Newest Review: ... the Living Dead - Special Edition' or something like that. The first few screens of the game have you running through the city (on a sing... more
They're coming to get you Barbara, er, Claire and Leon.
Resident Evil 2 (PC)
Member Name: Hannard
Resident Evil 2 (PC)
Advantages: It's pretty scary. The voice acting is good this time round.
Disadvantages: Nearly all the action takes place underground.
"They're coming to get you, Barbara" - so began one of the scariest and best movies of all time - Night of the Living Dead, George Romero's chilling zombie flick, which featured the somewhat spooky premise that, all across the world, the dead had risen from their graves. There was never explanation given for this - except in the Japanese versions of one of the sequels which featured some tacked-on crazy talk about a meteor (and which also said the film was Italian), and this was one of the best things about the film. At no point in Night of the Living Dead, nor in its sequels, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, did anyone actually find out why the dead had risen, or ever find a way to send them back to their graves en masse. Hardly any of the characters in the films were what you would call heroes - they were just trying to survive in a world gone to hell. Their exploits also provided the 'inspiration' for a fair number of other films and games - including, I suspect, Resident Evil 2.
In fact, Resident Evil 2's intro is strangely reminiscent of the first few minutes of Day of the Dead, the third Living Dead movie, with the game's heroes turning up in Racoon City, to find it apparently deserted - only to find themselves suddenly pursued by zombies. The intro sets the scene perfectly for the game, and this and the other ten or so CGI cut scenes in the game are superbly well animated. You could easily cobble them all together, stick em on a video and sell it to gullible people as 'Night of the Living Dead - Special Edition' or something like that. The first few screens of the game have you running through the city (on a single linear path with no twists or turns) which looks quite good. However, once you get into the game proper, things are a little different - after these first few screens you find yourself in a - er, house. Actually, that's not entirely true, it's a police station - but it's rather similar to the house in the first game.
If you'd played the demo of Resident Evil 2 and were looking forward to a little urban zombie pacification, then you'll be a little disappointed. You may also be disappointed to find that both the bizarre save system, where you can only save at certain points and a limited number of times has returned. And there's also an unwelcome return for the infamous chest-o-matic object system where you can't drop items anywhere in order to carry more items - you instead have to find a chest and transfer objects into it - nice to know that the laws of physics apparently haven't reached Consoleville, USA. And there are also quite a few points in the game where, due to the camera angles involved, you can't see the zombies coming towards you, so you sometimes have to shuffle around a corner till you get to a point where you can see your opponents, or just fire blindly - not a situation you want to be in when you've got several zombies shuffling threateningly towards you, although the semi-auto aiming system does compensate for this failing a little.
Resident Evil 2 is actually a lot better than Resident Evil in many respects - the speech is better, with better voice acting and translation. Indeed, I only came across one point where the translator seemed to have been having an off day; otherwise there are no obvious textual or voice-related cock-ups. The game is also very spooky, with a fair few surprises and scares, including one enemy who just won't die, zombies who can be blown apart by a shotgun blast and still keep on coming, and other nasty bits. I could mention more, but I'd only spoil things for would be zombie hunters if I did. On top of this, the plot is far better than the patchy storyline of the original game, with slightly more believable characters and one or two quite nasty ones, and a decent ending, although it's still not exactly epic. The game also features significantly fewer puzzles than Resident Evil did, and more zombie blasting, which is good news for arcade gamers and Dawn of the Dead fans - probably less so for adventure fans, but they're probably better off playing something else - like The Ring, or something with elves in it.
Another reason why Resident Evil 2 is superior to Resident Evil, and why it is actually worth looking at, is that the game has far more depth than the original - well, if you can call zombie blasting and object collecting deep. You can play the game as either a female or male character - Rebecca or Leon respectively, and depending upon which character you choose to play as, there are some minor gameplay differences within your first sortie into zombieville. However, once you finish the game with that character, you are given a special saved game which, when loaded, enables you to play as the character you didn't play as previously, exploring roughly the same locations, albeit in a different order, and with a few other locations bolted on, and some new puzzles, enemies, and characters - showing what was going on when you were playing as the other character - the things you do as one character can have a minor effect upon what happens to the other character. And on top of this, there are some other hidden modes including 'Extreme Battle Mode' - a sort of time-attack zombie blasting mode, and an assortment of extra weapons, plus two hidden characters (well, one hidden character really, the second one is a mad version of the first). These hidden characters can only be accessed if you completing the second scenario with an A rank or something like that, gained by finishing the game within a certain time limit and without saving too much. Given that you also can't save your game at all during their short missions, you have to be pretty good to beat the game playing as them (and should probably get out more, too).
All in all, while Resident Evil 2 isn't exactly in the same league as some of the better arcade shooters about, such as Half Life 2, but , it's nevertheless worth checking out, especially if you're a Dawn of the Dead or zombie fan. Just don't be mislead by the demo - precious little of the game is actually takes place outside or in any recognisable urban locations. However, if you can live with that, then the pretty entertaining but not outstanding Resident Evil 2 is worth a look.
(review written by me and originally posted on GamesDomain)
Summary: A good game for Resident Evil completists or zombie fans.
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