Resident Evil 2 Review: Uncover the Hidden Horrors of Raccoon City

By | 28/01/2019

Raccoon City

Plus: Resident Evil 2 as Never Seen Before, Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy are Back and True to the Original Experience…

In our Resident Evil 2 review we revisit Raccoon City as you have never seen it before and uncover the horror beneath the surface. Play as Claire or Leon in this stunning Resident Evil 2 Remake.

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WARNING: This game contains content intended for a mature audience and due to the graphic nature and scary effects of the game, people with a pre-existing heart condition are advised to seek medical advice before playing as you are invited to uncover the horrors of Raccoon City once again.

This game has been rated PEGI 18: Viewer discretion is advised. For more information of the PEGI rating system see this page: What are PEGI Age Ratings?

If you are old enough to remember, Resident Evil was the game that changed everything. Releasing in 1996 for the original PlayStation, the game had everything; horror, puzzles, a story and one of the best video game intros ever.

Being so good, the inevitable sequels followed, and probably the best was Resident Evil 2, which, in the same vain as it’s predecessor has been given  the remake treatment, to much fanfare and applause.

Originally released in 1998 by developer and publisher Capcom, RE:2 was a direct sequel to Resident Evil and featured some gameplay improvements over the original which included branching story paths, a more engaging and fleshed out story  and improved pre-rendered graphics.

The game was also a critical success, being praised for it’s atmosphere and excellent use of audio[1].

Fast forward twenty years and the game has been given a makeover to utilize the power of current generation hardware on Windows PC as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Resident Evil 2 has once again been developed and published by Capcom (Devil May Cry, Onimusha, Monster Hunter) and enjoyed a glorious worldwide release on 25th January 2019 being Capcom’s second best ever launch via Steam[2] over Team Fortress 2.

However the game is seeing it’s best performance on PlayStation 4[3] where it currently sits at the Number 1 spot [3] in the UK PS4 video games charts with 74% of the sales[3].

The game has also impressed some of the most hardened critics on the web from sites such as Gamespot and IGN giving the remake extremely high scores of 9 and 9.0 respectively, with Gamespot’s Alessandro Fillaro citing:

  • “Fantastic visuals that evoke a chilling and nerve-wracking atmosphere”.
  • “Expanded story that takes the original material to exciting and surprising places”.
  • “Clever and challenging bonus modes that are satisfying to take on and complete”.

With IGN’s Daemon Hatfield stating simply “Amazing”.

Note: upon my play-through for this article I played as Claire Redfield. In order to get the best from this game it is recommended that you play the entire game as both characters as there are differences, not to mention you will not get the entire story:

  • Leon’s experiences are more suited to him being a cop.
  • Claire’s experiences are more family based as she is looking for her brother.
  • Some paths are different as you progress.
  • Differing objectives.
  • Different NPC interaction.
  • Variation in weapons and items.

>>>Get your instant download of Resident Evil 2 / Biohazard RE:2 on PC with CDKeys.com<<<

Here is my impression of Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 Remake based upon my expectations from the game, my experiences and my honest and unbiased opinion. Please note that this is not a review. Read on and enjoy the article. Played on Windows PC.

From the opening cut-scene of a truck driver enjoying a burger (while driving might I add) and listening to a talk show, you will be slowly and subtly enlightened as to what is happening, as a caller into a Raccoon City radio station mentions how his Friday night drink was hampered by a girl he thought was drunk due to staggering around, and upon closer inspection, “looked like a walking corpse”.

This humorous outlook on the T-Virus outbreak injects a great tension breaker into the game which could have started with a much more macabre scene from the off, and only serves to highlight humanity’s lighthearted and aloof look on the sheer fragility of our own mortality – if only for a fleeting second.

Because, from there onwards, it gets chilling, horrifying and nerve-racking. To excellent effect!

You will be satisfied and pleased to know that straight from the off, this excellent cut-scene introduction is rendered with the in-game graphics engine, RE Engine[4].

RE Engine is Capcom’s in-house graphics rendering system (Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Devil May Cry 5), extending the glorious visual fidelity into the in-game action seamlessly; a technique commonly used in today’s video games.

This is certainly my preferred technique of scene to game transition, as it allows for minimal disruption of the illusory aspect of being in the story, similar to actors not looking into the camera.

As good as the graphics are on my mediocre PC and PS4 Original, certain websites are reporting that the visuals (quite obviously) will look better on a PlayStation 4 Pro and an Xbox OneX. Eurogamer has written a great article which includes an excellent graphics comparison video from Digital Foundry which you can watch below.

Read the article here: Resident Evil 2 Remake Plays Best on PS4 Pro and XBox OneX

Something you will notice immediately upon transition from cut-scene to gameplay is that because of the RE Engine, Resident Evil 2, unlike the remake of the first game, now utilitizes full 3D environments rather than pre-rendered backgrounds with static, strategically placed cameras to focus on the action.

While the aforementioned static cameras were used to full effect for RE:1, they would be extremely out of place in this remaster.

The pros of using the 3D rendering for this particular title means that the game plays out far more cinematically than it would have were it not for RE Engine. This, in turn can create some truly intense and terrifying moments in exactly the same manner as some of your favorite horror movies. Only to greater effect, since you are completely engrossed in an immersive story of which you are in control of the action for the most part.

The engine also applies some expertly crafted scenes of melancholy, foreboding and horror, accompanied by a ferociously atrocious audio track with the effects and music working in tandem, further accentuating the moribund journey of the playable character, whose untimely demise could lurk just around the next corner.

All of the in-game audio was created from the ground up by Capcom’s chief Audio Director Kentaro Nakashima[5] and his team and were implemented to include three distinct audio techniques:

  1. Real-Time Binaural; real time stereophonic sound.
  2. Impulse Response Creation; high quality reverberation.
  3. Dolby Atmos; immersive surround sound.

More information on the game’s audio can be found here: Resident Evil 2 Interview: How Sound Injects Horror into Games

Immediately following this tense scene, the sequence introduces Claire Redfield who is travelling to Raccoon City to find her brother Chris, a member of the S.T.A.R.S team sent to investigate the happenings of Spencer Mansion.

It is here that Claire pulls into a Gas Station just outside Raccoon City, “Home of Umbrella” and upon hearing a crash coming from the inside of the building, the unwitting heroine set’s forth her Odyssey into untold horror and torment.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Claire 1

Making excellent use of the visuals of the RE Engine, camera angles and Nakashima’s ingeniously scored, subtle music track with nightmarish effects as mentioned above (it’s dark, there’s no one around and it’s raining heavily) we get out first glimpse of horror, where, upon being asked if he is OK, a heavily bleeding man points to a corridor.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Claire 2

Proceeding with caution, Claire is navigated down the dimly lit corridor (with only a flashlight for comfort) where from store cupboard at the end, inhuman gnarls and snarls can be heard.

Not really wanting to, but proceeding with a morbid curiosity mixed with frenzied anxiety, we approach the obviously doomed area and straight into the ghoulish nightmare that you’d expect from a Resident Evil title.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Zombie

One thing that is greatly appreciated here, is that the action begins pretty much straight away; from a pretty short introductory cut-scene to the first control of the character and then the first action set piece.

This makes a refreshing change when compared to a lot of AAA titles of late such as Far Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2, which while very well implemented, did seem to provide overly long introductory cut-scenes and game-play tutorials, almost to the effect of insulting the intelligence of the player.

Aiming and ultimately dispatching your first unfortunate T-Virus afflicted soul is simple enough, as the controls are well implemented, with a natural configuration similar to most modern games.

Using L2 to enter the game’s new shoulder cam, aiming with Right Thumb Stick and then pressing R2 to discharge your weapon, the”zombie” for lack of a better word, can be killed with a clear head shot, as Claire expertly crosses her arms, making use of the “Harries Method” of aiming her sidearm and flashlight at the target simultaneously.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Claire 3

Recoil comes into play with each shot, and taking your time to aim is crucial. A welcome feature is also the extremely minimal HUD. Displaying only your ammunition information.

Upon taking care of that nasty business, you will see just how well polished the animations are in this game, as Claire loads some rounds into her gun; quick and clean, with great fidelity, as are the walking and running animations.

Still, Nakashima’s highly arousing industrial phonics continue to menace your auditory sense, adding a sense of panic to the scene which makes the entire post first kill sequence genuinely intense when couple with the low lighting and excellent torch effects and more ominous growling from an unknown source.

Needless to say, much of the game carries on in this manner, with absolutely terrifying jump-scares, freaker moments and absurdly grotesque boss battles which eventually begin to require more finesse than simply aiming and shooting.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Monster

The action unfolds throughout the entire game with a superb blend of the original’s survivalist horror genre combined with much of the free-form gameplay style of the more modern entries of the Resident Evil series akin to RE:4 onward.

As you progress through the game from the unthinkable scenario of a viral outbreak on the streets of Raccoon City, to the even worse nightmare world containing unspeakable horrors in the labyrinths below, you will be tasked with solving numerous puzzles; a staple of the series.

Fortunately, as in previous RE titles, these puzzle aren’t going to require a beautiful mind, but are designed more to provide a nice balance between the different play styles and indulge your precious heart a small respite from the potent horror and action sequences.

If you are having some trouble with the puzzles in the game, Gameranx has an excellent Resident Evil 2 Puzzle Guide. Warning: May contain spoilers:

Resident Evil 2 Remake: How to Solve Every Puzzle

As the action takes place in different stages and areas, progress through one area to another is barred, usually, by a menacing boss fight.

Boss fights in the Resident Evil series are epic and the series is known to shine here, as are Capcom games in general such as Devil May Cry and Onimusha, and this incarnation is no different, so therefore does not disappoint.

Each boss fight is predictably progressively more difficult than the last, but the game is so well balanced as not impress upon you anything much more difficult than your experiences in the preceding area, but not so easy as to feel like your efforts learning new combat methods were unwarranted and/or a waste of time, right up to the epic finale.

For example, your first encounter (with a deformed William Birkin) requires some precision aiming and shooting similar to the simple zombie popping and stabbing you have been doing up until this point, however you will have your reflexes and timing tested as Birkin attempts (and often succeeds) to grab you so he can unleash his devastating attack.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Birkin

This trend continues from here on right up to your final fight with Super Tyrant, but evolves to force you to include different weapons such as explosives and necessary use of items, while keeping you well challenged as enemy speed, reactions and vulnerabilities swap, change and improve, forcing you to adopt different tactics for each boss encounter.

However, without spoiling anything, each boss has a different weak spot, but it’s up to you to find it!

There are also a lot of unlockables for you to discover as you progress throughout the game:

  • Weapons
  • Items
  • Easter Eggs
  • Costumes

Upon beating the game, there’s an excellent nod to the original as Capcom have also included the two secret modes that came with the title; Hunk and Tofu. Hunk is an excellent additional character from Umbrella and Tofu is a novelty character in the form of a large piece of Tofu!

Hunk’s mode, The 4th Survivor allows you to play as an Umbrella Security Service Special Agent nicknamed The Grim Reaper, also known as Hunk.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Hunk 4

You can play through the story as Hunk, from the perspective of tactical specialist trying to survive his own nightmare in Raccoon City.

Click to enlarge…

The 4th Survivor includes a new weapons and items load-out not available to Claire and Leon and all new gameplay features and elements and a more challenging experience not for the faint of heart.

>>>Get your instant download of Resident Evil 2 / Biohazard RE:2 on PC with CDKeys.com<<<

As is almost customary with big game titles these days, Capcom have confirmed that DLC is coming to RE:2, but for now are keeping tight-lipped on exactly what the content will include.

Here’s what we do know:

  • The name of the DLC is The Ghost Survivors
  • The DLC features three characters. It’s unknown if all three will playable.
    • Robert Kendo
    • AnUmbrella Operative
    • Raccoon City Mayor’s daughter
  • The Ghost Survivors is a separate side story to Claire, Leon and Hunk.
  • Rumoured:
    • Random Scenarios
    • New Enemies
    • Purchasable Items (in-game points)
  • Additional:
    • Costumes for Claire and Leon
    • March 2019 Release

Source: Resident Evil 2 Add-on Content will Star Three New Survivors (www.polygon.com)

A Delicately Handled Tribute to a Classic


Right from the off, Resident Evil 2 (Remake) will have you hooked. From the humorously atrocious radio call at the start of the game and the events onward at he start of the game, to the expected, sweaty palmed boss battles requiring a rest upon completion, the ominous terror of Raccoon City has never been so gloriously captured.

The excellent use of the RE Engine’s visuals and audio designed, utilized to full effect by the sick minds at Capcom, bring together a audio-visual horror experience not seen since Silent Hill 2. Putting you in full 3D view of the cameras is a broad move and a departure from the original, but this stroke of genius is excellently implemented and I believe the game may have suffered were it not for this change.

Because of the fully 3D environments, the action is slammed frighteningly in your face with the over shoulder and third person rear cams, lending themselves beautifully to the game’s most scary aspects such as jump scares and freakers – of which there are plenty.

The controls system overhaul also works well with the game, especially combat controls, and by being very easy to utilize, lends a keen sense of urgency to the action when required. They feel fluid and correct when needed, however, in some areas the action can kick in a little too quickly and have you fumbling for your combat controls; and that is the only complaint I could come up with!

The story is paced exceptionally evenly, as are the character’s own sense of what is occurring as well the evolution of enemy AI and difficulty, being scaled to the progressing experiences of the player stage to stage and boss to boss.

Faced with an epic yarn of horror, mystery and monsters worthy of any H.P. Lovecraft fan, two separate but intertwining stories, many unlockables and even fun-filled bonus modes, Resident Evil 2 (Remake) is going to keep you entertained well past your initial play-through, more than enough to get you through wile you wait for the inevitable DLC later in the year.

2019 has been given a great treat to the start of the gaming year and a gem of a game that for all intents and purposes could have been a complete failure. So, switch off your lights, put on your headphones and pray you don’t get too scared because there’s work to be done and Raccoon City has never looked so horrifyingly beautiful.

This is just my opinion but I would love to hear what you guys think down below in the comments section as I’m sure this will be a controversial remake.

Resident Evil 2 (Remake) is available now for Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the game.

See more at Capcom’s Officical Resident Evil 2 (Remake) Website: http://www.residentevil2.com

Michael Gore – Editor/Owner, ChartX Games.

Article Gallery


Check out some of the images included in this article in greater detail.

Click to enlarge…

Resident Evil 2 Deluxe Edition (Remake) PC System Specs


MINIMUM for Resident Evil 2

  • OSWINDOWS 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (64-BIT Required)
  • ProcessorIntel Core i5-4460, 2.70GHz or AMD FX-6300 or better 
  • Memory8 GB RAM 
  • GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R7 260x with 2GB Video RAM 
  • DirectXVersion 11

RECOMMENDED for Resident Evil 2

  • OSWINDOWS 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (64-BIT Required)
  • ProcessorIntel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-9590 or better 
  • Memory8 GB RAM 
  • GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 with 3GB VRAM 
  • DirectXVersion 11

Article References


  1. Resident Evil 2“. Wikipedia. Retrieved 25/01/2019.
  2. Resident Evil 2 is Capcom’s Second Best Steam Launch Ever“. PC GamesN. Retrived 28/01/2019.
  3. Resident Evil 2 Sells Best on PS4 by a Mile“. Push Square. Retrieved 28/01/2019.
  4. RE Engine“. Resident Evil Wiki – FANDOM. Retrieved 25/01/2019.
  5. “Resident Evil 2 Interview: How Sound Injects Horror into Games”. Digital Trends. Retrieved 25/01/2019.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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18 thoughts on “Resident Evil 2 Review: Uncover the Hidden Horrors of Raccoon City

  1. Raul

    Good article…and I could notice about your love for video games(I used to have an affection too!!!)
    the game is good, I have played RE4, RE5 Y RE6.
    The technical description of the game is so good and I love the distribution of videos and images.
    Thanks for the article!!!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks for commenting Raul, I am glad you liked the article and that you enjoyed the information, one Resi fan to another. 😀

      Thank you for your kind comments,
      Michael.

      Reply
  2. Matts Mom

    Okay, both my son’s love this game so this was interesting to me. They are plenty old enough to decide what they want to play for sure. Had I known exactly what the game was about years ago, I probably would have nixed it LOL. But they are certainly just fine even though they have played this genre of games for a very long time. Great info for me!~

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks for the nice comments.

      This game does contain violence but it is more cartoonish, however the game is pretty scary and provides plenty of jumps which may not be suitable for younger players.

      I’m glad you found it useful.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  3. sarah

    Wow, this is an amazing article. I am not a video game lover but my nephew is and it’s from him and his friends I heard about this game. I have seen him playing this and they all enjoy a lot and thats how I know how amazing it is, but to me it seems horror and scary and thats a plus point. This is the plus point that it really look like what it should be looking, so real. I will share this review with him also.

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks for your great comments Sarah.

      I’m sure your nephew and his friends will have a great time being scared in Raccoon City. 😀

      He can save money by getting an instant code for Resident Evil 2 here.

      Or, he can purchase the necessary PlayStation Store or Xbox Live funds and save money also.

      Thank you,
      Michael.

      Reply
  4. Simon

    Oh Boy how did I love to play Resident Evil with friends! I especially liked that you could play Co-Op Mode which made it even more fun. This Post made me want to play RE again and it woke up some nostalgic feelings! Well done!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      This is indeed a Resident Evil fan’s dream. The new 3D camera and the rendering effects of the RE Engine has allowed the development team to do wonderful things with this game and make a great game even greater… and scarier.

      You will love it.

      Thanks for the great comments,
      Michael.

      Reply
  5. Ivan Brozincevic

    Awesome! I have to get back to playing PS definitely! Resident Evil was one of my favorite games because at the time it was one of the top games out there. The storyline was fantastic, the graphic was killer as well, and feeling while you play was above the clouds haha. Racoon City looks like a fair remake of Resident Evil. Is it an official remake?

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Hi Ivan, glad you like the post.

      This is a remake of Resident Evil 2, which is set in Raccoon City, the city where Spencer Mansion from the original game is located.

      The T-Virus has gotten out and causing all manner of horror in the city.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Michael.

      Reply
  6. Doc

    Site is looking awesome Michael it’s been some time since I’ve come back for a visit. Resident evil is the absolute sh$$ Zombies are my all time favorite video games. Looks like they are going crazy with the visuals for this one. Do you have a personal preference for xbox, pc, ps4, etc. ??

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Hey Doc. Nice to hear from you again.

      The visuals are stunning in this game, giving Resident Evil 2 a bit if the TLC it deserves.

      I played this on a Windows PC and it was great, however if you are looking for a 4K experience then a PS4 Pro or an XBoxOne X. It’s pretty much the same across the board apart from the visuals.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Michael.

      Reply
  7. Phil

    Hi Michael,

    That game looks so amazing! Racoon City – I knew I knew that game but the name I could not recall. One of the earlier versions of Resident Evil starts off in an alley way. I could never get past it and gave up on that game. Zombies kept on rushing me and I did not know what to do – some games do not give good clues at times on how to beat that level.

    I may start investing in some serious tech so to try these games out, and Resident Evil, once someone else got past that part for me, was a great game. Many hours I played.

    Thank you Michael and certainly that is on my hit-list to buy. Much appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Haha. Those Zombies can be pesky.

      This remake of Resident Evil 2 has been re-designed from the ground up, from the stage design and visuals to the sound effects. It has therefore been tweaked to be a little more player friendly and is not just a clone of the original.

      While the HUD and UI is extremely minimal, the game makes a good point of shifting your attention towards anything that you may need to do. It also starts off easy and gets progressively harder as you progress and get used to the combat, and thanks to the 3D engine and the over shoulder aiming, get a nice headshot on those pesky zombies is pretty easy, and damn satisfying.

      Thanks for commenting Phil and I hope you enjoy the game.

      Reply
  8. Amanda Blaine

    I’ve heard of this game before but your description makes me want to play it and i’m Not much of a gamer. The graphics look amazing although I realize it’s what your playing on. Great article.

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks Amanda.

      This is a great game, whether you’re a fan or not. It is simply a gamer’s game.

      The graphics are pretty much the same across the board, unless you utilize 4K on PS4 Pro, Xbox One X or a high end PC.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  9. Angela K.

    This is not a game I would personally play, but love to watch others play. ( I can’t stand the games that have things pop out of the dark to attack)
    I loved your description and screen shots of the game, it really illustrates how well the graphics are of the game and how much detail was put into it.
    I have several friends who love to play these types of games and think I will be recommending that they try this one out. It looks creepy but awesome, and a wonderful redoing of the original.

    Thank you thank you so much for such detail!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Thanks Angela.

      Not a horror fan then eh?

      The visuals of this game are excellent to say the least and a lot of the time, a torch is your only light source while you can hear all kinds of nasty sounds coming from all around.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Michael.

      Reply

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