In many gaming circles, 1998 is considered the best year for video games in history. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid, Xenogears, Half-Life, Banjo-Kazooie, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Tekken 3, and Resident Evil 2 among others. All these games (many which still top All Time Great listings) were released within the same year.
Today, we remember Resident Evil 2, which to many is the best game (at least at the time of release) of the now long running series.
Resident Evil 2 was an improvement over its predecessor in every way…
The original Resident Evil was a hit, but the RE2 took things to the next level. A bigger game, with better graphics, sound and atmosphere. The “Tank Controls” were even tightened up a bit. The combination of pre-rendered backgrounds, and polygonal characters gave the game a realistic look, that kept the PlayStation at play in its visual competition with its more powerful rival the Nintendo 64.
Resident Evil 2 just felt like polished product. I would even dare to say it felt more polished than Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and maybe the Dreamcast’s Code Veronica, except that Veronica looked worlds better for obvious reasons.
While having to trek back and forwards through the game’s environments in order to solve puzzles was a bit immersion breaking at times, for the most part the somewhat “ridiculous” puzzle mechanics worked better here than in other titles (though my personal favorite in this regard remains Resident Evil 0).
Finishing the game with Claire, or Leon in the “A” scenario, opened a “B” scenario with the remaining character. The “B” scenario would be affected by the decisions made over the course of the A scenario. Because the player could tackle the “A” scenario with either character, Resident Evil 2 provided said player with 4 different, relatively fresh playthroughs.
The game offered an incredible amount of replay ability for those interested in exploiting it.
A Scary Experience
Not as scary as Silent Hill, but the Tank Controls coupled with scarce ammo along Resident Evil 2’s beautiful (at the time) graphics created a tense atmosphere. It felt like anything around the corner could kill me if I didn’t have enough ammo. Conversely, spending ammo in small time enemies would also create issues during the game’s boss battles.
Resident Evil 2 was an excellent game all around. It turned me into a lifelong Resident Evil fan, even through the series’ rough patches (RE5 and RE6). With 5.7 million units sold (on PlayStation alone) the game is also one of the most successful video games on Sony’s first game console.
The game is easy to find today. With ports available on the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Windows and GameCube. A wonderful Remake exists on Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, but if you want to experience the original game, for just under $50 you can get a used copy of the game from amazon.
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