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Resident Evil 2

Since its re-release on the Playstation network I’ve been re-living my childhood by re-playing Resident Evil 2.  Lots of “re” for RE.  See what I did?  Anyway, If you’ve never played one of the greatest entries in the Resident Evil franchise you now have no excuse to give it a whirl.

Where do you go from bizarre murder cases in woods outside of Raccoon City where victims were attacked and apparently eaten?  Into Raccoon City of course.  Logical.

Resident Evil 2 follows the adventures of Leon S. Kennedy, series fan favourite voiced by Paul Mercier and Claire Redfield, fan favourite sister of “melon smuggling” overall protagonist Chris Redfield, voiced by Alyson Court.

Both characters arrive in Raccoon City at relatively the same time and have their paths cross in the opening cinematic.  After a brief introduction the two are fatefully separated by a zombie truck drive who rams their car.  When the truck overturns and explodes, Leon on Claire find themselves on either side of the wreckage where they then agree to meet up at the police station where it’ll be and I quote “A lot safer”.

Resident Evil 2 has a number of improvements over the original, first and most noticeable are the character models.  Leon and Claire were incredibly detailed for their time and although they only had one facial expression throughout the whole adventure, improvements in arm waving, head nodding and camera work helped carry a relatively loose plot through to a climatic underground train escape with a character you were never introduced to (Sherry Birkin) if you play the Leon A scenario first.  Great eh?

Whenever I start Resident Evil 2 I tend to play as Leon purely because it’s easier.  As with the first one, each character is given a different set of equipment to help them through their unique nightmares.  In the first game, Jill had it easy.  Extra inventory slots and a bazooka?!  Resident Evil 2 gave Claire the short straw with the Grenade Launcher and the Bowgun.  The grenade launcher is a incredibly difficult to aim and with 3 different types of ammo available it often takes up more space in your inventory then Leon’s Magnum equivalent.  Claire acquires the Bowgun early on in the same place Leon can acquire the Shotgun and to be honest it’s a terrible weapon.  Firing 3 bolts at a time with a spread often results in several missed bolts per shot whereas the shotgun has the one shot decapitation option.

Resident Evil 2 shipped on two disks, one for each character.  By doing this they were able to quadruple the size of the game, giving players four possible play throughs.  This is where the “Scenario” mechanic comes into play.  Each character can play through the same adventure from two different perspectives.  In the opening cinematic, Leon are Claire are involved in a car accident right before they are rammed by the zombie truck driver.  Depending on which scenario you play, the car spins as part of the crash, putting you the player on a different side of the tanker when it explodes, thus, changing your adventure.  If you complete Leon’s scenario A, you’ll unlock Claire’s scenario B and vise versa.  Not only does this force you to use both characters it also fleshes out the story and both scenarios compliment each other as they run parallel.  Foe example, in a weapon locker under the police department you’ll find a machine gun and are given the option to either take it for yourself or leave it for Claire for the second scenario while later on in the game there is a door that requires two separate fingerprints to open, one Leon and one Claire.

I’ve got no idea why the scenario gameplay never made a return to the franchise because it was a stroke of genius.

Aside from that, Resident Evil 2 follows the same haunted house simulator feel of the original which is noticeably absent from entries four and five.  In fact, four and five are so far removed from the original trilogy they could be completely different games entirely which is a shame.  It’d be nice if Capcom gave the series a reboot and went back to the days of old.  I think fans would welcome the return of fixed camera angles.  You know what was good?  The Resident Evil remake on the Gamecube.  Give me Resident Evil 2 and 3 like that again please.

I’m not interested in your action packed six.

Upon this completion of Leon Scenario A I earned myself a B rank, finishing the game in 04:31:53 with 4 saves and no first aid spray usage.


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