Review: ‘Resident Evil 2′ remake is a scary-good time


Illustration by Ariel Landry

Riley Katz

Two bullets in the chamber, no health left and a seven-foot-tall hulk in a trench coat and hat hot on my tail. I will never forget this moment from “Resident Evil 2.”

When I played the original “Resident Evil 2,” years after its original release, I looked at it as a game that combined horror, puzzles, action and a memorable, albeit cheesy, story into the perfect package. Even a decade after playing it for the first time, I think about that game often for what it meant to me. Naturally, when a remake of the game was announced, I was instantly excited for what it could mean.

Now, after spending the entirety of a Sunday afternoon sinking hours and screams into this game, I could not be any happier with the way the game came out.


There are two main campaigns the player has the choice of beginning.

The first campaign follows rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy during his first day on the Racoon City police force. Upon entering Racoon City, things immediately go awry as he stumbles into a zombie outbreak that encompasses the entire city. We’ve all had our rough first-days.

The second campaign follows Claire Redfield, the sister of another Racoon City police officer and protagonist of the first game in the series “Resident Evil” Chris Redfield. Claire is trying to find her brother and ensure his safety while trying to find answers about the outbreak.

The two campaigns intersect at different points, but to enjoy the whole story the player has to play through each campaign.


The best creative decision Capcom made when developing “Resident Evil 2” was reworking the camera system to be in a third-person perspective. In the original game, compromises had to be made in order to run on video game consoles at the time. The biggest compromise was having a set camera when you enter a room; no panning, no control. You could only see what the camera let you see which created tense moments but made traversing the world difficult. In the new game the camera is entirely in the player’s control. This makes the game feel fresh and modern, but most importantly does not cut down on the scares one bit. In fact, I found myself screaming, literally, far more often during my play-through with this game than I ever did playing the original “Resident Evil 2” a decade ago.

The obstacles between you and completing the story fall into two main categories: zombies and puzzles.

The zombies and other creatures you come across are tough as nails. In order to avoid spoilers, I will stick to zombies. The walking dead are the most common enemy in the game, but in no way does that mean they are pushovers. Any given zombie can taken between five to 10 shots in the head to finally kill, making strategic movement my way of saying running away and standing your ground a tough but crucial decision. Ammo is hard to come by in the game, and wasting even one round can be the difference between moving on and getting a game-over.

Puzzles make up the second pillar of progression. The game requires combing through every room with the utmost precision in order to find tools and objects to solve these puzzles. These objects can range from medallions to rubies to keys with different card suits on them. Getting an item after an hour or so of trying to solve a certain puzzle feels like a real achievement and drives the player’s sense of exploration. My only complaint is that Capcom did not go big enough and make the puzzles more elaborate. The majority of the puzzles are two steps: figure out the item you need and then find that item. I would have loved a couple of puzzles that became more complex the more you figured out. Besides that, I am happy with them and hope they are expanded on in future releases.


The original “Resident Evil” games were known for being tough in the retro way. You never feel overpowered and any enemy seems capable of ending your game at any given moment. This remains true in the new “Resident Evil 2.” Every zombie is terrifying because, if you get backed up into a corner, it will end you.

I played the game on the middle-of-the-road difficulty where the challenge feels anything but “normal.” I found the game intensely challenging as my ammo and recovery items depleted. More often than not toward the end of the first campaign, I found myself running around with empty guns and no herbs to heal myself. Every moment felt tense. Many who played the original games know the feeling of “saving your game into a corner,” where you save a game at a point where there is no logical way forward and no way to go back, rendering you stuck forever. There was a real moment where, 65 percent of the way through the game, I had to consider restarting because of this thanks to that seven-foot-tall-hulk in a trench coat and hat. Again, this is on the difficulty most people will probably choose when playing the first time.

On the lighter difficulty, the game gives you aim assist to help you dispose of enemies easier, regenerating health and weaker enemies. I died so many times on the normal difficulty that the game recommended I change the difficulty countless times.

On the hardcore difficulty, the challenge is ramped up exponentially. In order to save, the player must collect ink ribbons. If you run out of ink ribbons, the player cannot save anymore. This returns from the original games which upped the ante considerably. On top of that, enemies are even more challenging than before.


In conclusion, “Resident Evil 2” is a near-perfect remake of the 20-year-old classic. The beautiful graphics, the intact difficulty from the original and the reworked camera and gameplay make the game a must-play for horror fans, “Resident Evil” fans and general fans of video games. I was blown away by the game, and I know that I will be returning to it many times in the coming months. I cannot say enough good things about it, and I would not be surprised if it was discussed in game-of-the-year discussions at the end of 2019. It’s that good.

Rating: 9 out of 10