Updated: Mar 5, 2019
I mentioned on my FIRST POST of 2019, I was going to play Resident Evil 2 Remake. I didn't buy it on its initial release. In fact, I was pondering between RE2R or KH3 but obviously I made my choice with Resident Evil 2. Why? I'm not exactly sure but maybe I wanted something a little bit more darker and engaging? Whatever the reason was I chose this game so here I am. So what are my thoughts? Let's get it down on this blog, shall we?
Like the original game I played some odd years ago, we are given two choices of character to pick from: Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield. The Rookie Cop and the Hot Young College Girl.
Claire Redfield: Made in Heaven
It should come as no surprise that I picked Claire for my first run.
On a superficial level, yes I picked Claire because she's a hot female protagonist who I happened to have a crush on way back in 1998. I played my first game as Claire back then and I wanted to redo some of that during my remake play through. I also like her new design which is pretty modern and made sense for the zombie apocalypse. It's sexy and attracting without derailing the idea of practicality. It looks like something someone would wear when they are going for a ride or just going out in general (though she probably regret riding her motorcycle especially when the rain started pouring down).
Despite me being a fan of Claire Redfield when Resident Evil 2 was at its peak in popularity, I sort of fell off the hype train and didn't play Resident Evil until RE 5. I also lost track of the lore and what Claire and Leon (or any of the characters for that matter) have been up to so needless to say, I had no idea who was voicing Claire for the other games and movies; heck, I didn't even think or research VAs back then when I was playing games (internet wasn't up to snuff back then, ya know). So as much as this may put me on the bad fence with hardcore RE fans, it didn't bug me that the original VA, Alyson Court (same gal that voiced Jubilee back in the 90s X-Men Animated series), would not be reprising her role as Claire.
Does that take anything away? In my opinion, no. Stephanie Panisello did an AMAZING job despite this being her first role as Claire Redfield. Her resume isn't as long as Alyson either and she didn't under perform as Claire at all. Stephanie was able to convey emotions that needed to be conveyed whether it be fear, anger, confusion, sincerity, etc. Her voice fluctuation sold with every expression and it made the experience playing my first time that much more enjoyable. Of course the VAs' in the entire game would not have had great moments if it wasn't for the dialogue given to them. Just a small snippet of it through Claire's point of view:
Just that portion alone made me laugh. Again, delivery of the actress and the dialogue. It's simple and very grounded and it's something people would say back in 98 and now. And there are plenty of that in the game, believe me! The language was definitely vulgar and Capcom was not afraid to make it as "realistic" in a post-apocalyptic world. I mean, gone would be the polite words when all you are dealing with are crazed police officers and terrifying walking dead, right? Claire definitely had a few "F-bombs" here and there than I expected but it didn't jar me given the circumstance. But they didn't go all dark and gritty all the time. Claire, as seen in the video, still retained some of her sarcastic and smart-aleck self, which really played off with the rest of the theme.
Need I mention just how incredibly well done the characters are? I know I only fully used Claire so far, but I am thoroughly impressed. Just talking about Claire, Capcom did a fine job making an attracting young collage woman in a video game that is relatable and not out of proportion. Before I go any farther talking about her in-game appearance, let me just give credit to the Claire's face model: Jordan McEwen, and Claire's voice actress: Stephanie Panisello. The combination of the two of them helped the creators make such an amazing re-imaginating of a classic character. Now let's talk about how she is presented to the game with the tiny details:
Once someone finishes this game at least once, the option to choose from their original outfits (redone in 2019 vision) or keep their modern day 2019 outfit becomes available.Both are just small little perks, but I honestly don't mind either or. I just played as the 'original 1998 outfit' for the sake of seeing Claire show more skin. Pervert, I know. There are other outfits in the game--all accessible through paid DLC or if one paid for the marked up preorder package. I did not but I might get one or two depending on the DLC price drop in the future. Neat thing about it is that just like a lot of modern day games, whatever outfit Claire or Leon wears will show up in the cut scene:
I think it's a neat thing that games do this these days. Even Sheri's outfit will change from classic to modern. I'm assuming that Ada Wong's will change with Leon's as well.
Then at a certain point of the game, Claire will shed a layer off just like the original game. Modern or classic, jacket or vest, Capcom paid attention to that. I wonder if Claire takes off her button up when wearing the Noir? I can keep on wishing, eh? Overall, starting out with Claire and getting to meet the other characters through her point of view was a treat. I know I focused on Claire in this portion but the people given some backstories and fleshed out gives this the Resident Evil 2 more flesh and layers! Just so happens that Claire is the main focus this play through.
Graphics: Beautiful Disaster
I think I've already covered this in my whole portion talking about Claire. The graphics are amazing. It's very easy to get lost in just how visceral and gory this game is but at the same time, I still found myself admiring just how beautiful Claire... ahem everyone and everything is. One spends most of the time in the Raccoon City Police Station and it's well done. Capcom paid a lot of attention on making sure that the classic feel of the art museum turned police station still remains. Keeping with the classic does not take anything away from the horror and isolating feeling. A lot of attention was placed in the police department: bloody and messy halls, tables and lockers used as barricades, signs of struggles and massacres, and just the overall ambiance of chaos and death looms at every corner. While we spend the majority of the time stuck inside the station, there are times when one ventures out and I'm not disappointed. I mean, just go back to that sewer video!
The zombies look utterly disgusting, gory, and just frightening if one doesn't forget that you are a gun wielding badass biker girl who knows how to use firearms and the such (or a rookie cop who knows how to use a gun). I like the details placed on the mauled body parts of these used-to-be human beings. Blood stains are present all over the zombies' clothing. Pieces of human flesh can sometimes be seen if ever the unfortunate event happens that Claire (or Leon) gets an up close and personal moment with these Zombies.
Zombies are going to be the least of the problems all things considered. The police station also has a familiar lurker--the infamous lickers makes their unwanted return to give players grief just by pure presence and visuals alone. Seeing these guys in full on HD is just something else. The graphics say a lot and I found myself wanting to study (for some reason) the horrifying details of these old nemesis of mine from 1998. But as grotesque as they are, the lickers are not the worst that Claire or Leon will run across. There are huge bosses and other stranger creatures outside the Raccoon Police Department so gamers beware. I'm sure there are enough non-spoiler free reviews out there that most people are aware of what else one has to go against other than the walking dead.
Everything else that I didn't mention in terms of graphics also look great. Capcom spent a ton of time making sure that they made this game look damn good both in their ambiance and just the overall visuals. Definitely a great way to welcome Claire and Redfield back to the world of Resident Evil 2.
Gameplay: Walking with the Dead
Resident Evil as a whole has a pretty simple formula when one looks at it from a very general point of view: survive a zombie filled area using guns, manage inventory, don't wet your pants when something pops up from the darkness, solve a few puzzles, rinse and repeat. Controls and/or points of view varies depending on which game, but for the most part it has a pretty basic idea of what one can expect when getting into Resident Evil.
RE 2 Remake kept a lot of the formula and spun it to modern day gaming. Controlling Claire and Leon is easier though and it's not the 'tank' mechanics that, in my opinion, is a bit dated and wouldn't have done well for a remake. It's a 3rd person game and moving around and shooting down zombies (and every monstrosity that exists in this world) feels good and the controls respond accordingly. There's no dodge or anything QTE that makes Claire and Leon feel like action heroes or anything so there's still a challenge especially when enemies are faster than how aforementioned characters move. But being able to switch weapons with the D-Pad and unleashing havoc is a better feeling. But with all that said, shooting aimlessly will punish players who don't manage his/her ammo. There's only so much in the police station and a lot of the enemies are sponges--even the regular zombies. A good critical headshot can do the trick but one has to be super precise.
As I mentioned, being able to manage items is a must. Inventory is very small in the beginning and one has to find item chests to store their items in. Managing items does get easier once the player progresses. Hip pouches are found throughout the game and eventually the trip to the item chest decreases. One still has to be smart on what s/he carries though. Knowing where to go and what key item, health replenisher and gun to take at a certain point is the key to survive. There's also a neat thing that Capcom added: key items will have a red check once they are no longer useful. It's a small gesture but that one space in the inventory could make or break the next moment! Guns also get the option to be updated so boosting Claire's firearms does make things easier!
Just like before, the Raccoon City Police Department is the main place Claire and Leon will spend their time in. Different areas will be closed off but eventually will be open through finding key items, story progression, or solving puzzles. There will be a map that will be available and does a great job letting the player know what areas still need exploring, what hasn't been explored, what items are left behind, where save points and treasure chests are. Makes the game a little easier but it's by no means taking anything away from the gameplay. As far as the puzzles, they're not too hard. I didn't find myself stuck on an area too long, though there were a few times I had to scratch my head and wonder where I would go from there.
At the end of the day, Resident Evil 2 Remake feels balance when mixing the 3rd person shooter genre along with that made Resident Evil 2 enjoyable and challenging. There are plenty of things to do, enemies to kill or avoid, and then there's the usual item inventory. All in all, it's a fun juggle between fun and trying not to get too psyched up with what is around the corner... that and Tyrant's foot steps! I found myself finishing this game with an eagerness to play it again....
Of course, with that horrible "C" rank, I just had to replay Scenario A as Claire again to get a better grade. That and I enjoyed Claire's interactions and her sass so much that I just wasn't ready to move on as Leon just yet! And, YES! For anyone who didn't notice, that is a darn typewriter and roll of films! The Remake did NOT take Resident Evil 2 out of the timeline. It's still 1998 and people are still using pay phones, roll of films, etc. No hi-tech cell phones or checking your status to see what the others are doing. Definitely keeps things in isolation fo the characters since I'm more than willing to assume that if they remade this in modern times that the feeling of being cut off from the world with having smart phones would take some of that dread away.
And my next play through, I ended with a B! Less saves and drastically less time!
I have now moved on as Leon and I just might give an overall review when I have played as both.
There's also this feature that Capcom added called "Ghost Survivors". Play throughs that focuses on 'what-if scenarios' with certain characters from Resident Evil 2 that had an unfortunate end in the canon story. Very similar to the Hunk and Tofu play throughs. And the neat thing is that they are FREE DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT! That's right, free. Some may complain about the free clothing but that's just cosmetics. I can see the greater value of free new stages and levels than free alternate colors.
Well, that's about it!
Until Next Time!