Anyone who… well… has ever heard my talk about gaming will more than likely know that Resident Evil 2 is not only my go-to answer for “Favourite Game”, but also holds a very special place in my gaming history. The escapades of Leon & Claire as they escape Raccoon City forms part of my own plot of sacred gaming ground and with the announcement of Capcom’s intention to remake it I scrunched up my eyes and wished for them to tread gently and carefully with something I hold so dear. With this year’s E3 I awoke on Tuesday morning to take in the two trailers of this revisiting to Raccoon City and as I sipped my coffee, sat on the train, sat through a teleconference, and everything else I did that day, my mind set about trying to process exactly how I felt about what I’d seen first thing in the morning. It wasn’t until I arrived back home that I watched them for a second time… and then a third… and then some more to try and figure this out. Honestly I won’t know how I feel about it until January next year when I’m playing it, but for now, here is my breakdown of the Resident Evil 2 Remake… or RE2Make for ease of typing.
The Big Stuff
It’s pretty obvious that Capcom will enrich and expand the Resident Evil 2 world in the same way that they did with the Remake of the original for GameCube and in principle I’m fine with that; a game of RE2’s length just wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny today and would feel pretty empty in a modern wrapper. More controversial for me is the removal of the fixed camera views, something I’m very nostalgic about, in their place is the over-the-shoulder Resident Evil 4 style of gameplay. RE4 itself failed to win me over, however I did enjoy Resident Evil Revelations, and wallowed in the rebirth of the series as it took on the form of Resident Evil VII when I played earlier this year. I guess what I’m working my way around to saying is that I’d love to see Capcom make a new Resident Evil game in the classic style, but that I agree with their decision not to do that with the RE2Make. I’d even go so far as to say that it was a relief; by visually presenting the game in such a different way it keeps the old and the new as two separate entities. I often feel as though the REMake of the original overshadowed the original PS1 release.
The A & B scenario game structure (for those you not familiar, you play through the game once as one character and then again as the second to experience the full story) is an aspect of RE2 that I’d love to see make a comeback. So far we know that the player will be able to play both as Leon and Claire, but exactly how that is being done remains to be seen.
So what have we seen so far? Capcom presented two trailers: a reveal and the “gameplay” trailer … and although I normally shy away from any kind of breaking news hype breakdown hi-jinks, this is just too big for me to ignore, so here is my moment by moment of both trailers:
The Reveal Trailer
0:00 – I .. I don’t know this room, OK we’re in a new location.. and close to the floor… some kind of storeroom?
0:14 – Neat little nod to the PS1 in the foreground there. It’s more than likely just recognition of the original release, but possibly enforcing that we’re back in 1998 when the original game was set.
0:45 – By this point I’m assuming that one of the voices is Leon and that the other voice is being attacked by a zombie.
0:50 – The first glimpse of a human character and neither is wearing the blue RPD uniform. I think we’ve just seen our first zombie, and a soon to be victim wresting amongst the boxes of cereal.
1:12 – The reveal that we were looking through the eyes of a rat isn’t so surprising, however the relevance is likely reminding veterans that it was the rats that spread the T-Virus through the city from the broken vials in the sewer following Umbrella’s botched attempt to steal the G-virus from William Birkin. There’s also a more subtle possibility that the rat is a reference to the character D.I.J. who appears as an Easter Egg in Resident Evil Code Veronica. D.I.J. is a rat (yes, the rodent) who’s diary you can find and read (Stick with it). The diary details some critical plot events that it turns out that cheeky little rodent seen and decided to memorialise in their journal.
1:17 – … and there’s the bite…
1:21 – Sorry, just had to go and look up what the difference was between the Sheriff’s department and the police. I’m not really any the wiser except that it seems to be a jurisdiction thing. Any U.S. readers want to explain to me why Raccoon City might have both… or is this a subtle flag that these events are occurring outside of the city limits?
1:28 – Urgh! sorry I got you to pause there, but the zombie’s skin tone and clothing colour is certainly reminiscent of that first zombie that the player encounters cinematically in the original Resident Evil.
1:35 – Woooh, and here’s Leon clad in the classic RPD body armour, looking younger and less angular than he did in his previous incarnation… and a little like Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon… anyone?.. just me then. It’s tricky to tell from this angle if he’s wielding his standard 18 shot 9mm, but he IS carrying a torch which looks as though it’s going to be a gameplay feature. Also worth noting that he seems to be wearing a shoulder mounted radio, I guess that belt-hook walkie-talkie is a little too 90’s maybe. Those 90’s curtains have been wound back a little too…
1:45 – “Money’s in my account, always a pleasure” – my hunch is Brian Irons, Police Chief, as we know that he was on Umbrella’s payroll.
1:50 – ARUKAS – Appears as one of the first shop fronts you run past when leaving the car crash at the beginning of RE2. The hint of flames on the left hand side of the shot imply the same location.
1:53 – The RPD Building… more on that in a minute…
1:55 – Marvin Branagh makes an appearance. One of the most memorable NPC’s in RE2, mostly because I often like to mimic that repeating hand gesture he made when talking to Leon. Here however he looks much more fluidly animated and seems to have been given a bigger role.
2:04 – The montage of external shots is pretty cool and hopefully means that we’ll get to explore a bit of Raccoon City before we even get to the Police Station. Again it looks as though there is a tanker on fire which could be from Leon and Claire’s fateful crash.
2:14 – Leon walking towards the Police Station, but from the front entrance with the view of the gates. This is pretty cool because originally Leon used the side gate and the view of the front gates was kind of an easter egg that could only be accessed by killing all the zombies outside the police station then pressing the action button next to the front gate. The camera view would then switch to show a view of the gate and the zombies outside. The front gate is also how Jill accesses the police station in Resident Evil 3.
2:24 -Sherry Birkin. You can just about make out the pendant around her neck which seems to be much more stylish than the very polygon-ey one she used to wear.
2:28 – Claire Redfield. Looks as though they’re maintaining Claire and Sherry’s interwoven story. Also it’s a Claire with a less 90’s taste in fashion, a different shade of hair, and wearing a leather jacket similar (although not the same) as in Revelations 2. Sadly no sign of that trademark Made in Heaven logo or shoulder knife sheath.
2:34 – I’m guessing the first appearance of the Tyrant (Mr. X).. with a hat… he looks good in a hat..
2:38 – The Mayor’s Daughter… presumably under the careful “protection” of Brian Irons…
2:39 – The Licker in what looks like the upper corridor of the station near the S.T.A.R.S. office based on the handcuffs on the railing. The Licker is one of the most iconic enemies of RE2; that hissing breath and clicking walk still gives me shivers… looks as though they’ve made them even more ferocious from that brutal attack.
2:40 – … yes, you can just about make out S.T.A.R.S. on the sign near the door on the left hand side.
2:41 – It looks like the statue in the main hall has changed from “woman drawing water” to “woman with flag and shield… and drips of blood”.
2:42: – “This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore”
2:45 – This appears to be the press conference room although the lamp puzzle isn’t visible on the wall.
2:46 – I actually have an action figure Licker on my desk…
2:48 – The shadowy figure with the gun near the car is more than likely Ada Wong as it is in the garage where Leon first encounters her after she almost shoots him.
3:05 – A final look at Mr. X incase you missed him earlier.
3:06 – Holy Crap! Something just burst out of his chest!!
Phew! Are you still with me? .. in which case you’re likely as much of a fan as I am… I’m guessing most people will have seen what I was doing and gone on to read something else by now… but not you.. oh no, you’re in it for the long haul… so let’s push on to the “Gameplay Trailer”
0:08 – Rain falling! Dang this is going to be good… I have a thing for rain in games…
0:08 – There’s a whole load of things in those quick cuts; a sign for the city, umbrella logo on a wall, windscreen wipers, fire… and the eye…
0:10 – Oooohhh Let’s pause here for a moment! The RPD entry hall, looking a little different. The statue is at the back up the ramp, with the desk in the foreground near the door. I can just about make out the RPD logo in the marble floor, but can’t tell if there is a typewriter on the desk. The door on the left hand side should be to the office where you first meet Marvin and there is now a double staircase up to the balcony around the hall. Of course all that is kind of beside the point because it looks ******* amazing (ahem, I really don’t swear much on this blog). One of the things that I love about the pre-rendered look is that it feels like walking through a painting… here… I think they’ve captured exactly that…
0:39 – Back to that shop or storeroom; I guess it’s where Leon first encounters a zombie in this version.
0:54 – From this view it looks like the short muzzle and more rounded top of Leon’s standard firearm.
0:58 – First gameplay shot highlighting the over the shoulder camera view.
1:00 – Once again, that approach to the Police Station looks excellent.
1:02 – It looks as though Marvin is in some kind of medical room with the screening up in the background. It’ll be interesting to see if you meet him there, or if he plays a bigger part than in the original game.
1:07 – Appears to be the downstairs corridor outside the police office from the windows on the right hand side and the vending machines in the far corner.
1:10 – More walking footage, with the flashlight on show, this time in the corridor with the boarded up windows on the left hand side of the station as you enter…. stay away from those windows…
1:12 – First view of the classic RPD zombie… weirdly nobody else is wearing the same uniform as Leon… why is that?…
1:16 – Some pretty intense grappling.
1:19 – Inside the Police Office … safe combination 2236… First real look at the combined flashlight and handgun hold. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s just the handgun that can be wielded with the flashlight.
1:22 – Nice Rain effects on Leon…
1:23 – The helicopter crash, normally only seen in the B scenarios. I can’t see the water tower though.
1:24 – Some kind of zombie with an over-extended jaw; could it be a new enemy type?
1:28 – From the menu layout at the bottom of the screen it doesn’t look as though they’ve upgraded the operating system on the RPD computers.
1:32 – The iconic Licker Crawling past thew window, although it appears to be in a different location to the original.
1:33 – I’m not sure who this is, but that medical style screening is in the background… is this Marvin?
1:33 – It looks like this could be the plinth at the base of the statue moving – which seems like a more likely result from solving the puzzle as the statue is no longer holding the pitcher for the key to drop out of.
1:34 – Erm… building with big round window is not a location that I recognise so is likely one of the new areas
1:36 – Those Lickers are horrific…
Wow, you’re still with me!
I can’t hide how impressed I am with these trailers – sure they’re the normal fast cuts and light on content visual spectaculars that we’ve come to expect from E3, but at least we’re seeing some hint of the gameplay and the environments and from here it the view is pretty great. I’m psyched to jump back in to this world, the Resident Evil of Raccoon City, updated and visually brilliant in a way that only my imagination could manage before. It looks both beautiful and terrifying…
… What did you think?…