The venerable Resident Evil series helped transform the survival horror genre into what it is today, and Resident Evil 2 is widely considered one of the best of its kind. While the original Resident Evil from 1996 got its own remake back in 2002, it's taken nearly 16 years to see the second game come to fruition. Resident Evil 2's remake is real — we've seen it — and it's going to be shambling to store shelves next year.
After three years of silence following an initial announcement in 2015, we finally got a blockbuster new trailer during E3 2018 at Sony's presentation. Our first look at the robust new remake was explosive, reigniting fans' passion for the game and everything the series stands for.
But is it worth playing even if you've been there, done that with the original Resident Evil 2? In a word, absolutely! This is more than just a remake — hence the developers' hesitance to tag it with that very word. Technically, it's not called "Resident Evil 2 Remake," but simply "Resident Evil 2," and it's well worth your time and attention even if you know every single nook and cranny of the classic survival horror title from 1998.
Resident Evil 2 follows the story of rookie police officer Leon S. Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield, who's out looking for her brother Chris in the mountain town of Raccoon City. As it turns out, the citizens of the community have been turned into ravenous zombies by way of the T-virus, a biological weapon created by a malevolent company known as Umbrella. Resident Evil 2 lets you play as both Leon and Claire, previously throughout two different campaigns with different paths.
This was known as the "Zapping System," where Claire and Leon were given different puzzles and storylines to explore during the game. This will be changing with the new version of Resident Evil 2, incorporating two different campaigns entirely to streamline the experience and offer a more cinematic game for new players and those who enjoyed the classic. This way everyone can jump on board for something different while still remaining faithful to the original.
But that's not all. The title has been completely remade from the ground up, and for all intents and purposes may as well be a new game. Most importantly, the camera is shifting away from the classic fixed angles that were so popular during the game's heyday back in 1998 in favor of third-person and over-the-shoulder views, much as Resident Evil 4 and subsequent adopted.
The game is also seemingly abandoning the "tank controls" of yesteryear to opt for a more modern-feeling control scheme, as well as lush and detailed 4K visuals, as you probably took note of during the game's first trailer and chunk of gameplay we were given during Sony's E3 presentation. The gore is messy, nasty, and detailed, and it looks amazing. If the original Resident Evil 2 never scared you, it sure seems like this one has the potential to do just that.
There's a swath of changes coming to the game that old players will be able to point out, but they've been made in such a way that everyone can appreciate them. Entire segments of the Raccoon City Police Station have been altered, moved around, and changed, for one thing. Areas you couldn't see before have been opened up, and others made smaller, and those are just things we've been able to ascertain from the trailers and gameplay demos.
Zombie placement and monsters lurking from area to area have been changed up as well. If you memorized a particular set of zombies or enemies, get ready to forget all that, because you won't see them in the same place again. What's more, you can dismember the zombies, blow off heads, and even chip away at zombies for damage that remains, just as on Leon or Claire.
All of these new enhancements would be nothing without the music, visuals, and an updated engine, though. The remake will run on Capcom's RE Engine, the same one that the developer utilized for Resident Evil 7. If you played Resident Evil 7, you'll know why that's great news. Not only did it look fantastic, but it played like a dream, and it even featured VR support. Let's hope for the same with Resident Evil 2, for some veritable chills and thrills.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the remake is that it's not a PlayStation 4 exclusive, contrary to popular belief. The game will also come to Xbox One and PC when it lands on January 19, 2019.
Based on everything we've seen so far, it's abundantly clear why even old fans who think they've seen everything should drop everything and get into this new vision of the classic horror game. Everything's changed, but it all remains familiar, too. What more could you possibly want?
Are you ready to sink your teeth into it yet? We thought so. Join the club, and we'll see all you Resident Evil fans, new and old, this winter.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.