Even if Resident Evil 2 Remake is a great game, there are some flaws that makes it unable to overthrow the original PSX title.
Oh come on, lower your torches and your pitchforks! You already know that I had a great time with this remake, don’t go out screaming that I’m a hater. I believe that a game can’t be perfect no matter how enjoyable I think it is or how memorable it is for me. Everything has flaws, and it’s okay to talk about those too. And sadly, there’s one major issue with Resident Evil 2 that, even if it’s changing my mind about this game (I still think this is one of the best Resident Evil games I’ve ever played), it won’t harm people if I just talk about it. And yes, this is basically an Extended Thoughts article, so it’s going to be filled to the brim with spoilers. You don’t want to be spoiled? Finish the game and come back here. Don’t worry, I can wait. Are you done? Already? Damn this game is easy to speedrun… Anyway, enough with the jokes, it’s time to wear the black fedora and trench coat combo and hit some problems right in the mug!
The G stands for “GOD DAMN IT DUDE JUST DIE”
Boss battles. The thing that defines (aside from the horror aspect but come on, we all know that before this game that aspect died with the 4th game) a good Resident Evil. Almost all the iconic confrontations in this franchise are usually the same: big thing’s coming for you, so you better throw everything you have left against it! Resident Evil 2 Remake is no exception to this, although at times it reaches points of unfairness that I didn’t know were achievable in video games. Case in point: the final battle against Mr. X in all of its Tyrant magnificence.
As you may recall from my Thoughts and Opinions about the original Resident Evil 2, one of the battles that I really hate is the final fight of the B scenario against Mr. T-Rant, which is basically “wait and shoot it until Ada drops you the Rocket Launcher”. And guess what! The Remake works EXACTLY THE SAME. Same timer, same things to do (granted, you now have to aim at its heart in order to deal some relevant damage, and the Rocket Launcher is actually the same one as the one used to end the first Resident Evil Tyrant, something I like as it’s a small reference from the game that started everything) and same disgusting reach. But it seems that wasn’t enough for the devs at Capcom, as they also wanted to give Mr. X a 1-hit kill move! Because nothing screams “challenge” better than having to evade a bullsh*t move from a bullsh*t enemy that barely staggers when shot at. Just be sure to pack some flash grenades with you, otherwise pray that you are able to put behind some debris in order to not die over and over again.
Weirdly enough, that’s my only complaint towards the Big Grey Boogeyman, as I have to admit that his appearance in both Scenarios is quite amazing. The constant feeling of being hunted by him is just amazing and it never gets old, as he appears when you least expect him AND he doesn’t seem to be anywhere when you think he’s going to appear, making me even more excited to see this same mechanic on a Remake of the 3rd title with my boy Nemesis. But for now, let’s focus on RE 2, as I now have to talk about the biggest issue I had with this title: the lack of a good Zapping system
You got the… Same of both worlds?
This is the biggest issue I found on Resident Evil 2 Remake, and it’s also the issue that made feel quite down once I saw it. But before addressing the problem, allow me to put some context.
If you have my Resident Evil 2 review fresh in your mind, you may recall that I actually talked briefly about how the 2nd run feels a little bit disappointing in terms of connectivity between the playable Scenarios. If I said “a little bit” then, it was because I didn’t want to enter into spoiler territory. That’s why now I can say that this feature is poorly executed and with no sense at times.
Imagine that you played Leon A and Claire B on the original RE 2. You have to fight G’s final form on the train after having to kill Mr. X with Claire, and Leon had to fight against William Birkin’s mutations in order to compensate. What happens if you do Claire A and Leon B? Miss Crimsonplains has to deal with G’s different forms while Little Lion Man Has to deal with Mr. X. Is it perfect? Not at all, as you have to resolve almost the same puzzles as the other character, but at least you see some new different areas with each character depending on the Scenario. It encouraged replayability and it even had some really cool things like being able to leave either a Machine Gun or a Hip Pouch (also you were able to see the Hip Pouch on the character which, you know, is cool) or having to access a terminal with both protagonists. Pretty nice stuff if you ask me, but then you see what offers the new version of RE 2 and, well… It’s barely as great as the original game.
Selecting either Leon or Claire in RE 2 2019 (quite tiresome having to say Remake all things considered) does not change almost anything at all, as you no longer have the Zapping System. You see the other one you are not playing as the same amount of times you see him or her in the O.G title (at the beginning and at the end of the game). But here’s the issue: aside from the final boss battle (which is always the same no matter which “Scenario” you are doing) Leon fights Mr. X and Claire fights G on the train as a reference to the Train Platform battle present in the original game against Birkin’s second form), you will do almost the exact same things as you’d do with the other character in the 2nd Run.
Leon doesn’t meet Chief Irons, but he has the opportunity to meet Ben “Popeye” Bertolucci and fight the
Giant Enemy Crab giant crocodile. Claire has to visit the orphanage, a really dull and small level that doesn’t offer anything interesting (aside from the part in which you control Sherry) and, as I said, she fights G’s penultimate form. And that’s it. No, really, that’s it: you do the exact same thing as the other character with barely any relevant changes. Medallions? Check. Reaching the Clock Tower in order to find fuse parts? Bet your ass that’s a check. Having to do the exact same things in the exact same order at the end of the game but with different passwords? You know that’s a good old check!
While it is true that we also did the same things on the original Resident Evil 2, the narrative aspect held things together better than this year’s title. When I play the original, you are encouraged to replay it in order to see what all the scenarios are about, as you can see differences between A and B. Here? You end one campaign with one character and that’s basically it. Mr. X appears on both scenarios (even if he gets killed by G on Claire’s story but Leon has to fight him at the end so that’s quite a huge f*ck up no matter how you try to defend it), you fight 3 out of 5 versions of G TWICE and the only thing you’ll see different is how poorly implemented the story is. And that leads me to the final point: the plot doesn’t make sense at all.
Bullet for my Jill Valentine
I really hate writing things like this one, because it makes me look like I hate the game and that’s not true at all! I had quite a great time playing Resident Evil 2 2019, but that doesn’t mean that this is a perfect game. And yes, this is the part where I make sense of the article’s title, smartass.
Resident Evil 2 Remake feels like someone who tries really hard to please everyone instead of trying to improve some areas that its elder brother tried to do back in the day. I love the new look given to the old and new areas of the game, and I really love the decals of the zombies, but at the same time I feel really sad with some choices made by the devs. Remake or not, the narrative aspect of this entry feels really dull and repetitive, as you don’t feel like you are doing a puzzle by putting half the pieces and then replaying it in order to get the other pieces: you are doing the exact same jigsaw twice.
Don’t try to see this rant as just some words of a really demanding guy, but rather a list of things I wouldn’t like seeing on Resident Evil 3 Remake. The concept of a Remake is not only being able to tell a loved story once again with better graphics and mechanics, but also improving some aspects of the game that didn’t work in order to make it even better. Even if I really enjoyed this Resident Evil 2 remake, there are things that I wish they were implemented better. Not having the Zapping System is sad, but it’s even worse when you realize that the narrative falls flat in almost every area the moment you play as the other character. And to all the people praising every single game that comes: you can say bad things about video games too, it’s okay. Loving something and addressing its flaws doesn’t mean that you no longer like that thing. I love Symphony of the Night and the menu looks like a debug tool for f*ck’s sake, I know what I’m saying!
And Capcom, this is for you: nostalgia can work if you do it right, but don’t try to cut corners. If you want to get rid of a feature in a remake or in a sequel, make the other stuff make sense at least. You did a really wonderful thing with this remake and I can’t wait to see what you did with DMC 5, but that doesn’t mean I’m forgetting who you are and what you usually do with your games (charging almost $4 for the original sountrack is a really awful way to sell canned nostalgia), so I’ll be watching you. Also, do everyone a favor and bring Maximo back, that game must never be forgotten.