There’s a dividing line in Resident Evil’s history, a fracture that tears the series almost neatly into two. On the one side there’s the creeping dread of the original trilogy; slow, sometimes cumbersome but rarely anything short of terrifying. And then there are the later games, where the camp is amped up alongside the action until it’s something of a chaotic din. They’re both enjoyable, in their own ways, even if the older games have a certain class that sets them apart.
Bridging the two has been the series’ big conundrum in recent years. Resident Evil 6 took a slightly lumpy approach, bundling everything together in a chewy mess, while the reinvention of Resident Evil 7 did a much grander job, amping up the horror until it was as potent as anything in the series’ past. Judging by the hour or so I’ve spent with the Resident Evil 2 remake, this could be even more effective; equal parts chilling, camp and just about the perfect distillation of all that makes Capcom’s survival horror games so beloved.
It works, and it works brilliantly. If you want to know exactly how, and why, our latest look at Resident Evil 2 remake – an extended look at Claire’s campaign, shown off at last month’s Tokyo Game Show but embargoed until now – has a single moment that shows off the effectiveness of Capcom’s approach with neat efficiency. It’s a scene that’s likely stuck in your craw if you’ve ever played Resident Evil 2, even if it’s been over 20 years since your last encounter; the very first time you come across a Licker, one of Resident Evil’s nastiest, most viscerally disgusting enemies.
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