PC Gamer

The Resident Evil 2 Remake offers the high-end '90s nostalgia you deserve

Samuel Roberts
 

I remember just moments from 1998's Resident Evil 2 now: making my dad buy the CD-ROM version for me from Virgin Megastore back when that was a thing, because I wasn't old enough to do so myself yet. A grainy cutscene of a licker crawling over the ceiling. Unloading Leon's pitiful remaining three or four bullets into the Tyrant Mr X, while the creature strides towards me in his ludicrous jacket. Me and two mates crowding around a big CRT TV to play the later parts of the game on PlayStation, because we were too cowardly to do it alone.

The ill-fated weapons shop guy at the start. This remake is a third-person shooter in the Resident Evil 4/5/6/Revelations mold, though the general spirit of the original game is here: you don't always have enough ammo to fight the enemies in front of you, and sometimes it's better to run. You might recognise a puzzle from the original version of Resident Evil 2, but how it's represented in the remake could be completely different. This means my three-or-so hours with the game offers a mix of nostalgia and light surprise, which I think is probably a better approach than a faithful recreation.

Playing the remake with my hazy memories is more satisfying than putting it side-by-side with the original, I figure. It lets me work out which parts left an impact that has lasted almost two decades. The cavernous Raccoon City PD building has, of course, as well as its two fitty protagonists, floppy-haired Leon S Kennedy and the crossbow-wielding Claire Redfield (she doesn't have one in what I've played). There is some tongue-in-cheek presentation here and there, but generally it's played more seriously.

Two decades of advances in cutscene presentation pay off: as in Resi 7, the characters are photorealistic and the violence is truly nasty.

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