I…I mean, the….Capcom…
Well, fuck. I thought I was just putting this article off because of laziness. But now I have an entire half-hour free, and everyone here thinks I’m working somewhere else. It’s prime time for writing, and I still don’t really know what to say about Resident Evil 2. I think the problem I’m having is that I generally base my humor around the game’s faults, and I didn’t really find any major ones until just after I finished my Leon B scenario—more on that, later.
But this game is…well…fuck you Resident Evil 4! Turns out all I wanted was the combat mechanics of RE4. The escape room, horror aspects, ammo conservation, and even—for once—the puzzle solving…that was perfect. Seriously, I almost wept. Classic Resident Evil is the eponymous dad who steps out for a pack of cigarettes and doesn’t come back for 14 years, and you’re glad he’s back, but it still kind of makes you sad that you lost all those years with him, instead being forced to bond with a cool, but excessively linear step-dad with a penchant for action movies.
I have to admit, though, I’m a little worried. Capcom did some pretty smart things this time. They returned to a classic format. They legitimately remade the game, changing maps and puzzles and key items. They even opted not to churn out yet another remake of the original game, which at this point have been spreading faster than a zombie outbreak. But now they’re talking about remaking Resident Evil 3, and I’m concerned they’re attributing their success to the nostalgia factor, as though their only audience is grizzled, aged millennials, mourning the loss of their teeth and fondly remembering the good old days when they had the jaw power to sink their teeth into the infected corpse of a fellow human being.
No. That’s a bad Capcom! Bad! First of all, if you’re going to do another remake like this, you want to do Code Veronica because RE3 is too short. Second…well, honestly I can’t remember second because my half-hour ran out and now that it’s two months later, I kind of lost my train of thought. When it derailed. And crashed into a Walmart. At the bottom of the cliff it fell from.
But do you know what I do remember? The sound. The fabulous, brilliant, artistic orgasm that engages more than just my sense of sight and my desire to shoot something without getting into trouble. The original RE2 also decided to take advantage of the brilliant new technology that that Al Jolson talkie made so famous; the paranoid feeling when the crunch of Claire’s boot on a patch of broken glass sounds just like a corpse high-tailing it toward the buffet line would rival the intense fear of society only seen in the most hardcore of right-wing conspiracy theorists. But in the remake, I caught myself nudging open the door of the safe room, listening for Mr. X’s footsteps to fade like a teenager waiting for his parents to fall asleep before sneaking out to the living room to pop in the VHS of Terminator and watch the scene where you see a silhouette of Linda Hamilton’s breast on repeat until it’s time to go to school the next morning.
Wait…uh…where was I?
Sound! Right! Give the fucking Nobel prize to Capcom for actually using sound, and doing it effectively. Sensory information totally enhances an experience, but too often the horror games just darken the image and hope that’ll terrify me. Anyone who’s ever stared at an unplugged TV for five minutes could tell you the flaws in that approach.
There were a few things that gave me pause, but these were mostly personal issues. I felt a little strange when Dr. Birkin morphed into the Mindflayer from Stranger Things (it’s a twenty-year-old game! That doesn’t qualify as a spoiler!), and the overwhelming ratio of Claire to Leon screenshots that I took (…not to mention the fact that I looked up the nude mod someone made…let’s just say that that knob went up to 11), I realize that taking pictures of the pretty girls in games is less “desperate” and more “creepy.” Not to mention my disdain for sitting through a half hour of credits just so I can learn the names of the assistant sales marketing directors for Capcom in twenty-seven different countries.
But, God help me, Claire is a goddess incarnate from a mythology that would make Freya and Athena tremble like teeny-boppers. And, yeah, Leon is cool too. The Resident Evil 2 remake is a damn-near perfect game. Capcom, don’t screw this up!
So, I guess…ten out of ten. The game was not as forgiving when grading me:
(Trust me…I took way more than this…but it’s way too late to organize and caption them all.)