Resident Evil 2 on the original PlayStation is one of my favourite games on the platform. Not only did it introduce me to the franchise, but it was the start of my love affair with survival horror. Unfortunately, over the years my love for the franchise fizzled out due to the action oriented direction the series head in. Regardless, Resident Evil 2 remained one of my all time favourite and nostalgic games, so you can imagine my excitement when Capcom announced a re-imagining of the original.
But, I was skeptical. The last couple of years I’ve come to the stark realization that some things aren’t as good as you remember. Movies, series and games especially were limited by the technology available in the era. The only reason we remember it as being good, is because we didn’t know better. Was Resident Evil 2 only scary because of the (terrible) tank controls and fixed camera? Some people tend to think so, and based on this logic (and the track record of some previous installments in the Resident Evil franchise) Resident Evil 2 was never going to live up to my expectations.
Boy, was I wrong. After playing through the 30 glorious minutes of the One Shot trailer, I was astounded that Capcom managed to capture the essence of the original. It felt like I was playing a modern re-imagining of the classic. The tank controls and the loading screens disguised as “opening door”-animations are nowhere to be found, but the game still feels like a classic Resident Evil title. It seems slightly more action oriented than the original, but the survival horror is definitely present.
A lot of modern survival horror games rely on dark corridors, a flashlight with depleting battery and jump scares to create the illusion of survival horror. Resident Evil 2 still has some of these elements, but it is well executed. The flashlight actually feels like a proper light, and illuminates a large portion of the viewing angle. Scares are aplenty and each zombie is unique. I might be mistaking, but I don’t recall seeing the same one twice. In fact, each zombie feels and looks like they were an actual living person at some point in their life.
One criticism, though: The zombies are way too hard to kill. This might be by design, but traditionally a single head-shot would’ve sufficed, but this time around it feels like I empty most of my magazine on the head of an undead (rhyme intended) and they keep coming back for more. Again, this might be by design to enhance the survival aspect, and coupled with a limited-use knife as melee weapon, you much rather try to conserve ammo and run away. Ammo conservation was always the aim of the game in older Resident Evil titles, but I still feel that a well placed head-shot should be rewarded.
With the release of Resident Evil 2 mere days away, I am more excited than ever. If you were on the fence about the title, give the One Shot demo a try. It is only 30 minutes and you can only try it once, but if this is anything to go by, Resident Evil fans are in for a real treat. Guess well have to see when the full game releases 25 January 2019 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.