Despite the fact that I received Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 remake before it was released (shouts to the plug), it took me a little over two weeks to finish it. But after finishing it, I was compelled to say something and at least share my major takeaways from playing it. Here are five reasons why Resident Evil 2 is just plain scary good:
It Sets the Mood.
The original RE2 relied heavily on jump scares to inject fear into the players. That said, it didn’t feel much like a horror game compared to games like Silent Hill, which created an atmosphere and a sense of fear that surrounded you throughout the game. I still get chills from when I hear an alarm. The RE2 remake seems to have learned its lesson from its peers, as there was a definite effort to set the right mood, and you can see inspirations drawn from horror game greats like Dead Space, Alien: Isolation and more. All of these games, albeit in different ways, successfully set a mood that made you uneasy each time the game started up. While I own almost every Silent Hill game, I have not to this day finished one of them—and that is a testament to the game creators as well as my heightened sense of self-preservation.
Fans of Dead Space know that the atmosphere created a sense of darkness and claustrophobia, so much so that you would sometimes find yourself leaning over with your character to look around a corner. RE2 nailed this with a major change from the first one, making the game darker than before. Often in the RE2 remake, you find yourself walking in very dark places with only the light of a flashlight and whatever ambient light is being cast by the surroundings—a stark contrast from the original, which had you running around a police station lit up like a Christmas tree.
The Sounds Are Clear.
Let’s face it, Silent Hill was scary all around—with its weird creatures and sketchy scenery—but ask any Silent Hill player what haunts their dreams, and they’ll tell you it was that damn siren. For Silent Hill neophytes, the way you knew some ish was about to go down was from this ear-piercing, heart-wrenching siren—which I believe was an air raid siren, but it was blood-curdling, and you knew once you heard it, you were in trouble. While RE2 doesn’t have a siren, sound plays a major part in this one. You can hear enemies before you see them, which adds a sense of foreboding. And for those of us who think they can get their tracker on and hear where the sound is coming from, you’ll often end up being dinner.
There’s New Challenges…
One of the nods to the original was the reintroduction of the tyrant or Mr. X. Unlike his predecessor, who you could kill, the new variant has no such weakness. For some of the game, it engages you in a harrowing and sometimes downright terrifying game of hide and seek. If you played Alien: Isolation, you know the exact feeling. In Alien: Isolation, you are the hunted. Period. And for most games, when you are running around, guns blaring, being the hunted, most aren’t used to being the prey. We humans like our spot on top of the food chain, and being knocked down a peg is terrifying. RE2 ratchets it up, as there are just a few spots you can go for a reprieve. Where doors used to be a forcefield, not anymore. Often you find yourself running into a room to turn and see Mr. X’s blank visage opening the door.
…And More Reasons to Stay Down.
A horror movie staple is the villain that gets up as soon as you turn away from it—or comes back to life as soon as you get a little too close. RE2 went full horror flick mode to add to the fear factor. The zombies are a little more clingy and they have a hard time letting go and knowing when it’s over. In the RE2 remake, unless the head is gone, there’s a chance for you to be walking by and it to grab at your feet and take a bite. So when you are screaming at the screen to “shoot him again!!!”, make sure you are listening to your own advice. This attention to the details makes RE2’s remake a really great game. It took me two weeks to finish it because I only played it in the daytime with the lights on—it’s high-light-bill scary, but worth every cent. Unless you are on Long Island. I heard PSE&G rates are a whole new kinda monster.