My initial idea for this post was to write a commemorating 20 year anniversary discussion for one of my favorite video games of all time: Resident Evil 2 for the PlayStation 1 back in 1998, but now I’d like to share my exuberant excitement for the upcoming Resident Evil 2 Remake on the PlayStation 4/PS4 Pro, X-Box One/X-Box One X, and Steam on January 25, 2019. Recently, announced at this year’s E3 on June 11, 2018, fans of the series are going crazy over its buzz. I cannot begin to explain how amazing it was when I witnessed the reveal trailer. Last month, I had pre-ordered the Resident Evil 2 Remake Deluxe Edition. The Resident Evil 2 Remake Collector’s Edition had just been revealed for a whopping cost of $199.99. I don’t have that kind of budget yet.
The idea for this remake all began when fans were first blown away by Resident Evil Remake in 2002 on the GameCube which was then remastered in High Definition in 2015 on PS4/PlayStation 3 and X Box One/X Box 360. Fans for several years had been begging Capcom to develop a remake for the sequel. For the last decade, the Resident Evil franchise was falling in popularity due to change in style of the video game installments from a puzzle and survival horror to a straight up adrenaline action game which resembled the look of many Michael Bay films. We began seeing witness of this in Resident Evil 4 (though an awesome game), it soon got worse with Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil Revelations, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil Revelations 2, and Umbrella Corps. The days of stalking around dimly lit and derelict hallways in fear of what lurked in the shadows was far gone. Until game developers began to take into account the harsh criticism and backlash from Resident Evil 6. In the main canon story arc of Resident Evil numbered installments, producers decided to go back to their close encounter horror roots by creating Resident Evil 7: Biohazard which brought the praise of the series back to life. It is here where the real love and craft of the franchise was reignited as the new Resident Evil 2 was close to finish.
In 2015, one of the main Resident Evil 2 Remake producers Yoshiaki Hirabayashi showcased a short clip where he was standing next to an image with the title “Resident Evil 2 Remake” while revealing a shirt he was wearing with the words “WE DO IT!” Many people were either stoked or confused. They weren’t sure if it was a hoax or when they were finally going to see it. Fans were disappointed during last year’s E3 2017, but this year with the whole world in awe, the new Resident Evil 2 already earned Best of E3 2018 Critics Award. The original and brilliant game developers of Resident Evil 2 consisted of Shinji Mikami, Hideki Kamiya, and Noboru Sugimura. I believe that Hirabayashi and his team will honor their craft in this remake.
Coming from the reveal trailer, I noticed that the introduction had a close resemblance to the beginning of the first Resident Evil Outbreak video game on the PlayStation 2, back in 2003, the popular online Resident Evil survival horror game. The fact that they used the point of view from a rat, which were the carriers of the T and G-Viruses leading to the initial outbreak and fall of Raccoon City, I wonder if that is a hint to other prior installments in the series to be remade with new stellar 4K graphics using the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard RE Engine. Capcom might be spitting out remakes from the likes of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil Code Veronica X, or even Resident Evil Outbreak Files 1 and 2 or maybe just Resident Evil Outbreak File #3. The thought of a realistic tank-sized Nemesis tyrant running towards you screaming “S.T.A.R.S.!” would be terrifying and could open up the world of Raccoon City even more to gamers. I think these other remakes could happen depending on the success of this upcoming Resident Evil 2 which I predict will be one of the highest selling video games of 2019 or even the highest pre-ordered game of 2018.
See the E3 Resident Evil 2 Remake Reveal and Announcement trailers here:
Based from the trailers alone, screenshots, a 21 minute video game-play demo, and the E3 interview with the game’s creators, we know that the video game mechanics have the player in 3rd person utilizing over-the-shoulder like Resident Evil 4 or the new installment of God of War. There are some new changes to the look of Raccoon’s Police Department. One major change is the more realistic, dark, and gritty picturesque hallways that require Leon Scott Kennedy to carry a flashlight. This creates a more visceral and immersive experience. In a way, it feels like this game will show exactly how the Raccoon City Outbreak and the deteriorating corpses should have looked. A few areas in R.P.D. have changed as a way to give older and newer players the chance to explore new locations and challenges. We know that we’ll essentially get the same story, the same characters and even Albert Wesker after hearing his doomsday voice in the trailer. Characters I’m positive we’ll see are of course, Leon S. Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Sherry Birkin, Ada Wong, as well as Annette Birkin, William Birkin, Mr. X (T-00 and T-103), HUNK, Ben Bertolucci, Chief Brian Irons, Marvin Branagh, Robert Kendo, and possibly Tofu or Brad Vickers. The enemies we’ll encounter will most likely repeat from the original as the zombies which look more terrifying and real than ever, the menacing Lickers, Cerberus’, Giant Spiders, G, Plant 43, Giant Moth, the infamous Alligator, crows, Monster Plant, and cockroaches. In this new version of Resident Evil 2 you will have the option of barricading your character in rooms or covering up windows as the zombie A.I. are more intelligent than PS1 zombies and can break through doors and glass. Apparently, they are harder to kill and each bite is a devastating blow to your health. These zombies take multiple hits to the head before going down. These aren’t your Walking Dead walkers, these zombies are fueled by a bio-chemically engineered virus. Better have those herbs handy.
From the look of the main lobby, they rearranged the position of the statue and the typewriter desk. The desk is now in front of the statue and resembles a Noir-esque police station appearance from the TV show Gotham or older retro detective films where the protagonist smoked a cigar, wore a brim hat and a brown trench coat that went down to the knees. The typewriter is back which makes saving more limited than prior auto-saving capabilities obsolete. I’ll rejoice when I hear that precious save room music. Also, instead of locked doors from the beginning areas of the police department, Leon has to crawl underneath metal shutters which creates a more claustrophobic feel. We know that Claire interacts with Sherry Birkin like in the original, we know that Ada Wong is somewhere searching for her boyfriend John, and that Mr. X wears a fedora. Who does he think he is, Rocky Balboa? The Licker looks horrifying as it crawls in the shadows along the walls of the precinct or on the exterior of the building structure taking a peek through the glass plated window panels.
Claire Redfield’s face does look a bit different from the original which contrasts the remake version of Leon S. Kennedy who looks like a polished version of what a rookie cop in their early twenties should look like given the Leon model from Resident Evil 4. Nothing like that 90’s Backstreet Boys haircut. The remake uses the same inventory screen and weapon quick switch as the one from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard which utilizes the basic mini-boxes. Like the original, this is linear with solo play, but the way that quests are outlined are more direct than the previous version. From the demo, the top left side of the screen displays what you need to accomplish next. The game developers stated that this version won’t include the A and B scenarios from the original. Instead it will follow the entire story behind Leon and Claire’s mission like the first Resident Evil.
From watching the game-play demo, you get a first hand idea of what the video game is like. There is this feeling of unnerving dread as you brave around the dark and disturbing corridors of the R.P.D.. You notice the remains of a battle between civilians, cops, and the infected. There is blood stained across the walls, human bodies laying lifeless on the floor, tables and chairs falling off of premeditated barricades. Then after failing to save a trapped officer named Elliot Edward, that’s when all of the carrion you’ve noticed lying around begin to rise up and all of a sudden you’re trapped inside a George A. Romero flick. Leon calls out to these moving corpses as if they’re going to respond and we’re reminded of the old B film script from the original, but with an Oscar worthy performance. “You could have been a Jill sandwich!” Relax Barry Burton, this isn’t Resident Evil 1.
As you scavenge limited supplies you also uncover a bit of what occurred from reports written by officer Elliot. I can infer that the incident that deteriorated the R.P.D. could be summed up from Desperate Times mission in Resident Evil Outbreak File #2. Four R.P.D. officers are mentioned in those reports, Lieutenant Marvin Branagh who Leon meets and is nearing death, Elliot Edward who we saw got ripped in half by a horde of zombies, David Ford who is presumed dead, and officer Philips who like in RE Outbreak 2 talked about a secret tunnel into the sewer as a means of escaping the former museum turned Police Station. Her whereabouts are unknown. Hint, there is a puzzle related to these officer names in one of the rooms.
You can combine gunpowder to make different weapon ammunition, use the combat knife to pin zombies as a defense weapon to avoid getting bit like in Resident Evil Remake, and even visit bathrooms. When will the demo be open to the public? It still remains to be seen.
With a majority of fans loving the new look of Resident Evil 2, there are some with speculation. Some of the main complaints was that the remake will be over-the-shoulder which negates the older fashion fixed camera angles. As much as I liked this view and how it created suspense in which you never knew if the monster was in front of you, I think given the better graphic mechanics and bringing a more realistic and grittier version of the original, we would need to be able to look at the enemies head on. I cannot imagine looking straight into the demonic and lifeless eyes of the undead haunting my dreams for months to come. I’m pumped! Also, the developers have defended their new decisions in stating that the conservative fans who always loved the fixed camera angles can just play the original, it ain’t going anywhere.
The other criticism that was expressed were the character model faces of Leon and Claire. According to YouTube channel, Residence of Evil, in one of their recent videos they mentioned that Leon’s face was remodeled after Eduard Badaluta who confirms it on his Instagram page while Claire’s face was remodeled after Jordan McEwen who also admitted on Instagram. R.O.E. also announced that Patrick Levar is the model face of the re-imagined Marvin who revealed on his Facebook page and YouTube Channel. Sorry to the people that thought they were going to get Will Smith. To clarify, none of these actors have modeled the characters’ body movements or voice. I have no problem with the new look on either Leon or Claire, I think Leon looks perfect and Claire is looking attractive these days as she ditches the shorts.
As for what is currently offered in the pre-order bundle, you can check the regular and deluxe editions at http://www.residentevil2.com/us/ or pre-order the digital copy on the PlayStation Store. The Collector’s Edition can be found and purchased at your local GameStop. It is uncertain if more deals will be available, but one thing is certain is that the video game will be out January 25, 2019. Until then, we’ll have to dust off the old PlayStation 1 and play the original.
Here is what is currently offered:
The regular Pre-Order Bonus game comes with the Samurai Edge (Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine’s Model) and costs $59.99.
The Deluxe Edition comes with more weapons, different costumes, and the ability to swap out the new RE 2 soundtrack with the old and costs $69.99. I’m excited to play along with the classic creepy score by Masami Ueda.
The Collector’s Edition comes with the Deluxe Edition RE 2 video game, R.P.D. Renovation Blueprints circa 1969, Deluxe Edition DLC Pack Voucher, Digital Soundtrack, a 12 inch Leon S. Kennedy (R.P.D. Version) Figure, R.P.D. Item Box Packaging, and the Collector’s Artbook for $199.99.
If you’re a die hard fan of Resident Evil like myself, I suggest you check out Residence of Evil YouTube channel. They have some of the best visual content I’ve seen on the Resident Evil franchise. They’ve been recently working on a Residence of Evil video game with the fixed camera angles. Here is the link to their channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCsvXKLa-DAgMPtVaVo51og.
Well what do you think? Will you pre-order the regular version, deluxe edition, collector’s edition, or wait to buy it when it comes out? Or are you not a fan and uninterested? Whatever you’re opinions are, leave in the comments below.
Featured Title Image Credit: Bloody Disgusting
If you enjoyed this and would like to read more from Anthony, check out his novel ‘Stay Awhile’ on Amazon amazon.com/Stay-Awhile.