E3 2018 Hands-on: Resident Evil 2

Earlier this week, we finally got our first glimpse of the Resident Evil 2 remake. A few days later, after walking by a full line at the Capcom booth on several occasions, I was able to jump in. After waiting in line for about three hours, I was finally able to get hands on with Capcom’s highly anticipated game.

I got to play a twenty minute demo as Leon Kennedy, the rookie police officer who has just arrived at his new post in Raccoon City in the middle of a zombie outbreak. The demo begins as Leon enters the Raccoon City Police Department for the first time.

I was immediately welcomed into the main hall of the police station which looked new, but also familiar. A question that some fans have had is whether or not there would be new areas, new puzzles etc. or if the game would be a piece by piece remake of the original.

Upon entering the main hall of the R.P.D., I checked out a computer and security cam footage of the station. In it, Leon spots a survivor, a fellow police officer talking to the cameras, letting his friends know that he has found a way to get out and that the information is in a small notebook he has on his person. However, this officer is currently under the assault of the undead and so Leon’s first task, is to go help him.

I leave the main hall and go into the east wing of the R.P.D.. What was originally a bright, zombie filled hallway is now a dark, zombie free, and flooded mess. To my left is a fuse box which, of course, is missing a fuse. One thing that I loved is that now that I’ve seen it, that fuse box is now marked on my map- making it much easier to find where it was if I get a fuse for it later. There’s no choice but to wander ahead. One thing that super fans of Resident Evil 2 will love about this first hallway is that it has a bathroom- something that we never saw in the original. Is it silly? Absolutely. But it’s funny to see that it was added after all the discussion about the lack of bathrooms in the R.P.D.

After getting to the end of the hall, you help pull the officer out from under a door and… oh. He’s only half an officer- I guess we were too late. Leon grabs the notebook from him and quickly finds the undead coming at him. As you run back to the main hall, zombies will come at you through doors, windows etc.

With zombies now in play, turned into my first time using the gun in RE2 and I have to say that it did feel a bit rough. The movement, the aiming, the camera, none of it felt especially great during my demo run. Whether it’s just the signs of an unfinished game, or I just needed more time to get used to it is uncertain. However, those things without a doubt, are my biggest criticisms of the game- with the addition of one more thing.

In Resident Evil 2, when you pick up an item, it requires two button presses. It’s not enough to simply walk up to an item and hit a button. You then have to confirm where in your inventory you want it to go. In the demo, Leon has 8 inventory slots that you can use to carry items. I actually found that I missed picking up a green herb because after walking up to the item, I had backed out instead of confirming that yes, I did in fact want to pick up the item I just tried to pick up.

As Leon returns to the main hall, he tries to crawl under the gate into the east hallway, only to have his leg grabbed by one of the several zombies that have appeared. Luckily, everyone’s favorite cop, Marvin, helps pull Leon out. I love that we see a little more action with Marvin with this new encounter and am curious to see what more happens with his character in the main game.

I use the notebook received from the (now) dead officer and find solutions to a few puzzles. There’s one in the main hall so I do that and receive a medal that fits into a statue in the main hall. When inserted, part of the bottom slides away, revealing a hidden path that leads under the RCPD. Obviously, this wasn’t here in the original, so it will be very interesting to see how everything comes together in the complete game.

There’s some dialogue exchange between Leon and Marvin- Leon mentioning that he’s new on the RCPD and that he received a call to “stay away” a week before he was supposed to transfer to Raccoon City. Whether or not there’s a new, deeper plot there or not remains to be seen. Afterwards, Marvin gives Leon a knife and in Resident Evil 7 fashion, Leon uses it to cut some tape holding a box closed with a switch to let you into the west side of the station.

One of the things that will be interesting for fans who played the original is the changes that have been made. Once you get into the west side of the station, the original has a Licker run by on the outside of the building. It’s a jump scare that ranks high atop the list for the series. Here however, that scare is gone- leaving players guessing as to where the Licker could be.

Arriving in the next hallway, we find a dead officer, with an odd head injury. We hear some sounds further down the hall, see a small can get knocked forward and then… THANK YOU FOR PLAYING.

After my time with the demo, I feel that Capcom has found a happy medium between the old and the new. Players new to the game are in for quite the survival horror treat as opposed to a more action based title. Fans of the original will find familiarity almost everywhere, while at the same time seeing new sights.

Resident Evil 2 will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC and will be available on January 25th and is available to pre-order now.