The horror genre is actively changing. Movies are going into trends of taking advantage of popular movies and expanding them into big franchises, most to the point of many fans being sick of how quickly movies come out. A notable franchise that started this was Saw. To many fans, Saw should have ended around II or III. There are some fans that even say that the recent franchise, Insidious, didn’t need a sequel at all. With games, it’s a bit of a different story.
If you have known the horror genre, specifically Survival Horror, you know that the genre has been changing a lot in recent years. Resident Evil and Silent Hill were once the top of the top, when it comes to survival horror, and had other franchises inspired heavily and almost playing identical to them. Resident Evil spawned Dino Crisis and even parts of Parasite Eve. If you look at recent games in those franchises, though, things have changed. The newest Silent Hill is a Diablo-like dungeon crawler, and the newest Resident Evils are like Third Person Shooters.
If we take a look back, Resident Evil was very much different. It had a lot of tank-like controls, severely limited ammunition and save points, and was generally much harder to survive in than the games are now. There were no “Continue from Last Checkpoint” sections or anything like that. Let’s take a look at one of those older titles. We have already reviewed Resident Evil: Director’s Cut. Now let’s take a look at what many fans view as the best of the series. Here is our official review of the PlayStation Classic, Resident Evil 2.
The story of Resident Evil 2 essentially can stand on its own, but it also continues where the original Resident Evil left off. If you would like to recap on that, I will show a brief summary or you can see it in more detail in our review of Resident Evil: Director’s Cut, which I will attach to this as a related article. The story’s premise was a Special Forces team becoming trapped in a mansion filled with vile monsters, such as zombies and mutated animals (dogs, spiders, snakes), having to work their way out of the place before they’re all taken out.
The story of Resident Evil 2 takes two months after the events of the original game, within the city near the mansion of that game, Raccoon City. The story involves a viral outbreak, much like the one that happened in the mansion, but on a much larger scale. The two Main Characters of the game, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, arrive in the city in the middle of a very big problem. The viral outbreak has happened across the entire city, and they must fight to survive and escape from the city.
Like the original game, Resident Evil 2 features two separate story modes with different endings for each of the main characters. You can either play as Claire as she searches for Chris Redfield (from the first game), or Leon Kennedy as he comes to his first day on the Raccoon Police Department. Apart from this, however, there are different branches that can be accessed for the Story Mode from multiple plays through the game. For example, you have Leon A and Claire A. When you beat Leon A, you get access to Claire B and vice-versa when you beat Claire A to unlock Leon B. Each progresses a little differently with different boss fights and endings.
There are a total of six different story scenarios to go through, giving this game’s story a lot of length.
Resident Evil 2 plays almost exactly like its predecessor, having you traverse areas to find items for puzzles along with weapons and ammo, and herbs for healing. The amount of area to cover is much larger in this game, but the main progression is the same. You still have a limited amount of items, item boxes to store items in, and solve puzzles to get to new areas and continue towards the goal of escaping the viral outbreak.
Much like the original game, you can only carry a certain number of items with you, and you will need specific items to get through certain doors and to get past certain obstacles to progress in the game. For example, you may need to take a handle off a pump on one side of the Police Station in order to get another one working in a completely different area. It takes a lot of thinking of what you need where and, in your first outing, things can be a little confusing with some of the puzzles and hints the game gives you.
You will always need to be careful when traversing through the game, as enemies pop out of nowhere a bit more than they did in the original. One moment, you may be just casually walking through a room. The next, the entire wall could break and the room could be filled with enemies. Quick reflexes will be needed, even for veterans who know what to look for to get out of the game unscathed. Even the very first moments of the game have you surrounded by zombies, causing you to quickly find your way out of harm’s way or you could easily get a Game Over in less than a minute.
Weapons are plentiful as you travel through the game, and there are a few weapons exclusive to each character. For example, Leon will obtain a Shotgun inside the Gun Shop in his story, whereas Claire will go through the same sequence and get a crossbow instead. As such, Leon and Claire will sometimes receive different types and amounts of ammunition and other items throughout the game.
One addition to the game that wasn’t around in the original game is the choice of obtaining expandable storage. At one point of the game, you may find yourself looking at a choice between two items, one being a pack to increase the amount of items you can carry or a weapon. The choice is important as this ties with the unlocked story you obtain when you finish the game. When you play through as the other character, they will be stuck with whatever you choose not to take. So, this is something that directly links the other story.
Apart from all of these differences, Resident Evil 2 is the first game in the series to offer new Game Modes to the game, once you finish it. Once you finish the games enough times, you can unlock three new Game Modes. The first is Extreme Battle, which gives you situations where you are limited on weapons and are sent traveling through areas of the game, trying to diffuse bombs to unlock other characters to use. The other Modes are story scenarios starring an Umbrella Agent named HUNK and another character that is unlocked by beating all scenarios with high ranks.
As a bonus, the game is based on the Dual Shock version of the game. While the Vita doesn’t have the Vibration feature that this version had on the PlayStation, it does support its very convenient glitch. If you go into the Controller Settings, go to Set 3, which changes the aiming to Auto-Aim, you can enable a very interesting feature. Holding down the L and R buttons and pressing the Square Buttons about ten times in a row will make the text of the word “Auto” change color. After you leave the menu, every weapon you find in the game will have Infinite Ammunition. This is very convenient for those wanting to do fun runs of the game without worrying too much about ammo.
There is definitely a lot to do in this game. With six scenarios, plus the extra modes, Resident Evil 2 will easily last into 20+ hours of your time. That’s a huge boost over how long the original game lasted.
Controlling Resident Evil 2 is very similar to controlling Resident Evil: Director’s Cut. As with all PlayStation Classics, though, you can customize the control scheme to whatever you want, as can you set the touch screen for some button controls. The only thing you cannot customize is mapping controls to the Right Analog Stick. That is exclusive to the emulator for PSP and PS Mini games.
By default, you move around with the D-Pad. You use the Up button to walk forward, and the Down button to walk backwards, with the Left and Right buttons being used for the direction you are facing. To add onto this, you can run if you hold down the Square Button while walking. This is useful and essential for getting away from enemies, or just getting through areas when there’s a time limit involved, as there are a few towards the end of the game.
The R Button is used for wielding the currently-equipped weapon and the X button is used for firing that weapon, whether it’s a Rocket Launcher, Handgun, or a Knife. The Select Button opens the Options and Settings Menu, and the Start Button opens the Equipment Menu. Navigating each menu is a bit different than you are used to. The D-Pad navigates it and the X Button lets you choose an option. However, much as you would not think, the Circle button does not cancel an option or go back. It doesn’t do anything. The Triangle button is what does that in this game.
All in all, it’s a familiar control scheme for Resident Evil veterans. If you’re new to the series, though, it takes some getting used to.
The presentation has been improved over the original Resident Evil game. However, Resident Evil keeps the design of the last game, with using pre-rendered backgrounds and environments. This really helped carry the presentation of the game in the PlayStation era. The Pre-rendered backgrounds worked well because they were rendered and had flawless visuals. They are really detailed and no jagged edges in sight. This was a huge thing back in that time, and it looks even nicer on the Vita’s screen, being so much smaller than a Television.
The character models still have pixelated forms, like in the original. Some arms still look like small rectangles, but there is more detail in them, especially in the faces. The original game had really blurry eyes and mouths on the models. The faces don’t look fantastic in Resident Evil 2, but they do look much improved on. There was still work to be done, but it was a lot better than in the original game.
All in all, Resident Evil 2 took what the original started, and expanded it, especially in content. If you like solving puzzles and surviving in a world filled with zombies and other terrible mutations, Resident Evil 2 will definitely satisfy that desire. With six story scenarios to go through, Extreme Battle to unlock, and the convenience of the Infinite Ammo glitch, Resident Evil 2 is a lot of fun for fans of the oldschool survival horror genre.
The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Resident Evil 2 an 8.5/10.