written by Incognito
In our first RETROspective with Capcom working on a remake as we speak, we will be taking a look back on one of the best survival horror games of its time, and some would argue of all time, Resident Evil 2. It is the year 1998 in the cold month of January. Everyone is waiting outside their respective gaming outlets in the harsh winter waiting to kill some zombies and shit their collective pants. Resident Evil 2 was a very successful release with praises left and right. It received praise for its atmosphere, setting, graphics and audio. It is frequently regarded as one of the best games ever made. Some of the flaws Resident Evil 2 had , and lets be honest all of the survival horror games of its time shared these problems, were its controls, voice acting, inventory system and puzzles.
When I say the controls were bad. I mean they were really bad. The tank style controls from the old days had their problems back then, but in today’s gaming environment they are literally a novelty. I mean, I died more in this game (granted I was a child) than I have in any game. I don’t call it a lack of skill, I call it a lack of compentence on the developers part. I can’t completely blame them though, with what they did with the technology they had is actually mind blowing. I mean the praise for the games atmosphere alone is one of the biggest things about it that keeps me coming back even to this day. You can truly feel the dread walking around every corner of the Raccoon City Police station. You can see the chaos Umbrella Corp. has brought upon Raccoon city. Its an amazing feeling when a game makes even opening a door a sweaty mess of fear. The one scene I will never get out of my head is the first time you encounter a licker, one of the new enemy types, among so many others, that Resident Evil 2 introduced.
Everything about Resident Evil 2 was bigger and better than its predecessor and more ambitious than any other horror game at its time. I personally think it’s a masterpiece that, if we hold it to today’s standards, still holds some merits. The story and the feeling you get when playing the game is something trying to be replicated to this day. The only game in my opinion coming close to the same experience would be The Evil Within. The graphics for its time were amazing but thankfully soon I won’t have to bash this game for its visuals with its upcoming remake that will rectify those criticisms. As we all know the remakes of Resident Evil games so far have gone very well and I have high hopes for this new one. I mean who doesn’t wanna play as high definition Tofu?
Alright enough rambling on one of my favorite games. How do I really feel about it? I find it hard to hold up to today’s standards. I think that when you take into consideration the era it came from its a well written story, with a very atmospheric setting and very well paced game play. While the controls could have used a redesign, the voice acting is a little mundane, the inventory system was lack luster and clunky and the puzzles either too easy or just mainly foot work. I still personally don’t think all of those things took away from the game’s design goal to make you feel trapped and hopeless. Isn’t that the whole point of the game? To be engaging and make you feel things? Resident Evil 2 can deliver that experience for you. I don’t know a lot of games from today’s horror genre that I can honestly say will hit on all the good things that make it engaging. Resident evil 2 is a game unlike any other and I give it the RETRO approval.