My first remade game has put a smile on my face and strangely, there are minor annoyances that create…positive feelings in me! So confusing but let me explain this very personal journey of horror and sleep deprivation inside a half-decent game review…
Weekend Nightmares and Bloody Mondays
I was born 10 years after The Exorcist and a year before The Nightmare on Elm Street. So, even an apparently harmless trip to the video rental store exposed me to the graphic images and suggestive phrases of horror…now in colour!
We might say, it was all part of an incidental regime of freaky content that desensitized our generation to horror and…filth. TV rarely shocked or stirred emotion in me personally – I don’t remember a nightmare based on anything I’ve ever watched. My imagination really let me down!
Then there was playing the nightmare, in the form of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2. Hours longer than a movie, the pressure of completion without saving and updated graphics…like candy to the brain and all the time our TV was projecting bloody scenes into our minds.
There’s a point to my trip down a zombie-filled memory-lane. I’m not just reminiscing. What I’m about to reveal touches on issues like the effects of gaming, violence-inducing gaming and gaming addiction.
Even the desensitized teen-me, recognized the original Resident Evil as being something that could finally freak-me-out. One of my close friends felt exactly the same, so we set-about completing Resident Evil (original) multiple times, in the first weekend it was released. This kind of gaming session begun on Friday after School (we wasted no time between the bell ringing and putting the disk into the Playstation) and would be repeated when Resident Evil 2 was released. We didn’t even need to discuss it – I’m not even sure how the game made it’s a way to the Playstation. We just sort of, found ourselves watching the intro after School.
We smashed the play-times, got the perks (I remember a quad launcher or something) and on Sunday we finally slept. Those were the responsibility-free days that allowed us to consume any game. We didn’t scratch for satisfaction to rid an itch to play a great title like RE – we cut that itch out with a survival knife!
Resident Evil titles were shelved within a month. We didn’t dare try to re-capture the epicness of doing more all-nighters. We were able to move on, completely satisfied.
Don’t all gamers hope for that feeling?
I can’t speak for my friend, but I didn’t go to School quite the same the Monday after our sleep-deprived weekends surviving the mansion, then just two years later, a Police Station in Racoon City. My mind would be full of flashbacks and it made my day interesting.
But then on one occasion, in French, we were giving a set of playing cards. Do not ask me what it had to do with the lesson. All I remember is when my buddy sitting beside me turned the red of hearts over…I saw red!
Not as in anger, but actual red blood over the table. It was pooled and dripping off the end. It was vivid and the cause was plainly obvious. At that moment, I knew why and I took notice because it was disturbing. I was smart enough to know, that it wasn’t healthy. Turns out, I didn’t just shelf the discs for two fantastic games, I shelved the entire series and followed two decades of RE games development from a distance…
…until Resident Evil 2: Remake
Resident Evil 2 Short-Review
Capcom has managed to re-use a lot of what made the first two Resident Evil games so great. The ease of controls, the simplification of handling the environment and enemies. The pattern and nature of triggered events feel original in a good way i.e. the helicopter crash and how simplified it is but it achieves all it needs to.
Through Fussy-Player Glasses
Alongside my nostalgia and a wish that the remake maintained the original heart and soul of RE2. Is this nagging, experienced, modernised, fussy-gamer who has been spoiled by many years of innovation in gaming. Would it be fair to expect all of that within a title that is obviously trying to keep the old alive…even if a new generation just doesn’t get it!
Mere minutes into play, there was something missing and it was realized when a zombie got it’s decaying fingers on me. I was reminded of how simple the early titles were. The very moment that zombie easily got a good grip of me and sunk its teeth into my neck – I don’t remember the original being that simple or feeling this helpless.
Anticipating a friendly hint to which keys I needed to bash to get Mr Rotting off (preferably before the bite), not seeing any suggestions at all, I tried my own combo of keys and mouse presses – panic!
Like that first occasion, I would later find myself being bitten in the same place many times and could do very little about it…without a knife which we don’t always have handy and they break! The point I’m trying to make is that while trying to accept the continuation of old approaches I find myself saying things like, “Come on this is dumb!”
To top it off, there is no ability to crush a skull under the boot. This exciting animation offered in other games and a lack of self-defence techniques basically ensure that the player is constantly bitten or needs to use ammo. Luckily we like to hear all about the Umbrella Corporation and live for cut-scenes. Minor annoyances are forgotten because of the story-line.
Do you know that 5% of Resident Evil 2 buyers on Steam never made it to Racoon City Police Department?Tweet
Let’s say those fussy-player glasses were broken during the first hour of play. All is forgiven and we accept the game as is. I would need to point out that the latest title forces us to get up close to danger and puts us face-to-face with the undead. But it’s alright, it’s part of the design because it’s constant and first-aid consumables are found at a rate that maintains a level of pressure expected in a Resident Evil game.
This is Capcoms brilliance!
They added the fixed-camera-angle and with it, we can appreciate the game’s design far more than we could have with an outdated approach. Capcom also makes fantastic use of the camera by letting us see those gory bites, up close and that makes it feel very personal. Game-over looks nasty because we see our throats being ripped out – yeah!
Accept that frequent physical contact with dead Police officers is the exact experience Capcom designed and it gets a little less frustrating. I also found with well-placed shots, there as enough ammo to kill the targets that posed the greater risk.
The Future Came
The future really has come along since the original two games. We don’t even talk about the World Wide Web any more – it’s not cool!
What I did find cool was being able to Google when I got stuck. There I was looking all around the map and running from room to room trying to figure out the next piece of the bigger puzzle – the thing that opens another door (probably a key) that might be in a locker and the locker is…locked but the keypad is missing a key, where is the key?
I really got stuck and I decided that I wasn’t playing for the original experience which included a lot of that. I remembered how we ran about for 30 minutes really stuck during the first play-through, back when we needed to buy a copy of PlayStation games magazine to get a decent walkthrough and ended up using it once or maybe twice. So I thought, ‘We have YouTube for that now’ and it won’t cost £3.99 or a tree!
I’ve got kids now, I don’t have time to waste and so I’m glad I turned to Google. It felt really good because there is little to be gained by wearing holes in the RPD carpets, trying to find, in my case an “electronic-gadget” that was laying in the open. So much so I kept over-looking it.
My advice is to use the web, avoid being stuck too long and enjoy moving on in the story. Progress feels good and there is an additional play-mode to try and the challenges of completing it faster, better and on a higher difficulty. That said, I am trying hard not to have to do it again.
Prepare to be immersed in a key part of the Resident Evil story. The chapter that showed fans that the first RE wasn’t a fluke and Capcom was onto something huge! As the player of the remake, you have the opportunity to understand what we felt back in January 1988 when RE2 as published. The improved graphics, filled-gaps in the storyline, deeper characters, more immersive sounds. All those improvements will simply match the level of quality your senses are accustomed to when gaming, so that you can immerse yourself and experience the same world as the original RE2.
That world is Racoon City, where you will play the role of Leon Kennedy near the middle of the entire time-line. Months after the first outbreak in the Arklay Mountains and weeks away from the entire destruction of the city. You will play on a key part of the time-line, days after the breakout in Arklay County finally reaches the city. These events create the ultimate scenario for fans of a good old zombie-outbreak. In RE2 we might say goodbye to the modern open-world approach or the type of features seen in modern survival games but we say hello to a well-structured story-line that we play and witness through fantastic cut-scenes.
Capcom accomplished exactly what they set out to do with this remake. I didn’t feel the need to review the game as an original, the original reviews and evidence of an amazing game are years old. All we need is confirmation that the experience is worth every dollar and that players like me actually have something to gain from buying it.
It is a clear yes from me, hell I’ll gift it to people over the years. Resident Evil and RE2 are in my top 10 favourite 20th Century games. The remake has been added to my 21st-century list – it feels so right.