Resident Evil 2 (PC) Review

By Athanasios 05.04.2020 2

Review for Resident Evil 2 on PC

Capcom's recent renaissance is absolutely wonderful, with the simple reason being how the legendary Japanese company is taking real good care of its franchises, and hasn't succumbed to lame, money-making tactics. Take a look at Resident Evil 2. The developer could update the visuals of the original, change a few things here and there, and then call it a day - but no. This is an upgrade on all fronts; one that would still be a fantastic survival horror title, even if it was something that didn't carry its heavy name, or wasn't a remake of one of the genre's biggest successes. Influenced by how Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was a return to the roots of the series, but at the same time a change of direction in terms of presentation, this masterpiece blends the old with the new in the best way possible. After a look at the Xbox One and PS4 versions, here's some more words about why this is basically a must-have.

Claire Redfield, the sister of Resident Evil's Chris Redfield, and Leon Kennedy, a police rookie, are heading straight towards Raccoon City. Little do they know that it is a place where the undead are roaming the streets. Their mission? Survive, while also trying to understand what has turned the populace into flesh-eating zombies. Veterans know all about it already. Newbies should be prepared for a fairly typical story of bio-weaponry engineering gone wrong. The strength of the game, and the franchise as a whole, was never its plot, and that can be said about this remake as well.

Atmosphere. This is all about atmosphere, and more specifically about immersing you into a dangerous world where you'll feel utterly helpless, and enjoy the thrill of actually managing to survive against all odds. Resident Evil 2 nails that aspect, and it does so better than any other instalment before it - including Resident Evil 7 as well, the main reason being how it is the most challenging of the bunch. You no longer have the luxury of being armed to the teeth, and you can't simply circle around danger, aim, fire, and be done with it - tough enemy or not.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PC

There is no low, mid, or high-tier monster here. Bosses are still the most demanding of the bunch, but the rest won't exactly hold their punches. Remember the iconic Licker? Well its back, and now it's frighteningly lethal (and lethally frightening). It's blind, therefore you can avoid it by simply not making a commotion, but get too near, or dare to shoot at it, and it will take you down in an instant. Luckily (in a manner of speaking), there are more to worry about here, and everything is dangerous. Even the cannon fodder of the series, the zombies, is a force to be reckoned with.

These undead blokes are slow, but have a nasty bite, and taking them down isn't as simple as filling them with a few rounds. Aiming requires skill and concentration, as the crosshair takes some time to "focus," and one can't afford to miss since ammo is really scarce. So, do you shoot the head, or the limbs? Do you risk outmanoeuvring them, or sacrifice a sub-weapon like the knife to make your escape easier? Do you go for the kill, or stun one so that you can run past them? Also, how should gunpowder be used? Do you craft many standard bullets, or just a few powerful ones for your magnum?

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PC

Each action turns into a tactical decision, whether confronting an enemy, or managing the limited inventory space. Plus, monsters can now follow you around the map, something that increases the tension quite a bit whenever you realise that you've reached a dead end, and the one who is bumping at the door wasn't dead after all. A returning boss character goes even further with that concept, and like the Terminator, "he can't be bargained with, he can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever, until you are dead!"

This remake could stop there, and it will still be great, but a great deal of the fun is also the outcome of a more than fitting art design. The visual quality is stunning as well. The RE Engine does wonders at rendering an impressively realistic world, with an incredible level of detail everywhere you look, from the streets of Raccoon City, and the cemetery that is the Police Station were the two heroes will take refuge, to the dark sewers underneath, and the high tech laboratory in the bowels of the town, where obviously the whole thing begun - and everything runs like butter.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PC

Particular mention should go to the excellent lighting. Your humble flashlight works in unison with the lifelike pitch-black darkness, and as any Silent Hill fan will surely tell you, this can play with your mind, and make you see things where they aren't, or don't see them soon enough, as your eyes try to adjust to your surroundings upon entering a room. As for the change in perspective, worry not; it doesn't take away from the horror, but adds to it, the same way the first-person view was great for Resident Evil 7, or how fixed camera angles were excellent for the old-school trilogy.

Being a survival horror title, sound is important too, and this doesn't disappoint. The gargled screams of the zombies who are one hair away from grabbing you; the paralyzing shriek of the Licker whenever you make noise; the guttural "voice" of Ivy, the resident monster plant; and, finally, the echoing footsteps of Mr. X whenever he is around. Resident Evil 2 seems to understand the power of excellent sound design. Generally, the immersion factor has reached new heights with this instalment, with the atmosphere never losing its strength, even after 10+ runs.

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There's only one issue here. It's not something that decreases the overall fun factor, but it's definitely a disappointing element of an otherwise flawless remake. Simply put, the potential of the protagonistic duo has been fed to the sharks. As characters, they are both better, and much more relatable than before, as they show genuine emotion and fear, and have great chemistry. Sadly, they don't interact with each other as much as expected. In all honesty, while playing as either of these two, you almost forget the other one is somewhere out there, especially after the first hour.

Even worse, this ditches how in the original each one followed a different route altogether, which simply meant that you could experience four distinct play-throughs, which were known as Leon A and B, and Claire A and B. In here, however, the experience doesn't change much - if at all. Aside from each character's unique mid-game segments, where you get to play as two secondary protagonists (which have also been improved), a slightly different item layout, plus a couple of extra boss encounters, essentially these are the same kind of deal - just a little harder with Leon.

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Is this enough to ruin Resident Evil 2? Not even close. This is an improvement in almost every conceivable way. The gameplay is far more entertaining, and the challenge as high as a survival horror adventure needs to be. More importantly, the pacing is at its best. Few Resident Evil entries overstay their welcome, and this probably surpasses them all in that regard, with each unique "chapter" lasting exactly as long as it should. This helps its already high replay value increase even more, giving you the right incentive to try improving your performance, and getting a better score.

There are many extra modes to try out, the majority of which being additional side missions with other characters, but one can actually spend over 50 hours playing and replaying the main campaign, trying to do things differently, attempting a higher difficulty, or even better, do some speed-running. Generally, this deserves its - usually more than fair - price tag. A final note: the PC version lets you play a lot with the graphical settings, and is very mod-friendly, with some character redesigns (especially for Claire) being so awesome that they look like official paid DLC.

…No, really. Try out her Biker or Battlesuit mods. Thank this critic later.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Two decades after the release of the original trip into the biohazardous universe of Resident Evil, Capcom delivers the best instalment yet. The world you'll be thrown in is a dangerous one, and it doesn't just look the part, but also makes you feel the thrill of being a survivor like never before, as each bullet shot, each item found, and each decision taken, can make the difference between life and death. Simply put, remake or not, this is survival horror at its best.

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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   

Comments

Being a huge RE fan and played the oringinals, I could not get into the remake. It didnt have the style of the old stuff nor the conventions of modern games.

What exactly didn't you like?

Can't a fella drink in peace?
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