It’s January of 1998, two years since you faced off with the T-002, and barely escaped the Spencer mansion. You come home, rip off the plastic of your new copy of Resident Evil 2, and grip the plastic curvature of your PlayStation controller as you enter into a new nightmare. Dodging zombies and making your way to the Raccoon City Police Department, you step into the first floor’s L corridor. Rounding the corner you discover a decapitated corpse, and a cutscene unfolds where you run into a new monster, stripped of skin and humanity. You gaze upon the carnivorous quadruped, its exposed muscle tendons and brain oozing with mucus and slime; a fearsome creature that will go on to become an iconic addition to the cornucopia of monsters in the Resident Evil/Biohazard series: the licker.
Run as you may, you would never seem to be out of distance from its immense leap or weaponized tongue.
Fastforward 20 years, and we see that the skinless bio-weapon has crawled back into our lives, remastered to appear beyond horrifying in comparison to the original design.
Exposed brain, piercing tongue, and all, the new Licker model for Resident Evil 2 Remake was initially teased on the Resident Evil Facebook page.
Following up the teaser of the vile creature, PlayStation’s YouTube channel released the gameplay of Claire trying to escape the remastered monstrosities. Similar to Resident Evil 2, Lickers can be avoided/evaded by exploiting their lack of sight and cautiously inching past them. Resident Evil 2 Remake‘s lickers, much like the originals, will require a substantial amount of ammo and firepower to take them down (acid rounds being ideal to eliminate them, same as Resident Evil 2).
In addition to the remastered lickers, both the trailer’s gameplay and other footage of Resident Evil 2 Remake have garnered positive reception from the fanbase in general; however, there have been concerns and questions on how the developers will handle adapting the original narrative material and gameplay of the beloved classic into a remake.
It has been stated by the producers that the game is quite literal with it’s title “Remake” meaning it’s not just a remastered touch-up, but a remake of Resident Evil 2. Much to the die-hard fans’ vexation, the tank controls were traded in for difficult aiming during movement. This is coupled with your field of vision mainly being limited to what your flashlight illuminates; consequently, the trade-in of tank controls was implemented because it would not hinder the element of strategic firing or urgency to place your shots precisely with the limited ammo you have.
Concerning Resident Evil 2 Remake‘s design changes to the campaign’s narrative, and camera fixtures, an interview with the game’s producers, Tsuyoshi Kanda and Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, gives better understanding on the remake’s creative direction.
The two producers explained that removing the fixed camera angles and utilizing an over-the-shoulder person camera angle allowed them to instill a more clausterphobic ambience with navigating hallways, along with players being pounced on by zombies. Using the free-moving behind-the-shoulder camera in hand with the darkened 3D designs, the developers are now able to be more creative with monster placement and range of motion.
A limited field of view for the player via over-the shoulder (versus a fixed camera angle showing the entire section of the level) translates to increased tension and urgency for players trying to track of monsters–especially when your vision is limited to the flashlight’s beam–overall, adding to the execution and impact of horrifying moments such as lickers pouncing on you.
On the topic of Resident Evil 2 Remake‘s campaign(s), while there is no zapping system, the remake ultimately stays true to the initial character development and narrative. Some minor differences include emphasizing the mental/emotional impact on Leon (as he copes with his city crumbling around him), and Claire’s desperation to find her brother (Chris) and her protective bond with Sherry. Claire and Leon are still written to remain thematically similar to their original character’s, but are designed realistic in their appearance and accompanied with articulate emotional voice acting.
New areas have been added for extra segments of exploration, complete with extra documents and collectibles, but they’re nothing that drastically changes the overall narrative and level design from the original Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil Remake 2 is mutating from it’s predecessor into something phenomenal. Something beautifully terrifying, grotesque, and visceral. From the new lickers, to William Birkin’s tyrant form, and the oppressive dark halls of the precinct, Resident Evil Remake 2 will undoubtedly impress fans on January 25 next year.
As a tyrannically enormous franchise, Resident Evil not only has an enormous catalogue of games, but an extensive list of films. Paul W.S. Anderson’s films have especially made a name for themselves, be them precious to some or garbage to others. Taking their own spin on the game series they’re inspired from, the films have garnered ire amongst many fans, but even I have to say that some of them are guilty pleasures of mine (Apocalypse being a personal favorite). If you’re curious of our thoughts on the live-action Resident Evil films, you can check out our article ranking all 6 from worst to best!