Resident Evil 2 Remake Unveiled at E3 and It's Bloody Fantastic
The Neighborhood Has Gone To Hell
Since its first tease in 2015, fans thought we would never see the glorious remake of Resident Evil 2 that had even been rumored to be cancelled, but the faithful never gave up hope and that reveal trailer at E3 last week...chills.
I have been a rabid fan of the zombie franchise since playing and replaying all the early games on every system that they had been ported to, although sitting in the dark in my family's living room after everyone had gone to bed and playing the original trio of Resident Evil games at about 2 am on a Saturday morning with the volume cranked to hear all the ambient sounds in the games was the highlight of my childhood. Nothing was more frightening than an off screen shuffle of zombie feet, or by the time I worked my way up to Nemesis that husky whisper of "S.T.A.R.S." to scare the living hell out of you.
Resident Evil 2 Remake has come to join the improved works like Resident Evil 0, and Resident Evil on PlayStation 4, and will probably be one of the last great horror games book ending the life cycle of the PS4.
Where 0 and Resident Evil improved upon the game play adding and changing around puzzles to keep it interesting for those of us that knew the map of the Spencer Mansion in our sleep, 2 Remake has gone a step further not just upping the graphics by using the RE Engine used to make the beautiful southern Hellscape that was Resident Evil 7, but made the decision to go back to the over the shoulder camera angle of Resident Evil 4, which worried a lot of fans, but from the reviews pouring in from E3, with modern controls, over the shoulder works perfectly and adds more suspense when Leon or Claire is grabbed from behind.
Using the RE Engine made for the Resident Evil 7 game, new life comes to the bloody streets of Raccoon City in Resident Evil 2 Remake. Where 1998 had left us with tanky controls and a palette of blood that seemed too red, and the best pixelated gore your brain could dream up, the Re Engine really gives a sheen to the bloodiest of corpses.
First Day On The Job
Arriving for his first day on the job after beginning his employment a week late due to the outbreak in Raccoon City, starting in the Arklay Mountains in Resident Evil 0 and taking place through the events of the S.T.A.R.S. team in Resident Evil, Leon arrives to find the streets are filled with the living dead.
Through the wreckage and carnage, he is able to arrive at the police station, saving a college student looking for her brother, former S.T.A.R.S. member, Chris Redfield, missing since the events at the Spencer Mansion.
Following the same narrative from the first game from what we have been told, the campaigns will play similar with a player being either Leon or Claire and with the objective of finding any survivors still holed up in the police station, solving the puzzles to escape, and staying alive in the process. Claire's objective also includes protecting a young girl from the mysterious monster Mr. X, that seems to be trying to kill her.
If it stays true to the original, unlike Resident Evil where Jill had the easier time with being able to use the lockpick, be given various items from the start, and being able to hold more inventory slots, Claire actually has the harder campaign and with the escort mission- especially with the over the shoulder mechanics.
Shown in the playable demo for E3 from Leon's mission, over the shoulder can be quite creepy when you hear something behind you that manages to grab at Leon before he can do a full rotation.
Defiantly as heart pounding as trying to do a dodge maneuver with tank controls.
Everything you love about Resident Evil 2 is still here from the finest details we see in the police station from puzzles, memos, and ammo locations. Visually it looks so much like Resident Evil 7, its hard to believe we played this game in its blocky pixels in the 90's.
The Rookie VS The College Student
Seeing only Leon's trailer, we know that he has been updated to look remarkably like a mix of the goofy Leon we see in his first appearance in Resident Evil 2 and later the fan favorite of the female gamers that swoon for the later Leon with his long hair falling into his beautiful eyes, and that goofy grin that falls over his face when he's about to be taken advantage of again and again by Ada Wong.
We know that Leon has an updated costume as well, keeping rather close to the cool blue uniform that he wore in the original game, although it really makes one wonder if there is an official Raccoon PD uniform as the street cops, Leon, and the S.T.A.R.S. and Bravo teams all had different attire in games.
Claire who has not been shown yet is expected to have something updated but similar to her pink jacket and shorts look that she sports in her first appearance with her long ponytail swinging behind her. While Claire's clothing has gotten better with age, her signature red ponytail always remains in every game appearance from side games like Code Veronica, and Resident Evil Revelations 2.
Without a doubt there will be a remake of Resident Evil Nemesis but it makes you wonder since the two games overlap a great deal in the time frame if there will be any added in content or DLC that will start the "meanwhile" when Jill was searching the streets for a way out of Raccoon City before it was bombed off the map.
Also rumored to have an additional quest involving Ada Wong, Resident Evil 2 Remake is doing everything just right.
With an additional quest involving Ada Wong and her contribution to Resident Evil 2, it makes one wonder if there will be any overlap into the content of Nemesis, that will surely be remade eventually. With the two games condescending in the same time frame, will Leon and Claire get glimpses of Jill rushing around the city before the implosion?
The Police Station
While the zombies look incredible, and I can't wait to get my gun on them in the streets of Raccoon City, lets take a moment to talk about how well the RE Engine gave new life to the police station glistening under the crumbling city.
The sheen on the polished wood and the floors is enough to really credit the power of the new engine.
With similar looks and some mechanics that come from Resident Evil 7 like the looks of maps, inventory slots, and the arrows or X's that are pop up with items that Leon can interact with, it very much feels like a continuation of 7 for those that are familiar with the mechanics only with the over the shoulder perspective.
To be fair, there will be there share of people that don't like how over the shoulder will control in the narrow hallways and the sharp turns into new rooms of the police station- which added to scare in the original game when tight turns, forced camera angles, and tank controls made those hands shooting out between boarded up windows terrifying. From what I have seen in reviews, the over the shoulder only adds to the scare factor and makes the player feel Leon's reaction when he gets grabbed from an enemy behind him.
The layout of the police station seems to be exactly the same from what is show from the the maps, although it doesn't venture upstairs into the Goddess puzzle, or the S.T.A.R.S. room to raid the desks of familiar names to the franchise.
Assuming there is an updated feel to the puzzles just as there was with Resident Evil Remake, 2 Remake seems to have great potential.
PlayStation Resident Evil 2 for comparison
What Remains Of Raccoon City
While Nemesis takes place nearly on the same time line as Leon and Claire's adventures, there is little overlap in the earlier games other than a sign that someone has already been there, so will we see glimpses of Jill fighting Nemesis to kick off the reveal of a third remake game?
While both games are very similar, Jill spends her time more outside roaming between several locations in the city to try to get to the train to get out of Raccoon City after meeting up with some mercenaries that were dispatched by Umbrella Corporation.
Not realizing what they are in for, they work together to make the best of the situation.
Jill is pursued by Nemesis, a creation that was part of the tyrant series, with a completely different back story in the movies, if you pay attention to that which is non game cannon. Because Nemesis only is after S.T.A.R.S. members, Leon nor Claire will ever be a target, but one can dream for a little cameo right?
Similar with Nemesis, is Claire's Mr. X issue, a monster that only wants to get at her charge- a later reveal that she is the daughter of Umbrella scientists and that her father had been transformed into the hideous monster.
What Ada's section of the game entails and if it takes place in other locations of Raccoon City is yet to be seen, but it would be interesting to see Ada setting up her next blackmail and covering her tracks from the previous evils she has ensued in the first game.
I hope for exterior shots of a grittier Raccoon City, the one I imagined when I played those earlier games and wished for gaming pixels and frame rates to catch up to what I could imagine a place like Raccoon City would look like after weeks of infection and most of the population turned.
Resident Evil 2 Remake is slated for January 25, 2019, near the anniversary of the original game series. What consoles the game will be available for is yet to be announced.