Resident evil is an icon in the gaming horror genre, with its remake doing so much to bring it back into the spotlight. This review however is for the 2nd and 3rd installments. I am going to be honest here, I never played RE1 to completion. I didn't play the remake either, I started with RE2 and man was I impressed. I wasn't into the horror survival games like most, but I always respected it. So how well do the remakes stack up, lets break it down.
The strongest point of both games, they have been reworked from the ground up. New camera angles work great, with improved checkpoint systems but also keeping the typewriter save system. RE 2/3 both offer an easy gameplay mode with increased damage from the player, reduced zombie damage, and more items on the map, it really helps new players get into the game. Resident Evil 2 offers two different play styles, one as Claire and one as Leon both are fun characters to play as. The gameplay features the same thing that made the game a hit in first place, inventory management, tense zombie action and a plot twist on a plot twist. One of the things I didn't like was the changes in movement from 2 to 3, 3 just feels a little more arcade like in its movement. Jill feels odd with some of the animations and Carlos has some clipping issues.
The graphics accent the gameplay so well, each of the character models are on display as bonus content in each of the games. Leon's outfit has so much attention to detail it really drew me into the gameplay more. He carries weapons in holsters, limps when hurt and runs in realistic ways. The zombies looks great, Mr. X and Nemesis both are terrifying. RE 2 and 3 feature some great enemy design with 2 have a bit more variation. Each of the items and tools used for the gameplay look fantastic and really sell the world. The cutscenes look fantastic as well with a complete overhaul to the story driving home the horror and action elements.
Sound is where I think this game suffers the most, and let me be clear it isn't bad, its just not the best part. The guns are my chief complaint, they don't sound punchy enough. In RE 3 its more apparent with the use of the M4 assault rifle, however both games have poor sound quality on grenades, flash bangs and the various menu sounds. I think more love could have been shown here to really vamp up the horror element with more impactful sounds for guns, zombies and events.
Story wise the game is cohesive, I am giving a slight edge to RE2 in this case because of the alternate play through with Claire. Both games feature a connecting narrative with horror, drama and action. Again a slight edge going to RE 2 with Leon and other characters from the game adding a bit more tension and urgency. RE3 is still a solid remake of the classic game but RE2 just has a slight edge in every department.
Overall Resident Evil 2 and 3 are great additions to the remake train that is sweeping the gaming world. We are happy to see these titles get actual care and attention. The updated textures and the controls really make these titles more accessible to your average gamer that might not have played them before. We can recommend both games, check out the links below to the games on Steam. We reviewed these titles on X-Box 1 X for clarity.