Okay, so you’re probably wondering why you’re hearing from me so late with this. Well…...I got a lot goin on right now, so you’ll just have to forgive me being late to the party on this one.
Let me get this out of the way. By all stretch of the term, you can consider me a complete and total fanboy of the Resident Evil series. I’m the type that accepts all of the good with the bad. I love the atmosphere of several of the earlier titles equally to the over-the-top nature of many of the later entries starting with RE4, though for different reasons. I’m not blind to the various writing issues, inconsistencies, and overall shift in focus from one end of the spectrum to the other. I’m just someone that recognizes why things turned out the way they did and just enjoys the ride the whole way through.
Why did I go through that? That’s probably what you’re asking yourself if you’re even still reading this, so let me get to the point. I Want the next couple of paragraphs to have the context of one thing, that being that I love this game, and that I want it to do very well. Make no mistake, I don’t just love this game because it’s the newest title in my favorite series. After giving it a couple play-throughs, and waiting for the free DLC update, I can easily put this near the top of my list of top tier experiences the series has given me. So let me go through the good, the bad, and the ugly for ya. Just don’t expect me to really dive deep into plot/story beats, cause that’s just not my style. I’m just here to tell you what I like and didn’t like.
I’ll start with my biggest complaint. Reason being that it’s a very minor complaint when stacked to everything else this game does well. The ugliest part of RE2 Remake is that at very particular points of corresponding main runs and 2nd runs, the story completely contradicts itself on how your main characters actually get to where they need to get. Without trying to spoil anything, there’s a very specific segment of the game in which both main characters in both 1st and 2nd runs of the game face off against the same boss, under the same circumstances, and involve the death of the same specific character. It happens a couple times with 2 other bosses, but those encounters were fairly ambiguous with how things happen that you can ignore the contradictions in environment that the first few encounters create. This particular case however towards the end of the game sets up a string of events that, while unique to each character, make it impossible for any of the four story play-throughs to truly be canon with each other. The original had this problem too, though mostly in the case of both characters having to solve the same puzzles despite going through the main areas at separate intervals. The difference is that the original, 1st and 2nd play-throughs (referred to as A and B scenarios) had unique boss and story encounters that mostly stuck to the particular canon set up in the pairing, though it wasn’t always perfect. This is really the only major down point I find with the overall experience of the game, and I only really feel this way because it limited the writing team to only really crafting two separate stories, but not crafting a different scenario to allow for the 1st and 2nd run to flow better as though both scenarios were actually happening at the same time. Which is a shame, because taking each separate run on its own, the story presented here is leaps and bounds above anything the series has given us in regards to modern zombie tales.
The atmosphere here is just the right amount of nostalgic 90’s cheese with modern stylistic and oppressive darkness to match the surface level fear one probably would face when confronted with unstoppable, unkillable monsters. And the sound design when walking through the main areas of the game are impressively used. The sheer fact that I, as a player, can effectively use the sound to hear what's around the corner and plan my moves specifically, as well as the fact that enemies also react to the sounds you make is one of the greatest feats RE2 Remake pulls off. All of this is capped off with the way Mr. X is handled. In previous games, he was a mini-boss that would show up frequently, and would drop rewards if you were able to drop him. Many experienced players found a lot of easy and effective ways to put him down with minimal resources, so his effectiveness as a monster was a bit suspect. Here, there is no reward, because until the end of one of the characters campaigns, you can’t actually put him down for longer than 5 seconds. Not only that, but once he makes his appearance, he will stalk you through a large chunk of the game until you reach a very specific point of each campaign. Which goes back to the use of sound I mentioned earlier. You see, Mr. X actually tracks you down by how active you are. Running, fighting, and even getting attacked too often makes it easier for Mr. X to run you down and bust through most of the doors in the game to give you the Killer Bee special. That being said, you can use sound to your advantage as well. Pro tip, the quieter it is, the further away he is. As soon as you start hearing his theme at a low hum, you’ll know he is only a few rooms away from you. This kind of planning is very reminiscent of the old school Resident Evils, but this mechanic alone feels fresh and modern as you are forced to adjust your speed of play as well as your item and health management. I honestly can’t get enough of this.
Finally, let’s talk about extras. And surprise, Capcom delivered on what old school Resident Evil is all about. Extra fun modes that challenge how you play by remixing all of the rules of engagement. Out of the box you can unlock the 4th survivor and tofu survivor. Both of which are basically the hard, and extreme modes of the games mechanics. In both you are given a task to get from point A to point B, but you only have a set number of items. That being said, both modes also ratchet up the numbers of enemies, all in an effort to make your trip one into a literal hell. Just know, ya boy here is still a POS and I haven’t actually beaten either of these modes yet, but I will someday. Then if you downloaded the free DLC update, you also got a bunch of side “What-If?” scenarios that, while not quite as difficult, do add variety by mixing in new enemy types that change up the strategy you employ. You can also unlock hats and accessories, and honestly, I can’t really argue with that. It’s fun and goofy, and it’s trademark Resident Evil at this point.
I could go on and on, but it should be perfectly clear that I think this game is worth every penny. Outside of the one down point story wise, I can tell this game was made with love and reverence to the series. It stands as a perfect update to the classic and can even stand to be an entry point for anyone new to the series and don’t want to play the 90’s classic version. I recommend it full heartedly for both fans of Resident Evil, and for those wanting to step their toes into the survival horror genre. Just know, that this game is fairly difficult and will require some proper planning and adaptation on your part as a player to complete, but keep at it and you’ll pull through just fine.
I’m signing off, and next time…..I’ll probably talk about another fighting game. Hasta!