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Resident Evil 2: Remake - Review

The original Resident Evil 2 was released in late 1998, and was instantly considered the best horror game ever created. The concept of what’s “best” is subjective, but one truth remains, as the old classic is always among the favorite by fans. That title, however, will never change, because changing nostalgia is impossible and with time, we adone it with even more elements of grandiosity. It’s a human thing to do, to celebrate our memories with further sentiments of pleasure. Another thing humans do, it’s to improve themselves, at each generation, and so, we’re welcomed with Resident Evil 2 Remake.

Just one month has passed since the dreadful events at Spencer Mansion, and the isolated incident seems to be behind everyone’s mind now, but another terror arises, slowly, under the innocent minds of Racoon City’s population.

Claire Redfield travels to Racoon City searching for her brother Chris Redfield. Chris a member of the S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) was previously involved in the events of Resident Evil 1, had travel do Europe. Claire unaware of such, travels to Raccoon City on her special Harley Davidson and her lucky jacket made in heaven, hoping to find her dear brother.

(Welcome to Umbrella Cit.. I mean, Raccoon City. Really, Umbrella is just a transparent, independent company, trust me. My employment with the Umbrella pharmaceutical company has nothing to do with my objective opinion. -Anezka890 [Employee has gone missing while fetching a coffee from the cafeteria]).

Leon Kennedy just graduated from the police academy, and Raccoon City was his first place of choice, considering the strange deaths occurring just one month ago. Moving in such a hurry is also related to a rough break up with is girlfriend which led to him getting drunk and oversleeping in a motel outside the city. Leon drives under the night rain, hoping to catch up the time lost, until he finds a corpse. Not any corpse though, this one was quite different…

Their paths come together at a gas station, where Claire has her very first experience, face to face with a living dead, a zombie if you may, that tries at all costs eat her, with a an abnormal and uncontrollable hunger. Leon comes through the door at the right time to save her, but what they both witness, is a prologue of things to come. They both get in the closest car and drive to the city's heart, with a feeling that something terrible is happening! Upon arrival, their paths separate due to a couple of unexpected events, but this is by far a goodbye, as they’ll work together to overcome all the adversities, and uncover the deepest secrets underneath Racoon City.

Capcom is slowly trying to replace some original facts that have previously been settled, such as the events leading Leon to Raccoon City. Where originally he had woken up later from being drunk, now he was apparently just quietly sitting at home waiting to get on duty. Probably to appease a more softcore audience, but these changes weren’t the only ones. Some of those changes consist in the alternative routes both protagonists take, but that was to be expected with a remake. Their emotional side, however, shines with the modern technology. A perfect example is how Claire expressions regarding Sherry are absolutely fantastic and very affecting.

The game direction choice is on the spot, and the narrative very pleasant, restraining the action to the necessary basis, and not on the ridiculous cheesy stunt-level of trying to surpass Hollywood. Cutscenes are worthy of a movie with real actors behind each movement, and atmospherically perfect with amazing angles that pushes each scene into waves of vibrant passionate moments.

Visually, Resident Evil 2 stays far away as possible from cheap horror components that have been haunting games for a while now. Low-cost jump scares, complete darkness, and the low-tier environments, we’ve all seen in those claimed horror experiences are nothing compared to what we can experience at Raccoon City. Instead, players feel the emptiness progressively interrupted by deadly agents, either the Mr. X or a cleverly placed zombie just slowly walking towards you.

This remake may very well have, some of the most beautiful graphics I’ve seen. Detailed not only at the large scale, but also in small everyday objects. Reflexes on the floors are outstanding, the rain effect on the concrete shines naturally, and the contrast of the light against the rain over the broken windows is something stunning to look at. Not even mentioning the condensation effect present in the Greenhouse glass windows! The graphical quality Capcom achieved is without a doubt a step above the Triple-A experience we’ve got used to, even with other major titles on the market.

Clothes for both Claire and Leon look very realistic, and with time, they become dirty, wet, or just increasingly weary. The same treatment was used for zombies, as each zombie is visually detailed, with extreme facial expressions of rage, and pure terror. Blood is now very real, almost distinguished, from fresh to coagulated, when splattered on walls or floors. Gore went back to its fundamental horror-themed principle, of a primordial frightening human complex, in a marvelous way. Zombies are gruesome, but so it’s the ruin of the flesh in its decomposing way, and Capcom expressed perfectly well the idea of simple zombies being scary, other than just rambling living dead! These are, however, very repetitive, as there’s a few of them that change in clothes but their faces and sizes remain. Other creatures such as Lickers were remade to the core, based on the originals, and are looking better than ever.

Long gone are the days of fixed-camera angles, and even if part of our old ways still wish for the same approach of direction, we must look forward. For that, this remake is the perfect combination of a third person shooter, with a fluidity of action I’ve personally never seen before. Field of View can extend the field vision for a wider perspective, without compromising the experience, or spawning bugs. The PC version delivers a unique and customized experience, which is fantastic, and almost makes all the console ports we’ve been getting over the years forgettable.

Not everything is entirely perfect though, and Resident Evil 2 changes something that has been established by horror fans for decades now. Zombies must die with a headshot. This is a worldwide rule, but apparently, not for Capcom’s vision of the new series approach. Physics are impressive, as players can shoot zombies limbers and witness a leg or arm coming off with just a couple of shoots. One would assume the same would happen when applying headshots, but no… Using an entire pistol clip on a zombie’s head is not enough to kill him. Ridiculous to say the least, even though such a choice was made to prolong the experience of fear and intensive gameplay, I personally hate it, but understand its need within the game.

(In this remake, players can play as Sherry, while she tries to escape a threat.)

If there’s one thing PC Gamers appreciate is the quality and efforts put into technical settings, and Capcom surely surprised us in the best possible way. With a very Ubisoft-look, the panel for graphical and visual details look fantastic, providing an automatic and in-time perspective over the changes each setting does while being On or Off. Textures, Volumetric Lightning, Anti-Aliasing, all the crucial options are extremely accessible while in the menu, as well as other visual effects such as Chromatic Aberration, that thankfully can just be toggled Off.

The soundtrack unfortunately is not as memorable as the original, but there is still a good effort put into sound effects, that mostly serve to follow the game’s intensity, with generic orchestrated events. There is, however, a DLC to expand the experience with the original soundtrack, which should have been included from the very start! The whole sensation of terror, is back, with the genuine feeling that plagues your mind with the unknown at the end of a hallway. The game uses most of the player’s senses, including hearing sounds, to help spot where the danger truly lies in. Soundworks regarding in-game effects is outstanding!

Resident Evil 2 Remake rolls back the irreplaceable feeling of atmospheric horror and desolation but still does a great job of resembling the original title. Alongside the classics, this remake is without a doubt one of the best in the series, and highly recommended for both classic and new fans alike.

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