Video game remakes are a hit or miss. One might think that it’s easy for developers. There’s a big push for nostalgia these days, and anything made before 2010 is on the table. In reality, there are many obstacles to overcome. There is definitely a demand, but it is fragile. Nostalgia is a touchy subject for many. The game has to be remade, but it’s obvious that some aspects can’t be included. Take a game like Resident Evil 2, for example. The demand was so high that in 2015, Italian studio InvaderGames was about to publish Resident Evil 2 Reborn, an indie complete remake with 3D models and contemporary graphics running on Unreal Engine 4. When word got out, Capcom, the developer of the original, asked them to pull the plug on the project to work on an official remake. For three years, there was dead silence about the remake, until it was finally announced in 2018. There was a lot of buzz about this game, being that the original is revered to be a PlayStation One classic, and the stakes were high for Capcom.
In 2019, Capcom released Resident Evil 2’s remake, a game that is, without a doubt, another classic.
The remake is everything a fan would want to see: it is ambitious and modern, yet feels familiar. There were many aspects of the game that did fine in 1998, but wouldn’t fit in as a 2019 video game. Capcom definitely didn’t play it safe for the remake, introducing new areas and changing elements of the game to up the ante on horror. Learning from the mistakes of Resident Evil 6 and injecting what made Resident Evil 7 successful, they developed a remake that will set the tone for remakes of games from the 90’s.
The remake kept familiar elements with a change of pace and a more suffocating feeling. While the original had a pre-rendered Raccoon City in the background, the remake brings a living environment that just makes you turn around and say, “nope.” Mr. X, a giant man in a trench coat and fedora hat who was maybe laudable in the 90’s, has become a haunting figure that forces you to run around the Raccoon City Police Department. Gone are the fixed camera angles from the original; while Capcom definitely considered it along with the first-person approach from Resident Evil 7, they ultimately went back to the over-the-shoulder from games like Resident Evil 4. The game doesn’t play it safe with the gore either; it is grotesque, realistic, and will give Dead Space a run for its money.
Overall, it is Leon and Claire who make the remake great. Both their stories have been updated to tell a modern version of a classic tale. The remake is a stellar example of what remakes should strive to be: tenacious with what made it great, but unafraid and unapologetic to go outside the comfort zone. If you love Resident Evil, especially the Raccoon City-era of horror, this game is definitely one not to skip.
I just hope they’re planning out a Resident Evil 3 remake… we’re hungry for a Jill Sandwich.