First off, while Resident Evil 2 is a remake and has the same characters, locations, and enemies as the original, that is where the similarities end. Resident Evil 2 has been remade from the ground up, complete with brand new graphics and brand new modern controls. Gone are the fixed camera angles and tank controls. Resident Evil 2 may be a remake of a 20-year-old game, but it feels like a game originally made in 2019.
Possibly the biggest difference between the remake and the original is the gameplay differences between the two. While the original had fixed camera angles, a tank control scheme and was overall just a slower feeling game, the remake changes this by instead using a over the shoulder third-person camera angle similar to Resident Evil 4 and replacing the tank controls with modern and revamped controls similar to that of the controls from Resident Evil 7. The remake also feels faster than the original, in hallways where there were once a few zombies, there now seems to be half a dozen zombies only for more to join by crawling through the Raccoon City Police Department’s windows, unless you board them up with boards you find lying around.
The User Interface and item management have also been greatly improved from the original as it now uses the exact same menu interface and item management system from Resident Evil 7. In fact, Resident Evil 2 was made with the exact same engine as Resident Evil 7 “The RE Engine,” so the two games actually have quite a bit in common.
Graphics have greatly improved over the last 20 years since the original Resident Evil 2 released, and the improved graphics of the game really stand out. Zombies look more grotesque than they ever have in a video game before and the character models along with the lighting look just as good as they did in Resident Evil 7. Visually this is a very impressive game.
From the moans and the growls of the zombies to the intense musical score that play while the intimidating and seemingly invincible Mr. X chases you around is very well done and can be quite unnerving especially if you’re using headphones or surround sound.
It’s also possible to switch the original soundtrack and sound effects if you purchased the deluxe edition or the soundtrack swap DLC, if you do this the games sound effects and musical score will still be intense but you’ll also be able to see just how far sound design in video games have come in the last 20 years or so, especially when it comes to voice acting.
If you like survival horror games, one reason you probably like them is that they are scary and intense, and I’m pleased to say Resident Evil 2 is one of the scariest and most intense in the series. While I don’t think it’s quite at Resident Evil 7’s level, it is pretty close. Being hunted persistently by the unstoppable Mr. X is already intense but hearing him stomp around the Racoon City Police Department adds to the intensity especially when the stomps plays with your expectations on when he is near and when he is further away.
Another thing that makes the game intense is your item management. For one, when you begin the game you will not be able to carry very many items so you will have to decide which items you need and which ones you should come back for. Ammo is also limited, so there will be many times where you have to decide if you should fight and waste ammo or run and risk running into a zombie and losing health, it’s a constant question you have to ask yourself which makes decision making very important.
The large number of zombies that constantly come through the windows in the hallways of the Racoon City Police Department does make the game more intense the bullet sponge enemies do not. It shouldn’t take three-plus shots at point-blank range to the head of a zombie to kill them. I do not know if it was intentional to build intensity or not but I found it more annoying than anything. A small gripe though for what is overall a very intense and frightening game.
Both Leon and Claire have campaigns that play pretty similar to each other just with different stories that intersect at different points. Each character also has a 2nd run playthrough, that is essentially a remixed version of the campaign, that changes certain item locations among other things. Giving the game a decent amount of replay value. There is a lot to play and do here especially when since you can also unlock the 4th survivor gameplay mode when you finish Leon and Claire’s story, in addition to the Ghost Survivors free DLC that just came to the game.
Resident Evil 2 is proof that Capcom is a master of remaking games. Not only is the Resident Evil 2 remake better than the original it feels like a modern game made with today’s standards in mind. The controls and gameplay feel polished and responsive. The graphics, character models and lighting looks similar to Resident Evil 7, which is not a bad thing. The sound design is leagues better than it was in the original game especially when it comes to the voice acting, and with two campaigns and additional modes, Resident Evil 2 has a lot of replay value. I can recommend Resident Evil 2 to anyone who is a fan of the Resident Evil series or survival horror games in general.