Retro Review: RESIDENT EVIL 2

Retro Review: RESIDENT EVIL 2

Retro Review: RESIDENT EVIL 2

We are only a week and a half away from the release of Resident Evil VII: Biohazard!  Let’s keep the hype train rolling by looking back at the sophomore entry of this storied franchise.  Resident Evil 2 released back in January 21, 1998 on the Sony PlayStation. Resident Evil 2 received a few ports throughout the years and due to fan demand, Capcom has officially announced a complete remake is in the works.  Until that mythical day comes, is it worth the time to replay this classic?


S.T.A.R.S. destroyed the Umbrella Corporation research facility in the mountains outside Raccoon City.  Two months have passed and Raccoon City is falling apart!  Rumors about the mansion incident are beginning to spread.  Strange creatures are starting to appear and deaths are starting to become more frequent.  Public unrest is at an all-time high.  The Raccoon City Police Department, to get a better hold on the situation, hires several new recruits.  


Resident Evil 2 introduces us for the first time to series main-stay Leon Scott Kennedy a rookie cop who arrives in Raccoon City for his first day at the R.C.P.D.  Also arriving is series main-stay Claire Redfield searching for her lost brother Chris Redfield who vanished after the mansion incident.  Gameplay in Resident Evil 2 builds off the original.  Ammo is limited, health is limited, saves are limited, keys must be found, and puzzles must be solved.  This also means that the infamous “Tank Controls” make their glorious return…  Unless you play the Nintendo 64 version which had an updated control scheme!

This time around both characters have eight item slots and a special item.  Leon has a lighter used in puzzles while Claire has a lock pick to open doors sooner than Leon.  Puzzles are varied between each character and depending on who you choose to play as you meet a different set of support characters.  Resident Evil 2 has an expanded enemy roster.  Several new creatures and bosses make their debut, including the Licker, my personal favorite enemy in the franchise.

Several new modes are included in Resident Evil 2.  An easy mode has been added to the original game which has players start with 150 extra rounds of handgun ammo and enemies are much easier to kill.  Scenario B is also an option, which has players assume the role of the second character they didn’t originally choose.  In this scenario players explore different routes and areas and get a deeper look into the world of Resident Evil 2.  Later revisions of the game included a battle mode, like the one found in the Sega Saturn version of Resident Evil, and a rookie mode which gave players an infinite machine gun.  


Sound is the biggest upgrade in Resident Evil 2.  Music is more robust and expressive and sound effects are crisper and more varied.  Even these improvements are nothing compared to the upgraded voice work.  Gone are the horrible voice-overs from the original replaced with a more acceptable voice track.  While the new voice work isn’t the best it still provides a far superior experience than the original.


Resident Evil 2 continues the use of 3D models on pre-rendered backgrounds.  Like the original, backgrounds look nice but still show their age.  Character models are more detailed but clipping is still an issue at character joints.  Zombies have more variety with different models and a franchise first: female zombies.  Like the upgraded voicework, gone are the live action cutscenes of the original Resident Evil replaced with more traditional CG scenes.


Resident Evil 2 takes everything that made the original game great and makes it better and takes the weaker aspects and brings them up to standard.  Despite a few missteps, “why, Tank Controls, why?”… Resident Evil 2 is still a perfect example of what a survival horror game should be.  With an engaging story a terrific setting and a suspenseful atmosphere everyone should own a copy of Resident Evil 2.  

TL:DR Resident Evil 2 expands upon the original in all the right ways! Everyone should own a copy of Resident Evil 2.

Buying Guide

Alright, I convinced you, huh?  How can you play this game?!  Resident Evil 2 has been released several platforms.

PlayStation (~$15) – Two versions of Resident Evil 2 have been released on PlayStation, original and DualShock version.  The DualShock version takes everything from the original game and adds the battle game and rookie mode.

PC (~$70) – An enhanced port of the DualShock version featuring upgraded visuals and all unlockable extras unlocked from the start.

N64 (~$15) – A port of the original game with an item randomizer, gore level selector and the option to choose blood color have been added.  Graphics are higher resolution than the PlayStation version.  Sound quality is lower than every other version but is available in surround sound.  An updated movement scheme has also been added which makes this the most approachable version to play.

Dreamcast (~$45) – A port of the PC version with added VMU features.  VMU’s will show players their health and ammo without having to enter the status screen.

GameCube (~$35) – A port of the DualShock version with higher resolution graphics.

PlayStation 3/Portable/Vita ($5.99) – An emulated port of the DualShock version is available on PSN.

My favorite way to play Resident Evil 2 is on the N64.  While audio quality may not be as great as the other versions, the enhanced controls more than make up for it.

What are your favorite Resident Evil 2 moments? Drop em in the comment section below!