PS Plus Just Quietly Added the Greatest Horror Game Ever Made
A true masterpiece.
Over the last few decades no series has defined horror video games like Resident Evil. The influence of Capcom’s mega-hit can be felt everywhere, from the sci-fi of Dead Space to the post-apocalypse of The Last of Us. Resident Evil has consistently broken barriers, and that happened in a big way in 2019 with a landmark remake. Resident Evil 2 is not only a superb reimagining of an influential classic, but easily the best survival horror game ever made. Even better, it’s free on PlayStation Plus starting this month.
The Resident Evil 2 remake is a complete reimagining, brilliantly fusing the methodical exploration of past games with the intense action of the franchise post-Resident Evil 4. Just like the original, a key feature of the remake is its dual protagonists, whose stories weave in and out of each other. You play as either Leon Kennedy, a Raccoon City police officer on his first day, or Claire Redfield, a young woman looking for her brother Chris, one of the protagonists of the first game. The two character’s stories follow roughly the same path, but there are some interesting wrinkles and unique moments that make them feel like integrally different experiences, both vital to understanding the full picture.
These dual stories make fantastic use of Resident Evil 2’s gameplay innovations, with a new over-the-shoulder viewpoint and a huge emphasis on puzzle solving and map use. Every area in Resident Evil 2 is essentially a self-contained puzzle where you’ll need to piece together how to advance, all while evading the horrors of Raccoon City. Many of the game’s areas are meticulously designed to feel claustrophobic and constricting, with narrow pathways and chokepoints that make evading enemies difficult.
Every single enemy can be a threat in Resident Evil 2. The second you underestimate a single zombie, everything will fall apart. Even on Normal difficulty, it’s vital that you approach encounters with patience and caution. Adding another layer of fun, Resident Evil 2 also challenges players to watch their resource management. Exploration can yield more resources, but you never have enough to feel comfortable, just enough to know you can take on a couple enemies but need to worry after that. It’s remarkable how well the game manages to straddle this line, ensuring that a sense of tension is constantly in your face.
Another big part of that is the general visual and sound design. Hearing doors creak and zombies groan adds to the atmosphere, but things really kick into high gear when the terrifying Mr. X appears. This hulking monstrosity relentlessly hunts you throughout the Raccoon City Police Department. It’s his sole goal.
In a disturbing twist you can hear Mr. X’s thudding footsteps no matter where you are in the station, but they get louder and more insistent the closer he is to you. This ratchets up the tension through the roof as you’re constantly paranoid about the monstrosity creeping up on you, and it only takes a couple swipes from him to bring Leon or Claire down. It’s an ingenious mechanic that’s easily one of the best things Resident Evil has ever done.
Resident Evil 2 is a wild success on every single level: its redesigned gameplay is tense but responsive, its atmosphere is unmatched, and the new interpretations of Leon and Claire are highly likable. It’s one of the rare games that’s almost flawless, and anyone that likes horror, even just as a passing fan, owes it to themselves to play Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 2 is available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
This article was originally published on