RESIDENT EVIL.2 Remake - Game Reviews - #20.
This is quite possibly the finest example of a horror survival game to ever be made.
As you should know by now, I have been streaming this game as I do with all my game reviews, so you all get to see for yourself just how good or bad a game is, and this game is far, far from being close to bad. I have never been physically scared playing a game as much as when I was playing this and every moment was absolutely thrilling. There is one downside that stops me giving this game a perfect score, but not enough to stop me recommending that everyone plays this game.
So far I have only completed the Claire campaign and it is almost a one to one recreation of the original game.
Claire is a student visiting her brother who is non other than, Chris Redfield who works at the Racoon Police Department. When you arrive on the outskirts of the city you stumble upon a gas station that has seemingly been attacked and where you realise there is a zombie infestation. This is also where you meet up with the other playable character, Leon Kennedy.
When you arrive in the city, you have to run towards the Police station and this is where you get split up. Once inside you meet another character called Marvin who has been attacked and is well on his way to turning. You basically have to find a way to escape the Police station. During this period you meet a small girl called Sherry who adds an all new twist to the narrative which makes it all the more engrossing. Eventually the little girl becomes infected and you have to find the antivirus in which to cure her.
I don't want to say much more because it will spoil it for you. So you will just have to play it for yourselves or watch my Live streams.
Just like the original 1998 game, the narrative has not changed all that much in terms of structure, but the way in which its portrayed across has dramatically changed, for the better. Combined with the up to date and frankly, superb voice acting, it makes the whole experience so much more immersive which has the added side effect of being that much more scary.
The overall story is very cliché and that would usually be a problem, but because this is a remake of the original, the cliché just adds to the nostalgia this game brings to the table for those of us that remember the original. Even if you don't remember the original the cliché story is very easy to overlook as the overall game experience makes you forget as you just get on with the game, but at the same time, the story remains the central focus. It is something that very few games have been able to pull off, but none as well as this one.
The PC version of this game has unbelievable visual quality over that of the console, more so with the ability to fine tune the visuals to suit the graphics card you have.
Myself, I use a single Radeon RX 580 8gb graphics card and I am able to run very high graphical settings at around 60 frames per second at 1440p. However, regardless of what GPU you use for gaming, you can fine tune the graphical quality and performance to suit your needs. Obviously if you use high end/enthusiast grade hardware, you will be able to simply max out the settings and still have a good frame rate. But where this game shines in the visuals department is for those that run low to mid range cards. In the graphical settings, you will see a small window that shows you exactly how the game will look with your selected option as well as give you an idea of how much graphical memory the game may use. This all adds up to the fine tuning to get the best visual quality possible for your GPU. There are also pre defined options for you to choose if you don't want to go to the extent of going through all the individual adjustments.
I know many other games do this, but not to this level. Even if you have a low end GPU like a GTX 1050 or RX 550, the low quality settings still look remarkably good when compared to other triple A games.
The only real problem I had with the visual settings was the Anti Aliasing. Usually if the option is available, I would choose Temporal Anti Aliasing (TAA) as I feel it smooths out hard edges better than some of the others like FXAA and SMAA, but I found that TAA, FXAA and FXAA+TAA did not improve the visuals all that much and in some cut scenes would actually cause artefacts in the hair and on the character clothing. SMAA (Subpixle Morphological Anti Aliasing) improved the overall image and smoothed out the hard edges and made everything look much more realistic. It is just unusual to see an antialiasing that hinders the visuals instead of enhancing them. It may be just because I am using AMD hardware but it could also be an issue with the implementation of the technology in the game. Regardless, choosing the SMAA option is by far the best way to improve overall visuals.
Getting away from the graphical settings, in game it looks fan fucking tastic. The environment is lush with appropriate volumetric lighting and reflections.
Just like the original 1998 game, this remake has faithfully recreated every aspect of the game and environment. The most notable similarity to most that remember the original is the main hall in the police station and more specifically is the large statue at the rear of the hall. The nostalgia for me was at an all time high when I first saw this in the demo, and then reinforced when I was playing the Claire campaign.
Other things that look incredible is Mr.X. This character could be described as a super zombie that is more... sophisticated and more deliberate than your usual mindless creature. With Mr.X being twice the size a normal zombie you would imagine that doors, stairs and other obstacles would be a challenge, but the animations are perfect. He ducks down going through doors, he walks up 2 stairs per step unlike your single step and his overall appearance is a fantastic reimagining of the original character.
The Licker's have also made a return and they look brilliant. If you have ever seen the Resident Evil films, you may know what a licker looks like and this game has appears to have taken that template and pasted it into this game. It looks fucking awesome, and too is its animations which give it a more animalistic character, how it can enter and exit air ducts, cling to ceilings and even how it moves when trying to figure out where you are. Considering they hunt by sound, the devs have done an awesome job in creating its mechanics and animations.
Another piece of nostalgia was William. This is the scientist who created the G-virus and met an unfortunate accident. Those who played the original will appreciate how this character looks, from the overly sized, Tyrant esk claws to the Eye in the shoulder (complete with the sound effects). Unlike Mr.X, William is more primal and this shows in his animations, how he reacts to different types of gun fire, explosives and even your own movements.
Unlike the original game, this one is an over the shoulder, 3rd person game. The original game used pre rendered stills almost like a security camera perspective, this was to get around the low power of the PS1, but also added a bit of horror and suspense which ultimately made the games as successful as they are.
Not having to worry about graphical power, the devs used the same game engine they used for Resident Evil 7 which gives us full immersive environments. But this to a certain degree takes the suspense away the original had. To get around that, they have used a similar mechanic that was found in the browser based game from 2012 Slender Man. I am talking about the dark environments and use of a flash light which reduces what you can see. This multiplies the suspense and makes it much more scarier than the original and even more so than that of Resident Evil 7 which was a fright fest all of its own.
The zombies are insanely good, and graphical. I think Dead Space was one of the first games to introduce shooting off limbs to incapacitate enemies. In this game, that same mechanic has been used and then took to an all new level. Regardless of where you shoot a zombie, it will cause some pretty damn good damage. You an shoot the side of a zombies face off, shoot off all their appendages, feet, hands, legs and arms from the knees and elbows to the hips and shoulders if you so choose. Even though it is beyond graphical, it looks insane.
If you incapacitate a zombie, its animations adapt really well depending on what has been damaged. Missing a foot, it will walk with a limp, missing a leg, it will drag its self across the floor, and as I found out, if you have shot a leg off, they can and do follow you just about anywhere.
This all adds up to a game that is phenomenally immersive from start to finish. The visuals, while remaining loyal to the original game and pandering to nostalgia nerds like me, make it truly unique in its own right and a perfect platform for new comers to the genre. It is a visually stunning game that can be enjoyed by both those who played the 98 game and newcomers alike.
Its awesome. What more can be said?
The most notable thing about the gameplay is the zombies. I touched on their visuals and how you can shoot limbs off, but what is more incredible and adds an extra layer of fear into the game is the doors. Let me explain. In the original game, when ever you entered a new room, you had a door opening animation while the next scene was being loaded. This added suspense to the original game as most of the time, we didn't know what to expect on the other side. This also prevented Zombies from following you. This game has done away with that mechanic and now you can go through door after door seamlessly. This helps the game flow much better, but as a side effect, the zombies can also go through the doors and follow you which adds yet more suspense and gives you a greater level of fear as the zombies are very hard to permanently kill and you never know for sure if they will follow you or not unless you get a critical hit and blow their head apart.
The zombies will all act independently throughout the game. For example, in my last stream I incapacitated a zombie at the bottom of a stair case by shooting a leg off so I didn't have to waste bullets. When I returned to that location an hour later, that same zombie had climbed 2 stories and through 2 doors and was still going. All to try and get me. It is the same story with every zombie in the game.
That brings me nicely onto Mr.X. Just like normal zombies can follow you. This dude being twice the size follows you anywhere you go. He is much quicker and hits HARD. Combined with the sound of his metallic footsteps stomping throughout the environment and the 3D audio (which only really works if you use a headset) makes this the ultimate game of hide and seek as you try to avoid him regardless of where you are on the map.
What makes this all the more worse is that Mr.X is attracted to loud noises, so when you shoot a zombie or licker, you can hear his footsteps approach as he races to kill you. The suspense is turned to 11 and gave me more than a few jump scares, all because of Mr.X.
The User Interface has also kept that nostalgic look of the 98 game with the obvious modernisation, it is still nice and simple to navigate and even the button layout on the gamepad is very similar to the original too with the major change being the aiming a shooting.
Thankfully the PC version supports Mouse and Keyboard. While the Joypad does offer variable speeds when walking meaning you can literally tiptoe, I suck at aiming with a joypad so I opted to use the mouse and keyboard. If there was a keyboard that had cherry MX switches with variable switch like the joypad, it would make it perfect to control. The only way around this would be to aim while walking which slows you down. It is a little annoying but I got used to it very quickly. And of course, the keys are fully mappable and so is the sensitivity of the mouse in free roam and when aiming.
The combat mechanics are top notch with superb control. When using the small 5 shooter when you first start, it feels weak, but when you add the reinforcement pickup and combine them to the gun and used with the high powered rounds, it has some weight to it. It is not limited to that one weapon. All of them have a different weight. The grenade launcher has a hard punch to it. Where as the shock gun is very light and consistent.
It is kind of annoying that you can pick up parts for guns you can not get, but it adds the puzzle factor and gives you the need to search for said parts/guns.
The original Resident Evil games are best known for their puzzles and while there isn't as many in this game, they are just as difficult to solve if you don't know where to look. This is where you need to have the patience to read and look at all the documents you can as they will all give you clues as what to do. Even some objects that you collect can give you clues and are a clue in themselves, so it pays to examine everything that you collect. It will make things much easier for you.
You would think doing this would make the game more boring, but it actually helps the flow of the game moving it along at a reasonable pace, instead of slowing things to a stop because you don't know what to do or where to go in order to progress.
While the game only really offers what I would call 3 real boss fights with William at various stages in the game, Mr.X adds an all new dynamic that makes it feel like one elongated battle. It is bringing that 'Fight or Flight' feeling we all have into the open. When you are confronted with him you have to either fight or run and regardless of what you choose, you get a feeling of dread and will make you heart pound.
When you get to the underground the scares come at you thick and fast with each one as hard hitting to your heart as the last one. The game does this by luring you in to a false state of security. When you think your safe you will have poop shooting out of your rectum eye.
The music in the game helps towards reaching this goal as it is very atmospheric. The composers have done a brilliant job and the devs have implemented it well to frighten the pants of you.
The only real downside to this game is the playtime is a little short. Even with taking my time and exploring as much as possible, you are looking at an average of 6 – 8 hours of total game time per play through. I just wish that this game had a longer campaign and I feel they could have done this while still remaining loyal to the original.
With that said, the way in which the game is structured actually encourages you to play through again so you can find all the hidden details and weapons you didn't find first time round. On top of that, there is a '2nd run' option which changes the game by placing in new and different clues, items, weapons and even enemies in all new locations. Making it fresh. And you get to do all that twice for the second playable character. And if you want to play on the difficult setting, that equals 8 playthroughs minimum. That is the best part of 70 hours of game time.
- Every aspect of this game is designed to scare you, from the body destruction mechanics, the gore, the sound effects, atmospheric music, Mr.X's foot steps, the flash light /darkness, absolutely everything. It is a faithful recreation of the 98 game, even though some of the original mechanics have gone that made the games iconic. This one brings all new dynamics that make the game all the better.
Game remakes are vary rarely successful and even fewer manage to keep and get a new audience. This game has managed to exceed the first and improve on it ten fold.
This is exactly how a 'Survival Horror' game should be and everything about it says just that. If it wasn't for the single oversight of a short 8 hour campaign, this game will get a perfect score.
A fantastic game that is full of nostalgia for the older gamers among us but also a fresh take on survival horror that will undoubtedly bring newcomers to the franchise. The PC version is versatile enough to accommodate most hardware types from low end to enthusiast grade hardware. It looks great, plays even better and is very immersive. If you like being scared and/or an adrenaline rush, then this game is for you.
Thank you for reading.
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