Resident Evil 2 has held a special place in my wretched heart ever since it scared the bejeezus out of me way back in ’98. You see, I originally played it at the tender and totally appropriate age of eight, so it well and truly left its mark on me. The remake is on-track to recapture that feeling of dread I once held, since even in a fully lit room full of people, it got me good a couple of times. And let’s not mince words here, this is an entirely different kind of beast compared to the original, taking cues from RE7 but with a third-person perspective and modern shooter design elements.
There’s so much gore, beautifully rendered, with an obscene amount sprayed around the place in various forms. With the change in camera controls, from fixed perspectives to third-person, there’s also now some verticality to the world design. Aiming is still slow, with your reticle taking a moment to properly focus while standing still, meaning combat can be just as panicked as always. The zombies aren’t screwing around either, taking multiple headshots before they go down. There’ll even be times when you think you’ve put them down, only to have them claw at your ankles as you walk past.
That being said, the remake hasn’t forgotten its roots. The typewriter saving still appears to be a thing, some textures on objects like the handgun ammo seem to be deliberately low res, likely in reference to the original. I have to assume that’s the case, considering the overall high quality of the rest of the demo. The layout of the RPD station, while mildly different to accommodate the design changes, is a wonderful recreation of the original. There’s still a limited amount of equipment space and finite resources, and desperation runs high when they start to run out.
Leon himself is also appropriately young in appearance and voice, with the demeanour that one would expect of a rookie cop. In fact, despite only having a sample group of two characters and a handful of zombies, the voice acting sounds like it’ll be on-point. This goes double for the sound and music design, discordant strings and shattering glass announcing the arrival of something that wants to eat your face. And I really do need to reiterate that whatever you imagined the blood and carnage to be in the original, the disgusting viscera of the remake will exceed your expectations.
This is all beside the atmosphere of the game, as well, which is just excellent, tension punctuating every moment. From the creepy, lonesome trudge up to the first objective point, to the moment where you tilt a dude’s head backward and watch the viscera stretch outward. Even when I knew it was coming, just the update from what I held in my mind of the game was enough to bring on brown trousers time.
It’s not all amazing, and some things might be a concern in the long run. In tight corridors, the camera can become as dangerous as the zombies, struggling to actually keep both Leon and the room in view whenever you turn it. Pickups can also be incredibly easy to miss, with the prompt for items being unnoticeable without standing right on top of them. Some of the hold-to-interact mechanics are also quite finicky and easy to screw up, which I imagine will be incredibly frustrating intense moments.
While those sure sound irritating, at this point it feels like whatever negative aspects Resident Evil 2 has in store will be overwhelmingly outweighed by the positives. If I can get spooked in the middle of a convention centre show floor, I can’t wait to feel horrific dread at stupid o’clock while playing this alone.