Capcom are keeping the long tradition of demos alive into 2019. Not too long ago they gave us a brief look at Devil May Cry 5, more recently they released a demo for the Resident Evil 2 Remake. Fittingly titled “One-Shot Demo”, we get just thirty minutes to play as much as we can. With the full launch of the game coming this Friday, I thought I’d put my thoughts together on this demo. So, let us discuss. We do it!

The Resident Evil 2 Remake has had a long history in the fan community. When the original game was remade for the Gamecube, it received new life. Not only becoming the definitive way to experience the first game (unless you REALLY want that sweet bad voice acting) but standing as a testament to what can be accomplished when you take that style of game and throw a new coat of paint on it. Naturally, the Resi community clamoured for a similar remaster of Resident Evil 2, a favourite of many fans.

This remake was long rumoured to be on the cards until it was made official; we do it, said Capcom in 2015. Little was said until E3 last year when we finally got to see what was in store. Resident Evil 2 was to be a remake on a whole other level, not simply the original game with updated visuals. The story of Leon S. Kennedy and his unfortunate first day on the job is getting all new visuals, mechanics and gameplay. A truly modern Resident Evil game to tell a classic tale. Plenty of promising talk, but the best way to know a game’s worth is to play it yourself. Conveniently we can do just that with this handy dandy new demo!

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With only thirty minutes of game time, I did my level best to see as much of the demo as I could. Inadvertently, I finished the demo with time to spare. Luckily, the timer only drops in game. I took this opportunity to fiddle with the settings, and I bring this up only because I have never seen a game with such depth in it’s options. Most PC games let you customise your graphical settings to your heart’s content, but Resident Evil 2 gives you a running tally of just how much of your memory is being used. This is a seriously useful feature, letting you adjust settings and see the effect in real time, rather than hoping for the best when you load into the game. On the topic of graphics, RE2 looks spectacular.

Built on the same tech as RE7 and DMC5, this game is all of what you would expect a video game in 2019 to look like. Of particular note are the lighting and facial animations, but top to bottom this is one of the best looking games out there. Mechanically RE2 Remake falls somewhere in the midst of the 4-6 style, leaning more towards six. No tank controls here, but action man you are not. Leon and Claire are not the zombie killing masters they would later become, this is Leon’s first day on the job and he is as green as the sweet, precious herbs. Bullets are about as sparse as they were in the original, and early on you get a knife from Marvin. The classic tactic still works, incapacitate the zombies and knife them until they stop moving. What’s changed is that knives are now finite, they break after a certain amount of use. I love this, it really adds to the survival aspect of the game. With all the changes to the formula over the years, it seems with this remake Capcom are not only going back to what made Resident Evil great in the first place, but making new and interesting decisions to expand on their ideas. As refreshing as Resident Evil 7 was, as a fan of the series I’m looking at Resident Evil 2 Remake and seeing serious promise for the future of the franchise. If Resident Evil 8 takes it’s cues from this game, I’ll be a happy gamer.

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After Resident Evil 6, the series was in a pretty low place in the eyes of fans. What had once been the seminal horror franchise had become just another action shooter. This evolution was a bit of a catch 22 for Capcom, they couldn’t make the same game over and over again, but expanding on the series only took it further from what made it popular, what the fans wanted. Dead Space saw a similar fate. Only with time and good will could Capcom get a chance to reclaim their glory, and with Resi 7 they did it. Resident Evil had new life as something different, but where to go from there? Well, it’s been a long time since the hay day of this series and there’s a whole new generation who did not grow up with these games. Makes sense to bring things back to basics, for the possible benefit of launching the series further in the future. Nintendo just did the same with Pokémon Go, a way to bridge the gap for new players to see what the old games are like. Could this mean we see a Resident Evil 8 that harkens back to the classics? It’s possible, and I am hopeful.

If this demo and the rave reviews are anything to go by, Resident Evil 2 Remake is a must buy. The general consensus of the internet is that this game is the right way to do a remake, and that certainly looks to be the case. We’ll all be able to find out for ourselves starting this Friday.

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