Resident Evil 2 is, and was, a fan favorite among Resident Evil fans. So much so that, when word came out that there was a fan remake being created on the Unreal Engine, fans tracked its progress every step of the way. However, Capcom eventually caught wind of the remake and shut it down, though, likely for good reason. Much unlike the shutdown of Nintendo remakes and fan projects, Capcom and the developers behind the fan remake, InvaderGames (now InvaderStudios) had a mutual understanding. Capcom already had plans to make Resident Evil 2, and InvaderStudios ended up working on other projects.
That was back in 2015.
Four years later, Capcom has delivered something that fans, including myself, are calling a great addition to the series and a great retelling of a series favorite.
For the new fans who started Resident Evil with 5 or 6, this is nothing like those games, even with the over the shoulder view. Instead, I'd argue that this remake is closer to Resident Evil 4 with Resident Evil 7 mechanics and gameplay. Unfortunately for those who entered the series with the more action-packed games, the approach that the developers are taking now is a return to Survival Horror the way we used to know it. With items hidden in various locations, monsters lurking and blocking your path and ultimately, a smattering of jump scares. The game is scary, it can be jarring, and sometimes you need to take a break from gasping or screaming or just yelling "What the hell?!"
The gameplay is again, a mixture of the old games: with hidden items, scary, nearly unpredictable monsters, and puzzles. And the new games: with over-the-shoulder camera angles, aiming to hit key areas on enemies, and some (but not much) action scenarios. New fans should be prepared to do more than run and gun.
The Resident Evil engine truly shines in this remake. The engine was introduced with Resident Evil 7, making all the enemies and NPCs and even your character, Ethan, seem almost too realistic for a Resident Evil game. And the same is still true for Resident Evil 2. Leon and Claire look almost too real, and you truly feel like you're right there with them going along with their respective paths. Of course, if you're squeamish at the sight of blood and gore, this game truly does make that feel realistic too.
Those old splash screens that warned players of blood and gore at the beginning of the game in the 90s would work well here.
In any case, it goes without saying that one of the factors that go into making this game the best possible, is the graphics. But what the RE Engine and developers have done well in recent games, also deals with the sound. Resident Evil 7 and 2 both come with this incredibly tense ambience. The walls and floors, and even the chandeliers, like to creak and crack and try to communicate with you, giving you the intense feeling of something always looming behind you, or following you.
And, technically, there is something following you, but I'll let you discover that for yourself, if you're new.
If you're part of the old guard, then you might already know about all the things Resident Evil 2 has in store for you, but maybe you're still skeptical.
Well, for all the reasons above, you should absolutely still pick up the game at some point and play it for yourself. In addition to that, however, perhaps you miss some of the nostalgia.
Well, I am here to tell you that it's still there. Although Raccoon City has changed, and the police station layout has changed, it is all still there. The characters are a little more robust. Ada, present in Leon's campaign, for example, feels more like what she is supposed to be (sorry, new fans, I'm trying not to spoil you!) She feels a little bit more like a real person, and a little bit more like a badass, to be honest. Sherry--and subsequently, Chief Irons--in Claire's campagin feel very different as well. Sherry, feeling more like the mischevious, yet unfortunate child that she is, and Chief Irons--well, let's just say that they really turned up the creep factor.
If you are a fan of the old games, however, you might feel that, even on Standard Mode, zombies feel a bit strong. That some zombies might be able to take an entire clip from your gun, and another zombie may fall over onto itself after just a few shots. It's kind of a drawback, but many feel that the game is trying to incentivize running or simply slowing down enemies, instead of destroying them completely. Especially when it comes to zombies. Whereas boss enemies seem to have a set amount of hit points, zombies seem varied. Similarly, zombies seem to do some intense amounts of damage, so you really do have to be more careful in this game than in nearly any other Resident Evil game to date. Again, perhaps a bit of a drawback, but perhaps makes for a more realistic game in some respects.
Although the stories of Leon and Claire are both great, and much is still the same from the 1998 counterpart, there is a feeling of overlap between them if you decide to play the game using the "New Game (2nd)" option. If you're a '98 fan, this is the same thing as playing "Claire A" and "Leon B". Though this time, there doesn't seem to be a right or wrong character to start with, as the outcomes for both characters are still the same. Though, some characters seem to show up in the campaign at the same time they would for the other character (I'm talking about Annette, if you're having trouble reading between the lines).
Ultimately, despite what truly little drawbacks it has, this Resident Evil game is a more than welcome addition to the series, and I truly hope that we see a Resident Evil 3 (and maybe Code: Veronica?) remake in the near future!
No "scores" with my reviews, just go play it and tell me if I was right to recommend it!