Resident Evil 2 is the newest Capcom release in the long running series. Released on January 25th, 2019. This game is a remake of the original classic of the same name. I played the standard edition on the Xbox One X and Xbox one S. I want to make this review about the actual game itself, rather than just talking about the remade features. So the original will have no influence on this review.
Resident Evil 2 starts with an essential choice, Claire Redfield or Leon Kennedy. This choice will have major impacts on the game's story so pick carefully. However the game is short so it is easy to replay with the other character if you want to see a different variation of a similar story. Leon is a rookie cop with minimal combat training who is determined to be the best cop possible, even in the worst situations. Claire Redfield is a college student who was trained to use a gun by her brother. She has a strong moral compass and will try to save as many people as she can. Both characters are naive to the nightmare they are heading towards when they meet at a gas station just outside Raccoon City, home of Umbrella Corporation. They decide to team up and try to unravel the mystery of Raccoon City, starting at the police station.
Once it begins you are instantly immersed into the nightmare, the atmosphere of this game is incredible, I found myself totally immersed multiple times during my first playthrough. If you want the full experience of this game, play it in complete darkness, with the lights off and no background noise. This game is actually pretty scary, and it will make you jump more than a few times. Not to mention the terror of running down a hallway with an unstoppable killing machine on your heels will get you on edge. The violence and gore also help this game really feel gritty, and contribute to the terror.
This game is really a survival game, so it includes inventory management, searching rooms to find resources, and a lot of puzzles to keep your mind active. There is some freedom into what you can do, but really there is not too much to distract from the main objective of survival. It really isn't that hard so players who are new to the series, this would be a good place for you. If you need more of a challenge, there is always a hardcore mode.
The Graphics in this game are stunning, sometimes they look almost photorealistic, which makes some of the zombies and monsters borderline repulsive. The amount of animations and detail is worth a lot of praise. For example you can get grabbed by a zombie and it doesn't interrupt the action at all, and if a zombie dies, but still falls towards you, the character will push the corpse off of them so they don't fall over. Even the small details are good, like if you go out into the never ending rain, your character actually looks wet, and they will eventually dry off if they are indoors. All these details make the game feel more real, which helps with the horror.
The story is pretty solid, and makes sense. Another great detail is that you can read files you find all over the city to understand a little more of what is going on around you. The Protagonists are good, and they are relateable mostly because you experience terrible things with each of them, yet somehow they remain positive and determined. For the Antagonists you really have to play both stories to understand them fully, but they still seem real, and they have a motive for doing the things they do. Which enriches the game's world and helps the story overall, so it never feels pointless.
The gameplay is really good, it works well for this game. The resources also feel really balanced, so you never really feel like you have excess and it will always keep you on your toes. Your character moves slower than most games, but I believe it helps it feel more real, things like running, looking around, and investigating objects takes a few seconds, because in reality, it takes a second to put a key in a door or use a keycard. This also builds intensity if you are being chased and you are rushing to open a door, it makes that second feel like 10 and puts you on the edge of your seat. The game starts as a heavy horror experience, but towards the end the action takes charge, and the horror really just becomes the set piece. Which can be disappointing to horror fans, but the game still has a few tricks up it's sleeve to scare you, don't worry.
This game is great for survival horror lovers, it has inventory management, puzzles, and sometimes you can fight, sometimes you just can't, so you retreat until you find the means to take down the next foe. This game is a lot of fun, also the game is designed to be replayed. To see everything and get the all the collectibles, you need to play the game 3-4 times. This does make it feel a little underwhelming when it ends, but then again, it really doesn't overstay it's welcome. The game is done by the time you aren't scared anymore. So to wrap it up, if you are looking for a horror game you can sink 5 playthroughs into, this is a great choice. At the same time if you want a good horror experience that you just have one playthrough, you may be a little disappointed, but not enough to leave your flesh cravings unsatisfied.