2019 is promising tons of new games to look forward to, but strangely enough, one of the most anticipated is a remake of a 20-year-old game. However, unlike Shadow of the Colossus or Spyro, Resident Evil 2 remake is far more than just slapping modern graphics onto the 1998 horror classic (Not to undermine those two games though, they are great makeovers in their own rights). It’s practically a brand new game built from the ground up by a different team of developers. The perspective has also been changed to behind-the-shoulder from fixed cameras.

The main characters of the 1998 Resident Evil 2

Still, our expectations and demands have increased by a large margin over the last two decades, so in order for this remake to be successful, the developers must not only capture the essence of the original, but also up their game and deliver a better experience with improved scripts and performances.

Even with the blocky graphics and less-than-desirable voice acting, Resident Evil 2 is still regarded as one of the best horror game ever made, and fans have been craving for this remake for years. But what is it about the game that makes it so great even after all these years?

Global outbreak

Zombie survival games are all over the place these days, but the original Resident Evil released on PS1 in 1996 was one of the pioneers of the genre. However, it was its successor that really turned the franchise into a global phenomenon. At launch, Resident Evil 2 was even featured in the Guinness World Records for earning a revenue higher than that of all but one Hollywood movie for the same weekend, surpassing other titans like Final Fantasy VII or Super Mario 64.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Story Trailer

The game undoubtedly deserves all the praises. It wasn’t content with simply following the patterns set by its predecessor. Instead, it took all the elements that made the original great and expanded on them. So instead being constrained in a secluded mansion, the protagonists now have to survive on the streets of Raccoon City.

Even then, the developers had an even bigger vision for the series, and with Resident Evil 2, they established the cornerstone that would later be used to turn the franchise into a universe in which multiple separated stories could be told. RE2 was not simply a hit game – it paved the way for numerous movies, comics, and other spin-offs to follow.

Iconic characters

Needless to say, the characters play a vital role in connecting players with the game. And even though the portrayal and voice-acting of Leon S Kennedy and Claire Redfield might not have aged too well, these two still remain one of the most iconic duos in the eyes of fans.

Re 2 Remake Protagonist
Leon and Claire is one of gaming's most iconic duo

In contrast to Chris Redfield of the first game who was kind of the stereotypical “strong man” type, Leon is a novice police officer on his first day of work that looks like he was modeled after young Leonardo DiCaprio (The similarity in their names was probably not a coincidence either). Claire Redfield, meanwhile, shows that she is one of the most badass female characters of the series right from the start.

The spotlight didn’t belong to just the heroes either. Resident Evil 2 also introduced us to the double agent Ada Wong who is undeniably one of the most iconic antiheroes in the history of gaming.

Unforgettable nightmares

Then of course we have to talk about the zombies. While they were still the traditional slow and stupid type, the idea of being in a city full of them created a frightening atmosphere. Surely, being cornered by a legion of ravenous walking dead is an experience that fans are not likely to forget.

But zombies are not everything. RE2 also featured tons of monstrous creatures such as the Lickers, skinless humanoids with tongues that were capable of decapitating people, or the unnaturally massive alligator lurking in the sewers.

Re2 Licker
The terrifying Licker

Still, they all pale in comparison to the Tyrant Mr. X. After all, what is a better way to create a sense of impending doom than having players pursued by a seemingly unstoppable, indestructible monster that can squash them in seconds? In fact, this idea later formed the basis of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

Different paths

The first Resident Evil also had two playable protagonists, but oftentimes it felt like two disconnected stories rather than two sides of one. RE2 improved upon this by providing a ‘B’ scenario for each of the characters once players complete his or her ‘A’ scenario. This means you basically had a total of four campaigns to play through.

This mechanic gave players a chance to view the story from the other character’s point of view. Another great feature that added to the immersion was that choices you made in the ‘A’ scenario would have an impact on the ‘B’ scenario. For example, enemies would be absent if they had already been killed earlier.

Not only that, there was also a minigame called ‘The 4th Survivor’ that you could unlock, which put you in the role of HUNK - an Umbrella operative who must try to find a way to escape Raccoon City with just a few items available at hand. Additionally, to add some humor to this otherwise dark and grisly game, you can play this mode as a literal piece of tofu. A piece of great news is that the remake is bringing back all of these.

Resident Evil 2 Tofu
You can literally play as a walking piece of tofu with a knife in the original Resident Evil 2

Next-gen talent

Resident Evil 2 was not only just a great game, but it also made a name for Hideki Kamiya, who worked as System Planner for the first Resident Evil and then went on to become the director of the sequel. With this as leverage, Kamiya’s visions and fame would only grow. It was him who later brought several more hit games such as Devil May Cry, Okami, or Bayonetta to life.

Hideki Kamiya Thumbs Up
Hideki Kamiya, the name behind Resident Evil 2 and several other hits

Kamiya has left Capcom for more than a decade and the upcoming RE2 remake was created by an entirely new team. However, it still managed to successfully and faithfully capture the spirit of the 1998 title. With that being the case, the remake is surely going to bring a new generation of fans to the franchise. Who knows, we might even get a remake of other Resident Evil games in the future.