This might comes as a bit of a shock to people but… I’m not a big fan of Resident Evil 2. Now don’t get me wrong, it is a really fun game but when some call it the best in the series or at least the best before Resident Evil 4 came out, that is where I have to put my foot down and say no. The game is fun for certain but I think that in the grand scheme of things it just isn’t one of the best RE games out there. Even pre-RE4 I would not consider it the best of the set.
I really think a lot of the reason why RE2 has become so popular is actually the success of RE4 and the new love that fans of the series have for Leon Kennedy now. The game did spawn multiple ‘fan favorite’ characters like Leon, Claire Redfield, HUNK, and Ada Wong not to mention gave us a first glimpse at one the most iconic settings in the RE games, the Raccoon City Police Department. So it is easy to see why it is so popular. But let me take a swing at it and see if I can explain why this isn’t one of the best of the series.
The Game Does Raise the Stakes
One thing that I do have to give the game credit for is that it did raise the stakes from RE1. The first game was centered around an isolated mansion in the middle of the fuck all woods, excepted for the scientists, STARS, and a few unfortunate hikers this really didn’t effect the grand scheme of things and hell if the characters would have stayed dead from the gigantic mansion explosion odds are Umbrella Inc would have shut up the survivors from RE1 and the entire universe never would have existed.
But no the game said fuck it let’s knock this shit up and infect Raccoon City. A VERY smart idea as opposed to the whole fucking world is infected plot that most zombie games and stories prior to it jumped to or if not had already started on. It raises the stakes in a smart way by attacking Raccoon City and even puts you in the hands of some people who are ‘less capable’ then fully trained, combat ready, Ultra SWAT team that STARS was built to be.
Instead you play as Chris Redfield’s sister Claire who by all accounts is just some college kid who rode in to town to find her brother. (Then she immediately turns into a marine but more on that later.) Sherry Birkin is just a scared little girl hiding in the police station, you have a few Average Joe cops, and a reporter. You can even make the claim that Ada Wong who is in fact an Umbrella Special Agent is played off as some random woman who just was lucky enough to make it to the police station. It was fun to see some average people in the game instead of just battle hardened soldiers.
By placing it in Raccoon City the game feels larger, you feel like there is more at stake. In the first one the only reason you cannot escape through the front fucking door is because of the zombie dogs. But hell after you took on a 30 fucking foot long snake with a grenade launcher I would have said fuck it let’s take our chances outside and gone to get back up. This feels more plausible, it feels like they really need to escape something big instead of there is a big creepy mansion let’s investigate gang. I know the Alphas in the first one were looking for the missing Bravo Team but still any cop who knew they had a chance to bring reinforcements would do so. Escape then to return later with enough weapons and ammo to level a city block. But I digress.
Raccoon City was the next logical step to for the series to take and they took it very well.
The Voice Acting is Better thus Creating More Well Rounded Characters
Seeing as how the first game became such as a success, it stands to reason that the sequel would get a bigger budget and with bigger budget comes better acting. Now granted it is at the level you would expect from a PS1 but overall it really adds so much more and is really what makes the characters in this game so memorable as opposed to the first game where ‘Jill Sandwich’ is the catch phrase to the first game.
It isn’t perfect but it does have its own charm to it. There are some cheesy lines like when Leon gets his hands on the G-Virus he says ‘So this is what everyone’s been after?!’ and chucks it into the void of the factory they are in. My writing really doesn’t do it justice. You really need to hear the inflection of the voice actors voice to truly appreciate the level of cheese associated with the line but I find it more enjoyable than grating.
Like I said before Leon, Claire, Ada, and HUNK all saw their premiers from this game and you can even add the lesser known characters like Marvin Branagh, Sherry Birkin, and Brian Irons to the list of characters in the Resident Evil list of characters that people truly want to know more about and did in fact see them in future games in some capacity.
With a new game a new concept virus was created. Now the original virus the Tyrant Virus from the first game is of course the culprit that started the zombie outbreak in Raccoon City. But the whole crux of the story centers around this new virus known as the G-Virus or Genetic Virus. While the T-Virus was more of a virus that effected the body like a normal virus, the G-Virus reworked the bodies genetic structure, constantly reworking the body into strange and grotesque shapes. The G-Virus has been toted as being the most volatile of any of the known virus’s in the Resident Evil universe and makes the characters shit their pants anytime a G-Virus outbreak or creature shows up. Especially since T-Virus creatures only spread the virus as a means of feeding while G-Virus actively seeks out to infect more with its virus by going straight up alien style with chest bursters.
This is where the G-Virus started and it is a work of pure genius. A virus that infects DNA itself and is so unstable that you could literally become anything. This is a perfect ‘item’ to be the central crux of the story and in a way it effects everyone in the game in a very direct way.
The Game has an Illusion of a Big Setting When In Fact it is Quite Small
While I did say that it was smart to make Raccoon City the setting for the sequel of the original… That does not mean that it wasn’t without its flaws. Yes it is set in a metropolis like city but really you explore VERY little of it. In fact after the first few scenes the rest of the game takes part in either the police station or the secret Umbrella Factory. If you give people this huge city of undead you really need to give them more opportunities to explore then just force them into a building and make them stay there. RE1 has the excuse it had a big expansive mansion and an underground lab, plus it was the best they could do being the first game in the series. Then RE3: Nemesis gave us this with gusto.
If RE2 would have been given RE3’s map then it would have been a much better game.
These Everyday Citizens Become Battle Hardened Marines in Zero Second Flat
This can be a complaint about a lot of horror games in general and this really does focus on Claire more than anyone… But man was I annoyed even as a kid when I saw these characters not bat an eyelash at the idea of fucking killing zombies like it is nothing.
My irritation more falls on Claire if anything. Ada knew what she was getting in to and was well trained in killing anything that did or did not have a pulse. Leon was a rookie cop so at least his cop training would kick in. But damn it Claire was just some college student who had no problem saying it’s time to kick ass and chew gum and started beating the shit out of everything.
I know it was an earlier game and character development like that kind of had to take a back seat because damn it we only have some barely rendered character models to work with here. But still I would love to see a little bit more of Claire being just a little bit reluctant (besides the opening scene) to pick up a rocket launcher and buttfuck the Lovecraft monster oozing towards her.
I know what you are saying right now. “Tanner you have just been nitpicking… This game is awesome! And you can’t come up with a good reason why not.” That is because this game is good. This game is REALLY good. I love RE2 it is a really fun game to play and continues the story from the first game.
All I was saying is that this game is not one of the best. In fact out of all the RE games I would rank it as 4th. That is pretty damn good if you ask me. My arguments were more geared towards the people who would put it at 2 or even 1.
Bottom line it is good, but it isn’t perfect.
Final Score: 3/5
This one was a little rushed and I apologized. I had just drove back to Ohio for the weekend and just got back into town. I was tired and I put this together the best that I could. Please come and check out Tuesday for a new film review.
Also check out my new contact me page. It now is complete with a feedback area where I would love to hear your questions, thoughts, and requests for the site.
But for now I am tired and still have a long night ahead of me. Thank you for reading and please like and subscribe for more.