Horror gamers have been asking for a remake of Resident Evil 2 for so long that Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, the producer of Resident Evil HD, announced that the idea has been pitched to Capcom’s leadership. The decision should be obvious, since it has been hailed as the best title in the series and one of the greatest horror games of all time.
Resident Evil 2 was released 17 years ago for the PlayStation – hence, many younger gamers are wondering why so many consider it a timeless classic. This isn’t about an old-school fan base wanting to live out a nostalgic era, but an examination of why Resident Evil 2 is held in such high regards in the gaming community.
To understand what Resident Evil 2 achieved, we need to go back and reexamine this PlayStation classic.
One night in Raccoon City
In the aftermath of the Arklay Incident, S.T.A.R.S. has been disbanded and the surviving members have begun their own investigation into the Umbrella Corporation.
Two months later, Leon S. Kennedy (a rookie cop on his first day) along with Claire Redfield (Chris Redfield’s sister) arrive, to a dark and quiet Raccoon City with an eerie atmosphere. Within moments of their arrival, both characters meet up and are fighting for their lives, as an outbreak of the T-Virus has turned the community into zombies.
Leon and Claire make a run for the police station in the hopes of finding other survivors and a way to escape the city. However, the police station has been overrun with zombies and there are only a few survivors. Leon finds a mysterious woman named Ada Wong, while Claire finds a little girl named Sherry Burkin who is being pursued by her mutated father, William Burkin.
A tale of two heroes
The two storyline setup made Resident Evil 2′s plot one of the most memorable. Despite being a single game, the experience will be completely different based on the character, as each one will have a unique perspective of the same scenario.
Leon’s story is a familiar horror scenario – it focus on his efforts to work with Ada in an attempt to escape Raccoon City. Claire’s story is about an ordinary person who is put into an extraordinary situation while having to act as a guardian for a defenseless child.
If Claire’s storyline feels familiar, it’s because her character and personality are a homage to Ellen Ripley from Aliens. Both heroines are forced to fight for their lives while acting as a mother figure to a child. Like Jill Valentine in the previous game, she is actually a real character and not the “useless chick” that is often present in Hollywood horror.
Looking back now
Resident Evil 2 was one of the earliest games to introduce a strong story and character development. It is highly admired because it introduced us to many memorable characters like Leon, Ada, and Claire, along with villains like Mr. X and the Licker. Yet it would be an injustice to not acknowledge the introduction of the mysterious HUNK who has now become part of the game’s lore.
Most important of all is that it established the foundation for the series to grow as time passed. While the original played out like a traditional horror film, Resident Evil 2 allowed the series to grow by breaking away from tropes that would have held it back.
The only issue today’s gamers will have with a remake of Resident Evil 2 is the many plot holes in the story that arose as the story arch evolved with new installments in the series. The narrative was rewritten in some ways in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, set 24 hour before and after the events of Resident Evil 2, and in Resident Evil: Outbreak, a series of side stories set during the Raccoon City outbreak.
However, these are plot holes that could be forgiven since the game was created during a time when video games were just starting to grow as a storytelling medium.
Resident Evil introduced gamers to the horror survival genre, but it was Resident Evil 2 that perfected it while establishing the foundations of the series to grow into a pop culture phenomenon.
Why do you think Resident Evil 2 deserves a remake? Is it about more than nostalgia? Let us know in the comments below!
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