Resident Evil 2 remake: PlayStation classic returns as an HD horror

Photo: Capcom
Photo: Capcom
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Resident Evil 2 was one of the original PlayStation's most popular games in the '90s. And it's coming back next year in the form of a high-definition, high-anxiety remake.

Twenty years on from the classic survival-horror's release, Capcom have unveiled a first look at their modern 're-imagining' at tech show E3 2018, which has already seen the revealing of some pretty major projects.

Photo: Capcom

Photo: Capcom

Here's everything we know about the Resident Evil 2 remake.

There are some familiar faces (and foes)

As with the original game, Resident Evil 2 will revolve around rookie cop Leon Kennedy and fellow survivor Claire Redfield, who are forced to fight for their lives when a zombie outbreak hits Raccoon City.

Also in keeping with the 1998 thriller, both will have separate, overlapping campaigns.

Trailers tease the return of the rain-soaked post-apocalyptic streets of Raccoon City, and the sinister, gothic police station where the majority of the action takes place.

We appear to get brief glimpses of doomed cop Marvin, young girl Sherry Birkin and the mysterious, red-dressed Ada Wong - all supporting characters from the original.

A cinematic preview meanwhile, which initially puts us in the perspective of a rat, hints at frantic zombie encounters and the return of the feared wall-and-ceiling-crawling mutants known as 'Lickers' - whose long spiked tongues will have given plenty of '90s gamers nightmares.

As to whether the giant alligator will also make a comeback, only time will tell.

Some big changes have been made

It's important to note that this is a complete remake of the original game, and not a simple graphical remaster. As such, there are some notable changes in its look and approach.

Gameplay footage reveals the use of an over-the-shoulder camera angle similar to that of the seminal Resident Evil 4 and more recent horror games like Dead Space, rather than the fixed camera angles used in the original Resident Evil 2 and other early titles in the series.

The Resident Evil 2 remake will also apparently use a modernised control scheme rather than so-called 'tank controls', and pre-rendered backgrounds are out in favour of detailed 4K visuals.

Speaking of which, the graphics look incredibly detailed and evocative, but there is a much more explicitly shadowy and gloomy aesthetic.

The gameplay looks incredibly moody and intense, with corridors shrouded in darkness and Leon's torch barely lighting the way. It's claustrophobic stuff, with the fixed camera angle only adding to that notion, as the player is confronted by groups of shambling undead just inches away from them.

Fans will be happy to note that the emphasis appears very much to be on the 'survival' part of survival horror.

It's part of an ongoing look to the past

Released in 1998, Resident Evil 2 was one of the highest-selling games of all time on the original PlayStation, shifting five million copies.

Creators Capcom initially revealed they were working on a Resident Evil 2 remake three years ago. But this is the first proper look at it.

A remake of the original Resident Evil for the GameCube in 2002 is widely considered one of the greatest horror games of all time. In 2015, it was given an HD Remaster for modern consoles and broke digital sales records - prompting Capcom to announce a complete remake of Resident Evil 2.

Responding to increasing fan disillusionment, the company has been going back to the series' roots of late. Widely-praised 2017 reboot Resident Evil 7 adopted a new first-person perspective but really captured the spirit of the early games. i named it one of the best games of last year.

It's out in just six months or so

The Resident Evil 2 remake will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on January 25, 2019.

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