The last time Capcom put its hands in the sludge to offer one of its offspring a graphic redesign was in 2002, with Resident Evil first of the name. The oldest among us (let’s say the wisest among us, it goes better), still remember the slap that this Gamecube remake (!) had inflicted on them, only six years after the original. A gentle feeling of nostalgia, which can now be extended to Resident Evil 2, whose remake does not only do justice to its illustrious model: it dusted it off to bring it to the attention of the new generations, who, to tell the truth, probably never knew it.
Few video game publishers are able to enthuse us with the announcement of a remake. There’s Sony, even if he’s not the instigator, who’s trying to dig up the flagship licenses of his PlayStation, such as Crash, Spyro, Medievil.
So, before you put your hands on this Resident Evil 2, you can’t help but breathe a little sigh. Again? . Seriously?. Yeah, seriously. And you want me to tell you the best part about this remake ? The half-worded promise that one day Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil 4 will be entitled to the same preferential treatment.
Raccoon City is as gloomy as ever. Capcom
The story, we know the story. Blue Leon Kennedy, on his way to his first day at the Raccoon City police station; Claire Redfield on badass, looking for her brother Chris, missing since the events at Spencer Manor a few months earlier. Two strangers, two anonymous, yet, the poet would say. A chance encounter and a burning tanker truck later, the two heroes are separated and will continue the adventure on their own.
A total of 4 scenarios intersect in Resident Evil 2. Capcom
In spite of a rather bulky common trunk, the scenario of Leon and Claire is quite largely dissimilar, and each enjoy a scenario bis scattered here and there some even more notable differences (pssst: for the purists, the canon is Claire A and Leon B). So many pretexts to plunge, again and again in the rainy alleys of Raccoon City, pushing the total life of the title to a good twenty hours, if one has nothing against retyping some identical sequences. Otherwise, the first run will occupy you between 6 and 8 hours depending on your comfort.
Completing a scenario will take 6 to 8 hours. Capcom
Also despite Capcom’s communication efforts in this regard: no, Resident Evil 2 is not a brand new game, scenaritically speaking. Leon is still a nameless sucker for Ada, and Claire will always turn into a surrogate mother for little Sherry Birkin. Capcom preferred the approach of a master of ceremonies who adjusts here and there the duration of a sequence (the alligator scene was moreover rather savagely planed).
Ada Wong and Sherry Birkin both get a short sequence of play. Capcom
But if the publisher doesn’t turn the screenplay post-il of Resident Evil 2 into a masterpiece of literature, he shows a rare mastery to turn it into a masterpiece. Let’s say it right off the bat: Resident Evil 2 is one of the most technically impressive titles of this generation.
The RE Engine had already shown his docility in Resident Evil 7, and he is no less good in a third person play. Apart from a few feminine faces on the edge of theuncanny valley, the Capcom engine delivers a graphic universe that is impeccable in every aspect.
There are these light effects, first of all, which create parsimonious halos that almost reassure us with their yellowish glow. The reflection of street lamps on a rain-soaked and blood-soaked asphalt is a very strange subject for contemplation, and yet…
Resident Evil 2 is pretty damn good. Capcom
But what commands the most respect is still the modeling of the flesh. Or rather, their absence. Never before have zombies, no matter how ordinary, seemed so terrifying. A modeling care that is coupled with a constant unpredictability of movements that makes zombies, even more than the famous lickers, the most formidable enemies of Raccoon City.
Capcom knows it perfectly well, and so offers you the worst possible treatment for these infected people for whom you look like a Savoyard fondue after a day skiing. Thanks to perfect damage location, you are free to happily dismember your enemies. A solution sometimes more appropriate than a shot in the head, as zombies are really tough. It is not uncommon to have to put more than 8 balls in your opponent’s brain to nail him to the ground. Sometimes, luck will make you hear the sweet sound of a head exploding like the lid of a Tupperware that has been heated too long in the microwave after just one shot. Too rarely for the sake of your ammunition supply.
The location of the damage encourages creative disfigurement. Capcom
Because of the survival horror, Resident Evil 2 honors the two components of the genre. As is customary in the saga, ammunition is scarce. A fortiori on your first run where, like a teenager on his first boom, he doesn’t really know how to do it. With Capcom’s unparalleled ability to combine cutting-edge technology with archaic gameplay mechanics, you’ll need to organize your inventory, store the powders and plants needed for ammunition and healing, and remember to save in the (many) safe places where zombies can’t get in. Of course for the more masochistic: Hardcore mode only allows you to save in exchange for an ink ribbon.
Some see it as heresy to carry the camera on the shoulder when the game was designed for unchangeable viewing angles. Let these same people have no doubt that Resident Evil 2 still fulfils its horrific function perfectly. Thanks to a flamboyant artistic direction, and a devastating sound design , never leaves theplayer. Even better: gambling penalizes the unwary. Anyone who, tired of visiting the same room again in search of a clue that might have escaped him, starts running like a madman, has every chance of running into a new enemy with losses and hassle.
Don’t neglect to use the boards to caulk the windows of the police station. Capcom
That’s the strength of this remake of Resident Evil 2. Even if we catch a glimpse of the mechanics… Even if the horrible tensors appear to be sewn with white thread after several hours of play, there is still a doubt that makes us walk rather than run. Scanning a new room from floor to ceiling in search of a licker that would have taken up residence there. Listening, hoping not to hear the Tyrant’s heavy footsteps.
Update on Secondary Weapons:
The functioning of the secondary weapons has greatly evolved with this remake of Resident Evil 2. First of all, the combat knife is now equipped with a durability gauge, which will force you to change it regularly. Then, the knife as well as the stun grenade and explosive grenade can be used to get out of a zombie’s grip and avoid being bitten.
Imposing, retro and above all unstoppable: the Tyrant (or Mr. X) won’t let you go out of his sight. Capcom
It will cross your path early in the game, and will rarely leave your side. Infected alpha missioned by Umbrella to reduce you to silence, this big dummy in odd gloves of leather will launch with you a macabre cat and mouse game within the police station of Raccoon City. World Champion of the Fairground Potato, this real Nemesis before its time will be heard by several pieces around, increasing the stress level of the player during its research. A stroke of genius, which reminded us of the best moments of Alien: Insulation.
The remake of Resident Evil 2 is everything we would have liked Resident Evil 5 and 6 to be. A game that doesn’t see the positioning of the camera on the shoulder as a pretext to become a cheap Hollywood cliché.
More frightening than terrifying, Resident Evil 2 shines by depriving us of that feeling of comfort that sometimes turned Resident Evil 7 into an ersatz of Doom. Here, ammunition is missing from start to finish, and it’s not uncommon to be chewed by a totally random zombie while his shotgun is upgraded to the maximum.
Sublimated by a decidedly amazing RE Engine, this remake dust off a monument of video game history with infinite respect and adapts it to today’s codes.
A success on all levels, which strangely makes us hope that more remake of this hardener will fill our shelves in the coming years. Have we grown old?
+ Constant discomfort
+ A real visual slap
+ Perfect sound design
+ Great replayability…
– End of the main scenarios still as expeditious as ever
– Fewer script changes than expected
– … if you like to go down the same paths
Test performed on Xbox One X from a version provided by the publisher