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article imageReview: The nostalgic nightmare of Resident Evil 2 Special

By Stan Rezaee     Aug 2, 2015 in Entertainment
Horror gamers have been asking for a remake of Resident Evil 2 for so long that the idea has been pitched to Capcom's leadership. What happens next should be obvious, since the original has been hailed as one of the greatest horror games of all time.
However, many younger gamers are wondering why so many fans want a remake of a game that was released 17 years ago for the PlayStation. This demand isn't about an old-school fan base wanting to live out a nostalgic era, but a desire to preserve the legacy of a gaming classic and introduce it to a new generation.
To understand why the gaming community holds Resident Evil 2 in such high regards, one needs to examine this classic and understand what it achieved.
Two months after the Arklay Incident, Leon S. Kennedy (a rookie cop on his first day) along with Claire Redfield (Chris Redfield’s sister) arrive to a dark and quiet Raccoon City with an eerie atmosphere. Within moments of their arrival, both characters meet up and are fighting for their lives as an outbreak of the T-Virus has turned the community into zombies.
Leon and Claire make a run for the police station in the hopes of finding other survivors and a way to escape the city. However, the police station has been overrun with zombies and there are only a few survivors. Leon finds a mysterious woman named Ada Wong, while Claire finds a little girl named Sherry Burkin who is being pursued by her mutated father, William Burkin.
The storyline made Resident Evil 2 one of the most memorable by presenting two completely different experiences in one game. The plot-line was based on the character as each one had a unique perspective of the same scenario. Leon’s story is a familiar horror scenario that focuses on his efforts to work with Ada in an attempt to escape Raccoon City.
Claire’s story is about an ordinary person who is put into an extraordinary situation while having to act as a guardian for a defenseless child. If this feels familiar, it's because her character and personality are a homage to Ellen Ripley from Aliens. Both heroines are forced to fight for their lives while acting as a mother figure to a child. Like Jill Valentine in the previous game, she is actually a real character who helps drive the story rather than serve as the “useless chick” that is often present in Hollywood horror.
Resident Evil 2 was one of the earliest games to introduce a strong story and character development. It is highly admired because it introduced us to many memorable characters like Leon and Claire, along with villains like Mr. X and the Licker. Most important of all is that it established the foundation for the series to grow as time passed. While the original played out like a traditional horror film, Resident Evil 2 allowed the series to grow by breaking away from tropes that would have held it back.
The only issue today’s gamers will have is the many plot holes in the story that arose as the story arch evolved with new installments in the series. This is due to the storyline of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, set 24 hours before and after the events of Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil: Outbreak, a series of side stories set during the Raccoon City outbreak. However, these are plot holes that could be forgiven since the game was created during a time when video games were just starting to grow as a storytelling medium.
Resident Evil introduced gamers to the horror survival genre, but it was Resident Evil 2 that perfected it while establishing the foundations of the series to grow into a pop culture phenomenon.
Final Score: 5/5
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