Resident Evil 2 Early Impressions – Modern Monsters

Article by: Greg Bargas on January 22, 2019
Resident Evil 2 Early Impressions – Modern Monsters

I’ve been cautiously watching the news pour in for Capcom’s reimagining of Resident Evil 2. One of my biggest worries for the game was that it would change its story beyond recognition. Leon and Claire, the two main protagonists of the game, hold very integralĀ positions in the overall storyline of the franchise, not to mention becoming seasoned slayers of the undead. However, after embarking on the short (but sweet) journey of the 1-Shot Demo, my worries have mostly vanished.

Assistant To The Inventory Manager

When I think about what made the original Resident Evil 2 a tough game, it doesn’t have much to do with its vicious creatures. Zombies and Lickers pale in comparison to the difficulty that is managing your inventory. Capcom has once again made this a focal point for its survival horror revision.

During your time in the Raccoon City Police Department, you’ll find a number of different inventory items to disrupt your logical thinking. “Do I really need this gunpowder soon?” you may find yourself asking. That’s because, this time around, Capcom has thrown light crafting abilities into the mix. You can craft various ammo types from standard or premium gunpowder. This then tasks you with choosing either to carry these in hopes of finding more to craft or to simply place them in your item chest for later use.

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Starting out, you’ll have eight inventory slots available. Even within the first couple of hours, backtracking through the police station lets you discover additional item pouches. However, there are more items to pick up than there are slots in your inventory, even after it grows. As most of the station layout and story differ from the original, it’s hard to know as to what qualifies as a priority item.

The new inventory doesn’t come without its quirks. For example, you can no longer select ammo and a gun in order to combine them in the inventory screen. The same goes for picking up a new item and combining it right away with a similar item. Meanwhile, some items, like shock grenades and boards, only take a single inventory square when multiples are picked up.

Zombies Are More Relentless

But what would an inventory full of pistols and grenade launchers be without enemies to use them against? One of the most recognizable creatures from the original Resident Evil was the zombie. The original’s first encounter with them in a small room was game-changing for its time. It seems that Capcom relied on the same model in order to create many of the zombies in the game. Now, however, they are far more detailed and varied. They are also more relentless in how they attack.

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I’m currently playing through Resident Evil 2 with Claire. The revolver she carries often leaves for longer reload times, so it’s important to nail your shots in the heads of your enemies. Even so, they will often start attacking again when you enter a room where you previously downed them. Even blasts from your grenade launcher and a flame round might leave them to be reanimated when you enter a room again. Any area previously inhabited by enemies can quickly turn into a situation of furious panic.

The Atmosphere Is Still Alive

A few weeks ago, I decided to plug in my PlayStation 1 and jump back into the original Resident Evil 2. Many things remained just as I had remembered them, complete with cheesy voice acting and all. Admittedly, the graphics were the first thing that I recalled that hadn’t aged all too well. But, I recognize it for what Capcom was able to achieve at the time. Much of it came from simply creating a great atmosphere and environment for our characters to explore.

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The Resident Evil 2 1-Shot Demo showcased a few things that settled my fears of what a modern iteration of the game might damage. It had worried me to think that action elements might damage the core of its eerie, survival horror gameplay. And yet, that’s one thing that I found heavily intact after playing through the first few hours. Sure, some instances had the action overshadow the elements that are meant to stir up your inner anxiety. And in those cases, the game has most likely set you up for some jump scares. Honestly, this has probably been one of my favorite parts about my experience so far. It’s that same haunted house scare, the one where you feel dumb for yelping because of a random crash. I don’t feel embarrassed one bit, either.

Managing Your Expectations (And Environment)

I often found myself checking my expectations at the door. From the demo, it was easy to see where Capcom was heading when it wanted to recreate one of their most recognizable entries in the Resident Evil series of games. Heck, it was the one fans had been clamoring for. Even so, I wanted to enjoy the remake for what it is, rather than lose myself in the things that weren’t brought over from the original.

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For example, you’ll notice right away that you can board up windows where zombies are pouring into the police station. Previously, the automatic shutters would drop, covering the window. This time around, it’s up to you to find boards and close these off. Not only does this offer more challenges to the gameplay, but it also balances the more action-influenced gameplay style. As you trek through rooms and offices, you are constantly on the lookout to manage your surroundings — along with your inventory.

I’ve plugged away at the first few bits of Resident Evil 2. I am finding thatĀ a little more polish has been seen from the demo until now. At the same time, the core of the gameplay hasn’t changed all that much.

I’m already looking forward to finishing the game with Claire and jumping right in for Leon’s perspective of how things unfolded. I just hope that the rest of the game is as meaty and gory as what I’ve played so far.


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