Resident Evil 2 Has Me Excited to Experience a Classic for the First Time in 2019

Resident Evil has been one of my favorite franchises since I was a kid, even when I was terrified of its creepy zombies. I still fondly remember the moment when I was around 11 or 12 and rented the remaster of the original Resident Evil, only to immediately return it to my local Blockbuster the next day the moment that I encountered the game’s first zombie and couldn’t bear to see any more of it, too shaken to the core to continue on.

While Resident Evil has ebbed and flowed over the years between true survival horror and more action-oriented installments, those moments of true, unnerving horror have always been what drew me to the Resident Evil series over the years. This is what has always led me to play most of the major entries in the series, even after my initial terrors with the first game. However, while I’ve played the series’ peaks like Resident Evil and Resident Evil 4–and suffered through its lows with Resident Evil 6–there has been a big gap for me when it comes to the series’ older entries that I have yet to play, such as Resident Evil 3Resident Evil: Code Veronica, and yes, Resident Evil 2.

For some reason, I just missed out on these two titles in the Resident Evil series. I’d say the most likely culprit is that playing the more recent Resident Evil titles has made going back to the infamous “tank controls” of the original games a bit unappealing, but with the upcoming remake of Resident Evil 2 on the horizon for consoles and PC, I’m glad that I can finally start to fill in those gaps that I’ve had with one of my favorite series.

And that’s made it all the more interesting for me to follow the development of the Resident Evil 2 remake ever since it had its first debut at Sony’s E3 conference last year (and even its announcement by Capcom long before that). A large part of the hype surrounding the game, naturally, is driven by nostalgia for the original Resident Evil 2, often seen as one of the best installments of the series as a whole.

Resident Evil 2

While I’m sure most of the anticipation and excitement for Resident Evil 2‘s remake is surely coming from fans that are looking forward to re-experiencing the classic with a truly from-the-ground-up remake, I feel like I’m in the minority camp that gets to play through the title for the first time. That isn’t to say though that that’s a bad thing at all. While I may not have the nostalgia for the haunting setting of Raccoon City or a familiarity for the early parts of Resident Evil‘s history and characters, I’m looking forward to Resident Evil 2 nonetheless, even though I’m coming to it for the first time.

Aside from the dark, creepy visuals and a gore factor that seems to have been amped way the hell up, what I’m most looking forward to from Resident Evil 2 is the fact that we’ll get to go back in time a bit to the series’ roots, and especially back to its true survival horror basics. The Resident Evil series has changed quite a bit in the past 10-15 years, with Resident Evil 4 (my favorite entry in the series) having completely reshaped the franchise moving forward, for better and worse in the solid Resident Evil 5 and in the bloated, loud action of Resident Evil 6. Of course, just two years ago Resident Evil VII also reshaped what the franchise’s future looks like, even though the change to a first-person perspective was a bit divisive to longtime fans.

However, with all the years that the Resident Evil series has gone on and the more convoluted that its plot has continued to become, I see Resident Evil 2 as the chance to go back to the series’ roots as a good thing, and especially getting to be reacquainted with some of its familiar faces. Seeing Leon as a young rookie cop after his later years as a badass special agent in RE4 will surely give me a newfound appreciation for how far he has come in the rest of the series. Claire is a character that I’ve only known to a lesser extent after having played Resident Evil: Revelations 2 last year, but getting to deepen my understanding of her role in the rest of the Resident Evil series is also something I’m looking forward to while playing Resident Evil 2.

But even more than getting the chance to get new context for the rest of the Resident Evil series as a whole, I’m looking forward to Resident Evil 2 for the fact that it looks creepy as hell. From the reveal trailer last year at E3 2018, I’m already in love with the fact that this remake is not holding back when it comes to making players extremely tense and uncomfortable. From the unsettling visuals and gore, to the diverse environments that players will have to explore in and out of Raccoon City, I’m excited for the terrors that await in Resident Evil 2, especially when combined with its use of Resident Evil VII‘s engine, which makes terrifying imagery shine like no other.

Resident Evil 2 Zombie

With Resident Evil 2 now just a few days away from release, my anticipation for the game couldn’t be any higher. Given that it’s a Resident Evil game I probably would have been excited regardless, as Resident Evil VII finally gave me (and many other fans) the long-awaited series’ return to survival-horror that we’ve been waiting for. But with Resident Evil 2, I now have the chance to not only fill my quota of terrifying game experiences for 2019 early but also, in a way, get back in touch with the core reasons why I love Resident Evil. As much as I’ve come to know and love this series after 20 years, I’m looking forward to getting to experience something new from it (for me) with Resident Evil 2.

Resident Evil 2 will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 25, 2019. If you have yet to pick up a copy of the game, you can still do that right now over on Amazon and get ready to relive your terrors.

The post Resident Evil 2 Has Me Excited to Experience a Classic for the First Time in 2019 by Ryan Meitzler appeared first on DualShockers.

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Is Resident Evil 2’s Raccoon City Still Creepy, or Is It Just Nostalgic?

Once upon a time, when flat-tops were still in fashion and people listened to the Spice Girls unironically, gamers got their first glimpse of an all-American town called Raccoon City. The fictional location was situated just south of the Arklay Mountains and fell victim to a biohazardous outbreak, which saw the locals reduced to shambling mutations with an insatiable hunger for human flesh.

This was to become the home of video game horror. An archetypal small-town dense with mid-tier buildings and populated by Regular Joes; the perfect scenario to wreak havoc in. When the original release of Resident Evil 2 hit shelves back in 1998, it was by far the scariest game on PlayStation. Taking the suspense and unshakeable feeling of dread from the first game and building upon it led to a title that has become legendary throughout the years and synonymous with the term “survival horror.” The characters were memorable, the monsters were disgustingly disturbing disfigurations of the human body, and storyline, however silly, was quite enjoyable. Put quite simply, Resident Evil 2 was a masterpiece of its time.

However, more than two decades have passed since Resident Evil 2 first gave us the heebie-jeebies, and we live in a very different world now; a world where all the information we could possibly desire is available at our fingertips, a world where virtual reality is no longer a futuristic fantasy, a world where we are not so easily startled by the happenings of cliched mid-western American towns. In 2018, is there really a chance for Raccoon City to carry the same weight as before and deliver the same frightening experience as it once did?

The Resident Evil franchise, like most zombie-based lore, owes a lot to horror cinema including timeless classics from yesteryear like Night of the Living Dead along with a number of exploitation movies of the ’70s and ’80s. In fact, the blood-soaked and entirely NSFW trailer for the 1980 low-budget movie Hell of the Living Dead (also known as Zombie Creeping Flesh) shows a few scenes that Resident Evil fans would be very familiar with. One such scene shows a collection of undead hands bursting through barricaded windows to latch onto their prey, as seen in Resident Evil 2. Another clip depicts a man turning his head to reveal a deformed and rotted face signifying that he had transformed into an undead fiend; this is uncannily similar to the first zombie encounter from the original game.

Although Resident Evil celebrates tropes from many of the best horror movies, it also falls victim to many of the genre’s downfalls too. One thing that the horror movie genre can never seem to do is reign itself in; instead, it features elongated franchises spreading themselves thin across multiple sequels. I consider the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be one of the creepiest films ever made: everything from the grainy camerawork of the mid-70s to the ruthlessness of the movie’s cannibalistic family chills me to the bone. The movie went on to spawn a number of sequels, each degrading in quality and becoming and more forgettable as time went on. At this stage, the main antagonist Leatherface is legendary, but he is no longer scary. What started off as a maniacal chainsaw-wielding psychopath is now nothing more than a horror cliche due to overexposure of the character over time.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for Resident Evil‘s Raccoon City setting. The first time we entered that old mansion in the Arklay Mountains or the first time we set foot on the city streets only to discover that the whole town had become overrun by zombies: these were genuinely frightening moments for players, at the time. Each decision you made felt like it carried weight, and each hallway could potentially lead to circumstances even more extreme than the ones we were currently facing. It was dark, tense, and terrifying.

Since then though, most of us have been to Raccoon City more times than we’ve been to our favorite holiday destinations. With familiarity often comes comfort: it gets more and more difficult to remain scared by the same setting. Instead, you become accustomed to it and fear, slowly but surely, begins to drift away as you settle into its surreal environment.

So far, Raccoon City–along with its surrounding forests–has appeared in the first three Resident Evil games consecutively. Then there were the Resident Evil: Outbreak titles which were situated in the same location; it also reappeared in the forgettable multiplayer side-game Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. That’s without mentioning the movies and comic books that go hand-in-hand with the franchise’s popularity. By now, in some strange way, the city almost feels like home. The warm rush of nostalgia provided by seeing familiar locations and scenery detracts from that vicious edge needed to scare players. We know we can visit it for a battle with its infected hordes at any time, so is there anything the city truly has left to offer us in terms of fear?


Put quite simply, the answer to this question, I think, is yes! In 2002, just when we had finally become accustomed to Raccoon City’s terrifying ways and we thought we were brave enough to move on, the series creators’ at Capcom launched a gut-wrenching and intense title for Nintendo GameCube simply called Resident Evil. For all intents and purposes, this was a remake of the original game of the same name, but it refused to play by the (at the time) simplistic rules that the series had laid out during its first outing in 1996.

No, this was an entirely different beast. It was designed to feed on that comfortable bond that you had formed with the earlier games, ready at a moment’s notice to take that trust and use it against you. What followed was a particularly atmospheric tour of that classic old mansion, jam-packed full of new twists and turns that ripped players from their comfort zones and threw them right back into the horror they had thought was long-forgotten.

With this in mind, a return to Raccoon City isn’t something to be scoffed at; it’s something to be feared. Resident Evil 2 is not a remaster or even a simple update to its nostalgic ’90s counterpart: this is a full-on remake of its classic creepy predecessor. It’s impossible to say what exactly lies in wait for us, but it would be foolish to think that we won’t be caught off-guard.

The trailers so far have shown us some of the classic locations and scenarios from the first time around, but the graphical advances of the last 20 years make the town feel somber, moody, and downright unnerving. The darkened corners of the game’s iconic police station look even more imposing than ever before, the city streets are littered with wreckage and broken glass in the aftermath of a battle with the zombies, and the body-horror elements that have become a staple of the series are more disgusting than anyone could have imagined back in the late ’90s.

Resident Evil 2 Dr. Birkin

Taking all of these elements into consideration, along with the knowledge of what the remake of the original Resident Evil had in store, the upcoming Resident Evil 2 could set the benchmark once again for horror. Each moment of the game, from the title screen to the end credits, could be an unnerving, edge-out-your-seat experience to ensure that you’re consistently enthralled, but never at ease. There is a lot awaiting us as we return to Raccoon City’s cold empty streets, and it’s safe to assume that none of it is friendly.

Resident Evil 2 is on its way to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on January 25th, 2019. For those brave enough to take a trip to Raccoon City, it can currently be pre-ordered from Amazon. For more on the game, you can also read our recent hands-on preview from Tokyo Game Show 2018.

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