After losing its way for a few years, fans were in doubt about the future of Resident Evil. It abandoned its survival horror roots in exchange for over-the-top action, leaving behind everything that made it great in the first place. That all changed with Resident Evil 7, a glorious return to form that not only felt like classic Resi, but revolutionised it in some exciting ways.
Now, a new vision of Resident Evil 2 is on the way using the same technology that helped the seventh instalment shine. It looks fantastic and plays just and well, and you can read both of our hands-on previews below alongside everything you need to know about the Resident Evil 2 Remake. .
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What is Resident Evil 2 Remake?
First announced back in 2015, Resident Evil 2 Remake is intended as a modern iteration of the 1998 release. Fans have been requesting the project for years, and following the success of the original Resident Evil and Zero remasters, Capcom is finally listening.
Resident Evil 2 Remake release date
Resident Evil 2 Remake Trailers
Tokyo Games Show 2018 has brought us a new trailer for Resident Evil 2 Remake, and this one focuses mainly on story. We see plenty of Leon and Claire before finally being introduced to the remake’s rendition of Ada Wong. It also has us desperately wanting a reboot of Dino Crisis in the RE Engine.
Resident Evil 2 Remake Claire Campaign Preview
After years of waiting, Capcom is finally returning to its undead well and remaking what many consider to be Resident Evil’s finest chapter. Originally released for the PS1 in 1998, it’s not the easiest title to revisit with its clunky tank controls and blocky visuals. It’s as iconic as survival horror comes, but fans who discovered the series with Resident Evil 4 or later iterations might not agree with its archaic approach to scares.
This could all change with Resident Evil 2 Remake, a complete reimagining of the second installment running on the same technology that powered Resi 7. Playing through two individual campaigns as series’ veterans Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, you’ll scour the ruins of Raccoon City amidst a deadly zombie outbreak, uncovering the truth behind the devious Umbrella Corporation.
Having played through a tense yet brief demo as Claire Redfield, I’m incredibly eager to relive the horror with a modern coat of paint, even if the section I played left a little to be desired.
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I was told by a Capcom representative prior to starting the demo that it focused primarily on combat, while Leon’s virtual slice at E3 2018 was a way of exploring a small, isolated place with scares engineered to frighten the player. Knowing this, I began in a small office space littered with items and ammunition ready to plunder. Immediately it felt like Resident Evil as I combined items to make Acid Rounds and a few useful herb mixtures.
After this, I jumped straight into the fire, which happened to be an underground facility made up of claustrophobic corridors and rusty pipework giving off a genuinely horrendous atmosphere. I quickly caught my bearings, keenly aware of what felt like footsteps creeping around beside me. Following a spooky bout of exploration I stumble upon Sherry Birkin, a young girl fans of the series will recognise.
Unfortunately, she isn’t alone as I encounter one of the game’s most infamous figures: William Birkin. Previously a virologist at Umbrella Corporation, he’s succumbed to the very virus he helped engineer. He’s morphed into a hideous, oversized creature with a pus-filled eyeball on his right shoulder. This is, as you might have already guessed, his incredibly obvious weak point.
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This is where the demo’s frustrating boss battle begins, and it frankly isn’t a strong section to showcase elements that helped the remake shine during our previous time with it. Armed with a pistol, uzi and grenade launcher, my objective was to avoid William Birkin for as long as possible, firing off shots until finally triggering a cutscene. There was little strategy to it, and Claire’s slow movement speed meant I often found myself stuck in corners with no means of escape.
Granted, rushing through the environment searching for resources as this unstoppable beast charged after me was tense, but it likely would have been served better as a set piece instead of a tedious boss encounter. The shaky nature of Resi 2 Remake’s aiming mechanics convey the feeling that our heroes are legitimately terrified, desperate to escape the terrors they’ve found themselves in. Knowing this makes the situation a tad easier to swallow.
Combat feels great as every bullet lands with a satisfying thud, digging into the flesh of Birkin. Sadly, I wasn’t able to witness the dynamic injury system where limbs react to each shot, which sounds like a clever implementation of strategy, and a tonne of fun in its own right. There was nothing like this in the demo, although things did improve nicely after getting Birkin off my tail. With Sherry in tow, we returned to the surface seeking even a modicum of safety.
Spoiler: We didn’t find any. Seconds after emerging into an abandoned parking garage Claire is held at gunpoint by a gross, elderly man. His identity unknown, the assailant kidnaps Sherry and leaves our heroine trapped. Swearing revenge, the demo concludes with a dramatic cliffhanger that feels earnt and highlights how the presentation soars past the original.
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The voice acting is wonderful, building upon the high standard set by Resi 7 with cutscenes that mimic the standard you’d expect from a feature film. Considering the franchise is renowned for its corny voice acting and mediocre direction, it’s strange to see it excel above most of the competition. If this impressive standard continues in the full experience, we could be looking at one of the finest survival horror outings in recent years.
Resident Evil 2 Remake remains one of my most anticipated games of 2019, but my time with Claire’s demo left me itching to explore and soak in the dank horrors of Raccoon City. Instead, I was subjected to a frustrating boss fight that didn’t play to the same strengths as our time with Leon’s otherwise fantastic campaign.
That aside, everything else we’ve seen not only sets a new standard for modern remakes, and could arguably set a benchmark for Capcom’s horror poster child, and we’ve only a few months left until its release.
Resident Evil 2 Remake Leon Campaign Preview
Anyone who played Resident Evil growing up has the same story. Telling horror stories to our friends of hiding behind a blanket through fear of the next zombie-filled room, a control scheme that did everything to make things even more terrifying. The trouble was if ever you tried showing someone unfamiliar with the series what it was that petrified you, the tale got lost in translation because the thousands of words you painted became a picture of pixels lost in a bygone era.
Fans, for what feels like the longest time, have been screaming for a Resident Evil 2 Remake, so much so that they took it upon themselves to make one several years ago before Capcom put a stop to it for reasons that have now become clear. Capcom’s new Resident Evil 2 is everything fans have ever wanted it to be, it has the potential to be the pinnacle of what the classic vision of the series could hope to become. Get ready to re-enter the world of survival horror in its truest form.
The brief gameplay demo at E3 2018 takes place in the police station, and it’s immediately clear this isn’t just Resident Evil 2 with prettier graphics, although thanks to the RE Engine which powered Resident Evil 7 it is utterly gorgeous. Capcom wants to make a Resident Evil 2 that plays with fan expectations, therefore things will look familiar, but feel ever so slightly different.
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The Licker, for instance, won’t appear as he did on the roof of the corridor. Items won’t be in the same place, and now, zombies will pop up in new places to keep you constantly terrified.
And the game is incredibly scary. While Resi 2 lost its edge on account of muscle memory for veterans, the 20 minutes I experienced were horrific. The east corridor of the station was almost pitch black without Leon’s torchlight, and Capcom’s amazing sound design meant every clang and crash had me spinning around looking for the source of the noise, petrified at what I might see.
Resident Evil 2 uses an over-the-shoulder camera similar to Resident Evil 4 and 5, though it’s closer than those, making the experience feel even more visceral. It offers a similar control scheme to both, too, but offers a much greater fluidity to the tank controls that means moving around feels so much better both in and out of combat. Movement on the left stick is very smooth, feels faster and allows you to walk even while bringing up Leon’s gun. Aiming is also quicker, which can be a blessing and a curse. When in a frantic panic, trying to get that headshot while petrified of the rapidly approaching zombie can be very tough.
The game is also incredibly violent, blood is all over the precinct, and every bullet that hits a zombie sees an incredible amount of splatter. The zombies too are immensely detailed, the best I’ve ever seen in the series and probably the best zombies I’ve seen in any game. They are genuinely scary to look at, as their jaws draw for a chomp on Leon’s neck, it’s wince-worthy.
Capcom has also done some amazing things with the camera during encounters. As a zombie grabs hold of Leon, the camera swoops in even closer to get you even closer to the bite. I frantically smashed every button possible trying to avoid the chew, but you’re powerless to stop the bite, it’s purely to show every gory detail. It’s as amazing as it is gruesome. After the bite, blood will also stay on Leon’s neck after the zombie falls back. And as Leon is being bitten, his health box will pop up in the lower left to show the extent of the damage. It’s all done to keep you in the action and not forced to jump into a pause menu to see how much damage each bite deals.
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I, along with every other Resi fan, have waited the best part of 20 years for a remake of Resident Evil 2, and I don’t think any of us could have expected something this good. The incredible visuals, pitch-perfect controls and a wonderful balance between familiarity and reinvention mean this is a game that needs to be marked in everyone’s calendar as the one to watch.
Maybe watch it from behind some comfy cushions, though.
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