Resident Evil 2 Platinum
You can’t go wrong with this zombie-killing good time.
Whacking the undead is always fun, as evidenced by the huge success of Capcom’s poorly acted yet still entertaining Resident Evil of 1996. One sequel later and we follow the subsequent spread of the T-Virus to nearby Raccoon City, whose citizens are blissfully unprepared for the impending apocalypse. The town falls fast enough to the invasion ( how the rest of America fails to notice is beyond me ) and we’re quickly introduced to our two main characters – cop Leon Kennedy and hottie Claire Redfield – as they’re trapped in the middle of town, seeking escape and a few answers along the way.
Both have their own motives for going to Raccoon City, and it’s nice that we have a choice of playing as either character and experiencing two storylines for one game. Resident Evil 2 trades lousy FMV for engine rendered cutscenes whilst keeping the B-movie plot in check – to their credit they’ve done a blasted good job with the CGI cutscenes, and the story and acting in general are up a peg. In fact just about everything here is superior to the original, including the game’s fun factor. Sometimes scary, often gross, and usually enjoyable, RE2 still borrows more than its fair share of tricks from the Alone in the Dark bag of game design.
We have the usual cast of bad guys mostly made up of the game’s trademark rotting knuckleheads. Even when zombies are lurching towards you with their usual cadaverous clumsiness, however, the game creates a good effect. Pump bullets into the bastards until they lie down for good; the fact that a whole slew of them keep coming, and that they keep getting up again, lends these slow-moving scenes a certain undeniable tension. There are also some good non-zombie bad guys, like poisonous spiders and the memorable Lickers, undead beasties with hungry tongues. And the game, even without multiple characters to play, is not short.
The bulk of the game takes place in Raccoon City Police Department in a very traditional RE way – you go around turning zombies into fertilizer courtesy of your pistol, shotgun and a few other boomsticks, solve the occasional puzzle and advance the story. The puzzles themselves are laughably easy to figure out for any seasoned adventure gaming fan, but give welcome respite from the indiscriminate blasting of the undead. The saving system is once again hampered by the use of strategically placed save rooms, but this creates some form of unease (particularly when exploring new territory) that an all-around savegame feature cannot replicate. You can’t save indefinitely, however – Ink Ribbons come in limited supply – but the game provides more than enough to get by.
We also get the usual limitations present in these sort of games – the static camera views can easily get in the way of the action. Sometimes a zombie will stagger right in front of the camera and obscure your entire view, other times an enemy is right around the corner but the camera won’t shift towards it. It gets annoying fast, but usually the views are intuitive enough to work, and the autoaim compensates well enough (aim left and you’ll hit something to your right).
Resident Evil 2 is a damn good time in spite of all these minor tidbits. It’s easily accessible, well built and surprisingly entertaining in a kooky, B-movie sort of way, and overall well worth picking up.
System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 24 MB RAM, Windows 95
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