"With Resident Evil 2, Capcom has once again created a masterpiece of Survival Horror. The story continues from the events of Resident Evil, following the experiences of Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they attempt to uncover the horrible truth behind the zombie infestation of Raccoon City. The story unfolds within the walls of the Raccoon City Police Department. Leon Kennedy has arrived to begin his first day as a member of the RPD where he meets up with Claire Redfield, the younger si..."
With Resident Evil 2, Capcom has once again created a masterpiece of Survival Horror. The story continues from the events of Resident Evil, following the experiences of Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they attempt to uncover the horrible truth behind the zombie infestation of Raccoon City. The story unfolds within the walls of the Raccoon City Police Department. Leon Kennedy has arrived to begin his first day as a member of the RPD where he meets up with Claire Redfield, the younger sister of RE’s hero, Chris. The two begin their investigation and ultimately uncover the truth behind The Umbrella Corporation’s macabre research as well as the production of a new deadly epidemic in the form of the G-Virus, an upgrade of the deadly T-Virus.
The story behind Resident Evil 2 treads familiar ground with the presence of Umbrella and the viral outbreak that has overtaken Raccoon City much like the test subjects involved with the mansion incident from Resident Evil. The story is a direct sequel and as such it introduces key elements that delve into the history of its predecessor and expands the stories of the primary individuals involved.
With that said, let’s dissect the meat of the game in terms of actual gameplay and enjoyment. The controls handle in the same manner as Resident Evil 1 while the backgrounds are once again pre-set with fixed camera perspectives that allow a more cinematic feel to the game. The game also produces the expected surprises that were established in RE with “jump” scare-tactics aplenty. One major improvement upon the play mechanics is the effect on the playable characters as they take damage. Instead of constantly checking your character’s vital statistics in the sub-menu, players can now experience their character’s damage within the gameplay itself. As Leon or Claire take damage, they actually limp and move more slowly until the player is able to heal themselves again with the use of familiar health items such as first aid sprays and various herbs.
The visuals in Resident Evil 2 have been greatly improved since Resident Evil. The backgrounds are again pre-set but the detail is much more apparent. The settings of RE2 range from the police station to the sewers to a secret underground laboratory. The police station achieves a very gothic characteristic. It feels like one is exploring a zombie-littered museum, complete with large statues and the drafty loftiness that accompanies such structures. The sewers are very foreboding and claustrophobic with the presence of large spiders and even a massive alligator--all thanks to Umbrella’s testing! The final chapters of the game culminate against the backdrop of Umbrella’s subterranean laboratory inhabited by more ghastly abominations that hinder Leon and Claire’s progress.
These abominations of Resident Evil 2 present a challenge to the player’s ultimate goal in varying degrees. The first of these is of course the ever-present shotgun fodder, the zombies. From civilians to police officers, the zombies of RE2 are found nearly everywhere and in large quantities, often filling hallways, creating a smothering atmosphere. The true horror of Resident Evil is being surrounded with very limited ammunition and nowhere to go. The mutated crows and dogs again make their appearance in the bowels of RE2’s police station creating a general nuisance to our heroes. Also returning in the sequel are the aforementioned spiders along with a new beastie in the form of large moths and their larvae.
The boss characters in RE2 are again products of Umbrella’s meddling, a large mutated alligator as well as a large and hulking creature known as Mr. X which is a forerunner to Resident Evil 3’s Nemesis. Perhaps the most intriguing boss character is the Umbrella scientist responsible for the creation of the deadly G-Virus, William Birkin. Upon ingesting the virus, Birkin begins his decent into hell as he slowly loses his identity to the effects of the G-Virus.
Resident Evil 2 is an improvement upon the successful formula of Resident Evil which offers hours of enjoyment as well as replay value due to four playable scenarios, two each for both playable characters, Leon and Claire. The game also introduces key characters in the Resident Evil timeline such as Leon Kennedy (who again makes his appearance as the hero in the phenomenal Resident Evil 4), Ada Wong, and Claire Redfield. This game is definitely one of my favorites and hopefully it will be remembered for the true masterpiece it is.
Community review by redpyramid (November 10, 2006)
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