- The remake of Resident Evil 2 faithfully pays homage to the original while also surprising and terrifying fans with new elements, striking a balance between nostalgia and innovation.
- The success of Resident Evil 2’s remake set the standard for the industry, raising the bar for remakes to straddle the line between nostalgia and innovation.
- The mid-game reveal of Mr. X in the Resident Evil 2 remake is both unexpected and transformative, creating a sense of dread and requiring players to adapt their tactics.
The 2018 edition of the E3 Expo brought the reveal of something that longtime fans of the Resident Evil series had been waiting for with bated breath for nearly two decades. 17 years after the release of the remake of the original game in the franchise for GameCube, fans were finally going to get the long-awaited Resident Evil 2 remake that had routinely circled the rumor mill off and on for years. Resident Evil 2‘s release a year later in 2019 kicked off a chain reaction within the Resident Evil franchise itself, establishing the format for a series of successful remakes that recently culminated in 2023’s Game of the Year contender Resident Evil 4.
Even in a post-Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil 4 remake world, Resident Evil 2 still stands as the gold standard upon which Capcom’s winning strategy for the franchise is built. What makes Resident Evil 2‘s remake so special is the way that it faithfully pays homage to the 1998 original while also surprising and terrifying fans who rely too heavily on their nostalgia. Beyond that, it also firmly entrenches the remakes of the Resident Evil games in their survival horror roots, avoiding tonal and atmospheric inconsistencies between the source material and the reimagining.
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Resident Evil 2’s Balance Has Influenced a Generation of Game Remakes
The remake of the first Resident Evil‘s arrival in 2002 was somewhat surprising given that the PlayStation original wasn’t even 10 years old yet. Still, the visual upgrade and additional content that Capcom put into its reimagining of the survival horror classic helped to elevate it beyond its source material, with some parts still retaining a striking familiarity while others breathed new life into the game and helped definitively separate it from the original. Resident Evil 2 is no different, carefully striking a balance between paying homage to the game it’s based off of while also providing plenty of incentive for even the most experienced players to dive back in.
As a result of the care Capcom put into both retaining and updating the core of what makes the original Resident Evil 2 a classic, its remake set the standard not just for its own series and the subsequent remakes of other sequels, but for the industry as a whole. Since Resident Evil 2‘s release, each year is seemingly jam-packed with remakes and remasters of classic games across the release calendar. While it used to be somewhat industry-standard to have a remake of a classic game be a traditional 1:1 recreation of a fan-favorite with a visual facelift, both the original Resident Evil remake on GameCube and (to a greater extent) Resident Evil 2 raise the bar for remakes to straddle the line between nostalgia and innovation.
And, thanks to the game’s apparent leaning on player nostalgia in its earlier moments, the mid-game reveal of Mr. X (originally a character exclusive to a second playthrough in the PlayStation version) is as shocking as one might expect. Mr. X’s presence in the Resident Evil 2 remake is both unexpected and transformative, requiring the player to shift tactics in hopes of staying ever-vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Few things are as dread-inducing as hearing Mr. X’s telltale thudding footsteps while navigating through the corridors of the Raccoon City Police Station.
Remakes of classic games have been popular since the 16-bit era, with many NES and Master System classics receiving upgraded editions on the SNES and Sega Genesis, respectively. However, since Resident Evil 2‘s release, the art of the “video game remake” has arguably been elevated, as evidenced through incredible titles like Bluepoint Games’ Demon’s Souls remake or last year’s incredible Dead Space remake. 5 years out since its release in 2019, Resident Evil 2 is that rarest of video game remakes that surpasses the original to become one of the best games in the series.
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
Resident Evil 2 is a remake of the original sequel that helped push the iconic series further into the limelight. The horror survival adventure follows both Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they attempt to escape the zombie-filled Raccoon City and put an end to Umbrella’s plans.
- January 25, 2019
- M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Intense Violence
- How Long To Beat
- 9 Hours