Review by The Wise Tonberry
"Resident Evil 2 looks just as great on the PC as it does on the PSX and N64."
The sequel to the ever popular Resident Evil made its way to the homes of thousands of thousands of Nintendo 64, PlayStation, and now PC owners in a big way. The game is impressive on many levels: great graphics, great music, a good storyline, and great action, in combination with difficult puzzles that will make you rack your brain as hard as you can.
Resident Evil 2 isn't exactly a sequel to Resident Evil per se, but it does have a storyline relative to that of the first game. In this game, Chris Redfield's sister, Claire, travels to Raccoon City, where Chris is based as a S.T.A.R.S. Operative, to find him. Arriving in the city, Claire only discovers that it is overrun by Zombies! Nearly captured by a horde of zombies, she is rescued by Rookie Raccoon City Police Officer, Leon S. Kennedy. The two join up to try and escape the city alive. While driving, however, their car is badly damaged in an accident, and Leon and Claire find themselves separated on either sides of the street, unable to meet up. Running for survival, they decide to rendevous at the Raccoon City Police Department, where they would find a whole new conspiracy behind this city-wide disaster...
The graphics of the game are an upgrade of the first Resident Evil, and the Cinematics are great. It's amazing what Capcom has done graphically with this game, as opposed to what the choppy and pixelated games like Mario 64, Tomb Raider, and Goldeneye are like. Character designs are a little pixelated, like blocky looking arms, but its not that big a deal. Claire is designed well, but I don't really like Leon. He sports a rather boring and bland police officer uniform, and its all blue. The enemies look great as well. There are new enemies you wont find in the last Resident Evil, and they look very realistic. The playable characters move more like humans, and it helps make the game look more realistic. Enemies still move a little slow and choppy like, but they're zombies, so its not that big of a deal.
The environments are VERY detailed. As you travel through the slums of Raccoon City, there is grafiti on the wall, as well as other scattered flotsam and garbage. The police department is HUGE, and though I think its a little overdesigned, its good for a longer, more fulfilling play through the game. The Umbrella lab that you'll eventually travel to is great looking, very realistic and future-like. All in all, the game looks fantastic.
The sound is great too, just like in the last Resident Evil. In Resident Evil 2, there are voice-overs for each actor during cinematics or in-game cut scenes, which is better than nothing. Even if they are over acted and definitely over emotional, its better than getting no voices at all.
The soundtrack to Resident Evil 2 is awesome. Music sounds half symphonic, half synthesized, and it works really well with that mix. The police department has a great theme song to go along with the game: it helps establish a creepy, scary, and all around mysterious mood when you're running through a mysterious building being chased by lots of zombies.
Sound effects of the game are decent; nothing spectacular. The gun makes the same sound as when you fire it, and when you shoot walls and objects, there's no clatter, just the same old sound. Each individual enemy makes its own noise when you attack it, no matter what weapon you use, which is sad. Using a Grenade Launcher and a regular Handgun and not getting a different reaction out of enemies can be a tad disappointing. Another annoying feature is that Claire/Leon make the same sound when they are attacked, a high pitched squeal or yell, which gets really irritating sometimes.
The gameplay is about the same as Resident Evil: the control can be frustrating to a new user, but it gets easier to work. The system for holding and firing a gun can be a little slow and unresponsive, especially when dealing with a fast or very small enemy (such as a bat or dog, which irritate the crap out of you).
The cache of weapons is decent sized, and its fun to be able to use different weapons. At least once during the game, you'll wonder how one woman or man without any backpack of any kind, can hold so many items and weapons that are so large! Even when you equip a side pack, it doesn't show any difference on the person's outfit. However, the weapon and item system is very good. Having an item box in certain rooms is good to sort out important items from items that you've already used, and therefore don't require, so that you can make room for others. All in all, you will not be disappointed in the different weapons you can use in Resident Evil 2.
Saving the game is the same as it was last time: the use of ink ribbons that you can find in various locations are used, one at a time, in type writers. The good thing is that you'll never run out of Ink Ribbons, and it helps you control the amount of saving you do.
There isn't much replayability to Resident Evil 2, besides a "Hunk" and "Tofu" Survival mini-game, which is like the Battle game in other Resident Evil games. However, this is a really fun game that you will find yourself coming back to more than once.
There aren't any differences between this version and the PlayStation version, which is a little sad, because there is more in the Nintendo 64 version than there is in the PC and PSX versions. Even without the small Game Options that are included in the N64 version, this game still makes the same mark.
Final Comments: this is a great action/horror game, and you will really like it if you enjoy games with complex storylines, great action, and cheesy horror movies.
Overall Grade: 8.3
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/04
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