I’m a huge fan of Resident Evil. I have been since the original back in the 90s. Though, as with any long running series, the developers need to ensure that they stay on point. This hasn’t always been the case with Resident Evil, hell, a quick glance at Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 will show you that. You see, Resident Evil has been through some pretty drastic changes during its lifespan, but not all of these have been well received.
The original Resident Evil games are the best in my humble opinion. Those fixed camera positions really did relay a constant sense of dread and tension. Eventually, the formula needed to be shaken up to keep inline with expectations and the growth of gameplay on the whole. This ultimately led to a third-person perspective, starting with the massively successful Resident Evil 4. However, shit went rapidly downhill from there with its two immediate successors. Once again, Capcom needed to step up and overhaul the formula.
The end result? Resident Evil 7, which binned the third-person perspective and adopted a first-person experience. With its shoddy DLC to the side, Resident Evil 7 remains as one of the best horror games of its year. It was deep, it was immersive and it was very eerie and disturbing. So, Capcom had a total of three formulas to go with in regards to Resident Evil 2. Fixed cameras, third-person perspective and first-person perspective. Which did they ultimately decide to go with? Freakin’ third-person view, the most tainted of the lot.
I’ll be fair to Capcom, I think most of my dislike for Resident Evil and third-person comes from the ever looming (vanity-rich) nightmare that was Resident Evil 6. After all, if Resident Evil 4 could do it several years ago, why cant Resident Evil 2? When all is said and done, I would have much preferred fixed cameras or first-person, but that’s down to preference alone so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I take comfort in the fact that Capcom knows that they screwed up, so regardless of the view position, they’ll be working with horror firmly in mind.
It has to be said that the first trailer, seen at the head of this article, relays that exact concept. Resident Evil 2 looks freaky as sin and going from that footage alone, stands a good chance at being equally as unsettling as its original counterpart. But, can it outshine it? I’m not so sure that it can. Just matching the dark and disturbing tone of the original version will be a challenge in itself. The original version was excellently paced, scary and thoroughly exhilarating. Reaching that level of blended quality is not going to be a walk in the park.
The new game has been completely rebuilt from the ground up for a deeper narrative experience. Using Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine, Resident Evil 2 is said to offer a fresh take on the classic survival horror saga with breathtakingly realistic visuals, heart-poundingly immersive audio and modernized controls on top of gameplay modes from the original game. If anything, Capcom has a firm shot at padding out the story and implementing new encounters, but they’ll need to do so in such a way that it doesn’t disrespect the first version.
Both Leon and Claire have their own separately playable campaigns, allowing players to see the story from both characters’ perspective. This was present in the original via two separate discs. In fact, this very format allowed players to absorb hidden story sections and gated pathways. For instance, there were several sections that Leon couldn’t access in his campaign, however, Claire was able to access these sections during her campaign, and vice versa. This is certainly something that we’ll need to witness a lot of when the new version lands.
It not only encouraged players to repeat run each scenario, but it gave good explanations as to why Leon and Claire rarely bumped into each other during the whole ordeal. It was little touches like this that made the original version stand out, something that it continues to do to this day. Resident Evil 2 will no doubt be the better looking game, I mean, there’s twenty years between each version so that’s pretty much a given. But it takes much more than looks to convince me, especially when it comes to recreating something as cherished as this.
With Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine powering a new photorealistic style, the characters themselves will appear sharper than ever and the grotesque hordes of zombies will be brought to life with a horrifyingly realistic wet gore effect. Zombies now react in real time as they take instant visible damage, making every bullet from the player count. Stunning lighting brings the familiar rooms and corridors of Raccoon City Police Department to new life. Players will feel they’re in the shoes of heroes Leon and Claire, without a shadow of doubt.
I can hardly wait to see what the end result shapes up like. There’s a considerable amount of pressure on Capcom to get this right. If they screw it up, I wont envy their social media feeds. The remake will no doubt be deeper, more realistic and will come with functions and mechanics that the original couldn’t achieve due to hardware limitations, but again, it’s going to take more than that to cut it. We need to see great pacing, meaningful interactions, zero QTEs and a perfect balance when it comes to inventory management and weaponry.
It’s still early days and the game isn’t set to launch until January 25 of next year, but still, I cant quite say that I’m likely to favor this over the original. I truly hope Capcom will prove me wrong. I said the same thing about Resident Evil and its remake back on the GameCube, yet went on to love that more than the original in every way. Only time will tell. What I will say is that the footage seen so far shows a great deal of promise, if little else. What do you think? Did you play the original? Looking forward to the remake? Sound off in the comments below.