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Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation 3) artwork

Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation 3) review

"The creepy music pervasive throughout every room, hallway and tunnel keeps you on-edge, expecting something - anything - to ambush you at any moment. Whether itís the flock of mutant crows that crash through the windows of the second storey, or the rabid dog that bursts through the mirror in the interrogation room, youíll likely jump at some point."

The first time I played Resident Evil 2, I was hooked. After a lengthy opening, featuring zombie hitchhikers and an exploding semi truck, Leon is left standing on one end of the burning husk of his wrecked vehicle. With zombies lurching towards him from all directions, you donít have time to become oriented with the controls. You have to run, and run quickly, or else the lumbering mob will ravenously feast upon your tasty flesh.

Youíll run along the central road, through a gun shop and down numerous side streets before you reach the police station. Once there, you can catch your breath, but only for a little while.

The sound of something dripping messily to the floor catches your attention as you cautiously round the corner. You had already noticed the pools of blood, the crunch of bones, and the shattered windows, but itís the endless dripping that fills you with dread. Seconds later, you find out why. A menacing hiss followed by a horrible screech announces the arrival of the infamous licker. Blind, it crawls towards you, whipping its lance-like tongue at your torso. Retreat and itíll leap at you with outstretched talons in an effort to tear out your throat. If you remembered to take the shotgun off the shop ownerís half-eaten corpse, then liquefy its overly-exposed brain. Otherwise, flee for your life!

Itís moments like this that truly make Resident Evil 2 stand out. The creepy music pervasive throughout every room, hallway and tunnel keeps you on-edge, expecting something - anything - to ambush you at any moment. Whether itís the flock of mutant crows that crash through the windows of the second storey, or the rabid dog that bursts through the mirror in the interrogation room, youíll likely jump at some point.

Veterans of the series will say that these types of scares are hardly worth mentioning anymore. However, that doesnít make them any less effective. The apprehension I felt never subsided because, even when I knew what was coming, I was still afraid. Afraid that whatever would hit me next would overwhelm me, that I wouldnít have the right tools to defeat it, or the skill to run from it. Conserving ammunition became a motivating factor because I also knew that once I finally faced the horrifying abominations that made up the gameís bosses, I would need every ounce of firepower at my disposal.

Yet, despite the fear, I felt an increasing desire to uncover the truth. What madness drives the police chiefís sudden interest in disturbing art? What sort of terrifying creature skulks around the sewers, implanting embryos inside peopleís chests? Just how much of a role has Umbrella played in ruining this quiet Midwestern town?

To obtain these answers, your journey will lead you through the complicated system of tunnels that make up the sewer. Here youíll have to deal with giant spiders that spit toxic acid at you, hideous roaches that crawl through the ventilation shaft, and a giant alligator thatíll gobble you up in two bites if you donít blast it to pieces first.

The final chapter brings you to the underground laboratory and the most exciting part of the game. Slithering plants creep towards you, flailing vine-like tendrils and spewing poison. Enhanced lickers slash at you with elongated claws and sharper intelligence. Youíll fight your way past these or die, and hope that you conserved enough ammo to finish off the final reincarnations of the G-Virus before the whole place explodes.

Beat the game as Leon and youíre given the option to play the second scenario as Claire where your alternate path fills in many of the plot holes from the first play through. Youíll discover how the helicopter crashed on the roof of the police department. Youíll save the crazed scientist William Birkinís daughter, and discover the cause of the laboratoryís self destruction.

Itís also fascinating to see how actions taken as Leon affect Claireís scenario. Locking down the shutters on the west side of the RPD may have helped Leon, but as Claire, the malfunctioning circuit releases them. Dozens of zombies pour in, cutting off all access to that side of the building. Leon takes the crowbar and all the chess-themed plugs to gain access to the sewer, so Claire has to find a completely different method of entry.

The most notable difference between the scenarios is the introduction of the Tyrant, Mr. X. This hulking genetically modified bio-weapon crashes through walls to murder you at unexpected times. His punches will smash in your skull, but defending yourself isnít always possible. He also has a nasty habit of reanimating every time you think youíve killed him, making him one of the most feared enemies in the series.

With its endless horde of vile creatures, its ambient unease and its overwhelming suspense, Resident Evil 2 will fray your nerves and weaken your resolve. This is the type of apprehension that has defined the genre for years, and this game does it best.


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Featured community review by wolfqueen001 (August 28, 2013)

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If you donít think, you die. If youíre not careful, you die. If youíre not afraid, you die. If youíre too afraid you die


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zippdementia posted September 01, 2013:

Mr X was so cool. RE:2 is still one of my favorites of the series, and none of the others have felt quite as fleshed out. The whole "play through the game twice" worked extremely well, even when it had no right to--if you think about it, it's the kind've thing we complain about today: reused environments. But I guess it's what made it stand out: going back through those environments was fun because you saw the situation decay. It really was like being in a zombie film. And playing the second player, you're out of the police station later than the first scenario, which means you have this nasty feeling of being left behind.

Great stuff. It's never gotten quite as good as that.
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wolfqueen001 posted September 04, 2013:

Thanks, Zipp. Playing through it twice didn't bother me that much, honestly. I guess because there's enough different to keep it interesting. Which is more or less what you were saying anyway, just in different words.

Mr. X scares the crap out of me, I think more than any other enemy in that game (except maybe lickers). I think it's because he's just so huge and deadly, even if he is slow.
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Linkamoto posted October 28, 2013:

I actually played through this for the first time within the last 6 months. Believe it or not, I now consider it one of the my favorite games of all time. It withstood the test of time for sure. Your imagery in this review is spot-on. Dread is exactly what I felt as I made my way through it. The sound effects, in particular, are to me what makes the game what it is. Just a horrifying, lonely experience of a game. Exactly how you want to feel playing a horror game.

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