Picking up where the original game left off, Resident Evil 2 or Biohazard 2 as we call it over here, is not only a continuation of the original game but a huge expansion. We find ourselves in the town of Raccoon City where the biological outbreak we encountered in the mansion in the first game has spread through the whole town. It’s a great apocalyptic adventure that takes the atmosphere and puzzles of the first game and builds on them brilliantly.
One of the things that I remember jumping out at me when I got this game way back when it was new was the fact that it was split into two disks, one for Leon and one for Claire. This is really the biggest point of the game, you have to play it twice, from different perspectives which are happening at the same time in different parts of the city or in some cases the same building.
Sure you might question the logic of how the buildings and other areas were so perfectly damaged in the chaos as to keep these two people apart but it’s a game and the idea is sound particularly for the time it was made. Two people, running around an area trying to survive while all the action is happening at the same time. It was a solid concept that’s still pretty fun to play with.
Each story line has unique challenges and characters to interact with and play as. The puzzles are fun instead of frustrating though they do seem a bit contrived. One of the best parts of the game is that it takes the action and scares from the first game and extends them in a way that feels natural. The setting is basically just another big scary house that leads to the Umbrella secret experiment areas. Ok, yeah that seems sort of bad, but it doesn’t feel that way when you play it. The size of the building and the feel of the setting are just different enough to make it feel like something familiar and foreign at the same time. I always had the feeling as I played that the game designers wanted me to feel familiarity and similarity with the original game. In fact since you’re playing as two characters who weren’t even in the original game that becomes even more important for maintaining player experience and continuity.
Beyond that you just have to love the replayability of the game and the special challenges like the Hunk mission which you unlock by beating the game.
It’s hard to say much bad about what is really a classic of the genre. I would have to say that is really dated though. Compared to a lot of games today and later Resident Evil games it’s clunky and hard to control. Don’t let that stop you from playing though. If you’re a hard-core gamer you’ll appreciate a look into games of the time. If you’re not a hard-core gamer you might like it because it is a lot easier than many of the tough games of today.
One thing that always stood out to me at the time as a bit ridiculous was the unnecessary inclusion of random gothy, scary things like imposing statues. I would also question the reason anyone may have had for setting up so many ridiculous puzzles that are not only easy to solve but totally unlike the real world.
In this game the Ugly are easy to spot. They are crawling all over the damned place. Horrible, slimy monster things. The first time I played the game I was amazed by the first sitings of the lickers. The sequence that shows the licker on the ceiling as you move into the depths of the Police department stands out really strongly as one of the best scares from this game.