One more time around the block has taken on a whole new meaning
I am a Resident Evil fan – to a point. The series kind of died for me after Resident Evil 4. The more ‘run and gun’ style of 5 and 6 just didn’t quite do it for me, but Resident Evil 7 definitely took steps to bring me back to the fold.
And so it has been with great interest I have been following the news on the Resident Evil 2 Remake. Remaking a game that pushed so many boundaries with a technically impressive engine was always going to have my attention.
But something other than just a new shiny coat is being applied to Resident Evil 2. We are getting a true remake of a masterpiece.
The roots of the game are more or less identical, but the details are being tweaked and new puzzles and mechanics introduced. Things that just couldn’t happen in 1988.
The police station is being expanded, story elements are being cleaned up, and the puzzles and paths will be new. If you think you won’t have trouble because you have mastered the original game, think again!
So what is the 1-Shot Demo?
It’s more or less exactly what it sounds like – a demo that you can play once. For 30 minutes to be exact.
Now there are plenty of workarounds to this, mostly consisting of starting up with multiple accounts, but there really doesn’t seem to be too much incentive to do this.
You can’t save from what I can work out, so nothing is going to travel across to the ‘real’ game. There may be a way to get an item as a bonus in game, similar to the dirty coin in Resident Evil 7, but I don’t think so. The Resident Evil 7 demo was a long drawn out evolving experience, this is 30 minutes on the eve of the formal release.
But I could be wrong.
So I start the demo and instantly miss the booming ‘Resident Evil’ as you start. Ahh well, it is only the demo I suppose.
Playing the Demo
There is a way apparently to ‘finish’ the demo with both Leon and Claire but I came nowhere near doing this.
I was having way too much fun exploring the police station instead of trying my best to ‘solve’ the game. That said though, I played enough to be excited about the full game coming out on the 25th!
The demo opens at the front desk of the Racoon City police station. Immediately I was enjoying the light work and feeling of the building, just like I did at the start of Resident Evil 7.
The controls were the same more or less as 7, so I started running around and exploring immediately. On-screen prompts began appearing, so if this was your first time playing a Resident Evil game you would know what you were doing pretty quickly.
The updated controls were definitely welcome. The old ‘tank’ controls were a staple, but that doesn’t mean they were great to play with!
Moving around and looking at everything in the over the shoulder view was amazing, and instantly removed a lot of the fixed camera angle frustrations we all had with the original games. Want to look behind the screen? Move behind the screen and look – it’s that simple. No more ‘walk behind and click like crazy hoping you hit the right spot’ shenanigans of the old days.
Wandering around the foyer, I was taking my time and slowly examining everything. I was enjoying the graphical treat of my eyes, and even playing with the sound coming from my TV I could hear nuances in the footsteps that made me smile.
In the middle of the area, a huge statute with three circular impressions was clearly visible. I wonder what needs to be put in here?
And this is where some people lose it with Resident Evil. Why are there three medallions needed to open a secret chamber in a police station? Why is everything protected by items that require backtracking and weird logic?
Because. It’s not a great answer, but it is the best I can come up with – sorry. If these sort of puzzles annoy you, don’t play Resident Evil, at least the earlier ones.
Later titles seemed to have easier puzzles overall, but the insane security and inventory management is a series staple – you can either roll with it or go mad trying to work it out.
At this point, I smiled. I got a warm feeling inside, and I stopped for a minute. This was indeed taking me back to the Resident Evil I fell in love with, and I was only a couple of minutes into the demo.
My brain had already fallen back into the old style of thinking. I was actively looking for the clues and areas that just don’t fit to find the medallions I needed for the secret passage I already knew was there, even before the story told me about it.
I found what I knew would hold one of the three medallions straight away – a shield with a curiously round central area and a combination lock. conveniently close to the central area. Again, this is a staple of the series – multi-part puzzle? The first piece is right next to you, but you will have to go elswhere to work out how to unlock it!
And where would you go? To the big door that says ‘Keep Out’ obviously. True, this is partial knowledge from trailers and other players talking about their experience. But really, if you have finished any Resident Evil game, you know what to do.
And from here I will stop explaining what I was doing and thinking as I worked my way through the game. If you are smart, you won’t spend the first seven precious minutes looking around the first room of a timed demo like I did.
But I loved every second I spent doing it!
What was right
The controls were great and felt even more responsive that Resident Evil 7. Audio, as I mentioned, was fantastic barring a couple of hiccups I am hoping are demo related.
There was an area of wet floor that you splash as you enter, then have ‘normal’ footsteps in water up to your ankles.
As I said, hopefully it was just demo related, but playing Resident Evil 2 with the PlayStation Surround Sound headphones is going to be amazing if Resident Evil 7 is any indication!
Graphically the series has never looked better. I enjoyed the look of Resident Evil 7, but the same run-down areas got a little boring after a while. Looking through one floor of the police station, each office and room had its own particular feel.
Sometimes it was visual, like the administration area or locker room. Sometimes it was the audio again – wooden floors vs tiled for example.
Also the zombies – oh the Zombies. In Resident Evil 7, while characters looked great the Molded all looked very samey. Here, each Zombie so far has had a distinct look that has been interesting to watch.
There are also some new mechanics and tricks I either don’t remember from the original or have been added.
One such trick is you can now board up windows in the Police Station to stop Zombies from breaking in. I am assuming this will come in handy later in the game, helping to create choke points so you don’t get overrun.
Not all changes help you though. For example, your combat knife – a required tool to get past that otherwise indestructible yellow tape – know can break. Yep, weapon destructibility (at least for one weapon) is now a part of Resident Evil.
I don’t mind a challenge, but items breaking is rarely something I appreciate. It’s not enough to put me off at all, but I know players that won’t play Breath of the Wild because of items breaking.
And end game shenanigans remain in full force apparently!
Once you finish the demo, you get to see some new trailers. One such trailer confirms Hunk returning, otherwise known as the 5th survivor.
This was a harder mode where you played a smaller story with all of your items given to you at the start of the game. While you begin well armed, you need to keep your items close as you can’t pick anything up during the story.
If you can beat this mode, there is also one of the most ridiculous and hardest modes I ever remember playing – the Tofu survivor.
This may be a joke scenario and character in a lot of ways, but this is the hardest mission in Resident Evil 2. Basically a replay of the 4th survivor, but you have only a combat knife and a few herbs for the whole game – only the best can finish this mode.
I was never one of them in my youth.
But everything I played in this demo confirmed my hopes and soothed a lot of my concerns. Resident Evil 2 2019 is on track to be an amazing game for series veterans and newbies alike.
There is still plenty of opportunity for Resident Evil 2 to let me down. You can’t rate an entire game on a 30-minute window of playtime. But almost all of my concerns have evaporated. I am truly looking forward to playing Resident Evil 2 again.
I just hope Square Enix is taking note. Want to rebuild a fan favourite? Looks like Capcom has nailed how to do it.
It’s a free demo, available for another couple of weeks. You can grab it on Steam for PC, or the PlayStation Store/Microsoft Store for PS4 and Xbox respectively.
If you are unsure of what a Resident Evil game is, grab yourself a copy of the demo. If this doesn’t grab you, neither will the full game – that simple.
But for me, I still have one major regret. Why does Resident Evil 2 have to come out 4 days before Kingdom Hearts 3? Too many great games coming!
Until next time,
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