Resident Evil 2—One of the greatest video game remakes ever created


Courtesy Capcom

Leon S. Kennedy (left) and Claire Redfield (right) featured on a promotional poster for “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

Warning: this game is rated mature for blood and gore, intense violence, and strong language

Courtesy Capcom
Marvin Branagh (face forward) and Leon S. Kennedy (back facing) in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

Resident Evil 2 (remake) is a survival-horror game for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in which the player assumes the roles of police officer Leon S. Kennedy and/or college student Claire Redfield as they battle a zombie outbreak in the fictional Raccoon City. The player gets to choose which of the two characters to play as, and at the beginning of the game, they crash a police car and get separated. Whichever character you choose to play as makes it to the police station, where the two promised they’d meet up, and meets Marvin Branagh. The gameplay differs slightly between their stories, as do their weapons. The story also changes at some points for the characters, with them branching off and meeting different characters. Leon meets Ada and Claire meets Sherry, both of which are characters that the player interacts with, and even plays as, until the end of the game.

Courtesy Capcom
Leon S. Kennedy in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

Something I noticed pretty much immediately was how absolutely spectacular the graphics are. The characters are incredibly realistic and move like real people, which is something I don’t always expect from games, as it’s pretty uncommon to find games where the characters feel so natural and real. Their expressions were more accurate to the emotions they experience than I would have ever expected,

One thing that makes the game seem even more realistic is the voice acting. The voice actors were able to accurately portray emotions. It’s not often that I find that the voice acting is good enough to completely immerse myself in games, but that wasn’t even an issue with this game. In fact, the characters were so real and so raw that I often forgot that they were just characters, and began to see them as real people.

Courtesy Capcom
Claire Redfield (left) and Sherry Birkin (right) in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

After beating the game once as either Leon or Claire, you unlock the “second run” story mode. Again, you can choose to play as either Leon or Claire. In the second run, the game is quite different. You’d be playing as if either Leon or Claire was the one who couldn’t make it to the police department after the crash at the beginning. It’s incredibly difficult to get through, even on the easiest setting, because most places are locked and Mr. X—a Tyrant, or bio-weapon assassin, whose name is actually T-00 (Mr. X is a nickname given to him before he had an official name)—is following you a lot sooner in the game than in the main story mode. That said, it’s not impossible to do, and the safe rooms (save spots in rooms with only one way in or out) make it doable. It’s a shame you can’t see him on the map, though. You have to listen for the heavy thumps of his footsteps to know if he’s nearby.

Mr. X cornering Claire Redfield and Sherry Birkin in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

As much as I love this game, it had a few inconsistencies in terms of the story. The second run was supposed to be a second part to the main story mode, but it didn’t really fit in all too much. It seems to be more of another version of the game that runs parallel to the main story, I suppose. The puzzles are mostly the same, but changed to be different so it isn’t identical to what you had already done. It was still really fun, but it felt more like an alternate version of the game than a “part two” of the story.

Ada Wong in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

Resident Evil 2 isn’t all just the main story and second run, however. There’s also some free downloadable content (DLC), called “Ghost Survivors” and features characters who are canonically dead in the main story and what might have happened, had they survived. The first scenario is called “No Time to Mourn,” and features Robert Kendo. In this scenario, Kendo gets a call from his friend who says he’s got a helicopter and asks him to come to the rendezvous point, where he’ll get him. This scenario isn’t incredibly difficult, but it still has its challenges. There are special zombies that, when they bite you, will poison you, and when you kill them, they will expel a purple gas that will poison you if you stand too close. Along with that, in every single mode, there are backpack-wearing zombies who you can kill and take things from. Similarly, in most of these modes, there are gumball machines that have three different items, out of which you can only take one item.

Courtesy Capcom
Zombies feasting from a corpse in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

The second scenario is called “The Runaway,” and features Katherine Warren. In this scenario, she escapes being killed and makes her way from the orphanage to the Jail at the police station to reunite with her lover, Ben Bertolucci. Despite this mode having many of the same enemies as the previous one, there are a few more enemies that make this made infinitely more difficult. This mode introduces an undead mutation called the pale heads. They are much faster and require more damage to be taken down. This mode requires more skill and outside-the-box thinking; you can’t just shoot all your enemies down, and must find a way to skillfully maneuver your way past multiple zombies.

Courtesy Capcom
The zombie of a police officer in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

“Forgotten Soldier” is the third scenario, and features an Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S.) soldier only known as “Ghost.” After a sample of the G-Virus is dropped in the main story, Ghost retrieves it. His task is then to escape the NEST with the G-Virus. In those mode yet another new zombie is introduced. This time, it is zombies wearing riot gear known as “A-Gear zombies.” I find that every time I play this mode, I always run out of ammo pretty easily, which challenges me to conserve ammo.

Zombies in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

After successfully completing the first three scenarios on any difficulty, the fourth scenario, “No Way Out” is unlocked. The character you play as in this scenario is perhaps the most recognizable of all, Daniel Cortini, the cop from the beginning of the game at the gas station. This scenario has a pretty simple premise, but is a lot more challenging than any of the others. You have to eliminate 100 zombies. You have one weapon with infinite ammo, but it doesn’t do much damage. You collect all your weapons, besides the one you start with, from backpack-wearing zombies, and there are no gumball machines. At first, it’s fairly easy. However, as you continue, it will get more and more difficult. I have yet to beat this scenario even on training mode, in which you have to eliminate only 70 zombies, much less on normal difficulty.

Courtesy Capcom
Cherry Birkin in “Resident Evil 2.” Used with permission.

Overall, this game is amazing, and I’m excited for the remakes of the next few games to come out. Not only does it have a pretty great story, the gameplay is fun, the graphics are stellar, and the voice acting is excellent. Playing this game has been a fantastic way for me to spend my free time without forcing myself to hang out with other people, and the DLC scenarios are great for when you only have time to play for less than an hour. At sixty dollars, it’s as expensive as any other popular game for Xbox one or PlayStation4, but definitely worth it. I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the horror or action genres, even if you’ve never played any of the other games. It’s worth playing at least once (though I myself have already played it multiple times).

Resident Evil 2