The success of Resident Evil HD has demonstrated how much fans want the series to return to its roots while also making a strong case to remake its highly acclaimed sequel. Resident Evil 2 is a classic that has been hailed as one of the most iconic horror game of all time and the best game in the series.
The public demand for an HD remake is not another excuse for nostalgia pandering but a desire to relive one of gamings greatest moments. It was a masterpiece during its time but as the series and technology progressed, the visuals became dated while plot holes began to show. This is why Resident Evil 2 needs an HD upgrade so that Capcom could enhance the experience while plugging the plot holes.
To understand why fans are passionate about Resident Evil 2 and what the game achieved at the time, one needs to go back and re-examine the original game. This is an examination of both the PlayStation and N64 version while taking into account the limitations of both consoles at the time.
The story begins following the events of Resident Evil while introducing several new characters who would become icons of the series. In the aftermath of the Arklay Incident, S.T.A.R.S. has been disbanded and the surviving members have begun their own investigation into the Umbrella Corporation. Two months later, Leon S. Kennedy (a rookie cop on his first day) along with Claire Redfield (Chris Redfield’s sister) arrive, to a dark and quiet Raccoon City with an eerie atmosphere. Within moments of their arrival, both characters meet up and are fighting for their lives, as an outbreak of the T-Virus has turned the community into zombies.
Leon and Claire make a run for the police station in the hopes of finding other survivors and a way to escape the city. However, the police station has been overrun with zombies and there are only a few survivors. While trying to find an escape route; Leon finds a mysterious woman named Ada Wong, while Claire finds a little girl named Sherry Burkin who is being pursued by her mutated father, William Burkin. Meanwhile, Umbrella has deployed a T-00 Tyrant (Mr. X) to the police station kill any survivors.
Resident Evil 2 was one of the earliest games to introduce a strong story and character development. It is highly admired because it introduced us to many memorable characters like Leon, Ada, and Claire, along with villains like Mr. X and the Licker. Yet it would be an injustice to not acknowledge the introduction of the mysterious HUNK who has now become part of the game’s lore.
Most important of all is that it established the foundation for the series to grow as time passed. While the original played out like a traditional horror film, Resident Evil 2 allowed the series to grow by breaking away from tropes that would have held it back.
The only issue today’s gamers will have with a remake of Resident Evil 2 is the many plot holes in the story that arose as the story arch evolved with new installments in the series. The narrative was rewritten in some ways in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, set 24 hour before and after the events of Resident Evil 2, and in Resident Evil: Outbreak, a series of side stories set during the Raccoon City outbreak.
However, these are plot holes that could be forgiven since the game was created during a time when video games were just starting to grow as a storytelling medium.
Resident Evil introduced gamers to the horror survival genre, but it was Resident Evil 2 that perfected it while establishing the foundations of the series to grow into a pop culture phenomenon.
Final Score: 9/10