Resident Evil 2 – 1 Shot Demo Review

Resident Evil 2 Cover
Resident Evil 2 Cover
Released 2019
Platform PS4 Pro (Reviewed), XBox One, PC
Publisher Capcom (Website)
Developer Capcom (Website)
Homepage Website
Players 1
Category Survival Horror

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!

Resident Evil 2 That Timer
30 minutes. It sounds so long, and then you start playing.

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.

Resident Evil 2 Demo Begins
Ahh. Raccoon City Police Department. The years have been kind!

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.

Resident Evil 2 Whats behind the desk
If you can see it, you can probably walk to it. The footprints also may be a clue someone can walk there.

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.

Resident Evil 2 What Goes Here
Location for 3 empty collectable pieces. It's either a secret passage or a big reward.

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!

Resident Evil 2 What could be found here
I need round things, and this obviously has a round opening. Could it be connected?

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!

Resident Evil 2 Now where should I go
Keep Out. Good advice. No one would ever leave anything in here I would need later.

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.

Resident Evil 2 Exploring the Station
You may wonder what is so amazing about the graphics here. Play it and see - trust me 🙂

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.

Resident Evil 2 Tofu Survivor
The toughest piece of soy product you will ever meet.

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.

Resident Evil 2 Good Tidings
Such a happy place to come back to after all these years

I just hope Square Enix is taking note.  Want to rebuild a fan favourite?  Looks like Capcom has nailed how to do it.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Resident Evil 2 - 1 Shot Demo

Final Thoughts

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!

Overall
7/10
7/10

Pros

  •  Demo shows not just a nostalgia cash grab
  •  Taking an ambitious project to new heights with modern tricks

Cons

  •  30 minutes flies by
  •  It’s a Resident Evil game – not for everyone

So the E3 Nostalgia Train continues with the Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake Feature

Another reason to relive a classic series

Resident Evil.  Like so many franchises I have written about this week, I have so many fond memories.

I remember jumping out of my chair and sending my controller the first time the dogs jumped through the window.  You know the scene.  Back when Resident Evil was still a horror franchise (or more correctly, creating the survival horror genre for many) I couldn’t get enough of these games.  This continued all the way up to Resident Evil 4.  It took Resident Evil 7 to truly reignite the spark for me.  And don’t listen to anyone else – the only way to play 7 is in VR.  It’s such an amazing experience.

But a few years ago, an announcement was made that many seem to have forgotten over time.

This got me really intrigued years ago.  Some games I have picked up and are low on the ‘go and play’ list are Resident Evil 0 and the Resident Evil remake.  I have yet to play Resident Evil 0 at all, and I have always meant to play essentially the GameCube Remaster.  On the Switch, I have the Resident Evil Revelations series to finally give them a go and are a bit higher on the list.  I started the original Revelations on the 2DS, but as a platform, it just didn’t quite cut it for me.

But last night (my time anyway), this was dropped during the Sony E3 presentation.

This looks amazing and is a real reason for me to elevate playing the remakes as soon as I can.

Resident Evil 2 broke a lot of ground back in 1998.  Back in the day, the graphics were amazing, but almost every part of the game just clicked.  The audio was that perfect level where you just forgot you were listening to a computer game.  The level design was unique and hid a lot of surprises for players.  The multiple storylines worked really well with the different characters.

Of course, there was also the cheesy voice acting that the series is infamous for, as well as the ever so popular tank controls and the like.  I mention this simply because the series had real faults that not everyone could get past.

But for me, the real thing that will delay me buying and playing Resident Evil 2 Remake?  Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out 4 days later on January 29, and I have been waiting a lot longer 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD