reHorror: The greatest Resident Evil game of all time is…

I’ll keep this intro short, since I know you’re all just itching to know which entry in the beloved series I find to be the greatest of all time. I must admit, it wasn’t exactly easy to instantly come up with the game I truly felt is worthy of such an accolade. A lot of internal debate ensued as I set out to compose this feature, but alas, we have one sole game. So, what game is it? If you know me then you definitely won’t be surprised by my pick…

Yes, that’s right: For me, Resident Evil 2 is the greatest Resident Evil game of all time. And just in case you were wondering, Resident Evil 4 was pretty close to winning, and the overall classic feel of the original was almost enough to make me claim it as the best, too. But let’s talk about what makes Resident Evil 2 not just the best Resident Evil game to date, but one of the best survival horror titles to ever grace gamers.

Back at the time of the original game’s release, gamers didn’t really expect Resident Evil to blow up into the huge franchise it is today, with the core video game series being met with films, novelizations, comics and a butt load of merchandise. Fortunately for fans, this ended up happening, and one would be unwise not to thank Resident Evil 2 for that. Without a solid sequel like the one Capcom gave gamers with this dual-disc release, the series may have not become the entertainment juggernaut it is today. And man what an amazing sequel it was.

As aforementioned, the game shipped on two discs when it made its debut on the PlayStation back in 1998. Players were given the option to tackle whichever they wanted to first. Disc 1 was Leon’s side of the story, while the second disc was Claire’s. Regardless of which disc you decided to pop in first, you were in for one hell of a ride and another welcome trip into the world of survival horror. Oh, and did I forget to mention that after you beat a character’s scenario you unlock the other character’s second scenario? Yeah, that alone injects immense replay value into this classic, making for 4 actual scenarios to partake in: Leon A/B and Claire A/B. (I won’t delve into my personal preference of how to play these scenarios, because I’ll touch on that in its own article next month!)

While the first game pit players in a “gigantic” mansion, Resident Evil 2 took things to another level. Granted, the entire city wasn’t open to players, but a nice amount of Raccoon City’s streets were traversed and painted red with the blood of the undead. And then we had the police station serving as this game’s “mansion” of sorts, even though it wasn’t the only setting. After exploring the RPD station thoroughly you end up going even deeper into the city, heading into the sewers and ultimately a secret Umbrella laboratory. All along the way you’re facing many, amiable and greatly missed, zombies and other awesome BOWs, the most notable one being the Licker, who  made his debut with this game.

Who else remembers how creeped out they were when they saw the Licker for the first time? You may have missed the quick peek at him outside of the window right before you get a proper introduction to him, but still, his big reveal was quite frightening. Oh, and those f*ckers are fast as all hell, with a tongue that would make a Belmont whimper and flee in fear. Things get pretty intense when you’re faced with multiple Lickers within the same vicinity, too. The zombified dogs also made a return in this game, and they’re not exactly any friendlier either. But speaking of the game’s creatures…

The most memorable BOW in Resident Evil 2 has to be, without a doubt, the man himself, William Birkin. Before I give you my reasoning, I’ll give you some brief background on the game’s story and how he’s made out to be a tragic figure. Basically, Umbrella wasn’t happy with just letting the public forget about the incident in the Arklay Mountains, so they opted to continue their research into BOWs, leading to the creation of the G-Virus by William. Umbrella wasn’t exactly comfortable with them not having full possession of this new virus, so they decided to send in their best man, HUNK, and his team to retrieve it from Birkin, peacefully of course…Well, so much for peacefully: Birkin resisted and ending up on the receiving end of many bullets. Mission successful, HUNK. Now off you go with the G-Virus sample! But wait! What’s this?

Yup, William won’t stay down for long! In his dying breath, he injected himself with a G-Virus sample he still had and the rest is history. Thus was born one of the best bosses in Resident Evil history, if not the best (this can be argued to no end since Nemesis is also quite a memorable foe). It’s the perfect science experiment gone wrong scenario serving as the catalyst for the events of the game, and ultimately the entire Raccoon City outbreak. Those damn rats just had to spread the T-Virus! But hey, if they hadn’t then we wouldn’t have one of the best horror series of all time! Well, Capcom could’ve always come up with another plot…

Back to William. This man is a beast. Every time you meet him you’re definitely going to be scared shitless, especially since his appearance becomes even more gruesome with him losing a layer of skin with each encounter. Even so, the giant, pulsing eyeball has become synonymous with this baddie, and with the G-Virus as well since it is a byproduct of it after all. If you were to ask me to list my all-time favorite bosses in the Resident Evil series, William would hands down be at the very top of the list. Yeah, I love Nemesis as much as the next Resident Evil fan, but still, he lacks an actual personality (as presented in the game). You actually feel for William as he had no choice but to inject himself with this virus to stay alive after he just lost his life’s work. And then you factor in how he was betrayed by his former best friend Wesker (what a twist!).

Speaking of story, like almost every other entry in the series, the plot wasn’t exactly worthy of writing accolades, with a surplus of cheese to go around. But still, it got the job done. As aforementioned, you were made to not only fear William, but also feel bad for him as he’s roaming around the depths of the City looking for his daughter Sherry. Well, he isn’t looking for her for the “right” reason, but that’s another story…Basically, the game gave us two separate viewpoints, each with its own set of characters and different events. But they’re both tied together by William, the G-Virus, and the overarching plot pertaining to the actual outbreak going on. Leon dealt with his affection for a woman he just met (Ada) while Claire was putting her life on the line looking for her brother (Chris) as well as looking out for the daughter (Sherry) of the person who was responsible for the G-Virus.

That’s one of the things I truly adore about Resident Evil 2. Not just that it provides a good amount of replay value with its dual scenarios, but also that it gives us two sides to the events going on: Leon and Claire’s. Yeah, I’m aware of the whole Leon A/Claire B vs. Claire A/Leon B ongoing debate, but still, classic survival horror games don’t get better than this. And what’s more, you also unlock even more content after you clear both scenarios with certain criteria fulfilled. The most notable unlockable being The Fourth Survivor scenario which starred none other than Mr. Death himself, Hunk. Then you also have the adorable Tofu starring in his own mode, too. But wait! It seems as if I’ve forgotten another very important element in the game…I wonder what I forgot…Oh! That’s right. This guy:

There he is! Good ol’ Mr. X. This guy serves as Resident Evil 2’s Tyrant and oh man is he a tough one. Hell, he even planted the seeds for what would eventually become Nemesis since like the rocket launcher- wielding brute, Mr. X also pursued you throughout different parts of Leon and Claire’s B scenarios. You may be loving every second of some downtime free of any zombies and them boom! Mr. X comes crashing through a wall. I’ll admit I’ve jumped off my seat many times thanks to his pop-out appearances, even after dozens of playthroughs.

And that’s what brings me to another thing that’s remarkable about the game, which I already touched on briefly before: the B scenarios. There’s really only two storylines as outcomes: you either do Leon A and Claire B or Claire A and Leon B. The order of them is something that continues to be argued, but I’m just going to be talking about the B scenarios in general here. Not only do different events take place (since you are seeing things through the other character’s perspective) but you’re also met with Mr. X, an entirely new foe altogether. How awesome is that? That’s what makes this game different from other entries in the series that also offer more than one scenario, like the original Resident Evil and its remake. It truly is a different experience from the regular A scenario(s).

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Resident Evil 2 to me is a timeless masterpiece. I always find myself going back to it and doing speed runs or just slowly taking my time through it, appreciating all the little details (like reading the files) all over again. Something about its atmosphere, its music, its creatures and its story always manages to grab me, refusing to let go until I beat it once more. Resident Evil 4 may be the the game widely considered as the pinnacle of the series to the majority of gamers, but to me, Resident Evil 2 is the ultimate Resident Evil experience. It gets no better than this when it comes to this survival horror franchise. Now, where’s that remake, Capcom?

 

               
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COMMENTS

  • samswopes

    Although I love RE4, I’m going to have to go for the remake of Re1! Re0, was also great, because you’ve got to see how Rebecca Chambers got to where she was. But as for the 1st gun survivor game, it sucked BIG TIME!!!

    • Nico Varela

      totally agree

  • Xoc

    I agree RE2 was revolutionary. The REmake imo, is close tho.

    Haha, I never realized how much Chris looks like Bruce in Evil Dead in that one photo.

  • Brandoloneous

    Capcom pretty much decided on Claire A/Leon B. I can’t remember which games had this documentation (I think it was Umbrella Chronicles?). I know in Darkside Chronicles they leaned more toward it as well, with Ada getting pwned by Mr. X and Sherry needing the “cure.”

  • Silent-Hal

    Resi 4 for me. I just about can’t stand the “traditional” Resident Evil games. Give me the older Silent Hill games instead any day.

  • Henrik

    Remake is nr 1 for me crimson heads should have been used in later installments too.

    Almost like a Ganado(smart enough to pursue you and open some doors) but the ferocity of a zombie.

    Glad they seems to return in operation raccon city shown in the demo footage.

    Cant decide whetever RE2/RE3 is close second probably 3 as it still has the coolest intro of all RE titles still as for today it pictured the chaos of a zombie outbreak in a city perfect.

    RE4/RE5 is still a big letdown for me has higher hopes for Revelation bringing back the old atmosphere and horror again yet keeping it modern.

    One of horror formulas that all horror directors try to uphold no matter if its games or movies.

    Is never portray protaganist too strong.

    If a hero acts like he does not care or can take on everything without breaking sweat its not a horror anymore.

    Thats where RE4 failed for me Leon a cocky super hero taking on all that was thrown at him without much of trouble or fear.

    RE5 failed in the plot deparment and cast still think it should had been a Chris and Jill game ending Wesker plot together.

    They could have used the new parasite better and progeinator virus better.

    Plotwise we knew it came from flower in Africa.
    I suspected to see super version of plant 42 or poision ivory monsters from RE2.

    Or something like from the ruins movie sentinent living flowers something cooler then just a flower when las plagas seem to been made from ancient or maybe alien fossils.

  • Grace Saunders

    I can see why people are desperately keen for a remake of RE2. It had the best story and at the time, the replay value was considered top notch. I would hate finishing a game too quickly and wanting to buy another game soon there after, so this really kept your interest throughout, with like over 4 scenarios and a lot of great bonus extras. Now if only Capcom would make RE a scary series again. Revelations could be a great start on the road back to returning to the horror!

  • I whole-heartedly agree! RE2 was THE RE experience

  • Mrox2

    RE2 Always and will always be ! Also My Second fav is RE3 , Id love to see jill running away from Nemesis again in next gen graphics with her hot costume + More tense and Scary and jump moments ! (With No fucked face “Jill”) I can Say i love Em both (RE2+3)

  • liam

    still would of loved to play resident evil 1.5 but re2 is an amazing game.

  • Ben May

    I think Resident Evil Remake is the best in the series followed by Resident Evil 2. As others have said, I would like a remake. I like doing the Leon A / Claire B scenarios, so I don’t have to go through that part with Sherry in that little tunnel with the bugs. The rest of her section is good though. The other good thing about Clsire B rather than Leon B is that you get more room to fight Birkin in his second malformation.

    It’s great to see Resident Evil Revelation becomming creepy again, while using the updated gameplay of recent entries. I’m just a bit sickened that it’s a bloody 3DS exclusive.

  • craig

    For me its RE3. You get the 180 turn, dodge attacks, make ammo, choices, lots of extra’s, and a unique enemy “Nemesis”.

  • Casselman

    RE2 hands down!

  • KoRnCreep

    I still cannot decide between RE2 & RE GCN Remake, can I pick both?
    Anyway I dont like RE4 that much…

  • mohamed

    i prefer re outbreak
    the best

  • nemesis91286

    i 100% agree with this article that RE2 has to be one of the best games of the series. What makes it really unique is the A B scenarios within the game itself… Isn’t this even the more reason why this game should be remade ?

  • i never played Re gaiden but for me all the Re games are great the only one i hate is RE5 well just the ending.

  • DarkDreamTCK

    We all know if RE2 REmake was a thing it’d be the best. Although, I have high hopes for Revelations being a real powerful contender. The gameplay of 4 with the ambiance or REmake. It has a lot of potential.

  • for me RE both versions and of course RE2

  • Joe

    Yes I agree. RE2 and RE4 are the best games in the series. Capcom really needs to make a remake of RE2 with HD graphics and over the shoulder gameplay.

  • Estelvea

    The outbreak started with the ‘adandoned facility’ in RE3 outside the park. It was used to discard and dispose of failed B.O.W.’s sent from the Facility beneath Raccoon City (Birkin’s lab).

    Despite being infected by Marcus, the facility was pretty much cleared outafter Rebecca and Wesker’s appearance. It wasn’t long before the facility was operational again. In that Disposal Plant, though, the ‘waste’ B.O.W.’s were dissolved in concentrated acid of some sort (why Jill thought she killed the Nemesis when he fell into the pool).

    It only worked for a very small time, though. The output of waste being sent there proved too great and soon after, the workers became infected with the T-Virus.

    This was in early June. By mid August, reports came in of ‘cannibals’ in the city and the ‘cannibal disease’ coming into light. That’s why the UBCS were sent in September 15th and U.S.S. sent a few days after (Hunk survived in the sewers for 8 days).

    They had to ensure a sample before it was lost to the infection and the government destroyed the city. When the samples were broken and released into the sewers, it quickly hastened Raccoon’s Destruction as the rats not only carried it to the surface, but contaminated the city’s water supply.

    But yes, RE2 is probably my favourite Resi game. Followed by maybe the REmake or RE5.

  • HERES2UALL

    You know, I hate it when people dislike RE4 for all the wrong reasons. I have even heard comments to go as far to put RE4 as the worst game in its franchise, or at least a game that ruined it. These comments are all heard by old RE fans- the type of fans who still long into nostalgia.

    Now what one earth do you define a “zombie” or “horror”? You honestly think RE4 does no live up to that? I say you are very mistaken. It all depends on your taste of view.

    RE 1-3, are all about your traditional zombies- you know, the ones you see in the movies. It also adds the more of the element of scientific experimentation. 1-3 are obsessed over creating the ultimate super powered weapon, which is a good side for me. 1-3 also, in a sense, puts you in a vibe of traditional zombie survival. I would say that RE 1-3 had more action that 4, at many times you find yourself fighting unnatural, very fantasy-like monsters (Tyrant). Once again, it’s all very cinematic zombie survival, with a touch of creepy scientific experimentation and the products of those experiments.

    4 is more on the lines of a cult feeling. I do personally say Resident Evil 4 deserves a win in originality. Resident Evil 4 zombies are not your typical bite-and-effect zombies, and I am fascinated by the way they portray these type of zombies. It gives more of an eerie and creepy feeling, very much like a cult, not so much traditional, but a really grime-y with subtle horror. To say that resident evil is not as scary as the first 3 is to be way off basis. Resident Evil 4 is more natural in the sense that it points more to realism. What I mean is that there are no real unnatural experimentation, it’s all mutations. Usually, the tyrants of these games come in a form of parasites within the body. There are no cocoon tranformations happening, it all has to do with parasites within the body. It’s good to hear, and see for that matter, on a completely different type of zombie. One where they can actually speak and come up with a somewhat coherent plan. Also, the creepy rituals adds to the effect.

    And to say that resident evil 4 is not survival is a wrong statement. When you play the game, you try to get all the resources you can. The game is not very easy, at least other than the wii version. But yes, Resident Evil does not focus so much on survival as it focuses more on defeat and move on. Also, in my opinion, RE4 did those trademark actions scenes beautifully, just like in Code Veronica. Resident Evil 4 has my favorite zombies in the entire series, Regenerators. To say any other type of zombie to be more horrifying than that is lying to yourself.

    It all really depends on your taste. Resident Evil 4 helped the series in a different way and that IS a fact. Stop complaining and thinking the Resident Evil 4 was garbage when in fact was one of the best, if not the best, in the series.

    RE 1-3 is like being alone in a mansion or a dark alley.
    RE 4 is like being alone in a dark forest. Take your pick.

    • RE4 is not scary, just tense, and that’s not the same as survival horror, it’s like saying that Super Mario is scary because of the tenacity of the gameplay, there was no real survival aspect of it, yet I admit it had some moments like that re generator monster and Ashley’s whole section without weapons was pretty scary (and is my favorite part of the game believe it or not)

  • REfan

    As someone who is not a stranger to horror games or RE games but who played RE2 and RE3 for the first time earlier this year I can say that nostalgia must be a huge factor here. I did like the games for what they were but I have to admit I was a bit dissapointed by them too. I was perhaps excpecting too much because of all the hype or I expected them to be something like CVX and Remake (both of which I LOVE) or alteast have the same feel but I felt a bit cheated. Mostly because of the lack of cinematic cutscenes I guess. I can’t relate to the characters and what they are going through if I can’t see the horror/anxiety in their face and if I can’t relate to the characters I can’t relate to the story. I’d love a remake of both tho, esp RE2.

    Also the pretty horrible dialogue pretty much killed it for me. Esp in Leon’s senario. How he insisted that Ada should stay with him for her own safety while earlier had told Claire that they should spilt up made him look like a lovesick douche. He had way too strong weapons and too much ammo and infinite ammo can be available from the start so I am wondering exactly where the survival horror is. Also the lack of quick-turn and no map button annoyed me quite a bit.

    What I did like was Claire’s scenarios. Quite a bit actually. Both scenarios offered a decent challenge and I loved the contrast between the creepy Chief Irons and little innocent Sherry which also made Claire’s part a lot more dark and intense where Leon’s fell flat.

    I liked the fact that the game had multiple scenarios and minigames, I liked the intensity Mr.X offered in the B scenarios which felt evem more horrific thst nemesis in RE3, the change of sceneries, variety of enemies and puzzle difficulty was good. I bet had I played RE2 back in the days when it came out I’d be awe-struck. And yes I am dying for a remake with a much needed script improvement (DC:Memories of a Lost City and ORC doesn’t count as a remake in my opinion).

  • Bea

    I understand people who say they are disappointed with either RE2 or RE3 if they have just recently played them. Sorry to say but I feel for the people who didn’t play these games when they came out back in the late 90s nowadays we are all spoiled with high graphics and the newest better thing so or course someone will say it wasn’t as good as RE 4 or RE 5 for that matter. The only way to appreciate this game to the fullest is for you to go back in time and play it when it first came out! lol. I know this sounds ridiculous but its the only way and since its impossible these people will never know the joy of what RE 2 was back in the day. The fear and excitement everytime you turn a corner. You are right about RE 2 being a masterpiece of survival horror games and I also want a remake!

  • I love all RE’s but the Remake is a survival horror masterpiece.

  • paul cooke

    So agree with this. Resi 2 is timeless perfection for me. Leon is the best character ever and ada is so intruiging. Claire is also my personal fave of all the girls over the years. Shes my pick with leon for resi 7! Could capcom have umbrella recreate raccoon city as a testing ground and have leon and chris revisit……

  • bnb

    a played all resident evil games and i am a big fan, my best RE is 1-2-3-zero-code veronica, other serias i dont like……

  • Honestly, as good as RE4 was, I don’t think it deserves to be called a Resident Evil game, it switched genres and people who like it are mostly shooter fans who like nothing about survival horror (ofcourse not everyone are like that, but still). For me RE3 and RE Remake are the best in the series, atleast they are truthful to Resident Evil roots, that’s being survival horror games, which is something RE4 isn’t, even though I still enjoy playing it to this day

  • Boris

    RE2 without hesitation. That title has a unique and memorable atmosphere, amazing and scary soundtrack( without it the game wouldn’t be what it is in my opinion) and William Birkin is an amazing boss(not as scary and difficult as the Nemesis through). Overall, a very good and unique game i ever played! The second would be the RE3… oh that Nemesis is so fuckin scary! :p By the way not a big fan of original RE nor remake either.

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