the crenellated shadows, in particular). Nourished by the RE Engine,Resident Evil 2 celebrates gore in its most generous form: from shredded flesh to flowing hemoglobin, it’s a veritable theatre of horrors to which Capcom invites us. The animations, very realistic and varied, and the details, reinforced, contribute to the show barely marred by a few collision bugs.

In addition to this very shimmering visual part – in the technical sense of the word – there is a soundtrack orchestrated with a masterful hand (especially with headphones on the ears or a home cinema with several speakers). The creaks heard here and there in the scenery and the heavy footsteps of the mysterious black colossus chasing us underline an atmosphere designed to take the player out of his comfort zone. Fans will note that it is possible to choose the language of the characters.

Test De Resident Evil 2: a Tribute Neither Old School Nor Modern

Resident Evil 2 // Source: Capcom

Spoiler: you can shoot by moving

The 1998 Resident Evil 2 did not permit firing while moving. This limit, which contributed to the sense of urgency during the clashes, is no longer relevant since the spin-off Resident Evil: Revelations (a revolution born in 2012 on 3DS). And if Capcom wants to keep the soul of Resident Evil 2 in its remake, he didn’t want to make us relive this ordeal. This point changes everything and softens a very rigid and uninspired gameplaywhen compared to the tenors of the third person shooter.

In their desire not to betray the game design of yesteryear, the developers didn’t try to do more than dusting. The result is a grip that won’t disorient aficionados, but can make a few teeth grind – especially in face-to-face encounters with vile creatures. Thus, Leon and Claire have obviously not had much training in hand-to-hand combat and, for example, are unable to dodge an enemy attack at the last moment. If a zombie ends up on the ground, it will never occur to them to put an end to its existence once and for all by crushing its skull, a killing that would suit us so well as the vulnerability of the infected sometimes borders on the ridiculous.

You feel the experience cleaned and fluidized…

Although the resistance of the opponents is acceptable, seeing the undead get up after being shot five times in the head can be annoying, while ammunition is a scarce commodity. This challenge, which is linked to impacts that are not very permissive and very uncertain, is assumed by Capcom. Indeed, Resident Evil 2 favours one-on-one rather than mass killings. In view of this constraint, combined with almost unfathomable enemy movements and the absence of a concrete indicator signalling permanent death (exit the blood puddles), it very often happens to resort to avoidance rather than combat.

We find again everything that made the salt of Resident Evil 2: the necessary round trips within a narrow map (level design basic), the closed doors that open with specific keys, the objects to examine, the plants to combine to treat oneself, the millimetre-sized management of the inventory, the simplistic puzzles that will not put anyone off and the good place given to narration (cinematics, written diaries to pick up).

However, Capcom has modernized some elements: loading times have disappeared (when changing parts), typewriters no longer need ink ribbons for backup (except in hardcoremode) and the inventory opens automatically when a mechanism can be triggered. Here again, the experience is clean and fluid, if not revolutionary.

Test De Resident Evil 2: a Tribute Neither Old School Nor Modern

Resident Evil 2 // Source: Capcom

Tribute is not far away

The history of Resident Evil 2 has not fundamentally changed with this 2019 version. It always revolves around two protagonists: Claire Redfield, looking for her brother Chris, hero of the previous episode, and Leon S. Kennedy, freshly employed by the Raccoon City police station and without news since a mysterious epidemic decimated the city. These intertwined destinies will give rise to an intrigue that will go beyond the simple motivations of each, with, as a watermark, the backstage of the horror in which the duo is immersed.

Claire and Leon are mainly providing a bargain to increase the life span. One might have thought that Capcom would take advantage of the remake to bring the two bows together. As in the 1998 Resident Evil 2 , the player must choose either Claire or Leon and stick with that choice until the final outcome. Once the first scenario is completed, a second path – more expeditious – allows you to live the adventure in the other costume. This construction is convoluted as it forces us to revisit the same situations, which has the gift of creating ellipses and narrative flaws while Claire and Leon are supposed to follow a diametrically opposed path. In short, the suffix bis is misleading, even if some segments really differ from one character to another.

In order to fully appreciate Resident Evil 2, it will be necessary to finish it four times (Leon then Claire, Claire then Leon) – which will take nearly 30 hours for the most courageous (between 6 and 8 hours per campaign). Then, the speedrunners will undoubtedly do their utmost to go faster and faster in order to get the best scores – the old-fashioned way. As in the firstResident Evil 2, therefore.

Resident Evil 2 is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Test De Resident Evil 2: a Tribute Neither Old School Nor Modern

Resident Evil 2 // Source: Capcom

Indicative note : 4/5

Between the desire to preserve the original spirit and the dusting off of the, design between old school and modernity, this Resident Evil 2 reinvented, but in no way transcended, is looking for its place. Without really finding it (except, perhaps, in the hearts of the fans).

Behind this title in the form of a tribute to an illustrious elder, we find a calibrated experience and a classicism that is sometimes a little too obvious. If the idea of reviving memories by offering them a much more pleasant setting is there, we still prefer the audacity of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard hoping for a continuation in the lineage.

Top

  • Darker than ever
  • We can finally shoot by moving in RE2.
  • A great way to discover this nugget

Bof

  • More homage than remake
  • Five shots to the head isn’t always enough…
  • Current graphics, but dated gameplay

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