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Survival horror defined — ‘Resident Evil 2: Deluxe Edition’ review (PS4)

Written By | Mar 4, 2019
Resident Evil, Racoon City, PS4, Video Game, Gamers, Joseph Szadkowski

Leon S. Kennedy in Resident Evil 2: Deluxe Edition (Courtesy Capcom)

WASHINGTON.  Players return to Raccoon City to take a reimagined and remastered trip into one of the premiere, teeth-chattering, survival horror games ever created in Resident Evil 2: Deluxe Edition (Capcom, rated M, reviewed on PlayStation 4, $69.99).

Relive the terror

Now completely rebuilt from the ground up from the original PlayStation version in 1998, as a solo player can take part in two separate yet overlapping campaigns — one controlling famed rookie police officer Leon S. Kennedy and the other, college student Claire Redfield.

In both, the avatars endure a mutant zombie outbreak unleashed by the T-virus and orchestrated by the evil Umbrella Corporation.

The action unfolds mainly in the devastated Raccoon City Police Department and underground sewers that are now gory-eously photorealistic as the heroes encounter a variety of creatures.

Resident Evil 2: Deluxe Edition – The Plot

Enough cannot be stated about the slowly simmering plot and suffocating atmosphere and dread as death can reside around every corner. This third-person classic shooter is now also witnessed through a new over-the-shoulder perspective, making it even more potent to fray the nerves.

The grotesquely realistic visual presentation will also cause the urps during any of the hero’s bloody encounters. Lumbering infected zombies look for fresh meat. Then other gross mutations attack as blood splatters, heads explode, appendages dangle and entrails fly.

A flashlight is often only enough to reveal the terror amid the bloodstained walls and hallways cluttered with dead bodies (or are they?). As the player directs characters Leon or Claire to cautiously move around environments, they solve puzzles and find typewriters to enact precious save points.

A cornucopia of claustrophobic moments tears at a gamer’s soul

As gamers navigate through often tight corners, awaiting a potentially fatal jump scare by one of Umbrella’s’ infected mutations, including those nasty lickers or the unstoppable Tyrant (Mr. X) or a massive alligator.

Carried over from the original is every dark horror-ride trick in the book including rain beating against a window, doors creaking, floorboards squeaking, the wind just slightly howling, chewing sounds, shadows, and an incessant amount of raspy breathing and moaning.

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And, don’t think about using moaning as a trigger to prepare for an impending attack.

When Leon is injured, you guessed it. He begins to moan. Thus making it even more nail-biting during every one of his anguished exhales and zombie appearances.

I’m also a wimp. I picked the easiest level to tackle the game. This means that headshots are near auto-targeted and some health regenerates and fewer zombies to kill. I knew full well that I would have my hands full with even the simplest infected zombie requiring multiple bullets or knife strikes.

The game is stingy with ammunition and health perks throughout

However, I’ll be damned if I am going to be stopped by a shaky trigger finger when trying to target aggressive enemies.

A cautionary note: Playing this game in the dark will guarantee a stomachache and some nightmares. The developers of this classic know how to prey upon human fear.

Here’s my only criticism.

The game also mixes in plenty of environmental puzzles often requiring unlocking doors, lockers and such.

I spent a ton of time looking for keys to open doors and combinations to unhinge locks. Why can’t I simply shoot the lock on that chained door? Or use a welcomed grenade launcher to blow the door open?

It’s an odd game mechanic and reminds players that they exist in a nostalgic video game universe. Rather than one so expanded by the breakthroughs in gaming technologies.

Still, the classic “Resident Evil 2” released with its modern-day bells and blood-curdling whistles should again remind players how truly scary and riveting a well-made survival horror game can be.

And remember, a player will enjoy two full campaigns starring Leon and Claire. So expect a satisfying amount of gameplay for the buck.

The deluxe edition includes extra costumes for Leon and Claire.

There are two extra costumes for Leon; a grey-vested outfit with white rolled up sleeves that one might find a detective wearing in Gotham City. He also has an Arklay County Sheriff outfit. Claire has three choices, a military style, Elza Walker moto-racing leathers and noir-style suit. Also an Albert Wesker-designed “samurai” pistol; and the ability to use the retro soundtrack.

• This review first appeared in The Washington Times.

Joseph Szadkowski

A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 25 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.