Sean Fitzpatrick | Contributing Writer
It’s back from the crypt!
Like so many current-generation publishers, Capcom saw an audience longing for the old, dying for the decrepit, and clamoring for the utterly deceased. In other words, consumers have wanted horror games to be scary again - like they were so many years ago - and they want "Resident Evil" in particular.
25 years ago, "Resident Evil" paved the way for survival horror uncompromising in its design, which is impressive in that horror titles tend to find nominal success in respect to traditional action-shooter games. However, over the years, Capcom’s practices changed, and their seminal horror giant floundered.
Evidently, "Resident Evil" fans prefer "Resident Evil" to Zombie Uncharted. It took a fair bit of postmortem analysis (or perhaps a full-on autopsy) for Capcom to rediscover what made Resident Evil work and realize what makes it suck (see “Resident Evil 6”).
Enter "Resident Evil 2", which is not actually the second game in the series and is instead a remake, which could be understandably confusing to those not in the loop (hurray for convoluted classification) and despite sharing a name with the 1998 Playstation 1 classic, this new "Resident Evil 2" is radically different.
First off, the camera has been entirely redesigned, where instead of being fixed for each “scene,” "Resident Evil 2" implements the modern amenity of a third-person perspective, an entirely necessary addition. Furthermore, Capcom has reworked major gameplay elements, such as how the Tyrant (or Mr. X, or T-00, or Scary Trenchcoat Albino) works, who now stalks the player for an extended period rather than popping up only to de-spawn moments later.
This leads into the remake’s biggest strength: its straight-up scare factor. Like the classics of the genre, "Resident Evil 2" requires the player to meticulously micromanage their supplies and scavenge the environment for any spare equipment. Wasting resources is a no-no, of course, since there are nasties everywhere trying to rip your tasty jugular out. What’s more frightening is that resources are finite; if you run out, you’re screwed.
So, what’s the point of all this? Well, horror games need more than jump scares to cause anxiety. By limiting resources, every mistake the player makes - whether it’s wasting ammo or first-aid spray - has the same effect: an intense feeling of player fragility and vulnerability.
Arguably, the survival elements of "Resident Evil" are its biggest challenge. However, the Tyrant is undoubtedly the star of the show. Mr. X is a 7” foot tall behemoth hellbent on tracking down the player and crushing their skull into a pulp, never relenting.
What’s more it that he’s practically invincible to gun fire, and while a well-placed headshot may stun him, it’s typically better to just run away. Be prepared to run and hide a LOT. It’s advisory to wear headphones to listen for his echoing footsteps as you hide in every bathroom stall and closet available. Walk on your tippy toes.
'Resident Evil 2' is a successful return to form for Capcom’s survival horror series. As such, be prepared for many more resident resurrections (more remakes) down the road.