#383 Resident Evil 2

Posted: 5th February 2014 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

305th played so far

250px-Resident_Evil_2Genre: Survival Horror
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1998
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

The Resident Evil series is one that keeps haunting us. Not in the spooky scary sense, but in the sense of a series that has several entries in the list, while we’re not the most keen to play it.

As might have been clear from previous survival horrors, it’s not our favourite genre. We have to play them, it’s part of the blog, there are some (like Gregory Horror Show) that we do get into, but it’s the other genres that are dragged in that seem to determine how much we enjoy it.

Resident Evil, then, as the big example of the genre, seems to be the big example of this. We played the first Resident Evil a while ago (a year and a half – wow!), which didn’t endear us to the series much yet – as much because of its dated appearance as gameplay. Hopefully the sequel improves on some of this, just to keep a bit more playable.

Our Thoughts

I’ll be honest – Resident Evil 2 starts off a lot better than its predecessor. You start off nearly surrounded by zombies, forcing you to flee and (once you get a weapon) shoot them to get through. It sets the tone and starts off fairly simple as a tutorial to the game. Only when you reach your first truely safe point – the police station – does the game kick off.

From that point it’s a similar mix to what we’ve seen before.  An adventure game with shooter elements, where you explore a large building, finding clues, solving puzzles (mostly to find the item to use on a lock or something similar) and shoot or (as often) avoid the smaller and larger enemies.

Most of it seemed a lot more streamlined than the first game. The controls feel a bit better, although still awkward – although we played the PC version, all actions were still mapped to the four buttons of a PS2 controller, meaning that use item and shoot are the same button, rather than splitting these and making for less context-based ambiguities.

One bigger change that unequivocally better are the graphics. They have improved a lot, looking quite a bit nicer. The rooms are a lot more distinct and the streets look nice – it is the sort of semi-apocalyptic setting you expect.

With that, the story setup is probably the biggest and most interesting change, one that feels a lot more ambitious than many more games. You start the game with one protagonist – Leon or Claire, your pick – and go through until the end of the game. This then unlocks an extra scenario, where you play as the other character, seeing what happens from their perspective – and the game is influenced by what you did on your first playthrough. It’s an interesting way of playing where it’s a shame this hasn’t been explored more in other games, beyond one in a series we don’t care much about.

The main problem is just the usual trappings of a survival horror game. The focus on resource depletion is fine, but that even saving is as a premium feels a bit much (it’s the point though, creates a sense of urgency and panic). While I can see how some would consider it fun, for me it just feels tedious, with too much backtracking required if you take the wrong approach somewhere.

Final Thoughts

It’s a shame, as beyond this tedium there are some really good ideas lurking. In the right circumstances, I’d happily play more of it and with that, the game is a clear step up from the first game. The horror is fine… just with less survival please.

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