Resident Evil 2 originally released in 1998 on the PlayStation and has since been ported to numerous platforms. Over the years, it has frequently been cited as a fan-favorite entry in the prolific, ever-evolving franchise. So in August 2015, Capcom announced that a full-fledged remake was in development. Now, over twenty years after the original game’s release, it’s time to re-enter the horror. Resident Evil 2 is set in the fictional Midwestern town of Raccoon City near the infamous Spencer Mansion. A few months after the bizarre incident involving the elite S.T.A.R.S. unit and illegal bio-weapons, rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy loses contact with his department and enters the city to investigate. Claire Redfield is also in the city looking for her brother Chris, and the pair soon finds themselves besieged by zombies. They agree to search for survivors but are quickly separated in the ensuing chaos. While the central plot remains faithful to the source material, characters are expanded upon in subtle ways. Leon and Claire both have their own separate six to eight hour campaigns, featuring different characters, weapons, and story beats. Leon is joined by the enigmatic Ada Wong as the two investigate why the outbreak happened, while Claire finds the young Sherry Birkin in peril.While the majority of each campaign unfortunately takes place in the same locations with similar puzzles, they offer slight variations to keep it from feeling like a retread. More importantly, different weapons force players to apply slightly different tactics for each character. Each campaign takes place primarily in the Raccoon Police Department and its immediate surroundings. Due to hardware limitations in the original version, rooms were separated by loading screens that provided some measure of safety from the undead. Now virtually nowhere is safe, as the building feels overrun and menacing. Much of it is in shambles with locked doors and broken contraptions. Slowly but surely, boarding up windows, unlocking shortcuts, and solving the many secrets within is deeply rewarding.Compared to the original layout, the remake manages to differ considerably but retain many similarities. Certain hallways and rooms are nearly identical, offering feelings of intense nostalgia often cut short by a terrifying foe. Combat encounters are risky and dangerous even on standard difficulty. Zombies are relentless as they bob and weave in an effort to close the gap and chew your neck off. Headshots are essential but they require precision and patience, the latter of which isn’t always possible when surrounded by a horde. You can also shoot off limbs to provide a tactical advantage depending on the situation. Resources and ammo are always in short supply so missing shots isn’t only demoralizing, but life threatening. The cramped confines of the RPD building are a nightmare as zombies lurk in the shadows and lunge from seemingly out of nowhere. Even after landing countless headshots, you never truly know if they will stay down or rise again and again.The only way to be certain is to destroy the head entirely; a job made easier by high powered weapons like the shotgun or magnum. Zombies are more ferocious than ever but hardly the most intimidating foe. The iconic lickers return, capable of evisceration with just a few swipes of their sharp claws. Trying to exterminate the deadly creatures can be considerably taxing on resources and should be avoided whenever possible. The most dangerous enemy however is the Tyrant. The hulking menace relentlessly pursues Leon and Claire throughout much of the campaign. It is extremely unsettling to hear his ominous footsteps echo through the walls only to stop right outside the door.Unloading tons of ammo into the brute can knock him off balance and stun him just long enough to make an escape, but he will find you again. Just when you think the situation is under control, Resident Evil 2 pushes back. It may come in the form of a new enemy type, a complicated puzzle, or a brutal boss fight. The boss fights do a wonderful job of consistently escalating the stakes and they offer some of the most memorable moments in the game. Sometimes just shooting them isn’t enough, and like most of RE 2, they ask you to think on your feet and stay calm. If things are sounding too stressful, there are three difficulty settings, including Assisted which has weaker enemies, regenerating health, and aim assist. The standard setting features an adaptive difficulty in which enemies become easier or tougher depending on how well you’re doing.Hardcore offers stronger enemies, no autosaves, and most notably, it requires ink ribbons to save progress. The options are perfect for newcomers and veterans alike, ensuring everyone can engage with Resident Evil 2 and still feel the palpable tension. The puzzles have been reworked while maintaining their core themes. Keys in the shape of card suits and plugs shaped like chess pieces make notable returns. The amount of variety is remarkable, and even though some are much harder than others, they never feel cheap or obtuse. Documents and items can be examined to find various clues, while the intuitive map clearly labels rooms that have more to offer. The item box is an essential part of classic Resident Evil and it can be used to store equipment when you are over encumbered. Many weapons and items make a return, but there are a few crucial additions. Combining a red and blue herb provides a defensive boost for a limited time, making it perfect for boss fights or other intense encounters.Gunpowder can be used to produce different ammo types, depending on what’s needed, while secondary weapons like the combat knife and grenades can be used offensively or defensively. Gunpowder and secondary weapons aren’t new to the franchise, but their implementation here adds an additional layer of depth to round out combat. Resident Evil 2 looks stunning. The RPD is consumed by sinister darkness, only penetrated by half-destroyed lights or your trusty flashlight. Flames burn cruelly in the rain-drenched night, and each zombie’s lifeless eyes stare hungrily at their next meal. Gore is rendered in intricately repulsive detail, ensuring that you’ll feel and remember every kill. There are a hefty amount of unlockable rewards for completing various milestones.Simply progressing through each campaign unlocks concept art and character models, while earning an A or S rank by completing the game quickly earns additional costumes and bonus modes. There are even a handful of tasks that ask you to perform different feats like not using the item box or solving certain puzzles as efficiently as possible. The records section also highlights the fastest times and highest ranks earned for each campaign. It all adds extra incentive to replay the game multiple times, perfecting speed runs and attempting unique challenges.Resident Evil 2 manages to remain faithful to the original while simultaneously feeling new and modern. Superb visuals bring everything to life, emphasizing the constant sense of terror. Puzzles are brilliantly balanced, and slowly escaping the RPD by uncovering its many mysteries is incredibly rewarding. Meanwhile, new additions like the secondary weapons and defensive herb increase the depth of consistently dangerous combat encounters. Whether this is your first trip to Raccoon City or one-thousandth, you are not prepared for the horror that awaits. Easy Allies Reviews are made possible by generous viewers just like you. If you like what you see, check out patreon.com/easyallies to help us make more.For just $1 a month, you can gain access to weekly updates, spoiler discussions, and exclusive shows. .