Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

Shade’s Review of Resident Evil 2

Posted on this Site: Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Originally Published on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at https://shadevideogames.blogspot.com/2015/03/shades-review-of-resident-evil-2.html

When a video game is a success, there is usually a need for a sequel that improves on the original and adds to the storyline.
That’s exactly what Resident Evil 2 accomplishes.
Biohazard 2/Resident Evil 2 began development soon after the release of the first game with Shinji Mikami as producer, Hideki Kamiya as director, and the story written by Noboru Sugimura.
The game that the team started making was quite different from the final product released with Elza Walker as a playable character instead of Claire Redfield, Leon and Elza never crossed paths, the police station was created to look more like real life police stations, and many more differences.
This version, commonly known as Biohazard 1.5/Resident Evil 1.5, was discarded more than half-way through development in favor of creating the released game fans know and love.
 
Resident Evil 2 was released on the PlayStation in North America on January 21, 1998, and on May 8, 1998 in the PAL regions.
The Japanese version titled Biohazard 2 was available on January 29, 1998.
The Dual Shock version for the PlayStation came out in North America and Japan later that year, and re-released on the PlayStation Network years later.
It was also ported to the Game.com in 1998.
In 1999-2000, the game was ported to Windows 95/98, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast.
A GameCube version was released in 2003, and Japan got a release for Windows XP in 2006.
 
Like its predecessor, every version has its differences.
A minigame called Extreme Battle Mode appears on the PlayStation Dual Shock, Dreamcast, GameCube, and PC.
A rookie mode was added on top of easy and normal difficulty levels to the PlayStation Dual Shock, Dreamcast, GameCube, and PC giving players the rocket launcher, gatling gun, and machine gun in the item box at the beginning of the game.
Moreover, the PC edition has a hard mode.
All releases are on two discs (disc one for Leon’s game and disc two for Claire’s game) with the exception of the game on N64 and GameCube.
The N64 version is on one cartridge along with the GameCube release being on one disc, and you choose to play Leon or Claire in the main menu.
The Dreamcast version uses the console’s VMU (Visual Memory Unit) to show health status and ammo count.
 
The game has the most extras on the N64, and the most differences on Game.com.
For the N64 version, players can choose to randomize items, blood color, and violent control.
There are also more memos in the N64 release that can be found throughout the game known as ex-files.
Only Leon’s A scenario is available for the Game.com edition, and the graphics are in black and white and in 2.5D.
 
Unlike Resident Evil 1, I don’t remember seeing Resident Evil 2 around the time it was released.
I didn’t see RE2 until I played it myself a few years after it came out.
I don’t know why because I experienced Resident Evil 3 as a demo before I got to play the entire game a couple years later.
I guess I just never saw any of my childhood friends play it.
 
Resident Evil 2 is set in September 1998 in Raccoon City, two months after the first Resident Evil.
Leon S. Kennedy is heading to the Raccoon Police Department for his first day of his job as a cop, and Claire Redfield rides into town looking for her brother Chris who was one of the playable characters in Resident Evil 1.
They unknowingly enter the town during a viral outbreak, and encounter the townspeople as zombies.
Leon and Claire cross paths during this time, and head for the RPD thinking it’ll be safer.
On the way, they get separated, and must take their own paths to survive.
 
One improvement players will quickly notice in Resident Evil 2 is the voice acting.
The voice acting in Resident Evil 1 is pretty cheesy, which can either be seen as fun or bad depending on the person.
RE2 has a couple cheesy lines, but the character performances are definitely better than RE1.
Every Resident Evil sequel has at least one cheesy line, but they have pretty good voice acting.
 
Like Resident Evil 1, Leon and Claire each have their own attributes that make their games a little different.
Both get a handgun at the start of the game, but other weapons are specific to them.
Leon gets a shotgun and magnum.
Claire gets a bolt gun and grenade launcher.
Both have special items at the start of the game.
Leon has a lighter, and Claire has a lockpick.
Leon has to get small keys to unlock doors and drawers Claire can unlock with the lockpick.
Claire must find a lighter in a room in the police station.
Leon’s secondary character is Ada Wong, a woman looking for her boyfriend John.
Claire’s secondary character is a twelve year old girl named Sherry Birkin.
 
What Resident Evil 2 does differently than the first game is have A and B scenarios for both characters.
The A and B scenarios parallel each other, and there are two paths to choose: Leon A – Claire B or Claire A – Leon B.
How it works is that you play one character first which will be his or her A game.
Once that A game is completed, the B game for the opposite character must be saved when prompted, and the B game save file can be loaded when you’re ready to play it.
You have to play the A game with one character in order to play the B game with the other character.
 
Since the A and B scenarios happen at the same time, there are some differences between the scenarios and the paths you take.
First off, the enemy Mr. X only appears in the B scenario with both Leon or Claire making the game a little more nerve-wrecking and more difficult.
Several months ago, I played Claire B after not playing the B scenario in years.
There is a part in the police station where you must do a puzzle to get a cogwheel.
In the A scenario, you do the puzzle, get the cogwheel, and be on your way.
In the B scenario, you do the puzzle, and Mr. X bursts through the wall.
It had been so long since I had played the B scenario that I had forgotten about it, and it almost gave me a heart attack.
 
Second, Leon and Claire have specific aspects that always occur in their game no matter which scenario you play them in.
Leon and Claire always get their specific weapons.
Ada is always Leon’s secondary character, and Sherry is always Claire’s secondary character.
Leon always meets Ben the reporter, and Claire always meets the chief of police Brian Irons.
Third, the two paths also offer something a little different.
In the Claire A – Leon B path, Sherry will need to be saved.
Claire needs to make a vaccine to cure her while Leon has to make his way to Sherry’s location, and take her to the escape route.
This does not happen in the Leon A – Claire B path.
 
The addition of the A and B scenarios is a good example of Resident Evil 2 adding onto what RE1 did.
Resident Evil 1 has two characters, Chris and Jill to choose to play.
Chris’ game and Jill’s game have nothing to do with each other.
You play the same game with both characters, but each character has his or her own attributes that changes the gameplay in some ways.
Resident Evil 2 once again has two characters to choose, Leon and Claire, but their games have everything to do with each other.
When you play one character’s game, the other character’s game is happening at the same time.
This time players are also choosing two paths: Leon A – Claire B and Claire A – Leon B.
 
As to which character is easier to play is for the player to decide.
In RE1, it’s almost universally agreed upon by fans that Jill’s game is easier than Chris’ game due to Jill having two more inventory slots, she gets the lockpick and the bazooka, etc.
It’s not so straightforward in RE2.
I’ve heard some fans say that Leon is easier to play, and others say that Claire is easier to play.
I prefer to play Leon because I like his weapons better.
Plus, you have to make sure that Sherry keeps up with when she is with her.
If Claire runs too far ahead, Sherry will stay where she is and crouch down.
Then you have to go back for her.
I understand that Sherry is a young girl, and it may be difficult for her to keep up with Claire, a grown adult.
It’s still annoying, however, that you have to make sure she keeps up or you’ll have to go back for her.
 
Some fans think that Leon can take more damage than Claire.
I never really noticed.
It’s easy to notice, however, that both characters have the same amount of inventory space, each get their own special item, and have their own weapons.
It just depends on what you prefer between the two.
What is obvious is that the A scenario is easier than the B scenario no matter which character you play.
I would recommend playing the A scenario with each character then play the B scenario with each character.
If you do decide to play in that order, be sure to save Leon’s game and Claire’s game on different slots.
 
The gameplay and controls are pretty much the same as RE1.
Both games involve solving puzzles, collecting items, and surviving against zombies and virus mutated creatures.
One aspect about survival that RE2 adds is Leon/Claire acting a certain way depending on their health status.
Like RE1, there are five health states: green fine, yellow caution, orange caution, red danger, and purple poison.
When Leon or Claire is fine, they act normal.
In caution or if they’re poisoned, they hold their stomachs.
If they’re health is in danger then they limp.
It’s a good way to visually show the player that the character is hurt without constantly checking the inventory screen.
 
I’m very happy with how Resident Evil 2 turned out, and many fans agree.
At the same time, it would be great to be able to play Resident Evil 1.5. 
I know there is at least one playable version being made by some fans, but I don’t know if it’s available to download yet.
I searched for it, but I haven’t found it.
It would be great to get an official release of Resident Evil 1.5, although I doubt Capcom would be willing to put in the time and effort for it.
As good as Resident Evil 2 is, it would still be neat to have the chance to play the original version.
 
Resident Evil 2 has great replayability.
The choice of playing Leon or Claire as well as the A and B scenarios will have players complete the game at least four times.
All versions have the two minigames: The 4th Survivor and The Tofu Survivor.
The 4th Survivor is available after getting an A ranking for both A and B scenarios on normal difficulty.
The Tofu Survivor is unlocked after achieving A rankings six times in a row playing both A and B scenarios for both characters on normal difficulty.
Extreme Battle mode on the PlayStation Dual Shock edition and Dreamcast is opened the same way the 4th Survivor is unlocked.
The PC version has Extreme Battle mode as well, but it’s available from the start.
 
There are also unlockable costumes in all releases.
You must play the A scenario with either character, do not pick up any items on the way to the police station, and when you reach the entrance of the RPD then a zombified Brad Vickers (helicopter pilot for S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team) will appear.
You find out how he gets infected in Resident Evil 3.
When he is killed, you get a special key from him to use on a locker for extra costumes.
Another way of making the N64 release replayable is the item randomizer, which rearranges healing items and ammo.
 
Resident Evil 2 is a great game, and an excellent sequel to an awesome game.
It continues the story of the first Resident Evil, and builds and improves on everything the original game did.
That’s exactly what a sequel should do.
As with RE1, I recommend Resident Evil 2 to anyone.
The original and dual shock editions on PlayStation can be found for $10-15.
It will probably be closer to $20 for only the N64 cartridge.
The Dreamcast, GameCube, and PC versions will be a little higher around $20-35.
If you have a PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, or PlayStation Vita, you can buy it on the PlayStation Store for $5.99.
As for the Game.com version, you can get it on eBay for $10 or less, however I would only recommend it to people who collect for the Game.com or Resident Evil fans who really want to play every Resident Evil game ever released.
Now onto Resident Evil 3.