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The Resident Evil 2 Remake Takes the Best of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 7

We got some hands-on time with Capcom's long-awaited Resident Evil 2 remake at E3 2018.

Analysis by Matt Kim, .

It's been over 20 years since Resident Evil 2 came out on the first PlayStation, and Capcom is back with a Resident Evil 2 remake running on the same RE Engine that powered last year's critically-acclaimed Resident Evil 7. And if Resident Evil 7 was a return to form for the series with a fresh perspective, the Resident Evil 2 remake feels like the future of the series from a familiar perspective.

Resident Evil 2 stars rookie Raccoon City Police officer Leon S. Kennedy during the worst first day on a job he could ask for. The game also stars Claire Redfield, Chris Redfield's younger sister and all around badass. But my demo only let me play Leon's portion of the game, which takes place in the world's most baroque police station. If only every metropolitan police station came equipped with grand libraries, classical marble statues, and opulent foyers.

Get outta there Leon!

Until now we've only seen the RE Engine (Reach for the Moon Engine, not Resident Evil Engine FYI) used in Resident Evil 7. With the Resident Evil 2 remake we finally see what a third-person Resident Evil game looks like running on the engine, and it is sublime. The fluidity and naturalism of Resident Evil 7 are back, but the dynamism of a third-person perspective makes the entire experience even richer and scarier.

One of my favorite things about Resident Evil 7 was how natural it felt. Opening doors, using weapons, examining objects, and interacting with the world in general had a level of detail and realism that also made it perfect for more immersive experiences like VR. That level of detail is back in the Resident Evil 2 remake, and manifests in some really cool ways. It blends all sorts of actions like exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat so seamlessly that it's hard to imagine there was once a time Resident Evil games loaded the next room by cutting to a shot of a door opening.

Doors open as they do in Resident Evil 7, with Leon being able to slightly peek in before opening a door fully to venture in. Solving puzzles or examining objects zooms the camera in so that you can interact with them more directly. The subtle shift makes Leon's action continuous and the same as yours.

The Resident Evil 2 remake ditches the original's fixed camera perspective for a more modern, over-the-shoulder third-person perspective. This invites comparisons to Resident Evils 4 through 6, but the remake iterates on the action from those games so completely that Resident Evil 4 is to the Resident Evil 2 remake as the original Resident Evil 2 was to Resident Evil 4.

Zombies are looking even more gnarly.

The shooting feels smooth, but the game maintains an overall slower pace. Limited ammo and a restricted inventory means that bullet conservation is a necessary skill for survival. And it really does feel like a struggle for survival. Zombies won't die after being put down once and will rise again after about a minute, but it's up to you if you're willing to waste those extra bullets to double-tap a zombie or if you just want to get the hell out of dodge. But if you leave too many zombies unattended in a certain area they can mob up against you. It's when you face four zombies in a group at once that the game feels closest to an action game, but overall the game maintains an atmosphere of dread and fear.

The Resident Evil 2 remake's strength also stems from the fact that it's such an evolved version of the original Resident Evil 2, that when you encounter something familiar but so modernized, it's literally breathtaking.

For instance, one zombie encounter in the original Resident Evil 2 where Leon shoots off a few bullets and crumples a zombie is much more different when you're playing the remake, shooting at the same zombie in the same hallway. Instead of crumpling a mess of polygons now, you're chipping away at the flesh of a fully realized zombie. Each bullet tears away a little bit more of its pallid skin until you start seeing cartilage and sinew. It's gnarly stuff and you can feel the memory of the original Resident Evil 2 being rewritten, like a new entry on the typewriter.

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Comments 16

  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #1 cldmstrsn 8 days ago
    Ya this was the best scenario. I skipped VII cause I cant do a first person perspective so I was a little fearful about 2 going that way but this looks absolutely stunning and I am already dreading (in a good way) going through those halls again.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #2 Kuni-Nino 8 days ago
    So...basically the combat is a watered down version of RE4? Eww.

    I wasn’t expecting RE6 level of depth but something like RE4 where I could still suplex a zombie would have been welcome.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #3 Funny_Colour_Blue 8 days ago
    ...Yes, but where is Robert Kendo the gun shop owner man??

    @ 0:41

    Edited 1 weeks ago by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for BulkSlash #4 BulkSlash 8 days ago
    I was actually really surprised that the RE2 remake is a third person game, I was expecting it to be like the RE1 remake with fixed cameras and pre-rendered backgrounds, especially after the success of re-releasing the RE1 and 0 remakes. In fact, given how long it has been since the initial announcement of this game, I wonder if Capcom did start work on a fixed camera version and then dumped it for this? Maybe there’s now another Resident Evil 1.5 for fans to obsess over? ;)

    I kind of hope Capcom work on the faces a bit. I’d prefer Leon to look more like he did in RE4 and for Claire to look like she did in Code Veronica. It’s always quite disturbing how they completely change how a character looks from one game to the next! Maybe they could be added as DLC, I’d be happy to pay for “classic” versions.
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  • Avatar for jannetfransis #5 jannetfransis 8 days ago
    Deleted June 4000 by Unknown
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  • Avatar for docexe #6 docexe 8 days ago
    So Resident Evil 4 but with more emphasis in survival horror and less on action? I think I like that approach. The series went too far in the opposite direction for my tastes in RE5 and (especially!) RE6.
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  • Avatar for hiptanaka #7 hiptanaka 8 days ago
    Very excited for this. Maybe I should warm up with another Resident Evil I haven’t played. Which one is better if I like the classics, 7 or Revelations?
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #8 Nuclear-Vomit 7 days ago
    @Funny_Colour_Blue "Oh, Sorry about that, babe."

    That man is a saint!
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #9 TheWildCard 7 days ago
    I'm not particularly attached to classic RE but this looks awesome. One of my most anticipated games now.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #10 Kuni-Nino 7 days ago
    @hiptanaka RE7. It’s much more closer to the classic games with an emphasis on resource scarcity and exploration. It’s not as good as those games but you have to take into account its FP view and how the game is really made for VR. That’s where the game truly shines.

    The Revelations games are basically budget RE games that try to have it both ways but don’t succeed in either way. They’re too ugly to be considered scary. The combat is too simple to be fun as an action game.

    Both games suck when it comes to enemy variety. But at least RE7 doesn’t make combat a focus.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #11 cldmstrsn 7 days ago
    @hiptanaka Definitely go with Revelations. I really enjoyed the first one.
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  • Avatar for Mikki-Saturn #12 Mikki-Saturn 7 days ago
    I'm interested in this but I was also expecting it to be pre-rendered backgrounds or fixed camera angles. I really think pre rendered backgrounds can look great, and I think the fixed camera angle is helpful for any game that is looking for a cinematic appearance. It's particularly effective in horror games I feel. A bit of a missed opportunity in that respect, but I'm sure it will be good anyway.
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  • Avatar for AceOfCakez #13 AceOfCakez 7 days ago
    Color me intrigued. I played a majority of the RE's and can say that I was never a fan of the fixed camera approach. This game looks really good.
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #14 The-Challenger 7 days ago
    When I played RE4 I secretly hoped they would do something like this. I actively avoided the originals because of the camera and tank controls.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #15 Flipsider99 7 days ago
    It just felt like a big missed opportunity to me. I don't think we need another RE game, or game in general, that plays like RE4. It's overdone in today's market.

    What they really should have done is follow the template that the RE1 Remake set out, and kept the cinematic camera angles from the original. Some people say that style is too "dated," but I think it's been decisively shown that is not the case. The RE1 Remake was just released on PC a few years ago and many people played it for the first time, and it received near universal acclaim from both the fans and new players. It's often touted as one of the best video game remakes ever made.

    So why wouldn't you follow that formula, a formula that has been shown to work? Not only that, but a game like that would really stand apart in the modern game market. It would please both the hardcore fans and new players. Instead, I think they've made a mistake in thinking that the series has to be "modernized," which really means just copying what is popular. That is just not going to work out as well.

    The RE2 Remake as it stands still looks good, but it really is a huge wasted opportunity.
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  • Avatar for daveyc02909 #16 daveyc02909 7 days ago
    @Kuni-Nino I enjoy suplexing a zombie as much as the next guy but it wouldn't really fit the pace (and even tone) of this game IMO.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #17 Kuni-Nino 7 days ago
    @daveyc02909 it’d Make the game more fun tho.
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