Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Resident Evil 2 ★★★★★

‘Resident Evil 2’ debuted originally in 1998 as a horror survival game that was incredibly well-received, and with many sequels, over the years it has now got a cult following. Instead of being an HD remaster of the original,  the new version game has been completely remade from the ground up for next-generation consoles The game is now an over the shoulder survival shooter much akin to Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6.

This change in style means that the game leans more towards action-based scenarios on standard difficulty, but when played on Hardcore Mode it feels still feels very survival-focused. On Hardcore, saving is only possible using ink ribbons (which are in limited supply) at a typewriter, and there are no checkpoints so this can be as brutal as the 1998 release. You’ll face off against several types of enemies throughout the game (not just zombies) – I’m not going to reveal what they are, as exploring the game to find new enemies and locations is part of the fun, but let’s just say some older enemies from the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise may make an appearance at some point.

The pacing of the game is stellar, faithful to the original game where you follow a breadcrumb trail through various different scenarios to try and figure out what is going on in Raccoon City. This is done through not only combat and exploration but also a myriad of different mind-bending puzzles that you will need to overcome, from memory puzzle-based safes to finding different codes on environmental objects. The puzzles are challenging and each one is unique. A lot of them are optional, but the rewards you can receive for seeking them out are exactly the things you will need if you are going to survive to see the initial ending.

Just like the original, there is actually more than one campaign for each character (Claire and Leon) and you won't actually see the true ending until you do all routes through the game.  This might sound repetitive, but they change up so much on the different routes that there’s still a big element of surprise and fun to be had. Once completed, there are also a host of unlockable items, from concept art to new playing mode, and even a new playable character that is certainly… different, to say the least. 

There’s going to be extra DLC coming out soon which will be three different survival stories to play through once you’ve completed the main game, and it’s great to see the developers supporting the game by releasing them to the community for free. The next update will be in February, and included is the ability to unlock the original classic-style character models for gameplay (similar to how the latest ‘Tomb Raider’ introduced classic Lara), which look hilariously out of date combined with modern day graphics.

 Whatever you do, please don’t sleep on this game. It is a faithful recreation of what was already a masterpiece in 1998 but does so much more than just mirror the 1998 version. With improves made in almost every aspect of the game, it’s completely earned its right to be an early Game Of The Year 2019 contender.

Hannah Read

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