Resident Evil 2 review – a masterly reimagining of a modern classic

January 22, 2019
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You know you’re playing a good Resident Evil game when you need to keep a pen and a piece of scrap paper close at hand. Sitting on the first open page of my notepad, in a frantic scrawl, are rudimentary diagrams with numbers sticking out at odd angles, repeating three letter codes, bizarre rune patterns, abbreviated riddles, safe-cracking combinations, random running tallies, and then sometimes just the odd word, number or phrase followed with a bemused question mark. Lion statue? Stained glass? Locker room? Keypad? This is the frenzied, stream of consciousness-style note-taking of someone deep down a Resident Evil rabbit hole. As an old-school Resident Evil fan, I couldn’t be happier.

Calling this modern Resident Evil 2 a remake feels like an undersell. Yes, it’s a faithful recreation of the 1998 survival horror classic, but it has been rebuilt completely from the ground up, resurrecting iconic locations like the Raccoon City Police Station using Resident Evil 7’s RE Engine. And the RPD has never looked better. From the detailed character models and animations to the way your quivering torchlight illuminates the glistening entrails of what used to be a cop, this game looks incredible.

Certain elements of the art museum-turned-police station have been reshuffled and reimagined to make sense in a photorealistic environment and for a modern audience, but though this is not the police station as it was in the original Resident Evil 2, it’s the police station as you remember it. A grand gilded entrance hall making way for a dozen twisted corridors and antechambers, layered and meted out through keys and trinkets that only get more bizarre as the story continues. The zombies and the corporate espionage are all well and good, but the original game was memorable in a good part due to the station’s starring role as both your place of refuge and your prison.

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