It wasn’t that long ago that the Resident Evil series fell out of favor with both the fans and critics alike. After the massive success of Resident 4, the developers seemed to lose sight of what made gamers fall in love with the series in the first place.
Resident Evil 5 and 6 were not well received and both games instead decided to focus on blockbuster-style action and set pieces rather than horror. Even though the games played similarly to Resident 4, they lacked any of the tension and excitement of that game.
Resident Evil 4 was a landmark title that was an influence on titles like Dead Space, Gears of War, and even the Uncharted series. Unfortunately, the cost of trying to replicate the success of the fourth title came at the price of innovation and by the time Resident Evil 5 was released it already felt old and clunky compared to newer titles.
Thankfully, the series started to regain some of its old magic with the Resident Evil: Revelations series and taking the series back to its roots. It was the excellent Resident Evil 7, however, that reinvigorated the franchise by both modernizing the tried and tested mechanics and taking influence from more contemporary horror games like the Amnesia series.
Using the same game engine as Resident Evil 7, Capcom has remade what many fans consider to be one of the best in the franchise in Resident Evil 2 in hopes of continuing their new found success. So will the RE2 remake be a Romero-like masterpiece or a House of the Dead disaster-piece to rival Uwe Boll?
30 Good: Resident Evil 2 Shows How Remakes Should Be Done
Remakes are usually frowned upon with gamers and are often accused of cashing in on a popular game from the past. The Resident Evil 2 remake bucks this trend by being one of the most faithful ground-up remakes of a classic PlayStation game from 1998 whilst completely rewriting the script and providing plenty of new scares at the same time.
It’s an incredible moment to make your way through the zombie infested Racoon city and enter the police station to be greeted with the now iconic Goddess statue. Longtime fans no doubt appreciate moments like these and there are lots of them.
29 Bad: The Remake Is Possibly Too Much Like The Original
Capcom and the Resident Evil series already have a good aptitude for creating worthwhile remakes. This is very evident on the Nintendo Gamecube’s remake of the first Resident Evil. This remake went above and beyond to give fans a familiar enough experience to appreciate the nostalgia but also throw in a lot of surprises too.
Don’t get us wrong, the Resident Evil 2 remake does throw in a fair amount of twists and surprises to keep fans (old and new) happy. However, aside from the complete graphical overhaul, it doesn’t quite go as far as the Gamecube remake did.
28 Good: The Visuals Are State of the Art
When the Resident Evil 2 remake rumors started to gain traction there was a lot of speculation about what it would look like. Fans were unsure whether it would stick to the traditional pre-rendered backgrounds of the original games or opt for the new first-person view seen in what was a soft reboot for the series in Resident Evil 7.
Instead, we got something that favors the over-the-shoulder style action seen in Resident Evil 4 using the same graphical engine seen in Resident Evil 7. The results are a game that not only looks state of the art but recaptures original game’s atmosphere on modern consoles.
27 Bad: The Controls May Feel Awkward Compared To Other Modern Shooters
Despite being a much slower paced game, the over-the-shoulder viewpoint will naturally draw comparisons to games like Gears of War and even Uncharted. In fact, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that Resident Evil 4 popularized this style of gaming.
So with these comparisons in mind, this remake may feel slow, awkward and even frustrating to gamers that are used to something a bit more responsive. First-time players will find themselves in situations where they are battling with the game’s mechanics as much as they are the zombies.
26 Good: Old School Fans Will Love The Control System
With exception to the Resident Evil: Revelations series, the horror genre went through something of an identity crisis on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Instead of allowing players to feel helpless, the mainline Resident Evil series chose to focus on co-op and action.
It wasn’t just the Resident Evil series but even games like Dead Space gave the sense of feeling a bit too overpowered. The remake remedies that by not only making you feel like your character is out of his/her depth but a limited arsenal and inventory too, creating a sense of dread and tension as a result.
25 Bad: The Boss Fights Are As Awkward As Ever
Keeping in with the tradition of the classic Resident Evil series. the boss battles will feel very familiar to the old school gamers. Sadly, that’s not necessarily a good thing because, despite its modern and big blockbuster overhaul, the fights are as awkward and as frustrating as they have ever been.
Players will find themselves at odds with the methodical and deliberately awkward control system in boss fight situations. As a result, the battles can become an annoyance because you can’t get your character’s into the positions you want them to when trying to fight back.
24 Good: Even The Zombies Are Intimidating Now
A typical trope in the zombie video game genre is that once you get over the initial shock of encountering the creatures, they essentially become cannon fodder. This is especially true as you upgrade your weaponry and encounter more powerful enemies.
This remake, however, changes things up by making the zombies more challenging to defeat and even provided them with more determined AI. Now if you opt to run away or don’t finish them off they’ll chase you down through locked doors, too.
23 Bad: The Police Station Is Difficult To Navigate
The world that Resident Evil inhabits is well designed and lovely to look at. However, those who are used to convenient waypoints and simplistic but pretty maps like those found in most third-person shooters may find the police station a tough place to get used to.
Another annoyance is having to constantly open and close the map screen if you want to get your bearings. While it can add to the tension when trying to get away from a certain Terminator-like monster, constantly running into a blocked path and having to restart from your last save point does get old fast.
22 Good: Capcom Nails The Balance Of Action And Adventure
Despite being horror games, the first two Resident Evil titles were as much about exploration and discovering the lore as they were about scaring the pants off you. It was as much fun to explore the game’s twisted world and read about its inhabitants as it was to fight the zombie horde.
The series lost this when it decided to focus more on action and set pieces after Resident Evil 4. However, the horror, action, and exploration balance in the Resident Evil 2 remake is the best seen since Resident Evil: Code Veronica.
21 Bad: The Story And Acting Can Still Sound A Little Cheesy
Even though it was something special at the time, the first Resident Evil – not the Gamecube remake – has become notorious for its bad voice acting. Despite this, the game’s cheesiness was accepted as a product of its time and in line with being Romero-esque.
With more modern inspirations like The Walking Dead and the 28 Days series, the Resident Evil 2 remake rectifies this for the most part. However, there’s still no escaping the implausible plot and the occasional campy script that’s often at odds with the game’s tone.
20 Good: The Script Is a Vast Improvement
As mentioned, the Resident Evil series has become synonymous with its inconceivable plot devices almost as much as its scares. Just like the George A. Romero films that inspired it, the Resident Evil series has always had a hint of silliness that made it what it is.
While this worked well 21 years ago, the cheesiness doesn’t quite translate in a modern game, especially after playing the most recent title. In this remake, the script has been completely rewritten and the voice acting has been brought up to date whilst staying true to the original formula.
19 Bad: The Puzzles Are At Odds With Modern Gaming
The Resident Evil 2 remake has definitely helped bring one of the series best mainline entries to modern audiences. In addition, the game has stayed true to what made its first out so good in the first place.
Staying true to the old-school conventions of the first two games means that gamers will have to solve the puzzles which seem even more at odds with modern gaming. On one hand, gamers who loved the original will be happy it is back, but on the other newer gamers may find them a little silly and pointlessly time-consuming.
18 Good: The Game World Design Is Fantastic
When it comes to world design, the Resident Evil series doesn’t seem to get enough credit. It wasn’t until Capcom’s most recent title in the series, Resident Evil 7, that gamers could see just how well and intricately designed the series could be at its best.
Even though Resident Evil 2’s map is far smaller, fans of the Dark Souls series will definitely enjoy how well designed and interconnected the police station is. Similarly, both games force you to work your way through new areas to open up shortcuts and even re-experience the game’s world in new and more creative ways without feeling like you’re treading old ground.
17 Bad: The Save System Can Become Monotonous
Just like the Dark Souls series, the ability to save your game is few and far between. However, unlike the Souls series, if you perish there’s no chance to regain lost souls or, in this case, items to pick up where left off. Instead, you’re forced to replay the game from your last save point using up the limited supply of ink ribbons you’ll find in your playthrough.
This was featured in the original game and entertained with some old-school difficultly rarely seen outside of the Souls series. This may, however, frustrate modern gamers that are used to a checkpoint system. Especially when they find they have to start from scratch.
16 Good: The Different Perspectives Provide Excellent Replay Value
Just like the original from 21 years ago, Resident Evil 2 allows players to choose one of two characters from the start. You play as either Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie cop that was just transferred into Racoon City, or Claire Redfield, a civilian and sister of Chris from the first game.
Each character perspective has its own campaign that lasts around ten hours on a first run. Their stories are different for the most part and unique enough to provide some real replay value for gamers. In addition, secret characters Hunk and Tofu can be unlocked just like the original game for some added game time.
15 Bad: It Can Become Repetitive By Design
The Resident Evil 2 remake is the perfect remake. It’s brought the series up to date with state-of-the-art visuals in full blockbuster fashion whilst sticking to its roots and incorporating enough of the original game’s mechanics to please older fans.
This also means that the difficulty in dealing with the save system is intact too and when perishing becomes a regular occurrence, repetition sets in. Trying to retrace your steps only to repeat the same puzzles and deal with the same enemies, the game unintentionally becomes predictable, thus losing the fear-factor as a result.
14 Good: The Game’s Pacing Is Spot On
For a single player action adventure game, Resident Evil 2 is a quite a long game. Claire and Leon’s campaigns can last for up to ten or twelve hours each and then there’s post game unlockable content too. In addition, it’s possible to have a different experience with four playthroughs depending on which character you started with.
Yet, even though it is a long game, Resident Evil 2 never outstays its welcome. It could be argued that the second half of the game isn’t as thrilling as the first but that still doesn’t take away from the game’s near-perfect pacing.
13 Bad: It’s a Modern Looking Game That Feels Outdated To Play
By sticking with the originals 21-year-old sensibilities and old-school mechanics, the Resident Evil 2 remake is nothing if not challenging. The idea that modern games are not as tough as they used to seems to be evident here because of how faithful this remake is to the original game.
Unfortunately, the difficulty often came as a result of outdated design and limitations with the technology. So as a result of stubbornly sticking to the original RE2 conventions this remake can feel a little out of touch at times and difficult for all the wrong reasons.
12 Good: The Resident Evil 4 Mechanics Work
Even though Resident Evil 2 has been brought up to date and can stand toe to toe with the best of them on a visual level, its heart is very much still in the past. Still, it adapted the control mechanics of one of the series most popular entries in the move to fully three-dimensional environments in Resident Evil 4.
The fourth mainline entry is one of the series most popular games and one of the very best games of its generation. So when Capcom adapted the RE4 mechanics and modernized them in this remake, the combination works as well as fans hoped.
11 Bad: Is It Just A Resident Evil 4 Reskin?
We’ve established that the Resident Evil 4 mechanics still work very well when married with contemporary visuals. However, the drawback of this, of course, means that even with the new mechanics the game still feels two generations behind.
As a result, some of the more cynical fans may feel that this remake is nothing more than a reskinned Resident Evil 4. It’s also possible that the series is still trying to top Shinji Mikami’s magnum opus ever since his departure as it’s still regarded by many as one of the most influential games of the 2000s.
10 Good: Claire And Leon Feel Very Different
As mentioned, the alternating scenarios of the original have returned for the two campaigns set out for Leon and Claire. However, it could be said that aside from differences in taking damage, the characters didn’t feel that different in the 1998 original.
This remake rectifies this because not only do the characters have their motivations, environments to explore, and characters to interact with but they play quite differently too. The subtle differences are easier to spot when doing the second run and they’re substantial enough to keep the game feeling fresh.
9 Bad: The Game Loses Some Of Its Momentum In The Second Half
A criticism that’s often leveled at the Resident Evil series is that the games tend to lose momentum as the game’s story draws to a close. The Resident Evil 2 remake is no different in this regard because of how closely it sticks to the original formula.
However, such a criticism could be leveled at most games in the horror genre as the monster and other nasties you encounter become familiar. Games in this genre tend to lose the element of surprise and the ability to shock after about 7 hours of gameplay. This is largely due to becoming desensitized to what you’re seeing.
8 Good: The HDR Effects Are Some Of Best This Gen
After the PlayStation Pro and Xbox One X (and the Xbox One S), high dynamic range was implemented in a lot of the newer games to coincide with the popularity of HDR-compatible televisions.
While some games have been a bit hit or miss in their execution, Resident Evil 2 features some of the most incredible use of light and shadows seen in this generation. Even without the HDR effect turned on, the use of light and shadows is superb but the benefit of HDR really helps this element of the game stand out.
7 Bad: Some Fans Will Miss The Campy Performances
As mentioned, the zombie horror genre was heavily inspired by the George A. Romero films like The Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and others ran from the late 1960s to the 2000s. The Resident Evil series was no different, and the satirical nature of the films inspired the campness that is featured in Capcom’s series.
Of course, zombie film purists loved this about the series, and its B-Movie feel worked very well in the original games. This has now been changed to match the tastes of more contemporary audiences so whether this will be a good or bad thing is subjective.
6 Good: The Music Is Excellent
Whether its film, TV, or video games, music can elevate scenes from being simply functional to becoming emotional, exciting, and horrifying. In games such as Resident Evil, the music helps to develop atmosphere and tension.
The music in the Resident Evil series has always been top notch and the original games were especially memorable in this regard. For the most part, the remake stays true to this and it’s more dynamic and in line with what is happening on screen as opposed to constantly looping in the background, thus becoming more effective.
5 Bad: The Music Is Less Memorable
On an artistic level, the music is used far more effectively in the Resident Evil 2 remake than it was in its predecessor. The impact of fear and tension is increased as a result and feels more film-like in its execution.
However, fans of the original may still miss the soundtracks from the originals. The music in the older games was very reminiscent of one the scarier episodes of the X-Files, and who can forget the feeling of relief when you find a save room and the piano music hits? Don’t get us wrong, the remake still has that but it’s not quite as good as the original.
4 Good: The Sound Design Is Especially Spooky
Something that all good horror games need, perhaps more than great graphics, is an excellent sound design. The Dead Space series was known for this and helped elevate the game from being an intense actioner to an atmospheric horror almost on par with the likes of Alien and Event Horizon.
The developers of this superb remake were obviously aware of this and the sound design is excellent from start to finish. If you can’t experience this game on a top-of-the-range sound system, then at least plug in a set of decent headphones and amplify the experience even more.
3 Bad: The Over-The-Shoulder View Breaks The Immersion
Resident Evil 7 is considered a soft reboot for the series and has taken cues from modern-day horror games that helped bring the genre back from the brink of obscurity in video game form. RE7 had more in common with the likes of Alien: Isolation and Outlast, helped in large part by using a first-person perspective.
Choosing to use this new perspective helped the game feel more immersive and looking through the eyes of your character helped enforce the game’s believability and the scares were far more effective as a result.
2 Good: The Monster Design Is Incredible
One of the most obvious changes to the Resident Evil 2 remake is the dramatic difference and the game’s visuals. Make no mistake, the graphics are incredible and only help to show off the games excellent monster designs.
These designs looked great 21 years ago but the modern visuals really help take this to a new level. Additionally, the way the creatures react to being shot is intense and satisfying in a way that the older game couldn’t achieve with its limited technology.
1 Bad: The Remake Isn’t As Ambitious As Resident Evil 7
Obviously, this Resident Evil 2 is the first game in series since Resident Evil 7 was released in January 2017. The seventh entry is considered something of a reboot for the series that showed signs losing its identity and roots in the horror genre by transitioning into a second-rate shooter.
RE7 did so many things right, it reinvigorated the series using a new perspective and even gave PS4 owners the chance to play the game in VR mode. This remake takes the series backward and plays like the fourth entry. Resident Evil 4 was innovative two generations ago while RE7 was an ambitious step in the right direction for a series that lost its way.