Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 demo is a stingy tease that forces you to be connected to the internet. Although gamers have found a laughably simple and obvious workaround, the duration is still agonisingly short. Exploring Racoon City’s Police Department as an actually blonde and youthful Leon is an intense blast that should’ve been at least a little bit longer so we could actually appreciate all the happenings and details. Still, what was shown did succeed in making us want to play more.
The fixed camera angles is a cinematic relic that will always be craved, but at least Leon’s handling was a lot smoother. This isn’t surprising considering how much the industry has progressed, but it was nice to explore the RCPD without feeling like we were controlling a heavy and unresponsive robot that moves at a snail’s pace. Unsurprisingly, aiming was a lot easier, too. Instead of being forced to stand still while moronically shooting zombies repeatedly in the chest, in the demo it was a simple and necessary tactic to shoot the dead in the head. Sometimes the zombies felt a bit bullet spongey with a few of them continually getting up after five or more bullets to the skull, but most of the time there was a satisfying explosion and bloodbath similar to The Evil Within.
Although it’s mostly because we simply wanted to play more Resident Evil 2, the biggest issue with Capcom’s time limit was that it made us rush through the environments. Instead of tip-toeing through the dim hallways, allowing ourselves to become immersed in the building and the creepy noises around every corner, we simply sprinted everywhere knowing time was precious. This resulted in a rushed but exhilarating trial that lacked the terror Resident Evil 2 is famous for. Obviously this won’t apply to the full game, but it’s something that could have easily been avoided if Capcom allowed players to leisurely explore the RCPD up until a certain point.
While it’s a shame Capcom opted for an over-the-shoulder camera rather than fixed angles, it’s a decision that has made the action less cinematic and more up close. Rather than seeing zombies chomping at Leon’s neck from angles worthy of winning best direction at the Oscars, the zombies were in our face, showing off teeth and gums better than most of us Brits. Similar to God Of War, the over-the-shoulder camera made us feel as if we were following and cowering behind Leon like an invisible escort.
Aside from Leon being blonde instead of ginger, the most impressive aspect of the visuals was the lighting. Rather than well-lit hallways designed to show off there’s actually blood on the ground, one of the areas in the remade RCPD was a gloomy corridor of puddles, bodies, and – of course – vending machines for when the zombies become sick of eating humans. However, if there’s one issue other than the time-limit, it was that the zombies playing possum were terrible actors. It needed to be more difficult to know which zombies would and wouldn’t come alive to make the nightmare scarier and unpredictable.
The Resident Evil 2 demo succeeded in making us want to play more. It would’ve been better if Capcom gave us longer than 30 minutes so we could properly appreciate the details and take the time to read notes, but as a tease it was a nice demonstration for why Resident Evil 2 is a must-buy for newcomers and series veterans. Leon is actually blonde rather than ginger, the zombies are privacy invading cannibals, and the RCPD is a familiar maze that is much easier to explore. We cannot wait for the full game to launch on January 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, so we can tip-tope down corridors as long as we want on Hardcore Mode in an effort to attain the platinum trophy.
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