We finally got it. After 20 years, E3’s Playstation press conference flashed us with a long awaited title. As a lifelong fan of Resident Evil, I couldn’t miss this opportunity to write about the newest addition to the franchise’s legacy, the showcased Remake of the legendary Resident Evil 2. Back in August of 2015, Capcom announced a remake of this title after years of listening to fans requesting that they continue their remakes of the older RE titles. Following the remake of the original RE, which kept breaking sales records, Capcom finally approved the beloved 2 to be reimagined. And lo and behold – it is finally here! We even got a release date – 19th January 2019!
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi is the lead developer on this one, and while you may not know the name, you should know that he worked on several RE games before, and that this isn’t the first project on which he is in the producer seat. He is also, apparently, discussing creative stuff with the lead of the original RE2, Hideki Kamiya. And, while the legendary Shinji Mikami was the director, Kamiya was the one who pulled through RE2 even with Mikami’s constant arguments.
Now, I am not too keen on remakes or remasters in general, but there is a time when it can be done right, and Capcom has showed that all the way back in 2002 when they remade the original RE. The remake was done so that the gameplay was revised and felt tighter, the graphics got a complete overhaul, from the character models to all of the backgrounds. The atmosphere was untouched, and I can comfortably say, even better. It all looked like the original, and had just about the right amount of new elements to make it fresh. And that is what a remake should do.
So, what did we get with this second remake? Did Capcom deliver yet again through their R&D Division 1? From what we have seen in the demo – the answer is definitely ‘yes’. Let’s break it all down after you see the reveal trailer:
First things first, let’s talk a bit about the original Resident Evil 2 that came out in 1998. It was a sequel to the game that practically made the survival horror genre and generated a huge following. Capcom had to be careful because they did not have many games back then, so they wanted to make RE2 as best as they could. After getting to 60-80%, the initial version was scrapped (now called RE 1.5 by the fans). The final game got released to critical acclaim and was featured as one of the Best games ever made in many famous lists of that time. It had a very interesting way of presentation and gameplay. Namely, the two protagonists, Leon and Claire, had different scenarios (whereas in the first game Chris and Jill had almost the same story arc; you just had to choose your character). But depending on which character you chose first, the game would change for the latter character. For example, you could pick Claire to play the A scenario with her and you would have Leon B, which would complete the story. However, if you had chosen Leon for A, both scenarios would be different. So, basically, you would have four games in one. Not to mention all the additional modes like the 4th Survivor or the Extreme Battle. All this is what made RE2 sell over a million copies on Playstation alone.
The remake brings lots of changes, but goes back to being the true survival horror, according to the developers. While the original RE2 had the fixed camera system (a feature that was greeted by the remake of the first title), we will have an over-the-shoulder view in the remake. This initially had some fans worried that the series would take a more action route, just like Resident Evils 4,5 and 6 did, but after seeing the demo of the game and watching the developers and gamers alike playing the game for about ~15 minutes, everyone can rest assured – this remake intends to remain true to the survival horror roots.
The RPG is dark, filled with zombies who are deadly (especially since you have very limited ammo) once again, and Leon is once again a rookie cop and not a ninja he later seemingly became. The whole gameplay looks the most like Resident Evil Revelations, if you ask me. The tension is slowly built, and you can easily panic and miss enemies who are basically right in front of you, which is great with this kind of camera. I hope that the puzzles are back, because the locked doors (gating the player) are just about the same as they used to be. You have to find a key or a way to surmount a blockade or a locked door, which reminds a bit of adventure games and even metroidvania style games.
The devs also commented on how the map will be more open to the player, encouraging slight exploration. This means that the game won’t be as linear as it used to be, which is great if done right. The areas are all very familiar, yet riddled with lots of new elements (and a different camera perspective gives us that different feeling from the original). Another gameplay feature that is important to note is the use of a flashlight. In the old titles, RE’s lightning was very limited, and no matter how dark the game got, most of the areas were basically brightly lit. Now, with the evolution of hardware and software, we can get the RE experience even more deserving of the nature of the game. While not every hallway in the game is dark, of course (that would be just boring), we will have certain corridors with no lighting whatsoever, and will have to rely on our flashlight, which adds to the suspense and the visuals.
All in all, you can tell that I am very excited about this and cannot wait for January. How about you?