I played the original Resident Evil 2 on the Sega Dreamcast of all consoles. It was my second Resident Evil game after finishing Resident Evil: Code Veronica on Sega’s impressive 3D console. In fact, the only reason I even played Code Veronica was because of a school friend who bought his Dreamcast for the exclusive. My impressions of the original RE2 were not as glowing as I hoped. I was coming from a game that refined tank controls and generationally superior in every technical aspect.
I recall finding it neat that it had two playable characters, but at the same time, I was disappointed that I was essentially playing the same 10 hour game twice. Coming from the 20 hour epic campaign of Code Veronica, it felt like things were wrapping up as soon as things started moving.
I’m the weirdo who would have preferred a remake of Resident Evil: Code Veronica over Resident Evil 2. With that in mind, I still recognized Leon and Claire’s first adventure has its place amongst fans of the franchise and video games at large. I was curious if I would enjoy the remake more with a fresh new coat of paint and a revised perspective many years later.
The remake’s philosophy seemed to have been: “Keep the spirit and hallmarks of the original while modernizing just about everything that makes sense.” Third person over the shoulder camera established in Resident Evil 4 made its return. I found the first person camera in Resident Evil 7 fine, but to me, it doesn’t feel like a Resident Evil game unless its in the third person.
A generous checkpoint system, friendly controls, and melee counter options gave Leon and Claire more fight and capability than ever, but they were still bound by the confines of the original’s design. They could jog and jump down in this game, but a 3 foot gap was too much to handle. They still had to re-arrange giant bookshelves just so they can build a makeshift bridge across the library’s second floor.
I was generally impressed with how the game looked technically; I was playing the PS5 upgraded version at 120FPS mode. My only gripe was with the screen space reflections which were a distraction. I would have switched on the ray tracing mode to fix those flaws, but the performance issues in that mode deterred me from staying with that mode.
I was also a fan of how the zombies, police station, and just about everything aside from Leon and Claire looked. I found both protagonists looked and sounded derpy with their awkward lines. Ada Wong and just about every other character came across fine, but Leon and Claire were a couple of awkward fools that didn’t quite grasp the gravity of their situation.
Playing through Resident Evil 2 twice wasn’t satisfying. Claire’s playthrough was faster and had a handful of interesting moments, but it didn’t warrant retreading so much of Leon’s adventure. I understand this was a relatively novel idea when the PlayStation version debuted, but I’m just not a big fan of having to go through games multiple times to unlock true endings — especially when the differences aren’t enough to warrant it.
When I was in the thick of it, creeping by a licker because I was low on resources or just jetting through the station because Tyrant was nearby, I was loving every second of Resident Evil 2. The game was in its element and executing on every level. It’s unfortunate that there was just a tad too little of it and the experience was watered down with the Claire playthrough.
I liked it