Resident Evil 2
Official Xbox Magazine|March 2019

You Have Once Again Entered the World of Survival Horror.

Adam Bryant

Remakes are hard to do. Not only do you have to keep fans of the original happy, you have to entertain new ones – a substantial audience for Resident Evil 2 considering the original is now over 20 years old. However, what Capcom has achieved here goes far beyond that. Traditionally remakes are just the same game with improved graphics and/or audio but it’s managed to bottle up the essence of what made the original so great and brewed it into a new formula, to recreate that same magic for a new audience.

The broad strokes of the story remain from the original. Once again we get to play as either badass college student Claire Redfield or rookie cop Leon S Kennedy. Both arrive in Raccoon City for different reasons but after a chance encounter with each other and the discovery that the city is now infested with zombies, their priorities change. They’re soon separated and agree to make their way to the Raccoon City Police Department to search for survivors, discover what’s been going on and find a way to escape with their lives. But while the game treads a similar narrative footprint, there are many distinct deviations along the way that make the story more engaging and enjoyable than ever before. What really pulls you in, however, are the characters. Each one has been brought to life with a combination of great voice acting, spectacular facial animation and motion capture, as well as wonderful cinematography. This goes for all the minor characters, too, who are given extra attention and reveal themselves to have more personality, emotion and depth.

It’s also visually stunning. Every environment is packed with detail that stays faithful to the original game and simply oozes with atmosphere thanks to superb use of lighting. Some rooms will be pitch black and you’ll have nothing but your flashlight to guide your way, making those areas feel oppressive and claustrophobic – perfect for any survival horror. Then there’s the rain, which adds to the overall atmosphere and not only looks beautiful as it glistens on the skin and soaks your clothes, but Claire and Leon will react to it, contributing to the world’s believability.

A hero emerges

But it isn’t just the story or how it looks that makes RE2 so special, it’s about how it plays. Gone are the fixed camera angles from the original and in their place is a more intimate over-the-shoulder perspective, similar to most RE games since RE4. This changes the way you explore and interact with the world, making things seem familiar yet new.

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