Resident Evil 2 Remake Won't Tarnish Your Precious Memories of the Original

Resident Evil 2 Remake Won't Tarnish Your Precious Memories of the Original

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Richard Walker

Resident Evil 2 stands as one of the greatest survival horror games of all time. Upon its original release back in 1998, it kicked the series into high gear with multiple narratives and two characters whose experiences are entwined. Building upon the first Resident Evil in new and exciting ways, it went bigger and better with everything. It's a hallowed example in the survival horror genre that shouldn't be messed with too much, lest it lose something in the process. Or so we thought.

While the smart money was on Capcom repeating what it did with the first Resident Evil remake, those expectations were confounded when the Resident Evil 2 remake was revealed during E3 earlier this year. We thought the more modern third-person approach was ill-conceived, pandering to a new audience that's never played the original, and while that's partly true, we couldn't have been more wrong.

Our first hands-on with Claire Redfield in Resident Evil 2 doubly confirms that Capcom is on to something special, going way above and beyond what you'd normally expect from a remake. Essentially, it's a whole new game, albeit a familiar one, our demo taking place some time into the game, as a horribly mutated William Birkin loses the last shreds of his humanity to the G-virus and seeks to squash Claire's head.

The level of grisly detail on show during this encounter is truly startling, while Claire's first meeting with young Sherry Birkin recalls the relationship between Ripley and Newt in Aliens. Capcom has previously acknowledged this as inspiration, of course, and it's plain to see the influence. How the connection will develop during Resident Evil 2's unfolding nightmare will be interesting to see, but based on what we've seen, the tone and style Capcom is shooting for is very promising. You can jettison any and all concerns that this new take on RE2 might tarnish those original memories.

Controls are nice and tight too, the interface (which also now shows the state of your health in-game when it's reaching dangerous levels) and quality of the visuals bringing it in line with Resident Evil 7. It's yet another sure sign that Capcom is continuing to steer Resident Evil back in the right direction, the increased depth on show in the crafting mechanics and cinematic style during some of the tense cut-scenes.

Indeed, the encounter with Birkin itself is horribly claustrophobic and panic-inducing, while events preceding that particular confrontation showcase some gruesome nastiness. Like Leon attempting to drag a trapped cop to safety in the original demo, only for his bisected torso to come off in your hands, dangling intestines and all. The Cronenbergian body horror is strong in this one, not least in Birkin's pulsating, infected flesh.

As for that aforementioned crafting, it plays to the old Resident Evil inventory management, black and white gunpowders able to be combined to create acid rounds for Claire's grenade launcher. While accessing your inventory still pauses the game, you're no longer able to combine ammo and gun for a sneaky reload anymore. Reloading a weapon happens in-game without exception, so you'll need to find a good time to painstakingly slot bullets back into the chamber. Not great when you've a bellowing, pipe-wielding madman with a giant orange eyeball embedded in his shoulder hunting you down.

Resident Evil 2 has all of the right ingredients required for a truly great remake, one that remains true to the original experience, while playing with your expectations, throwing terrifying curve balls to keep even those who think they know the 1998 classic inside-out on their toes. If you think you know this Resident Evil 2, think again.

Resident Evil 2 is out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 25th January 2019.

Comments
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  • Jeez, I seriously cannot wait to get this pre-ordered and everything already, that deluxe just for the original music, love every bit of it.
  • Making it play like RE4 will absolutely tarnish my precious memories of the original. More than that, I´m starting to hate RE2.
  • Resi 2 was my first horror game this sounds and looks amazing. Seriously considering grabbing this now
  • for people wanting full on original yea it's already tarnish by making it like resident evil 4 , 5 , 6 yet i kinda like it this way as well so bottom line is they should add super classic mode and current mode classic - stiff slow movement current - resident evil 4 movement / etc not gonna lie i hate it when they make remake's beautiful but then screw it all up by making it a totally different then the original ( gameplay wise )
  • Well, shes definitely not as cute as I imagine she be, my memories of her from oldschool had def. been tarnished now.
  • If I remember didn't you start as Claire first then Leon for the what story experience
  • @6 it depends what Disc you played first, Disc 1 was Leon, Disc 2 was Claire
  • Reading these comments tarnished my tarnishing of being tarnished from remakes. But I’m going to buy this game anyway, and tarnish my lungs with happy.
  • This looks cool...you guys have tarnished the word tarnish for me dag nab it!
  • @1 you know the OG music won't be playing like it did in the past.
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