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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Resident Evil 2 Review

Original Release
Japan: December 22, 1999
North America: December 6, 2000
Europe: April 28, 2000

Game Details
1 Player
VMU enabled
Standard Controller
Jump Pak enabled

If you were a console gamer back in circa 1998, then you should be familiar with the surrounding hype and massive success of a little known game called Resident Evil 2. One of the most successful entries in the beloved franchise by Capcom, It propelled the companies status back on top during a period where they were on the brink of financial collapse after running ragged key titles like Street Fighter and Mega Man with countless rehashes and sequels that lacked originality. While the first Resident Evil wasn't by any means perfect, it was enough of a gameplay experience to garner healthy sales and single handily put the survival horror genre on the map. Resident Evil 2 has the makings of everything a sequel aspires to be in the industry, as it practically improves upon all aspects of its predecessor with flawless execution. With such overwhelming success, it came to no surprise that over the years after its release on the Playstation, the game began to grace multiple platforms, including Dreamcast. Anyone who played Code Veronica on the Dreamcast (or any other old school survival horror titles of the time), should be familiar with the gameplay concepts of RE2. A purposefully restrictive (and tedious) control scheme, major focuses on exploration, conservative combat, some puzzle solving here and there, all wrapped up with a few boss battles to liven things up. Perhaps the most innovative feature set by RE2 is its impressive "Zapping System". The game provides the player with 2 characters to choose (each available on a their own separate disc). While each character follows a similar conflict and storyline, they tread a different path that interweaves with the other and changes depending on who you decide to complete the game with first. Such a concept provides plenty of replay value as players are given the opportunity to experience 4 possible scenarios in the games intricate story.

You guys gotta know this by now... and if you don't, i'd rather not spoil it (The games has really solid intros that help you get into the game).

The Dreamcast port of Resident Evil 2 is more or less the exact version that was released on the PC (thus it was ported over to DC using its alternate WinCE environment). While this may sound like a bad thing, it fortunately ends up being quite opposite. The PC version had major benefits and perks that far exceeds any console release (GCN, N64, and the multiple version on the PSX) in regards to content and graphics. On the Dreamcast this equates to much smoother characters models, significant removal of polygonal clipping on said models, A rock solid framerate locked at 60 FPS and last but not least all of the games FMV cinemas run at a high quality resolution of 640x480 just as the entire real-time game graphics when played on a VGA signal. Not even the version released years later on the more powerful GCN hardware can touch the Dreamcast version in the graphics department. The only major setback worth noting are the games pre-rendered backgrounds that unfortunately received no graphical enhancements.

For its time RE2 had very respectable voice acting (a trillion times better than RE1!) and one incredible soundtrack that further fueled the dreaded atmosphere of the game. The games sound effects are also quite impressive and really helps in the games total experience. Alot of these aspects still hold up even today and feel as though they have been  improved upon on the Dreamcast hardware.

At the time, Resident Evil 2 was not only one of my all time favorite games, it was also my favorite in franchise. For the longest I thought Capcom would never top it. Fast forward to RE Code Veronica, and these 2 games have to this day, equally remain my all time favorites in the entire long running series. While it may look and feel like a dated game to many Dreamcast owners, It doesn't (or shouldn't) take away from the greatness that still is Resident Evil 2. If you simply love this game or it has a special place in your gaming past, you owe it to yourself to own what is arguably the best version! The DC version (after personally comparing all versions available on various systems) is without question the most complete, most up to date version you can ever find on physical gaming media. Perfect use of the VMU, substantial unlockable content, modes, art galleries, and improved graphics, round out this must have title!


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