Resident Evil 2 should be sponsored by Huggies -- it's both pant-creamingly good and trouser-soilingly scary!
Genre: Adventure/ Platform
Resident Evil 2 is perhaps the most anticipated and heavily hyped video game sequel in history. The question is, does Resident Evil 2 live up to the hoopla surrounding it's release? For the most part, the answer is yes.
The game takes place a few months after the end of the first game. Raccoon City is now overrun with zombies, crows and four-legged critters, all intent on wiping out whichever of the two characters you've chosen to play, rookie cop Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield, the sister of Chris Redfield from the first game. Character selection in Resident Evil 2 has a much bigger impact on how you play the game than it did in the first one -- the zombie's don't take it any easier on the fairer sex. Now, when you finish the game using one of the characters, you keep your game data and start over with the other character. And what you did the first time through the game impacts the scenarios you face as the other character. This is easily Capcom's biggest improvement and bolsters Resident Evil 2's replayability tremendously.
Capcom made quite a few other improvements as well, including new weapons (machine gun, grenade launcher, C4 explosives) better character animation, interactive backgrounds, improved FMV sequences and slightly better character acting. Resident Evil 2's backgrounds are easily the most stunning graphic improvement, with burning cars and barrels casting ghastly shadows on the T-virus infected residents of Raccoon City.
Despite all the improvements, there are still a few things to complain about. Aiming is still difficult, especially if you get trapped at the edge of a camera's view. The puzzles are better paced, but less interesting than in the first game, posing little challenge to the experienced adventure gamer. Inventory management is also still a pain, requiring you to run back and forth between storage boxes for necessary items you forgot to pack, although Capcom did ameliorate this a little by including an inventory pack that you can find.
One area where Capcom is dead on is atmosphere. The graphics, sound effects, music and level design all work together to create a spooky, horror-filled world, that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. In fact, Resident Evil 2 may have the best sound design yet for a console game.
A lot of really wonderful things can and will be said by reviewers about Resident Evil 2. It's a good sequel, it's a superb game in it's own right and it will consume your life for hours, but it's not a quantum leap forward in the evolution of the game or the genre. With fourth wave titles like Metal Gear Solid on the way, Resident Evil 2 just isn't quite the ground breaker that the first one was. That said, it's going to be the game that's spinning in my PlayStation for the next few weeks.