Resident Evil 2 preview: ‘Reimagining’ a classic

MANILA, Philippines - Resident Evil fans have long asked for a trip back to zombie-infested Raccoon City in a Resident Evil 2 remake. For Capcom, it seemed like the perfect time to grant their wishes and revisit a genre-defining classic.

In a media event hosted by Datablitz, Resident Evil 2 producer Tsuyoshi Kanda explained that Capcom finally had the right technology and people to realize their true vision for the project.

New engine

Resident Evil 2 was developed from scratch and runs on Capcom's proprietary RE Engine. This means that the game is a true remake in every sense of the word; instead of a remaster.

The RE Engine, first introduced in Resident Evil 7, features photorealistic textures for character models and environments. What we saw from the game looked great. The dynamic lighting helped create a dark atmosphere that will surely please any fan of the survival horror genre.

Gameplay has also significantly changed. Capcom has done away with the fixed camera angles and clunky tank controls of the original in favor of the over-the-shoulder third person view of Resident Evil 4. This change modernizes combat and exploration in the game.

MINI-KENNEDY. A statue of Leon Kennedy that will come with the Collector's Edition of the game. Photo by Kyle Chua

MINI-KENNEDY. A statue of Leon Kennedy that will come with the Collector's Edition of the game.

Photo by Kyle Chua

Reimagined story

While it’s been widely regarded as a “remake”, Kanda said Resident Evil 2’s story is more of a “reimagining”. He said they rearranged events from the original game’s plotline and added new story elements to them. There are now fully-animated cutscenes as well, with new lines of dialogue for various moments in the game’s story.

Some of the jump scares have also been redone to keep the game fresh even for those who have played the original.

When players first boot up the game, they get to select whose story campaign they want to tackle first - Leon or Claire’s. Kanda did not mention how Leon’s story affects Claire’s or vice versa but said that players have to play both campaigns to fully experience the game.

NEW GAME. The title screen for the reimagning of Capcom's 'Resident Evil 2.' Photo by Kyle Chua

NEW GAME. The title screen for the reimagning of Capcom's 'Resident Evil 2.

' Photo by Kyle Chua

A mix of old and new mechanics

During the event, Kanda played through parts of Leon’s campaign and Claire’s campaign to highlight different gameplay mechanics.

He first showcased how zombies can now get dismembered. For instance, we saw him immobilize and dismember a zombie’s leg by shooting at it with a pistol. We also saw him expose a zombie’s ribs with a well-time shotgun blast to the chest.

This opens up new ways to play and go about situations a player may encounter in the game. With limited resources to scavenge, Kanda said the decision to engage an enemy or to run could mean life or death.

The game is still heavy with puzzle elements that come in between zombie encounters. Similar to the original, players will still need to scan their environment for clues on how to open a locked door or find a particular item.

He also mentioned two difficulty levels players can choose from. One is standard difficulty where there are no restrictions to how many times a player can save. The other is hard difficulty where players will need to have ink-ribbon, an in-game item to save their progress in typewriters scattered throughout the game.

Kanda said that the team, composed of developers of Resident Evil 7 and the original Resident Evil 2, did their best to keep the classic’s “feel” for fans of the original and still make it “fun” to welcome new players. The game promises to be one of the biggest titles that will kick off what could be the last full year for this console generation.

Resident Evil 2 returns on January 25, 2019 for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows platforms. –