Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation) Review

By Athanasios 21.01.2018 5

Review for Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation

It's been 20 years since Capcom made a second journey into the biohazardous world of one of its main cash cows, and the question that this retrospective, anniversary review is asking is this: is Resident Evil 2 worthy of the praise it has received? At the risk of being thrown into a torture chamber, this humble reviewer says… no! For those too bored (or angry) to keep on reading, don't worry, it's definitely a very good action-adventure; one of the greatest of its generation. However, it's neither the flawless classic many say it is, nor one of the best (or the best) in the series. Join Cubed3 as it takes one more walk in the virus-ridden streets of Racoon City, to find all about why.

Instead of an old mansion, the cast of Resident Evil 2 begins its journey down survival horror lane in the very Raccoon City, meaning that Claire Redfield, the sister of Chris from Resident Evil, and Leon Kennedy, a young cop (and Resident Evil 4's protagonist), will have to brave streets filled with lots of zombies before reaching a "safe haven;" a trek that's quite thrilling, as the mobs outnumber your bullets - and then you'll reach the police station, and the unavoidable comparisons will begin. Sure, people (and yours truly) loved this back in the day, but, in reality, this has lost a major part of the original's charm.

For starters, the lack of any mystery ruins the sense of discovery, as this disappointingly follows the safe route of repeating the same plot (big bad corporation creates super-virus), and slapping the number '2' in the front cover. Furthermore, while characters are likable and all, this also lacks the b-movie-esque corniness of Resident Evil. Yes, that makes it less ridiculous, but it also makes it less striking. Boring? Far from it, but also far from the perfect, riveting adventure this is supposed to be. Besides that, this is, in its entirety, much less atmospheric than Resident Evil, something that has a lot to do with the setting at hand.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation

A police station, no matter how scary its denizens are, can't hold a candle to how spine-chilling a place like an enormous, and seemingly empty, mansion can be. A very good example of what has happened here would be The Terminator and its sequel, The Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where the second film traded the sci-fi thriller mood and mystery that made the original such a beloved classic, for a "cooler," much more action-packed experience. In many ways, Resident Evil 2 is like that; bigger, louder, and prettier… but not as immersive. The biggest problems, however, lie within the heart of it all, the gameplay.

Fixed camera perspectives and tank controls still exist, and they can be as a royal pain as they ever were, but these come with the territory of games of this type. The real issue with this is its unwillingness to provide anything substantially new. Once again, it's all about exploration, puzzle-solving puzzles, and zombie-blasting… but it doesn't feel an evolution of the original recipe - in fact this actually feels like a downgrade. Take the difficulty, for instance. While in no way a tough experience, Resident Evil definitely belongs in the realm of survival video games. Sadly, the same can't be said about dear number two.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation

The decreased challenge has a lot to do with the overabundance of ammo, as well as the much tougher cast. Again, apart from boss fights, this never feels threatening, whereas in the original, just a simple Hunter was enough to raise those adrenaline levels. Another obvious downgrade is the whole adventuring/puzzle-solving part. Again, Resident Evil was light years away from traditional adventure games - but it did have actual puzzles. The ones in here, though, are all about finding key items, and then inserting them in the right slot. Again, this goes hand to hand with the setting, but that doesn't mean that puzzles couldn't be better.

What remains equally enjoyable, and, maybe, even more so, is the process of speed-running. All titles of the original trilogy were pretty short in length, plus they awarded fast play-throughs with ranking and/or bonus material, but, even without those, trying to reach the finishing line as fast as possible managed to offer a fun, challenging experience - minus a couple of extremely boring, speedbumpy parts that all of us could live without; parts that couldn't be skipped, and which didn't really provide anything substantial to the whole thing… Yes, this reviewer is looking at you, pointless Sherry Birkin and Ada Wong!

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation

There's only one thing that's kind of new in Resident Evil 2, and that's how the different "paths" are handled. While in Resident Evil the game felt pretty much the same whether you would pick Chris Redfield, or Jill Valentine, this is kind of different, both in the sense that their separate storylines intertwine together more often and far more gracefully, but also in how each play-through actually affects the next one, as there are parts were it's possible to pick or leave items that can be grabbed in both paths. Sadly, though, this has been handled rather gimmicky, as it isn't as impactful as advertised, especially since these spots are kind of rare.

The biggest flaw with this "Part A and Part B" mechanic, though, is how it forces you to repeat certain sections all over again, whether that's solving puzzles, searching for the same freaking key items, and so on. The good news? Resident Evil 2 provides a layer of terror of its own, with the use of two villains, with each path forcing you to face only one of the two, making the second ride feel not as similar. These monsters don't quit, and their transformations are simply awesome, but their "concept" has probably been perfected in Resident Evil 3, with the fantastic, iconic, and all-around badass, Nemesis!

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Resident Evil 2 is very far from a bad ride. It's just that, while it adds a couple of things, they are simply not enough. The real reason why this is kind of disappointing, though, is how this isn't the better game, as, for all its flaws, Resident Evil remains more atmospheric, more challenging, and far closer to how an iconic classic is supposed to feel. Yes, both are very good, but the original has that extra special something.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


To summarize, all three old-school Resi games are 7/10's for me, but RE1 is probably a 7+

...Am I thirsty for RE2 remake, though? You bet yo' ass!

Can't a fella drink in peace?

why do people struggle with tank-controls?

ill never understand.

Ah, back when Clarie was hot and had some assets.

I lament the franchise leaving its fixed camera angles and "tank" controls behind. I know I'm in the minority but I liked the cinematic angles and the controls (the best way to control something that constantly changes angles while moving). I never understood why people complained about the controls. As much as I think Resident Evil 4  is a high point in the R.E. franchise, I think it's what ultimately sent it down the wrong path. I think the Resident Evil remake for GameCube improved that style and is the direction Capcom should have explored more and improved upon for sequels. Not necessarily to the exclusion of other styles. 

I don't agree with the review that this wasn't as good as the first game. In my opinion it is the high point of the original trilogy. It's the game I go back to over and over again (N64 version). 

If Resident Evil 2 remake isn't in the same style as the original, to say I'll be pissed will be an understatement.

( Edited 22.01.2018 18:36 by Trepe )

Indeed, fixed camera angles and tank controls are the best option in these kind of games, but its the way they are implemented that makes all the difference.

Take the original Alone in the Dark, for example. The camera angles of certain scenes enhanced the atmosphere by tenfold, but it damaged the gameplay by doing so, since you couldn't see what was one step far from you.

The same goes for the tank controls. They work ok in here, but there are certain parts (cramped corridors) that make u feel pretty lame, not to mention that the quick-turnaround should be here before RE3

Can't a fella drink in peace?

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