In 1998, the masters of horror games, Capcom gave the world the masterpiece that is Resident Evil 2. 21 years later, like the undead, they return and with them comes Resident Evil 2 remake and my word did they do a great job with this game. From the unrelenting hordes of zombies and other nightmarish creatures, to the dark and atmospheric hallways of the Raccoon City Police Department, Resident Evil 2 is genuinely one of the creepiest games I have ever played, and I have played a LOT of horror games.
Resident Evil 2 is set in the year 1998 and almost two months after the events of Resident Evil. Leon Kennedy is a rookie cop that is on his way to his first day as a Raccoon City police officer, but on the way he stops off at a gas station. While there he runs into his first enemy of the evening, chowing down on some good old cops. Leon deals with this threat and on his way out of the gas station he runs into college student, Claire Redfield. Claire is the sister of Chris Redfield, one of the main protagonists from the first Resident Evil.
Claire has come to Raccoon city to find her brother so shes tags along with Leon to see what is going on in Raccoon City. As they head into the city they realise that not all is well and they dead have come back to life to feast on the yummy innards of the living. After a car accident, Claire and Leon become separated, but they agree to meet at the Raccoon Police Department.
The game is played through from both Leon and Claire’s scenarios so I will briefly go into the story of each of them. Both have a lot of similarities, but some differences.
As Leon makes his way through the RPD he runs into a fellow cop named Lieutenant Marvin Branagh who was bitten earlier in the evening. Marvin explains to Leon what has been going on and gives him some missions to do but eventually perishes to his wounds. During all of this, Leon encounters more zombies, lickers, infected dogs and the now infamous tyrant, Mr. X. Leon is helped by a woman named Ada Wong, who explains that she is an FBI agent. While Leon is searching through the parking garage under the Raccoon Police Department he finds a man in a holding cell by the name of Ben Bertolucci. Ben explains that he is in the holding cell because the chief of police, a man named Brian Irons has put him in there for investigating a company called, Umbrella.
Umbrella, one of the most famous “evil” corporations in gaming history was a medicinal company that went into weapons development. Through this path they came up with the bio-weapon, T-Virus. Unfortunately the T-Virus is the thing that is turning Raccoon’s brightest into brain dead rotten corpses.
Back to Ben, Mr.X bursts through the cell wall and crushes Ben’s head. Leon escapes with Ada and they head to the sewers where they are encountered by a woman named Annette Birkin, wife of William Birkin, the creator of the T-Virus. Annette shoots at Ada, but Leon takes the shot for her. Leon and Ada agree to find a sample of another virus called the G-Virus to prove that Umbrella is corrupt.
Leon eventually catches up to Annette and finds a sample of the G-Virus in an underground secret lab called NEST. While in the lab, William Birkin appears as he did numerous times during the game. As I said, William was the creator of the virus, but Umbrella wanted him to hand the virus over. Umbrella sent in a crack team of special forces, lead by a man named Hunk to retrieve the virus. William refused to hand over his work and he was shot. In his final moments, Birkin injected himself with the G-Virus and mutated into a hideous monster.
Annette tries to stop William but she ends up fatally injured. Leon defeats William and while he is comforting Annette in her last moments, she tells Leon that Ada is actually a mercenary not an FBI agent. Annette tells Leon that Ada only wants the G-Virus so she can sell it. Leon runs into Ada who eventually confesses to all of this, but she still demands that Leon hand over the virus. Annette, who still isn’t dead yet shoots Ada in the shoulder and the bridge that Leon and Ada are standing on starts to collapse. When Leon goes to catch Ada, he drops the G-Virus into the abyss below along with Ada moments later.
After all of this Leon goes to escape from Raccoon city until Mr. X shows up in his final form. While on a lift going towards the train that will escape the city, Leon must battle the super tyrant. It is revealed that Ada didn’t actually die and she tosses Leon a missile launcher which he uses to finally and once and for all defeat Mr. X/Super tyrant. Leon makes it to the last train out of town and this is where he meets up with Claire and a child named Sherry Birkin.
Claire’s scenario plays out pretty much the same, having to go through the police station and what not at the beginning. Claire finds the child Sherry being chased by William as a monster. Down in the parking garage sequence where Leon means Ben Bertolucci, Claire runs into the chief of police Brian Irons. Irons kidnaps Sherry while pointing a gun at Claire and he brings Sherry to an abandoned orphanage. Irons rings Claire and tells her that Sherry has dropped a very important pendant and if Claire doesn’t retrieve it, then Irons will kill her. This is where you play Sherry, trying to sneak around and escape the orphanage yourself.
Irons eventually catches Sherry trying to escape but father of the year, William Birkin comes in and implants Irons with a G-Virus larva, saving Shelly. Claire eventually comes and rescues Sherry. Claire and Sherry attempt to escape, but who shows up? That’s right, Mr. X. Mr. X chases Sherry and Claire into an elevator but William Birkin puts his big meaty claw through Mr. X. This is where it is also revealed that William Birkin is Sherry’s father. William transforms again and charges the elevator knocking it down into the sewers and knocking Claire unconscious.
Claire wakes up to find Sherry gone. Annette finds Claire and explains everything about William creating the G-Virus and how he wanted to sell it to the military. She also explains how he got shot and injected himself but through this you find out that rats ingested the virus and that is how it got out into the streets of Raccoon City. Annette explains that because Sherry is the William’s daughter she is the perfect host for the virus.
Claire finds Sherry is a trash compactor and realises that William has already infected her with the virus. Annette tells Claire to bring Sherry to the NEST lab where a vaccine is stored. Claire uses Sherry’s pendant to unlock the vaccine and Claire fights William while Sherry is being cured by her mother. Annette tells Claire that Sherry is free of the G-Virus before succumbing to her own internal injuries and passes away. Claire and Sherry attempt to escape before being confronted by William for the final time. Claire defeats William and boards the train where she meets up with Leon.
William returns one final time while Claire and Leon are on the train but this time he is a massive, horrid creature. Claire and Leon fight him while trying to unhook William’s carriage from the main train. As they do this, William descends back towards the NEST lab where a self destruct sequence has been initiated. NEST explodes, killing William and any other grotesque mass living down there. Claire, Leon and Sherry leave Raccoon city and never look back.
Now onto the game play and my, oh, my is the game play great. Don’t get me wrong, Capcom have went down the third person route long before this with Resident Evil 4 back in the year 2005 but in this game it is absolutely seamless. The third person view really adds to the claustrophobia of the Raccoon Police Department, not knowing what is around every corner and realising how tight the corridors are and how little room you have to maneuver.
You have to do a lot of item management in the game but believe me when I say, it is a lot easier then the original Resident Evil 2. During the game you will find hip pouches which increases the amount of stuff you can carry in your inventory. Also through out the game there are safe rooms where you can save your progress, each safe room has an Item Box which you can store items until you need them, which makes things very handy.
The enemies in Resident Evil 2 aren’t the most diverse roster of enemies in a video game but they are some of the most intense you’ll ever meet. You have your typical zombies, which are actually really hard to take down. No more one bullet to the head nonsense, you could empty your entire clip and the zombie will still be walking, this really brings in a fight or flight aspect to the game on whether you waste ammo to kill a zombie or try and avoid it but it could be trouble later. Also you can’t dodge the zombies, so if a zombie attacks you, unless you’re lucky you are going to be bitten. Lastly, zombies can follow you through doors, which makes it even more terrifying.
You will also fight lickers which are grotesque monsters that crawl around with their brains hanging out. The reason they are called lickers is because they have a giant tongue that they attack you with. These lickers make for some really intense moments as they are blind and you have to be super quiet to not attract them. Getting into a fight with a licker is something you must avoid as they are tough enough to deal with. Other than that you have zombie dogs which are what you would expect, fast, agile and hard to hit but they aren’t too strong. Finally you have the bosses, Birkin and Mr. X. William Birkin will show up every now and again to further the story, but Mr. X will show up again and again and he is absolutely unrelenting on how much he chases you throughout the game. You can outrun him if you’re quick enough and there are some safe places but otherwise he will pursue you through this whole game which makes it even more intense.
The lighting in this game is so atmospheric from the dim streets lit only by the fires of burning vehicles and whatever street lamps survived the catastrophe to the couple of bulbs still working in the Raccoon Police Department and sewers the game done a great job of looking really dark, but in a good way and in a way that definitely added to the all round creep factor of the game.
The sound track to the game is something you wouldn’t want to listen to in a dark room, alone at night; or maybe you would because you’re mad. The hair-raising and spine-chilling sound track is enough to send any RPD rookie and college student screaming for their mammy. Between this you have epic boss battle music that really makes what you’re doing come alive and makes it very exciting and draws you into the game even more than you would be with the incredible visuals and anxiety ridden game play.
So let’s get into the scoring:
Graphics: Incredible, dark, atmospheric, claustrophobic and horrifying. Superb job. 10/10
Sound: Unsettling soundtrack, horrifying monster sounds and excellent voice acting 10/10
Game play: Amazing game play. Challenging but not the hardest game I’ve played. Enjoyed it immensely through out. 10/10
Worth: Definitely! Even after you beat the game, you get a few extra modes to keep you busy. Really worth it. 10/10
Story: The story was fantastic, one of my favourite horror game stories. 10/10
Total: 100/100 A+
I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!