Developed by Capcom. Survival Horror, PEGI 18
Released in UK on PS4/Xbox One/PC by Capcom on 25th January 2019, RRP £49.99.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 21 years since we first set foot inside the confines of Racoon City’s labyrinthine police department, arguably one of the greatest settings in survival horror video game lore, and possibly even the annals of horror itself.
The original’s setup was a simple one: you played as either rookie cop Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield, a woman hunting for her missing brother, who find themselves caught up in a town overrun with the walking dead and have to escape.
There was nothing complicated about the plot; it worked like a dream because the developers created one of the most atmospheric and terrifying game worlds at the time. Fast forward to 2019 and the team has done it again, taking the core elements of that benchmark setting 1998 releases and rebuilding it inside the game engine that powered 2017’s return to form for the series, Resident Evil 7.
Somehow the team has managed to rework the same story and craft an entirely new game at the same time. Tension and loot scarcity is paramount here and boy do they make you work for those bullets, herbs and harder hitting weapons that can be found later in the game via deep exploration and a swathe of puzzle solving. One of the most prominent shifts in design from the original is the camera – the fixed angles of yesteryear are long gone alongside the clunky tank controls, and in place remains a slick over-the-shoulder perspective and free moving camera that was first introduced in the equally important Resident Evil 4 on Nintendo’s GameCube back in 2005.
If you played the original then you’ll be familiar with the locales you’ll explore throughout the lengthy campaign, but those jump scares and danger areas that shook us to the two decades ago have all been reshuffled and reworked. The team has also woven in a new area and monster for you to deal with, but to avoid spoilers we’ll stop there and allow you to discover these and many more of what could very well be a ridiculously early contender for game of the year. Regardless of the accolades it’s bound to grab at the end of the year one thing is for sure – Capcom’s team has only gone and crafted the gold standard of game remakes.
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