(ominous music) (zombie growls) – Now this is how you remake a classic. Capcom didn’t just update 1998’s Resident Evil 2 with modern graphics and controls. They started from scratch to craft a modern feeling game that expertly reanimates the horrifying atmosphere and moments of extreme tension that made the original so revered. There’s not a ton of content here but I’ve enjoyed nearly every gory minute of my return to Leon and Claire’s shoes. (ominous music) 20 years is a long time, long enough that I’d forgotten nearly everything about Resident Evil 2, other than that I’d loved it back in the age of the first Playstation. So I got to experience it much as many of you playing for the first time will. But viewed side by side it’s apparent what an enormous improvement this remake is. The horror heightening lighting affects and convincingly terrified facial animations are especially impressive and the satisfyingly dismemberable zombies are the best looking undead I’ve ever seen in a game, and the juiciest.I love the way they lurch around and I’d venture a guess that the designers were heavily inspired by the tar man from Return of the Living Dead. Some events have been rearranged or expanded upon and there are some surprising twists I didn’t remember. But this is a mostly loyal remake of the suitably dark and twisted story of Resident Evil 2. Our heroes meanwhile are likable enough but two-dimensional in their unwavering heroism. That makes ’em a bit dull, whereas a couple of the side characters are more charismatic and interesting. – Jesus. – Whether you play as Leon or Claire, exploring dark hallways, solving silly but fun puzzles, and blasting zombies all remains just as enjoyable today. Raccoon City is divided into three large areas which also serve as the stories acts.Charting each area, learning the lay of the land, and eventually overcoming the obstacles in your way really never gets old. (stairs rumble) Capcom clearly doesn’t expect us to be running and gunning like superheroes. The bloody beating heart of Resident Evil is in careful inventory and management and challenging, skin of your teeth survival. It always seems like I was just barely scraping by with enough bullets and healing items which created a real feeling that I was in constant danger.That tension has been elevated by the commendable sound design. – What the hell is that? – Resident Evil 2 gets horror atmosphere like nobody’s business. At the same time, the remake is a little more merciful than the original. We get modern conveniences like being able to save your progress at any typewriter and maps which automatically update to let you know if a room has been cleared of items. (ominous music) The real chiller in the first two thirds of the campaign is the Tyrant super zombie. He appears early on to stalk you and his emotionless face and steady unstoppable gait makes him Resident Evil’s worthy counterpart to Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. Hearing his relentless footsteps getting louder and louder, knowing there is nothing I can do to stop him filled me with a true sense of dread.Eventually though, he becomes more of an obnoxious inconvenience than a fear factor. When you’re trying to solve a puzzle and advance the story it would’ve been nice if the big lug would just take a hint and reside somewhere else. (screaming) I finished Leon’s campaign in eight hours that seemed to fly by a little too quickly and eagerly jumped into Claire’s for what I expected to be a completely different perspective on that faithful evenings events after the two are separated in the story’s opening moments, but I was disappointed to find that she took an extremely similar path, met the same people, solved the same puzzles, and fought the same bosses.You do have to adapt your tactics and learn to use a new set of weaponry and each hero does meet a unique, important person that causes them to deviate from the shared path for a time. It turns out the other perspective does exist, but it’s confusingly hidden behind each character’s second game mode. You have to play through as Leon once to unlock the second version as Leon and the same for Claire. By the time I figured this out I had already played through the same campaign twice but at least I’m finally seeing some new areas and there is the promise of an alternate ending. The way Capcom laid out these two versions of the campaign is baffling. (ominous music) Capcom did a fantastic job of resurrecting all the best part of the classic Resident Evil 2 and making them look, sound, and play like a 2019 game. If you’re of the mind that the series had lost its way for awhile there this game is very much a return to form.The zombie combat is satisfying and exploring the dilapidated ruins of Raccoon City is a thrill. The one big letdown is that Capcom unintuitively hides the alternate perspective content. Though whichever character you play as, the experience of playing through the new Resident Evil 2 for the first time establishes a new standard for remaking classic games. For more on Resident Evil check out the first 15 minutes of gameplay, our comparison of the remake and the original, and our favorite moments from the series.And for everything else stick with us right here at IGN. (screams) (ominous music) .