It's hard to believe it's been more than 20 years since "Resident Evil 2" was unleashed on us, and we're happy to report that we had that same level of glee firing up this HD remake of the classic, as we did when first playing the "Resident Evil 2" demo on the "Resident Evil: Director's Cut" disc.
Capcom, so far, appears to have accomplished the impossible for us -- taking a game we've played countless times throughout the years and managing to breathe new life into its undead shell.
The layout of the rooms feels instantly recognizable and certain beats hit the same, but this is an entirely new experience. Crafted in the RE Engine that made "Resident Evil 7" (an unexpected and welcome return to horror after several entries that had become far too focused on action) such an atmospheric experience.
"Resident Evil 2" rackets everything up a notch. The game oozes suspense with the way the shafts of volumetric lighting gleam off of statues and the flickering lights in the run down hallways of the classic police station. Zombies will mash their bloody hands against windows in desperate attempts to eat your face as you skulk by, flashlight in hand. The environment feels lived in and you truly feel trapped.
The controls feel solid and the game operates like a best-of for the entire series: A new graphical overhaul and menu system from "RE7," the camera and movement of "Resident Evil 4," with the classic monsters we know from the first two entries. This 30-minute demo that locks the content once it is over may be a tough sell to audiences unfamiliar with the franchise, but this is just a taste, and it shows that Capcom is confident in this new entry.
If, for whatever reason, you are a fan of the original and not sure if this one could be worth your time, then this demo will put your mind at ease. Even though it utilizes the latest and greatest in modern technology, the core of the game feels like the survival horror we endured 20 years ago.
Since this was a timed demo that can only be played once, I went through it on PC, Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro. You won't notice much of a difference between them as the games seem fairly identical. However, if you play in HDR and have a robust sound system, we will say, the graphic options on PC (obviously) bring the game beyond consoles, with even better lighting and textures, giving it even more polish.
And we will say out of the three, we will be buying it for the Xbox One X for the Dolby Atmos implementation. It is stunning, and truly wraps around the room. You can hear the rain behind the couch and it just added so much to the experience.
Whichever system you choose to play it on, if you like horror or want to relive a classic, you have to try out the demo for "Resident Evil 2" yourself.
It will be available until Jan. 31 on Xbox, PS4 and for PC.
The full game will be released Jan. 25.
A 'best-of' the franchise
Retains the soul of the 1998 original title
World feels lived in, real
No "tank" control-style