Thursday, April 5, 2012

Game A2 : Resident Evil 2 - Won! (well, one half)

Claire Redfield journal entry 3 : The door in the office of Chief Irons led to an underground passageway, then to the sewers. Irons was punished for his treachery when he met a horrible death at the hands of a gigantic mutant monster. One of these horrors crawled out of his chest! I managed to kill it, but it was a close call. These things reproduce! From the sewers, we were able to gain access to an Abandoned Factory, where I met Annette Birkin, the mother of Sherry. She told me her husband, Sherry's father, was a researcher for Umbrella, the creator of the G-Virus. Umbrella troops betrayed and shot him a few days ago, leading him to inoculate himself with the virus. William Birkin was the huge monster that killed Irons! Sherry and I were then separated once again, and she got infected by the G-Virus! I had to find an antidote real quick... We arrived at the Umbrella underground laboratory, where I was able to synthesize a vaccine and, with the help of Leon, get rid of the monster who once was William Birkin once and for all. Leon switched on the self-destruct sequence and we managed to escape the facility right before everything blew off... It was a close escape, but the three of us managed to get out of there alive!

Time played : 3h (5h30 total) - "You Died" screens : 3 (3 total)

I have to apologize if the journal entry is a big mess, but it happened a LOT of things during these three hours. Once you exit the RPD Building, the rest of the game moves really fast. You meet William Birkin, who is now the Tyrant, a huge Bio-Organic Weapon that wants to get his hands on his daughter in order to inoculate her with the virus. (considering how annoying she is, I'd give her to the beast with a lot of pleasure if the game allowed me)

And good luck with the zombies, you little prick!
Then you get into the sewers, then the abandoned factory, then the laboratory, then the game is over! Poof! You're taken into a maelstrom of running around, shooting a lot of things (including a giant crocodile you can take down with one nicely-placed bullet, John Mc Clane style), going from cutscenes to cutscenes (including one really excellent one showing Birkin's death, who still surprisingly hold today). To put it simply, the last hours of this game kick ass! Bobbyloathesyou warned me about it, and I have to admit he was right with this one. It manages to attain a perfect blend of action-packed sequences with little elements of exploration and light puzzles to avoid monotony.

Irons is about to make his best "John Hurt in Alien" impersonation.
Of course, there are still a few issues there. First of all, you spend quite some time with Sherry in the sewers, and she managed to mix all the bad aspects of "video game escort mission" in one character. She is slow, she curls up in foetal position every time you wander more than 5 feet away, and her voice makes Zelda's Navi sound like Barry White. It's almost a relief when she finally gets infected and has to lie down (who said I'm cruel?).

Next, the inventory is still a major problem, especially when the game drops a bomb like "you need the valve or the lighter you forgot in the safe in order to progress". You then have to backtrack through three corridors which are still crawling with monsters because you chose the "avoid" strategy instead of the "kill everything" one in order to keep some ammo.

Except from these boring backtracking moments, the flow of the game is really good during those hours. You now have quite an arsenal to kill zombies, with classic, acid and flame grenades for your launcher, a few more arrows for your Bow Gun, and some kind of huge electric gun which is cool to use (even if it's pretty useless).

Because "Cattle prod" was not cool enough.

The tale of the Birkin family is quite sad and nicely told. Annette is completely crazy and tries to protect her husband's work, totally oblivious that he has now turned into a blood-thirsty monster (and he eventually kills her in order to thank her properly). The writing is still not the best thing ever, still a bit "over the top", but it's definitely a nice try in the tragedy direction, which I think has not been attained by the series since. The log entries you find scattered around tell you how everything went bad into the Umbrella Laboratory, then lead to the Virus outbreak. The whole mess is quite clear and makes for a nice distraction to the monster-killing.

The video of Birkin's death and mutation is better paced and directed than the majority of the RE movies.
I've finished the whole thing in 5h30, which is significantly shorter than the duration of the first game, but it doesn't feel short. I think much of the 10h I spent on the first game were backtracking and doing the same things two or three times because I died without being able to save. I think the two games have about the same length, but RE2 is a bit easier, or just better organized, I don't know, and backtracking and deaths were kept to a strict minimum, compared to the first game.

William Birkin : Who's your daddy?
So now I have to play through the Leon story, to see if the second half of the game brings something to the mix and explains everything, instead of being a rehash of the first playthrough with little differences. I'll go through it again. I think it's gonna go faster too, now that I'm acquainted with the places layout and game system, we'll see about that. Maybe I'll understand why the stupid guy felt that setting off the self-destruct sequence without telling anyone was a smart move.

Wow, I've not seen this one coming...
And I died three times. Two of these deaths were at the hands of the final boss and were quite justified, but I'm ashamed to admit the first of my failures was maybe the most humiliating one ever. I killed the "Irons' spawn" boss and proudly left my couch to go pour myself a cup of coffee, only to see it was spawning a few little leeches after its death. I didn't press the stupid pause button and when I came back, I saw Claire die in front of my eyes because I wasn't quick enough to grab the controller and get her out of the leeches grasp. I think it might be the most stupid way I died in a Resident Evil game ever. My pride still hurts today.

Okay, let's go for the Leon side of the story! We'll see if the side of the game where you don't have to babysit the little girl is good enough to ask for a second playthrough!

Kill her! Kill her! She's infected!


  1. Oh, man, I know what you mean about feeling bad about things like that leech. I'm currently playing through Dead Space for the first time, and I did the EXACT same thing on an enemy that spawns little green crawlers that sap your health. LUCKILY, I snagged my controller and fought them off with a SLIVER of flashing life left!

    Bang up job, only 2(3) Continues! I honestly think that's better than I've ever done.

    I am looking forward to hearing about your Leon playthrough!

  2. I've played Dead Space not long ago for the first time too and this game is absolutely incredible! Made me jump more than a few times... I've bought the sequel not long ago, but I haven't booted it up yet (I'm waiting for a long lonely evening with all the lights shut off...). These games are excellent and are a fabulous update of what should be survival-horror nowadays.

    Thanks for the congrats, I'm pretty proud too ;) We'll see if I can do better on Leon's path!