A Tale of Two Nightmares

The original Resident Evil 2 has been hailed as one of the best horror games of its era while the remake has been praised for modernizing a classic.

Horror Game Icon will now end the 2019 season of fear by looking back at what each version of Resident Evil 2 did right. This is not to see which version is better but to highlight which version did what better. I will be looking at several key criterias then judging which version did it better.

The Story

When the original Resident Evil 2 was released, it was in a position to expand on a lore that had just been established. The remake however was put into a difficult situation of having to plug up all the plot holes and retcons. While the story stayed true to the original, it failed to correct any of the issues with the narrative. At times, it feels like the story doubled down on the continuity issues.

Another issue the remake had was how poorly the A/B scenario was used in the storytelling. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the original Resident Evil 2 used the A Scenario and the B Scenario as means to focus on different events experienced during the time-frame of the same story. In the remake, the A/B Scenario were less of narrative bond and more of a rehash of the same story.

Overall: The original did a better job at delivering the story as it was in a position to grow.

The Gameplay

The original Resident Evil 2 only had its predecessor to look back on when it came to crafting the gameplay. The genre had just been established and other horror titles were also using the gameplay of Resident Evil as a foundation. The power of the PlayStation (along with consoles and PC of the time) was very limited and developers had to find creative work arounds.

The remake had three console generations worth of titles to look back on when it came to crafting the gameplay. By this point; Resident Evil 4 had redefined the concept of horror survival, Resident Evil HD had demonstrated that there is still a demand for classic horror titles while Resident Evil 7 had set the bar for first person and VR horror.

Overall: The remake took the lessons learned from past games to craft a gameplay that had a balance between traditional and modern.

Exploring the World

To survive the outbreak, gamers need to explore their world to find key items along with weapons and health items. The original required players to explore every corner of the map and search every room just to find what you needed (plus some bonus items). The remake also has players explore but the game points out the item when you approach its location (thus taking away the need to explore). Hence, players really have no real incentive to thoroughly explore this new rendition of an iconic setting.

Overall: The original forced players to explore the world to find what they needed or rewarded them for their curiosity.

Mr. X

The secondary villain of the game, Mr. X is an advanced version of the Tyrant that was deployed by the Umbrella Corporation to eliminate any survivors. In the original, he is only encountered in the B Scenario and at cretin points in the story. The remake has him featured in both scenarios (while being the main villain in Leon’s story) as he relentlessly pursuits the player.

Mr. X has been one of the most iconic villains in the series but the remake has turned him into a greater pop-culture icon. Streamers are still making videos featuring mods that have replaced Mr. X with other characters while playing “X Gonna Give it To You” playing in the background.

Overall: This is a tie as the original first introduced gamers to Mr. X while the remake added a new layer to his legacy.

Bonus Content

Resident Evil 2 doesn’t end after you beat it, players unlock bonus content as a reward for their hard work. The original included “The 4th Survivor” (which first introduced gamers to HUNK) along with “Tofu Survivor”. Players could also put there skills to the test and try to unlock hidden weapons with infinity ammo.

The remake includes special weapons and “The 4th Survivor” along with different unlockable characters in “Tofu Survivor”. Capcom would later release the free The Ghost Survivors DLC which added even more bonus content to a game rich in replay value and unlockables.

Overall: The remake has a lot more unlockable content along with The Ghost Survivors DLC.

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