Resident Evil 2, the review

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Aina Martin
@ainamartin
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Resident Evil 2 it's a remake extraordinary, in many ways a fascinating case study. Obviously, it was not easy to deal with the power of memories and the nostalgia of those who in 1998 lived that experience in an intense and engaging way, but apparently the developers of Capcom they do not disdain challenges and on the contrary face them openly, without fear, aware of their own abilities. The precedents were well known, after all: two years ago Resident Evil 7 biohazard demonstrated how it was possible to revolutionize a franchise so popular and rooted in the collective imagination, without actually doing it: the first-person view and the passive phases had misled many players, but represented only one piece of the puzzle for a production that was it turned out to be more like classic episodes than it first appeared. In the case of Resident Evil 2, however, the operation was even more complex and suggestive. The task was in fact to transport the historic chapter to the present day, completely redesigning its aesthetics and adopting a series of expedients that could somehow preserve that iconic mix of gameplay woody and tension, without giving users an action with slow and angular connotations. Mission accomplished?



Plot and gameplay

The opening sequences of Resient Evil 2 are probably those that most distance themselves from the original, trying to bring the Capcom remake to the Olympus of cinematic experiences that are the most popular among triple A productions. It's all very engaging: the preamble with the distracted truck driver, the harbinger of a disaster about to hit Raccoon City, the arrival of Leon Kennedy for his first day on duty at the police department and the shadow of something wrong already a few kilometers from the city center, at a gas station. The two protagonists meet by chance and decide to continue together to try to understand what is happening, but immediately after the fate divides them and they face the nightmare alone.



As you probably already know, the game actually includes four variations of the single player campaign, with the possibility of playing the role of Leon o Clear and witness the events from their point of view, but also appreciate the many small (and less small) differences that make each playthrough noteworthy. By completing the campaign with Leon we will be able to unlock the alternate and parallel story with Claire and vice versa, obtaining the real ending and experiencing a duration of the experience that is around twenty hours for each double playthrough, as anticipated several times. In fact, it happens that for the first run you need between eight and nine hours at the intermediate difficulty level, while the following ones become shorter basically because you already have an idea of ​​what to do and where to go, ergo the dead times are reduced. .

However, it is appropriate to specify how Resident Evil 2 remained in its soul a title from 1998, when the average degree of challenge was substantially higher than current standards and the developers did not bother to insert a lot of backtracking, even ruthless (like: I miraculously survived the path to get some items, I have no more ammunition but I realize that I have to go back to the opposite side of the map because I forgot something), since this generally did not translate in a lower grade average. In short, the frustration of some sequences has remained intact, vivid, underlining how times have changed. Of course, from this point of view the authors have fortunately refrained from excessive malice. True, the zombie they take a lifetime to die even when we hit them in the head and the knife has turned into an instrument subject to Wear, to be replaced from time to time if you are lucky enough to find another one, taking away the certainty of always remaining with a weapon in your hands.



At the same time, however, in the boss fight ammo magically appears on the map the still unexplored rooms and the objects present are clearly indicated, in line with the latest episodes of the series, and finally the inventory marks the things that have exhausted their usefulness, so that they can be discarded. This last function can be traumatic if it is used for limited space requirements, given that an object eliminated is lost forever and not left on the ground, but luckily with some improvement in the backpack the situation becomes more tolerable. Speaking of inventory and capacity, the game has also modernized the save system, which is activated at the iconic typewriters, but does not require the infamous ink ribbons. As in the original, in the remake of Resident Evil 2 the Raccoon City police station is the undoubted protagonist of the adventure: it is an ancient building, with a dark past, full of secrets to discover and dark corridors to go through while keeping a stake. the flashlight, hoping that the unmistakable cries of a zombie (or, worse, the heavy footsteps of you-know-who) don't come around the corner.

There are completely new locations of which we do not want to anticipate anything, but in general the game retraces and revisits the 1998 chapter changing approach, style and direction in order to connect the various needs and mix them in a solution that turns out to be surprising. In fact, we were talking about the gameplay at the same time old and new: drawing great inspiration from the evolution that the franchise has experienced with Resident Evil 4, Leon and Claire can move by managing the view freely, with a camera from behind their backs that takes advantage of every good opportunity to artificially shorten the distances to a possible target, thus creating a sense of constant tension. The aiming system also contributes to this, which only gains precision when the weapon is stationary and does not lend itself well to close combat, in which a large amount of precious ammunition is wasted. Also thanks to the zombies and their unexpected, staggering, now slow and now faster and more nervous pace: a very convincing approach, which makes headshots more complicated than you think.



The management of the knife seemed to us instead linked to tradition, but all secondary weapons (therefore also grenades) can be exploited during special quick time event to ward off (or eliminate) an enemy after he has grabbed us, so as not to lose vital energy. Once you run out of ammunition, however, it becomes hard: you always find yourself fleeing, without any offensive possibility, and this situation can also last for some time; at least until you change scenario and we move on to the second half of the campaign, certainly less intense in terms of atmospheres and enemies, in its way more science fiction. We were worried that Capcom would not be able to legitimize these so peculiar phases of the adventure and instead the smudges, even from the point of view of the characterization of the characters, seemed to us really negligible.

The same can be said for enemies: zombies are certainly the most characteristic and gruesome ones, but there is no shortage of very dangerous ones. licker and other mutant creatures as frightening as they are deadly. There has been a general thinning out of some categories, they have been eliminated birds e giant spiders, but i dogs they remained and unfortunately their video rendering is not the best. The boss fights undoubtedly draw inspiration from those of the original Resident Evil 2, but they too have been revolutionized, resulting fairly challenging and engaging. Finally, a few words for the other playable characters besides Leon and Claire, protagonists of short but very interesting sections, ranging in stealth classic, harking back to some of the more recent horror productions, or introducing enjoyable puzzle mechanics.

The assisted mode

If you are playing at the intermediate challenge level and you happen to run into a sequence of game over (starting from the last save made or, in the case of the boss fight, just before the encounter with the enemy), Resident Evil 2 will propose to switch to the so-called assisted mode. This is the classic change of difficulty found in many games, which makes enemies less resistant, increases the resources around, activates the semi-automatic aim and even offers the gradual restoration of life energy. In the Capcom remake, however, this feature takes on different connotations: firstly because once chosen it is not possible to go back and the performance is "stained" in the final report; secondly because, in fact, it adapts the degree of challenge of the game to current standards.

PlayStation 4 Trophies

Resident Evil 2's forty-two Trophies are mostly related to performing mandatory actions throughout the campaign, such as entering the police station for the first time, combining two inventory items, or completing sections with alternate characters . After that there are many achievements that should instead be looked for a bit and that revolve around factors such as the collection of collectibles, spectacular kills (put a grenade in the mouth of a zombie and then blow it up by hitting it with the gun) and the performance in the speedrunning optics.

Structure and technical realization

We have already talked about it but it is appropriate to return to the question for a second: the four campaigns of Resident Evil 2 have differences (mostly narrative) that justify the time required to complete them all, changing the presence of objects and modifying some of the puzzles , but offer scenarios that are mostly identical and therefore already memorized. This type of solution inevitably affects the involvement, because it is clear that from the second run onwards you are not caught by the same tension in patrolling certain areas of the map, and at the same time it is possible to complete some phases more quickly because you already knows. That said, each completion is rewarded with interesting extra content, ranging from alternative costumes for the protagonists to real additional modes, in particular The 4th Survivor: it is a survival mode in which, under the command of an Umbrella soldier, Hunk, we will have to try to carry out the reverse path on the map and eliminate a huge amount of enemies despite having limited equipment available. The offer will also be further enriched in the future, see the announcement of the free mode The Ghost Survivors.

In short, we are talking about a fairly substantial product, which will keep you busy for several hours, tickling your interest in a way that is directly proportional to the attachment to the brand. On the other hand, the evaluation of an excellent technical sector, which compared to the 1-shot demo, seems to have paid more attention to the details and quality of certain assets, almost always avoiding showing the side to close-ups of textures in low definition. There are a lot of reflective surfaces in Resident Evil 2, and the RE Engine manages them very well, apart from some artifacts on the walls of the station and the use of a lower resolution for this type of effect, which however must be taken into account. . Very sophisticated solutions have also been used for a better rendering of gore, and it is therefore no coincidence that the torn innards or exposed muscle tissues shine under the light of our torch.

The realization of the scenarios is excellent, with a peak here too in the first half of the campaign and the introduction of decidedly more generic assets in the second part, but the qualitative average remains very high and finds its best expression in the polygonal models, whether it is of the protagonists or zombies, equipped with a particularly rich set of animations, capable of returning different and credible reactions depending on the blow suffered and the damaged body part. The sector sonoro it is also very valid, with a design that exploits in a surprising way thebinaural audio to divide even more clearly the noises in the stereo or surround panorama and thus communicate to us which side certain sounds are coming from. We found the dubbing in Spanish excellent, generally well interpreted, with very few shortcomings: a very welcome extra.

Comment

Tested version PlayStation 4 Price 62,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

9.0

Readers (263)

9.0

Your vote

Resident Evil 2 is an excellent remake, capable of respecting the original work but at the same time reinventing it, adopting intelligent and effective solutions in order to reproduce the peculiar mix of controls and tension that made the survival horror trend famous at the end of the years' 90. Protagonists of alternative campaigns to be played, Leon and Claire do not move like tanks, of course, but their freedom of action is limited by gimmicks that make it far from trivial to land blows to the head, or to wriggle when an enemy is nearby. Also thanks to the excellent animations and a technical sector that makes use of the experience made with Resident Evil 7 biohazard, further improving and delivering a product that can put everyone in agreement.

PRO

  • A reinterpretation of class
  • Classic yet modern gameplay
  • Technically spectacular
AGAINST
  • The tension subsides after the first run
  • Second part of the less brilliant campaign
  • He can be ruthless and frustrating
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