Resident Evil 2 is shaping up to be one of the biggest and best upcoming games of 2019. Capcom’s ground-up remake of the classic 1998 survival horror is exactly how a developer should approach a game of this type; capturing the essence of an all-timer while tuning it to be a thoroughly modern reimagining.
And so it is with Resident Evil 2, with a fabulous visual upgrade, revamped controls and a host of extra content to add to the terrifying tales of Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they creep through the halls of the zombie-infested Racoon City Police department.
Capcom have pulled this trick before, of course, with the Gamecube remake of the original Resident Evil held up as the definitive version of Shinji Mikami’s brainchild and one of the finest horror games ever made.
This version of Resident Evil 2 is looking to go one better, combining the series’ best bits --the creeping terror of the early games and the fraught action of Resident Evil 4-- to become a Resident Evil greatest hit. Here we take a look at everything we know about the game looking to kick off 2019 in terrifying style
Resident Evil 2 release date and platforms
Resident Evil 2 is released on 25 January for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Will there be a Resident Evil 2 demo release?
Capcom has a rather different way of showcasing Resident Evil 2 to the general public. The Japanese publisher has releasing a limited ‘One-Shot’ demo --available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC-- which gives players 30 minutes to get as far as they can in the showcase mission before the clock runs out.
You can reload if you die, or carry on if you finish your objectives, but once your half-an-hour is up: that’s it, no more playtime or going back for a second try. The demo is taken from the Leon portion of the game, presumably designed to get people talking about their runs and streamers creating videos of their attempts.
What’s new for Resident Evil 2?
This is a ground-up remake for Resident Evil 2 using the engine used to build the genuinely terrifying Resident Evil 7. However, while Resi 7 reverted to a claustrophobic first-person camera and the original Resident Evil 2 featured the high-angled fixed camera, the remake is returning to the close, over-the-shoulder viewpoint that Resident Evil 4 popularised.
It looks terrific, with ghoulishly detailed gore, zombies and other monsters given the proper current-gen treatment. As with the original, the game has two separate but intertwining campaigns. You will choose from rookie police officer Leon S Kennedy, or student Claire Redfield, younger sister of STARS agent Chris. Both will find themselves trapped with the shuffling departed of the Racoon City Police Department, with its twisted corridors and confounding puzzles.
Unlike the original, however, the RPD is a more persistent place. No longer can you easily retreat to the safety of a creaking door if under pursuit. The giant, terrifying Mr. X, for instance, stalks you mercilessly when he appears as you desperately try to escape his clutches or slow him down.
There is a host of new content too. While the game will follow the most pertinent narrative beats of the original, much of the station and story has been expanded or revamped. There will also be playable guest appearances from series characters such as the mysterious Ada Wong, or the kidnapped Sherry Birkin. Sections that will change the pace and give more characters room to breathe.
Is it any good?
It’s looking very promising indeed. I had a chance to play Resident Evil 2 towards the end of last year and was very impressed. Although, full disclosure: the original is one of my favourite games of all time.
“A good few hours with Capcom’s lavish remake of Resident Evil 2 has already thrown up a few certainties. One: that this is as comprehensive a remake as you can imagine, essentially an entirely new game ‘inspired by’ the events of the brilliant 1998 original. Two, Capcom are doing a fabulous job with it; capturing the tone and horror of that original in a thrillingly modern game that draws on the action-beats of Resident Evil 4.
And three: that Mr. X is still a terrifying, gigantic b-----d.”
And if a video game just isn’t scary enough?
Capcom has also revealed that a Resident Evil 2 ‘Safe House’ experience is coming to London. A teaser video featured a broadcast that says: “Due to a city-wide outbreak of a dangerous virus, all citizens head to the Safe House at the Racoon City Police Department. It’s the last remaining safe-zone in the area. Our sources have confirmed the existence of an antidote to the virus, being held at the Raccoon City Police Department. So if you’re out there, hearing this…please get down there. Hurry!”
The Resident Evil 2 Safe House experience will take place on 25 and 26 January at the Barge House on London's South Bank. According to the official site the experience will follow "a storyline inspired by the cult classic game" and "recreates the Raccoon City Police Department in a derelict venue on London’s South Bank."
"You will arrive at the RPD HQ debrief area in groups of up to four, ahead of making your way through the station to the Safe House," say Capcom. "Proceed with caution, all is not as it seems as you put your fear responses to the test in a bid to join the few survivors left."
On completing the experience, there will be a bar featuring a real-blood antidote drink and other, more traditional, midwestern cocktails.
There are three ways to take part in the Safe House. Limited walk-ins are available to get into the bar alone or the hands-on stations demoing the game. For the full experience you will need to book tickets through the official website. The tickets are free on a first-come, first-served basis and require you to select a time slot between 1pm and 11pm on the two available days.