My backlog of games to I need to play stretches back decades, and one game that has been on my list for years is 1998’s “Resident Evil 2.”
The game came out well before my time, but horror fanatics today laud it as a timeless masterpiece. Capcom just released a remake of the game, giving me the perfect opportunity to experience the classic for myself.
Here are my first impressions of “Resident Evil 2 Remake.”
It puts the “survival” in “survival horror”
Many horror video games these days give heroes a wealth of weapons and gadgets with which to fight enemies. In “Dead Space,” for instance, Isaac Clarke can upgrade six weapons stocked with ammo and never feel shorthanded in a fight, turning it into more of an action game.
This isn’t really the case in “Resident Evil 2,” in which player character Leon Kennedy must escape a city overrun with zombies.
Kennedy has only so much inventory space, and that is taken up with guns and bullets--when you can find them. I remember having a sense of unease after unloading a full clip into a single boss and wondering where I would find more ammo to make up for it.
Ammunition is so scarce that combat should be avoided when possible, and that’s a frightening concept when you’re up against the slow, expertly animated husks of the walking dead you repeatedly encounter. Of course, combat is just as scary considering it takes a ludicrous amount of headshots to down a zombie, and there’s no guarantee it won’t rise again.
Backtracking is fun
Oddly, part of the fun of “Resident Evil 2” is backtracking.
I spent the first four hours or so of the game looping between a police station and its underground parking lot, making sure I picked up every item, gadget and scrap of ammo. Backtracking also allows you to go back to solve simple-yet-fun puzzles that you find the answers to later.
Again, this all contributes to the survival horror feel the game accomplishes so well. Instead of running through new environments and blasting zombies apart, you are meticulously searching rooms for the gear you need to make it through the next few enemies. It is both tense and rewarding.
Now I see where ‘The Evil Within’ got almost all of its inspiration
That is all.
The game is gory
This is to be expected in a mature-rated video game involving zombies, but Capcom really went all out to make “Resident Evil 2” bloody and violent.
In my first few hours, I ran into a dead man with his head basically hanging by threads from where it had been sliced in half horizontally, another guy who got his skull crushed a la Glenn from “The Walking Dead,” and a poor sap whose right arm grew to grotesque, gory proportions--complete with an orange eyeball watching me from where it blinked in his shoulder. And who could forget their first encounter with a licker--the nasty, skinless zombies with massive claws that crawl on walls?
“Resident Evil 2” is not for the faint of heart. Good thing that’s not me, because I’m having a great time. Look for my full review next week.