Saturday, March 31, 2012

Game A2 : Resident Evil 2 - I See Undead People

Claire Redfield journal entry 2 : The RPD building is a huge place. I've explored it for a while and I'm only starting to know my way around. The fact that the place is overrun by all kind of monstrosities doesn't help. Aside from the zombies, I've seen dogs and crows infected too! And the worst of all is these "Lickers" thing who can change me into minced meat in a matter of seconds if I'm not careful. Thankfully, being in a Police Building has a few good sides too considering getting my hands on weapons has been quite easy. I think I've secured all the keys and explored the place thoroughly. I've met Marvin the captain again, only to see him become a zombie before my eyes! I had to put an end to his misery. What's going on in this place? I haven't found Chris anywhere but I ran a few times into this little girl again. She's called Sherry and she's looking for her dad. If only she would let me go with her instead of running away by herself! I've met chief Irons, who is a really creepy fellow, and a journal I found shows he's more than a bit involved in all this zombie outbreak. Behind his desk is some kind of lock that, I'm sure, will give me access to the clock tower of the building. I'm not sure of what I'll find up there but I have to get this door opened...

Hunting zombies with a Bow Gun has got to be the best idea for a TV show ever.
Time played : 1h15 (2h30 total) - "You Died" screens : 0 (0 total : I'm on a roll!)

Well, my time in the RPD building seems to be about to come to an end. I've opened almost every door and explored almost every room so far. I must say this part of the game goes by the book. I already mentioned the four keys to get in order to progress, but I have to say too that a lot of other things are reminiscent of my Resident Evil 1 experience. A lot of the scares and riddles are kinda copied from the first game, and at times you feel like Capcom was a bit lazy on a few things.

For example, you have a room where two statues are clearly awaiting for two rubies, a bit like the tiger head in Spencer Manor. There is a variant of the "let's push some crates to make a path" riddle that was in the basement laboratory of the first game, and you have a long corridor where crows burst out of the windows with the music suddenly speeding up (just like... yeah, the first game).

This time, I was able to shoot one! Had to run away from the rest of them, though...
However, for each of these lazy segments, there is another really standing out. There is a corridor with boarded windows. In your previous experiences, boarded mean safe, which is the opposite of the broad open windows where you know something will eventually jump out of. Well, not this time. On the second crossing of the corridor (they let you go once, just to reassure you), zombie arms burst out of the planks and try to grab you! I know it can count as a cheap scare, but I can assure you it still works.

They also have the good taste of playing with the Resident Evil veteran reflexes now and then. A lot of people having played those games remember the loading screens between the rooms are represented by opening doors. Well one of these doors just open on a bunch of zombies. For people used to wait for the doors to open in order to continue playing, this can be quite a shock.

Not even the loading screens are safe anymore.
The ammunition seems to be even scarcer than in the first game, or maybe there are just much more zombies to shoot at. I finished up running with an empty gun a few times, and avoiding zombies is highly encouraged if you don't want to be out of ammo for the really tough battles coming up (or so I guess). The dogs and crows are still a pain, but the rest of the bunch goes down easily with the Rocket Launcher or the Bow Gun. It's still intelligent to choose your battles, though, and the "risk/reward" factor is still an issue. Should I enter this room to grab the bullets and avoid the zombies, with the risk of being hit in the process, or should I just leave it for now?

Considering the NPC interaction, there are more numerous in this game than in the first one (well it's not really a surprise). The little girl Sherry is as annoying as she can be. How stupid can be a nine-year old when she just thinks wandering around alone in a building full of zombies is a good idea? It goes with a nice little idea there, though. At one time, Sherry escapes Claire (again) and you gain control of the little girl for a few minutes. She is totally weaponless and has to dodge a few dogs on her way to get the item she was looking for. In my memory, the same trick was used in Alone in the Dark 2, but it's a nice feature nonetheless. 

The chief of police seems to be as crazy as they come, keeping the body of the mayor's daughter on his desk to witness her changing into a zombie. As usual, the notes found here and then seem to point at him for knowing more than he wants to show. There is also the good captain Marvin, who was bound to die pretty quick, and it doesn't miss. His transformation into a zombie is quite cinematic, though, and it's (a little) sad when you have to blow his head off with your Rocket Launcher.

You should really get a doctor to check your skin problem, dude!

You can find there a few notes concerning the G-Virus (an evolution of the T-Virus from the first game) and you hear about the existence of an Umbrella Research Facility on the outskirts of town. I guess it's probably where we're gonna be headed next. All in all, the RPD Building is a really nice place, with a few interesting places (the morgue, the cell blocks, the kennel all make sense when you're in a Police Station), even if it's strangely lacking a bathroom (but so are a lot of buildings in Survival-horror games). However, the light feeling of liberty I had in the first game is not really here in this one. It feels more like you're being brought in one place or another instead of choosing your own path (which you never really did in the first game anyway, but it wasn't so obvious).

On the other hand, the whole experience is much more cinematic, so I guess it comes with this price. The lack of inventory space is still an issue, even if you can find some kind of bag in the armory giving you two spaces more (getting to a whopping eight). It's always nice to have your character telling you she can't take this Submachine Gun because her lighter is taking all the room in her pockets...

About this bag, there is an interesting feature of the game. In the armory, you can find a Machine gun and the said bag. You can choose between the two. The item you leave here will then be retrieved by Leon on the second scenario. Get both and he's got nothing, leaving you in a position where the second scenario is harder to complete. It's a nice feature exploiting the pompously-named "zapping system", but I think it's one of the too rare examples.

Don't worry, I'm the chief of Police! You're safe now!
So now, I'm about to face one of the problems with the streamlining of any game. From the beginning of the game, I've always found an item (be it a key, a keycard, a handle...) that I knew would allow me to open another area, leading to another item, and so forth. Now, all of my troubles went to finish on me obtaining a little cogwheel. I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to do something with it, but I really can't remember seeing a mechanism needing that in the whole building... I've never had any problem finding where I was supposed to go since the beginning, so I think I didn't pay enough attention to my surroundings... Won't happen again.


  1. That's one of the things that, in my opinion, has always been endearing about the early RE games, just when you think you're breezing through things, you get thrown a curveball, and it's back to trying to be super observant about your surroundings, and re-evaluating your inventory. I'm glad you're enjoying the game, but the best is yet to come in this one, TRUST ME.

  2. Yeah, I've already played this one a few times in the past and I remember things get better after the RPD building. I'm a bit disappointed by Claire's scenario, though, I remember Leon's is more nervous and scary (There was some kind of Terminator guy in my memory).

    However, I agree to your point, these games have the ability to trap you at times and leave you scratching your head for a while.

    Welcome to the comments! It's always great to have new people showing around (especially on the RE games who are not doing so well in the poll right now...)

  3. Ahhh, yes. The Very intimidating Tyrant. I Hate that guy.