The Resident Evil series has always held a special place close to my heart. In particular, Resident Evil 2, for this one was my first. I was around when Resident Evil ambled onto PlayStation in 1996, but paid it little attention, however, I do remember Resident Evil 2 very well. This game was terrifying. The rising sense of terror that filled my stomach, night-after-night, as the copy I had borrowed from my friend sat unmoving in my PlayStation and well aware it had my undivided attention for the foreseeable future.
Then when the credits roll, and we’ve managed to escape Raccoon City, it was an experience unlike any other, and made me a Resi fan for life. So, it’s with some excitement that Capcom has kindly released a little demo for the upcoming remake.
Titled Resident Evil 2 1-shot, the game drops you in as Leon S. Kennedy starts his first day at the RPD and finds everyone at the station either dead, most of them turned into a snack for their now undead colleagues, or hiding. To make the demo more interesting you have a strict half hour playtime to complete this demo in. Even though it is possible to do this in the allotted time, I decided not to use a walkthrough to get through the experience and instead took the time to explore this reimagining of a familiar world.
I did this alone… late at night… with a noise-cancelling 7.1 headset on. Let me tell you, the experience is terrifying. Delicate little raps on the window as the undead tap to come in, the howl of the wind outside, the groans away in the distance, all captured in an incredible symphony that needs to be experienced through a headset so atmospheric pollution doesn’t ruin your experience.
Not only that, the game looks beautiful. Rendered in the RE Engine that brought Resident Evil VII: Biohazard to life, this is one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen in a long time. Especially on the PC version. Turn the polygon count up high and you are looking at a game you won’t be seeing on consoles until the next cycle of hardware comes along. The cutscenes are seamless as they jump to gameplay to cutscene to gameplay with no obvious break in-between, that’s right, the cutscenes are being rendered using the actual engine for the game. Leon is so detailed you can see the pores in his skin.
I mean look at the above and tell me that’s not impressive? That’s rendered in the game and that’s the detail level you can expect.
I’ve not even started on how bowel-emptyingly scary this game can be. Every little sound, scrape, or slight movement had me jumping at my own shadow, Resident Evil has a way of relaxing you just enough you think you know what to expect, and then it blindsides you and makes you convulse in terror. The 1-shot demo works in a similar way, giving you some excellent scares along the way as you try to solve the puzzle in a limited amount of time.
I ran out of bullets and found myself hiding in a dilapidated library, and even though I’d been attacked several times I was determined to see it through and survive my half hour. That’s what’s so great about the series, you live the game vicariously through the protagonist, and this small slice of the upcoming undead pie manages to capture that perfectly.
Resident Evil 2 remake is due for release on 25th January 2019, and will be available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.