RE-enter the world of survival horror — Resident Evil 2 hands-on at E3 2018

I will be blunt with everyone, Resident Evil 2 is easily my favorite game in one of my favorite series, and when there were rumors years ago about a remake of it, I could hardly contain my excitement. During Sony’s E3 2018 presentation, we were finally given a look at this highly ambitious REmake, and shortly after, I had the chance to delve back into Racoon City.

Immediately, I noticed that this remake favored over-the-shoulder camera over the fixed camera of the original, unlike the remake of the first Resident Evil in 2002. However, this didn’t detract from the tone the game was trying to convey: survival horror.

When I encountered my first zombie, I tackled it the same way I did in every over-the-shoulder styled Resident Evil in recent years, I aimed for the head. But then something interesting happened: it didn’t immediately die. I needed to pump a few more bullets into it before it went down, making me consider my choices on whether or not I should be spending my ammo on avoidable monsters.

For the brief time I played, the world seems more developed in this iteration of Resident Evil 2 as well. Documents around the police station give reasons for why ammo is so scarce, you feel a larger sense of urgency, and danger as hallways are without power and other hallways have shoddy attempts at blocking any zombie outbreaks. Even when I was in a “safe room,” I didn’t feel safe knowing that the rooms surrounding me were flooded with zombies.

This sense of dread is something that was missing in previous over-the-shoulder Resident Evil games. While Revelations 2 managed to dial back somewhat on the action in favor of a more horror-like experience, it was still, at its core, an action game. This demo didn’t feel like I was simply fighting my way to the end, but trying to survive and solve the puzzles of the police station. Resident Evil 7 was excellent for its emphasis on horror over all else, but it lacked the B-movie like characterization we loved from the classic titles. However, Resident Evil 2’s remake mixes both styles masterfully.

A big part of classic Resident Evil games is backtracking through rooms and acquiring items to solve puzzles. Resident Evil 2’s remake takes this concept and gives it a Metroidvania-esque twist, with the map showing players if they’ve gotten everything in that room. This will definitely help players minimize the risk of passing zombie-infested hallways.

There is a visible effort to evolve the world surrounding Resident Evil 2. In the demo, I played as Leon, who will apparently be filling the role of the “A” scenario in this game. At one point, I found his desk with a note that instructed him to solve a puzzle to unlock his desk by learning the first names of six officers. This touch made the world more developed, but also more depressing when you realize that most of these people are dead.

Resident Evil 2 is easily one of our most anticipated games of next year. It will be released on January 25th, 2019. Stay tuned to Gaming Trend for more hands-on coverage from E3 2018.

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