To Clarify: It’s A Full-On Remake
While not explicitly titled “Resident Evil 2 Remake,” the game is in fact a total remake of the classic survival-horror game, and not a remastered version of the PS1 original with touched-up graphics–much in the same vein as 2002’s Resident Evil remake. You once again control rookie cop Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield, who must escape Raccoon City after its citizens are transformed into zombies by a virus two months after the events of the first Resident Evil.
The project came to be after Capcom producer Yoshiaki “H” Hirabayashi took to Facebook on July 30, 2015 to ask the Resident Evil community if they’d be interested in a remake. The request was met with enthusiastic support, which prompted Hirabayashi to pitch the idea to his boss sometime later. The result of the pitch meeting was confirmed the following August when the game was formally announced by Hirabayashi in a special message to fans.
How It Plays
The Resident Evil 2 remake plays from a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective, similar to Resident Evil 4. If you’re worried this deviates too far from the original’s fixed-camera system, don’t let this get you down: the remake still emphasizes survival-horror above all else. You’re not given the same amount of power that the more action-oriented games in the series offer you.
The new aiming style feels like a modernized version of the aiming from classic Resident Evil games that allows you to move and pick out where you want your shots to land.
This manifests itself in combat. When you aim, the cardinal markers on your reticle slowly move until they’re closed in on the center, allowing you to fire a more precise shot. But when you move, the reticle resets and takes time to close in again. Shots take time to line up and you need to stand still to get them just right; you can’t instantly fire from the hip and expect to hit your target. It’s a small change, but it completely alters your sense of control. The new aiming style feels like a modernized version of the aiming from classic Resident Evil games that allows you to move and pick out where you want your shots to land.
Progression also remains largely the same as the original Resident Evil 2. You’re still solving puzzles, tracking down keys, gathering resources, and putting them back into item boxes for later use. But there’s more freedom to explore and discover secrets at your own pace and in varying orders–which is a welcome change of pace from the more constricted adventure game-like progression of the original. You’re constantly investigating new pathways and gaining new items that might help you open up the way to your objective.
In the same way Resident Evil 7 felt like a classic Resident Evil game played from the first-person perspective, the Resident Evil 2 remake feels the same–but from an over-the-shoulder perspective.
Why The Third-Person Camera Perspective?
As stated, Resident Evil 2 remake will play from a third-person over-the-shoulder view. Hirabayashi told GameSpot that he and his team chose the perspective because they wanted the experience of playing the game to be “intimately terrifying in nature, to [have] up-close and personal zombie encounters that you can only get with that kind of view.” He commented further that the perspective was also chosen to open up new possibilities for the series’ classic puzzle-solving.
Based on our time spent playing the game at E3 2018, the third-person perspective plays well with the labyrinthian corridors of the police department, making exploration feel unsettling and claustrophobic. We’re curious how it’ll be effectively used in the latter portions of the game.
How Faithfully Does It Recreate The Original?
Currently, all we have to go in terms of judging the game’s faithfulness is the Racoon City Police Department–the primary location of the first playable demo at E3. The remake appears to closely recreate many of the area’s iconic rooms and corridors, while adding in new details to give it a more modern flair. Some rooms have been slightly rearranged, but the overall structure of the police station remains largely the same–at least from the first floor. Some areas are much darker than in the original too, forcing Leon to brandish a flashlight in order to safely navigate the environment. Also, there are no longer any loading screen doors, so say goodbye to your old-school escape techniques, zombies will now follow you from room to room whether you like it or not.
Leon is still the rookie cop with a heart of gold that we all remember, yet his naivety and sense of honor is reframed and more subtly reflected in his line delivery. Commanding officer Marvin Branagh appears to be a more substantial character who still warns Leon of the dangers ahead, but who seems to have a larger presence, remaining in the main hall after gifting you with a survival knife (and not a keycard).
Story events seem to be remixed as well. The beats we’ve seen so far are incredibly similar, with Leon reaching the police station, but the story progresses slightly differently. For example, you’re forced to explore the Eastern side of the police station first before encountering Marvin, instead of meeting up with him first to unlock the doors to both the Western and Eastern sections.
How Will The Leon/Claire Campaigns Work?
One of the most unique aspects of the original Resident Evil 2 was how it separated its campaign; you had the option to start the game as either Leon or Claire. And depending on who you finished the campaign with, you could then start a new one from the other character’s perspective. This closely tied into the Zapping System, where each of the two playable characters are confronted with different storylines and puzzles depending on the order you choose to play their scenarios. You had the option of starting the “A” scenario with either of the two protagonists and then completing their subsequent “B” scenario, resulting in a total of four different scenarios.
It appears that the remake won’t use the Zapping System, but will instead offer a total of two completely separate campaigns starring Leon and Claire. It’s unclear if your actions in either of the two campaigns will impact the other.
Will There Be VR Support?
Resident Evil 7 was one of the earliest big-budget games you could play entirely with a VR headset, so folks have been asking if Resident Evil 2 remake will receive the same treatment. Producers Tsuyoshi Kanda and Yoshiaki Hirabayashi confirmed that it was decided the game would not be playable in VR due to the third-person over-the-shoulder view.
Any Other Fancy New Features?
Similar to Resident Evil remake, whenever you’re grabbed, you can instantly stab a zombie to push them away and avoid damage. Interestingly, your knife will remain in the body of the zombie until you pick it back up. We’re curious what would happen if you left the knife in the zombie and carried on, as there also seem to be puzzles that involve using your knife. Are you forced to backtrack and retrieve it? Or are there multiple combat knives you can find? Time will tell.
As you explore the RPD, you’ll get your hands on wooden boards that you can use to barricade doors and windows from zombies and other bioweapon threats. If the absence of loading screen doors hurts your sense of safety, then these new wooden boards can serve as a decent–albeit temporary–replacement.
Lastly, a gunpowder crafting mechanic is present, which allows you to create much-needed ammo from scratch. If it’s anything like past games, you’ll likely be relying on it to create the fancier ammo types needed to swiftly take down strong opponents.
What’s In The Collector’s Edition?
The collector’s edition includes the already announced deluxe edition of the game, which is Resident Evil 2 with a special packaging design and an extra DLC pack. This includes two outfits for Leon and three for Claire, the Albert model of the Samurai Edge weapon, and a code to listen to the original music while playing the game, rather than the remaster’s soundtrack.
The collector’s edition also adds a 12-inch statue of Leon, a 32-page art book, a digital version of a 25-song soundtrack, and a Racoon City Police Department poster celebrating its conversion from museum to police station. It’s all collected in an R.P.D. themed box. The collector’s edition is a GameStop exclusive that can only be purchased in North American regions. It’s priced at $200 in the U.S. and $240 in Canada.