Many Resident Evil fans will often point to Resident Evil 4 as the best in the series, with Resident Evil Nemesis or Resident Evil 2 taking the mantle pre-gameplay overhaul. Myself, I’ve always been fond of Resident Evil: Code Veronica, though Resident Evil 2 certainly trails not far behind. Back when Resident Evil 2 first released, it enjoyed universal acclaim for its atmosphere, setting and its visuals, with criticism aimed mainly at the voice acting and controls. Still, for its time, there’s no denying that Resident Evil 2 was one of the finest examples of not only the series, but the survival horror genre as a whole.
Fast-forward to 2002 and Capcom released a remake of Resident Evil on the GameCube. Once again, this game was universally praised, leading many at the time to believe that a remake of Resident Evil 2 was going to follow soon after. Not one, not two, but thirteen years flew by before Capcom finally announced that Resident Evil 2 was set to get a remake, and even now, three years into development, we know very little about it. Not only that, but the overall series has changed in a number of ways since both Resident Evil 2 and the initial announcement of its remake.
Following a number of excellent titles, Capcom had to reinvent the gameplay mechanics to stay inline with the growth and natural evolution of gameplay in general. The end result? Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 4 swapped static cameras and a number of other changes for a more action-esque third person point of view. Thanks to not only its pacing, voice acting and theme, Resident Evil 4 rapidly became the most popular in the series to date. Sadly, what followed on was nothing more than a couple of shitty experiences that stepped further away from survival horror, and close to action and combat.
Let’s not waste anymore of our time slating the passable Resident Evil 5 and its immediate (devastatingly dull) sequel, Resident Evil 6. Due to nothing more than almost universal negative feedback from fans, Capcom once again had to go back to the proverbial drawing board and reinvent the formula. Resident Evil 7 was the result of this, a game that swapped the third person perspective for first person perspective, set within the confines of a well detailed, creepy and intriguing location. Despite missing its initial sales prediction, there’s no denying that Resident Evil 7 saved the series.
Resident Evil 7 was a breath of fresh air, bringing back the series to its survival horror roots, despite the substandard DLC. What remains to be seen is whether or not the Resident Evil 2 Remake will fall inline with the original concept (Resident Evil 2002), the third person concept (Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6), or the new and improved concept (Resident Evil 7). Capcom has remained very tight lipped in regards to this project, so all we can do – until presumably E3 2018, is speculate. Being a life-long fan of the series, here’s what I, speaking as a fan, expect to see from this game in particular.
First and foremost, I fully suspect that we’ll see more of this game either leading up to E3 2018 or at the event itself. According to a recent interview between producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Collider, RE2R is coming “soon”, which leads me to believe that the game will launch late 2018/early 2019. Speculation, of course, but it makes the most sense given the time-frame. One thing that needs to be made clear is that this is a full remake, not a remaster, which is what makes this title a very interesting one, depending on Capcom’s chosen gameplay route.
RE2R is being made from the ground up, which gives Capcom the opportunity to flesh out its story, add more dialogue and backstory, throw in some additional padding and locations, and finally, inject more character growth. If Capcom follows the same concept as RE to RER, we can expect new artwork and voice acting, on top of that classic (much loved) formula of item management, puzzle solving and generally tense gameplay. If however they go the third person route, we can expect something more akin to the last gen iterations (hopefully not). First person, on the other hand, opens a huge can of possibility.
If I’ve not yet made it clear, I was never a huge fan of the third person formula. Don’t get me wrong, there are some cracking installations using this format, but a layer of immersive tension is shaven away in place of action and environmental awareness. Irrespective of all that, Capcom simply must retain that original sense of fear and isolation. They also need to ensure that the player constantly feels under-powered and often outnumbered. If Capcom are smart, they’ll stick with the RE to RER format, if they’re daring, they’ll go down the route of RE7. If they’re stupid, we can expect to see another over-the-shoulder experience.
Regardless as to their chosen design layout, Capcom knows that they’re playing with fire when it comes to RER2. The balance between gameplay, puzzle solving and item management, within the backdrop of such an iconic setting, simply needs to be preserved. It’l be especially interesting to play as Leon and Claire, seeing as in recent movies and games, they’ve come a long way as far as capability is concerned. Revisiting a time in which they were new to the nightmare is going to be tough to tackle, but much like everything described above, this needs to be accomplished well.
It would also be nice to have the ability to play through the campaign as both Leon and Claire, individually and inverted, much like the original title. Will we see this implemented? I like to think that we will. I’d also like to see the opportunity to explore surrounding buildings and other locations as such. In fact, given Capcom’s ability to flesh out the story and the setting some more, it would be great to see some cross-over content with Resident Evil: Nemesis. Wishful thinking maybe, but it does provide some interesting opportunities. Especially when we take into account that Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil: Nemesis take place at the same time.
Once again this is all just the mumbling expectations and speculations of a life long fan. Nothing here is set in stone and we’re unlikely to see any footage of the game for a few more months. One thing that we can be certain about is that Capcom are walking on egg shells, regardless as to how this remake is being handled. They’ll need to tread carefully and craft something that feels meaningful, yet respectful, not only for the original game but for the fans too. I guess we’ll just have to sit on our hands and ride this out. Capcom, do not screw this up…