Resident Evil 2 Xbox One Review

February 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Capcom  Developer: Capcom  Genre: Survival Horror  Players: 1  Age Rating: 18+ 

Other console/handheld formats: PS4

For many who played games in the late 90s, Resident Evil 2 was a favourite candidate to get the remake treatment. The classic survival horror game is one of the most famous and memorable entries in the Resident Evil series and deserved to be treated with the same respect by its owner Capcom that they gave to the GameCube remake of the original Resident Evil. When the Resident Evil 2 remake was revealed to be actually happening, excitement was at fever pitch, which surely put Capcom under a whole lot of pressure.

For those who don’t know, Resident Evil 2 was the game that introduced us to both Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, sister of Chris. Both of the characters have just arrived in Raccoon City, and are flung together by the zombie outbreak that has brought death, decay and disaster to the city. Even though it’s not saying an awful lot, both the story and the acting are better in this remake, and like a lot of the games in the series, there’s a cheesy charm to it all, although perhaps it’s about time that we had a Resident Evil game with more character depth.

Like the original game, you get the opportunity to select between Leon or Claire as your playable character, although the game encourages you to play as both characters in order to see the true ending. Even though each of the characters campaigns have you going through many of the same environments and doing many of the same things, they have little differences here and there and they also interact with different characters from time to time, chiefly Sherry Birkin in Claire’s story and Ada Wong in Leon’s.

The addition of the torch definitely adds to the atmosphere.

Straight from the off I could tell that this Resident Evil 2 remake was going to be one of the most atmospheric games that the series has seen in a long time. Visually, it’s an absolute treat, and while I wasn’t able to test the game on the original Xbox One, I can say that on Xbox One X the performance is close to perfect. It’s a beautiful beast, with moody lighting and shadows, fantastically chilling audio, extensive character detail, and the zombies and monsters that you encounter in Raccoon City are horribly intimidating thanks to the amount of detailing that has gone into their designs.

When it comes to the games’ environments, as a remake the game recalls environments from the original game, and it’s lovely to see them being redesigned and getting the modern day treatment. Areas such as the outdoors city environments and the police station were some of the most memorable in the original game, and deft hands have recreated and redesigned them here, making for some truly stunning environments that also offer just enough nostalgia for returning players.

You also get to see everything from an entirely new perspective, with the use of the over-the-shoulder camera that Resident Evil 4 introduced to the series. Any worries I had about the game losing its cinematic appeal because of this quickly evaporated upon playing the game, and it definitely gives you a closer look at the decaying zombies as well as the largely dark and gritty environments.

Also gone are the rather awkward controls of the original game, making way for a tighter and more reliable control scheme, which allows you to take aim a lot easier, even when moving, and odd feeling turning controls are also a thing of the past. Even though the original game will always have a special place in my heart, this remake just feels a whole lot better and more fluid to play. It feels like a modern day game, which means it has received attention where it was due as well as where it was expected.

For those worried that the game was going to be recreated as an action game in the same vein as Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6, you can put those worries aside, as this remake is still very much a survival horror game. With important items lacking, you really do have to be careful with your ammo and your health, and you also have to manage your inventory sensibly, although this time around you are able to craft ammo with gunpowder.

The Raccoon City police station in all its remake glory.

When it comes to the all important zombies, the ones featured here are easily the best zombies I have ever seen in a game. They are extra aggressive when they are trying to grab you, lunging at you from all angles, and multiple members of the undead can hurl you to the ground and leap on top of you at once. They can bash doors open and follow you through, smash through windows, and there’s no guarantee that a zombie is dead, even if it appears to be. The zombies can also be dismembered in a grisly but oh so satisfying manner, and they also have visible and detailed wounds, making way for the goriest Resident Evil game yet, and just wait until you meet the Lickers and Mr X!

Sensibly enough the game takes inspiration from the Resident Evil remake on the GameCube, with the inclusion of defense items, which are a good way to protect yourself and escape unharmed if you do find yourself in a bit of a bind. The difference here is that the knife defense item is more than one use, just as long as you are able to retrieve it from a downed enemy, and all defense items can also be used liberally as weapons this time around.

Puzzles make their return, and I’m pleased to say that many of these are well designed and bring to mind classic Resident Evil, which the game also achieves on many other levels. Like those games, it’s a case of finding items and then making use of them, with some puzzle solutions being more complex and time consuming to reach.

Flaws are few, although bosses could have benefited from being a bit more variety, and also the game does seem like it is over too soon, even when completing it with both characters, and that’s very likely because it’s so good, and I really didn’t want it to end. Some may not like the backtracking either, and I do know that even some fans of the classic Resident Evil games aren’t huge fans of this. The information-filled map in this remake definitely helps out, showing locations of items you may have come across, and also objects of interest.

All in all, Resident Evil 2 is quite simply a triumph of a remake, and takes its place next to the original remake as one of the finest we’ve ever had in the gaming industry. As a fan, I really didn’t want Capcom to mess this up, but it’s everything I could have ever asked for in a Resident Evil 2 remake, and if you’ve never played Resident Evil’s first sequel before, then this is easily the one that you should choose. Here’s hoping that more Resident Evil remakes are in Capcom’s future.