On January 25th, 2019, Capcom released their eagerly awaited remake to the 1998 classic Resident Evil 2 – 21 years after its original launch on the O.G. PlayStation. Back then the game was an instant classic, entering the horror fray of games that scared gamers countless times around the world.
However, once you take off your nostalgic glasses, you’ll remember the game for its pixelated glory, lit-up scenery, and tank-like controls. Resident Evil 2 is a gaming icon, but looking back on how it played, it was a scare within itself to control Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield throughout Raccoon City.
That’s not the game’s fault, I’d argue. It worked with the technology it had at the time. There was no 4K streaming, 1080P HD screens, animations that looked life-like, and gameplay that featured TWO analog sticks.
Honestly, that’s totally fine!
Gamers growing up in that era would not trade the memories created all those nights of gaming until the sun came up. Technological limitations or not, we gamed, and we continue to game today.
Enter the current generation of PlayStation 4, Xbox One, suped-up PC configurations, and we have one of the most powerful iterations of gaming consoles known to man. With that power, it gives developers the ability to create triple-A titles that we have not seen before. God of War, Super Mario Odyssey, and Halo 5: Guardians are just a small sample of the incredible games that we’ve seen this decade alone.
The other promise?
Recreating games of yesteryear.
One common concept this generation of developers has focused on are porting older games to newer consoles. However, this has mostly come in the form of remastered porting, which normally included updated graphics, updated framerate, and the occasionally updated control scheme.
This is a fantastic concept because there are millions of people who missed out on earlier games due to financial priority or simply not owning the console the game was originally released on.
Enter 2019’s Resident Evil 2.
Now the important thing to realize here is that this is not a remastered port, but rather, a full-blown remake. The game is modernized by its graphical power, which includes millions of details that were not possible before. Displayed damage to Leon’s clothing? Check. The detailed, gory look of a zombie that’s decaying? Check. A hauntingly recreated scenery that occupies the story’s locations? Double check.
Months have passed since the release of Resident Evil 2, so everyone should not be a stranger to the accolades and achievements the game has been known for in a short amount of time. Although, it is important to acknowledge the fine work Capcom has done with this game.
One of the more important aspects this remake offers is the loading times. Do you remember the transition door in the original game? Looking at a door — acting as a loading screen — to get to the next room, over and over. Now? That’s a thing of a past as almost every facet of the game has been loaded upon startup.
You hear zombies making noise a few rooms away? They’re there. The fantastic scene of Tyrant — Mr. X — constantly stalking you no matter where you are in the Racoon City Police Department? He’s really there. Coming to murder you brutally.
While this is not a review, it should be noted that the game executes nearly everything to perfection. The music is there to accompany you on your journey, the dialogue — oh, the dialogue of the 1990s — is much more believable between characters conversing, and the look and feel of being placed in a horror game will terrify you with every turn.
None of this would be possible without Capcom taking one of their most beloved babies and adapting it to the modern world of gaming. The over-the-shoulder camera view of traversing and aiming that was introduced in Resident Evil 4 is the perfect gameplay style for Leon and Claire.
The original game gave you a pretty good indication of enemies and room layouts coming, but in the 2019 remake, you have no idea what’s coming or when an enemy is within striking distance. Capcom not only recreated one of the best games of all time but also reinvigorated horror. True horror. Sure, Resident Evil 2 can still be a little cheesy at times but looking at the game as a whole, it is the greatest ground-up remake in gaming history.
Now it is possible that Capcom laid the groundwork for other remakes coming in 2019 and beyond — cough cough Final Fantasy 7 cough cough– and other gaming titles will improve upon it. Really, it is not entirely crazy to say that Capcom gave the world the blueprint on how to take a 20-plus-year-old game and make it one of the best games of all time in a gaming world booming with imagination.