Resident Evil 2 (PS4) Review


This is where I should recall my history with Resident Evil 2…

I have none.

I have never played Resident Evil 2. This was a completely new experience for me and I’ll just say it: this game is amazing. After looking up footage of the original Resident Evil 2 and seeing how much stayed true to the original I can see why this is a classic. However I entered this game knowing very little and I have to say for anyone like me that the experience is not hindered by lack of knowledge about Resident Evil 2 or the series in whole.

See I’m not a huge horror fan because a lot of horror games and movies rely on cheap jump scares rather than the dread I want to experience. Fear is different from being suddenly startled and simply spending the rest of the experience waiting to be startled again. Resident Evil 2 earns every scare and every jump it delivers, and any time I was afraid it was based upon my own poor decisions.

MSRP: $59.99
PRICE I’D PAY: $59.99

The story is that two survivors make their way into Raccoon City and then have to escape. I don’t want to spoil the experience for anyone else, but know that there are two campaigns as well as two different characters to play as from the start. There is Leon, a rookie cop on his first day during a zombie outbreak, and Claire, a young lady looking for her brother Chris. Both campaigns explore different parts of the Raccoon City, experience different puzzles, and feature different weapons. Regardless, the story of the two heroes weave in and out and it pays to play both campaigns.

Exploration is a lot of fun despite constant fear that one of the dead bodies on the floor may pop up and take a bite. When I played the demo of Resident Evil 2 I walked around putting a bullet in every head I saw just to make sure nothing stood up, but ammunition is so tight that doing that only screwed myself in the future. So I played the game as conservatively as possible on supplies and even then I found myself struggling at times because despite the claustrophobic interiors to explore and loot the game only gives you enough to survive. Leon’s campaign took me about 8 hours to complete because I wanted to explore every bit of the police station and even still I never found every combination for the locks littered around.

The main gameplay is played from over the shoulder akin but not identical to Resident Evil 4. Zombies are very twitchy and don’t die just from one shot to the head. Even if zombies drop that doesn’t mean they are no longer a threat. Only when a headshot delivers a violent head explosion is there safety in the corpse on the floor. At times I found it better to shoot off limbs than try to win the jackpot of painting the room with brain matter. The gore in this game is beyond anything I’ve seen. Of course there are more than zombies in this game to dissect but I won’t spoil the fun as no one spoiled the fun for me.

All items including weapons and ammunition are stored in an inventory that can be upgraded throughout the game, but there are item boxes all around that will store items that I find no inherent use for at a given time that can be accessed at any of the item boxes stored around the environments. Nearby items there are usually typewriters used for saving, however on Normal mode these do not require ink ribbons and there appeared to be an auto save function in play as well. Hardcore mode (unlocked from the start) still requires ink ribbons so fear not purists, I am but a wimp who finds solace in saving.

My review copy didn’t come with the original soundtrack, but what is here aptly captures the mood. There is one enemy track that sounds a bit like Darth Vader making an industrial music track that inspired fear in me anytime I heard it. I would feel my heart start to race immediately. The creepy atmospheric noise and the echoes of foes through corridors was enough in my opinion. Voice acting was great, with all the characters feeling realistic (helped by the amazing visuals of this game). I know there was some fans upset with Leon’s voice being different but I felt like this performance captured the fresh faced rookie cop with dreams of helping his community as a police officer (too bad there’s no community left to help). Great performances all around.

The visuals, as previously mentioned, are spectacular. All the faces are recreations of real people (mostly models and not the people voicing the characters). Zombies look like they are rotting and look torn apart by the bullets I throw their way. There are details to every desk and every wall that makes everything feel handcrafted instead of being cut and paste elements. I am playing on a standard PS4 so I can only imagine the bump from a higher end PC, PS4 Pro, or Xbox One X.

I can’t speak highly enough of this game despite really not being one for horror. It felt fair. It felt accessible (there is an Easy mode for people who want to feel less helpless). The original game has always been touted as a classic and I see why. This game was fantastic and despite it only being January I can definitely see this as a game of the year contender. Spectacular work and a must have.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Combat feels good
  • Puzzles are fun
  • Environment is extremely detailed
  • Just the right amount of scares
  • Lots to explore and play
  • I had one visual glitch that didn’t hinder gameplay in the slightest
  • Final fight was a bit confusing but I figured it out
Written by
Anthony is the resident Canadian. He enjoys his chicken wings hot and drinks way too much Coca-Cola. His first game experience was on his father's Master System and he is a loyal SEGA fanboy at heart.