Saturday, February 23, 2019

Resident Evil 2 Remake - 5 Changes I Like, Don't Like, and Would Have Changed

Warning - this post contains lots of spoilers from both the original Resident Evil 2 and the Remake. You have been warned!

Hey everyone, I thought I'd do something slightly different today. I, like many people have recently been playing Resident Evil 2 Remake and it's absolutely brilliant. I may well review it for the website, but at the moment I thought I'd just do this post and see what happens in the future.

Resident Evil 2 (2019) is a full remake of the original Resident Evil 2 from 1998. That being said, like the original Resident Evil remake from 2002, which was a full remake of the original from 1996, they have made some changes and added some things, so it's not a 100% copy and paste interpretation.

Is this it as good as the original? My answer is no - but that's okay. The standards set back then were incredibly high, so I wasn't expecting it to be "as good", but I wanted it to be as close to the original in terms of offering the same feeling and giving a similar experience for modern or younger gamers who may have missed if they didn't play the original. And that's exactly what this Remake does on most fronts. They've added some stuff, they've taken away from stuff, and they've kept probably 85% of the original content, and the experience does feel incredibly fresh and nostalgic at the same time.

Here are five changes that I like, don't like and would have changed from Resident Evil 2 Remake. I'd again, like to emphasise, that this game is tremendous, and it's constructive criticism that I'm offering. Overall Capcom have made an excellent game and Remake, so keep that in mind if I may come across negative at times when explaining - I'm purely a hardcore fan and nothing more!

5 Changes I Like About Resident Evil 2 Remake

1. Sherry's Story

In the original game Sherry was a pain in the ass. There's no other way to put it. She slowed you down, she got herself into all sorts of trouble and, despite being a timid little girl with terrible parents you didn't feel sorry for her really.

But in the Remake they corrected pretty much EVERYTHING to do with Sherry. You do genuinely feel sorry for her in this version of the game. She doesn't slow you down at all, and because you can't control her in the game they took the frustrating elements out.

More than that though they added some pretty good stuff. The relationship between Chief Irons and Sherry wasn't something I expected to see but Capcom added a very interesting story there. Chief Irons was a creepy bastard in the Remake, more so than in the original, and by adding a story of him kidnapping Sherry and taking her to an abandoned orphanage was a stroke of genius. By having Sherry stand up to Chief Irons and throw acid in his face when he's trying to attack her really made you root for her. The game of hide and seek was quite tense in parts.

Another fantastic thing they added into the Remake was how Sherry's appearance changed after William Birkin implanted an embryo into her. Her eye looked messed up and it was pretty damn disgusting I must say. Great work Capcom with working a previously really frustrating character in Sherry and making her actually more than tolerable, but genuinely a character I sympathised with.

2. Tyrant vs William Birkin

It was the fight we never asked for, but again, massive credit where it's due, because seeing Tyrant and William Birkin together was a huge treat I never saw coming in the Remake. And seeing William Birkin come on top of the fight and absolutely destroying the Tyrant, ripping three quarters of his abdomen out was a great moment. I loved every second of that scene - Sherry calling out for her father, Claire realising that the monster that's hellbent on attacking them both is actually her Dad and seeing all the gore was just... wow. Great work Capcom.

3. The Subweapons and Gunpowder

I'm not the biggest fan of subweapons to be honest but they can be lifesavers at times. With Resident Evil 2 Remake being a far more dynamic game than the original, they needed to do something to breakdown the divide between the main character and the enemies they'll be facing. So by adding defensive knives and grenades to aid the player when in trouble, they managed to break down any potential issues that could develop.

But better than the subweapons for me was the gunpowder addition to the game. The subweapons were a feature from Resident Evil 1 Remake, so it's a bit of a homage to that entry in the series, but the gunpowder was a feature that was used in the original Resident Evil 3 game. It's likely, based on the rumours, that gunpowder will be used in the Resident Evil 3 remake apparently in development, so perhaps that decision impacted the idea of using it in its predecessor. I'm just speculating at this point, but either way it was a great feature and it gets a thumbs up from me.

4. Ben Bertolucci's Death

Well what can I say? Just look at the picture below! Holy crap this moment was amazing. We all knew that Ben was going to die, but I don't think anyone thought it'd be as quick as it was, and certainly not in the hands of Tyrant. The way Tyrant "broke" Ben's face with his bare hand was just brutal, and the eye pop was just the gory cherry on top of the horror cake. It was simply one of the best deaths in Resident Evil history.

5. G-Adult and The Sewers

In the original game the sewers were an okay and very brief part of the game that is largely forgettable. But in the Remake they really expanded on the network of tunnels and how utterly disgusting the whole section is.

Another great thing about the sewers was the use of the G-Adult. Rather than making G-Adult into the first boss of the game like in the original, Capcom decided to make G-Adult into a regular enemy in the sewers. It makes more sense this way story-line wise, because of the fact that William Birkin's G-virus is trying to find the perfect partner to "breed" his mutation into to prolong his legacy. All of the G-Adults in the sewers are "failures" of the embryo breeding process, so it makes so much more sense that there's more of them. And they're absolutely revolting, more so in this version of the game than in the remake.

5 Changes I Don't Like About Resident Evil 2 Remake

1. The Lab

What was so good about seeing the previews of Resi 2 Remake, and then playing the Demo, was seeing how much of the police station looked identical to how it looked in the original game. Sure they did change and add more parts, but overall the presentation of the police station was very similar. It was so nostalgic running down the corridors of the station because it looked so similar.

But then when you get to the lab, which is now called The NEST, they changed almost everything. It's unrecognisable. Now if you're thinking I'm being a hypocrite because I'm complimenting Capcom for changing the Sewers but criticising them for changing the lab then I understand. But the difference here for me is that they expanded on the Sewers a lot, and the Sewers were quite a small section of the game. But I did like the lab and how it looked in the original game, so to not only change it but to change it as dramatically as they did, just disappointed me somewhat. Don't get me wrong, The NEST is a decent part of the game, but I feel they missed a trick here.

2. Super Tyrant

Don't get me wrong, Tyrant (or Mr X, but I've never really liked that name) is excellent. He's just as intimidating on this game, in fact he's probably more intimidating because he can't killed and follows you EVERYWHERE. But that fedora is just awful. Why give him a fedora?? To be fair, it looked worse in the trailers than it does in the actual game.

But more than the fedora, what disappointed me the most about Tyrant was the final boss fight. He just didn't look that good. The pictures below don't really do much justice to my point but bare with me. In the original he was completely naked, had two massive claws, and his pumping heart was really prominent. In the Remake they decided to keep his pants on - perhaps this is a weird thing to be critical about but I just think it looked odd. Also, because he's such a big guy, he had the worlds biggest abs it seemed. Where as in the original game, his body is highly mutilated by this point. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I truly believe that the original final Tyrant was better. Also the fight was a lot more intimidating in the original game - the way he'd zoom up to you and claw you was just brutal. In the Remake he's a lot less dangerous, again in my opinion.

3. Leon and Claire's Odd Flirting

Why? Just why? I really enjoyed the fact that Leon and Claire's relationship in the original game is genuinely platonic, there's no feelings there whatsoever for either of them for the other and anyone interpreting the situation as something different is seeing something that purely isn't there. Ada and Leon of course have feelings for eachother, and the story really is whether or not Ada was using Leon or did have feelings for him, and this plays further along in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 6. Claire of course falls for Steve in Resident Evil Code Veronica.

But Claire and Leon in Resident Evil 2, or other games or films that they appear in don't have any romance and nor should they. So it was a strange decision from Capcom to start the two flirting in this Remake. I mean, it's not heavy flirting, but even any hint of it felt strange and out of place, and simply becomes questionable.

4. Chief Iron's Death

Perhaps it's only a minor thing to most people but I was a little disappointed in how Chief Irons dies in this game. In the original game on the "A" scenario, both Chief Irons and Ben Bertolucci die by William Birkin planting an embryo into their bodies and then the G-Young creature pops out of them. They made Ben die in a different way in this game as stated above, and that's fine. But they saved the original death in the original game to Chief Irons.

What's different about the way he dies in this game than in the original? Sure, the G-Young creature pops out of him, just like in the original. But in the Remake, he pops out of his stomach. It's a great visual and I did enjoy it, but the way the G-Young bursts out in the original could have been even more amazing if he did it the same way in the Remake. As you can kind of see below, he bursts from the shoulder and chest area, ripping Chief Irons in half. It looked brutal back in 1998 and I really hoped they'd make it just as bad in the Remake. Whilst it was still good, it did disappoint me a little.

5. Leon/Claire A&B Scenarios

If I could only mention one thing that frustrated me about the Resident Evil 2 Remake it was this. I wasn't sure if Capcom were going to do Leon A/Claire B and Claire B/Leon A because of time constraints, budgets and if they could justify it. But when I found out they put a mode called "2nd Run", I was excited because it meant that Capcom were going to give hardcore fans what they wanted.

But "2nd Run" is just a mess. I hate to be negative and blunt but it is. The "1st Run" was great, and overall Resi 2 Remake is brilliant, but for me if they were going to do a "2nd Run" or a "B" Scenario campaign they really should have done it properly.

What's wrong with it, you may ask? Well, the "2nd Run", tries to do what the "B" Scenarios did on the original, which is basically that if you were playing as Leon, you'd then play as Claire to find out what she was up to "behind the scenes" so to speak. And vice versa if you played as Claire then you'd find out what Leon was up to. What the original from back in 1998 did by splitting these campaigns was in effect give you 4 different stories, because the game is split, literally, depending on what side of the fire Leon and Claire jump out of the car in.

But the "2nd Run" isn't the same as the "B" Scenarios. Why? Because after you arrive at the police station and take the "back entrance" to the building, you pretty much play the game in exactly the same way as the "A" Scenario, or the "1st Run" in this case. Sure, the puzzles are slightly different and some of the items are in slightly different places, but the game plays out almost exactly as the "1st Run", especially after you leave the police station.

Also, because Leon and Claire only meet up or communicate two or three times in the Remake, it becomes less of a question of "oh, so that's what they were up to behind the scenes", where as in the original it felt their paths crossed more often than that, perhaps four or five times. And even on their first encounter - the time lapse was a frustration. On the "1st Run", it takes you a good 30-45 minutes before you see the other character. But on the "2nd Run", it's literally within the first 5 minutes of playing the game. These little things don't add up, it's as simple as that.

5 Changes I Would Have Made to Resident Evil 2 Remake

1. 2nd Run/B Campaign as Free DLC

Following on from Point 5 of things I "don't like", I truly feel that Capcom made the decision to have the "2nd Run" because of hardcore fans demanding it. And if that's the case, then, as stated above, credit where it's due, Capcom were listening to fans and put it in.

But because it was so rushed and didn't add up correctly, it would have been a better decision for Capcom to not release the "2nd Run" on release date, and then to add it as free DLC in the future. I mean, they added Ghost Survivors as free DLC already and the game only came out a few weeks ago. So it's not like would have had to wait long to get it "right" before releasing it.

Perhaps Capcom thought fans would have been disappointed that the "2nd Run" was not released on release day, so instead of putting up with that criticism, they decided to release it anyway, despite it being "undercooked", so to speak. But if that's the case, I do feel they made the wrong decision. Those fans would have soon become happy knowing it would have been free DLC and done properly, certainly happier than they are now, that's for sure.

2. Assignment Ada

I've seen quite a few fans mention this on social media already, so it's not my idea. But listen to the fans Capcom!

The wonderful thing about hindsight is that we could know what's going to happen before it actually happens. Back in 1998 we didn't know that Ada was going to be this badass spy that backstabs anyone and everyone to achieve her goal. She is wonderful in Resident Evil 4 and despite Resident Evil 6 being disappointing overall, Ada's role in the game was one of the better parts.

In Resident Evil 4 there was a mode called "Assignment Ada", which in itself was homage to the original Resident Evil 2. Remember we talk about the "B" Scenario? Well this was the Resi 4 equivalent of it. "Assignment Ada" shows you what Ada did "behind the scenes" whilst Leon was playing through the events of the game. You play as Ada in "Assignment Ada" and find out what she was up to, helping you out behind your back, getting herself into trouble before, of course, backstabbing Leon all over again at the end. It was a really cool part of Resi 4.

So why don't we have an "Assignment Ada" campaign in Resident Evil 2 Remake? I'm sure fans wouldn't mind even if it was paid DLC to be honest. What fans would love to know is what Ada got up to in the events of Resident Evil 2 - whether that's the original game or the Remake, regardless, fans want to see it. Capcom can put some story together and let her take on Birkin or Tyrant or perhaps another boss, perhaps the Moth boss or a Giant Spider, both of what was not put in the Remake for reasons unknown?

This is something fans want and I'd love it for Capcom to already be working on this without us even knowing!

3. More Streets

One disappointment from fans and myself when it comes to Resi 2 Remake was simply that we weren't on the streets for very long. The Raccoon City streets are iconic, and we only spend probably 10 minutes maximum on them, and for the most part they don't even resemble how they did in the original game. I was happy when playing Claire's campaign that they did put in the basketball court and the bus, but overall I think fans wanted the same streets of 1998 done in 2019, and even more streets to explore before arriving at the police station, but in the end it felt we got less. It's what I would have done if I had any power at Capcom at all, it was a bit disappointing but it's done now.

4. Brad Vickers

Where was Brad? Again it's not a big part of the original game but it's something people question when it comes to what was missing. It was great having what was basically an Easter Egg in the original game, and it did have a purpose because you had to take care of Brad to get access to alternative costumes in the game. So to take him out of the game was just disappointing.

In fact they could have made a similar scenario with Brad where we find out what happened to him, either during the events of Resi 2 or Resi 3, or both. It was, after all, a matter of days between the events of the games so they could have easily had a situation happen either where Nemesis didn't actually fully kill Brad, or have him added to the Ghost Survivors campaign that's already been done as DLC. Either way, just removing him completely wasn't the best move in my opinion.

5. Tyrant Mode

Again, not my idea but it's certainly something that would be awesome! Why not have a mode in the game where we control Tyrant? We could either make it so we actually have to go through a gauntlet of enemies, like 4th Survivor, before either taking on William Birkin (revenge!) or taking on Leon or Claire as a final boss.

Another way of doing Tyrant Mode is simply have the campaign of Claire and/or Leon but we swap them for Tyrant instead, and we just play the game as normal. It'd have to be a midget Tyrant though or one that can bend through small rooms because he is massive! Either way, I'd love a DLC where we can play as one of the most iconic bad guys of Resident Evil, and I know I'm not alone in wanting that.

So there we go! I hope you've enjoyed reading this article. I'm sure some people won't agree with everything I've said, and perhaps may think I'm being too critical. I promise you I have nothing but love for the Remake Capcom have given us. These are just small criticisms or tweaks I'd have suggested if I, in some fantasy world, got a chance to work with Capcom in hindsight. Overall this is a brilliant Remake.

By the way - I'd like to also mention that as a huge fan of William Birkin - Capcom, thank you. Thank you so much for doing him complete justice. I wrote an article on this website back in 2011 about how great The Transformations of William Birkin were, and how much I loved them. Birkin is a brilliant monster and he looks just as good in 2019 as he did in 1998. They really did make him just as ugly and monstrous and as brutal as he was all of those years ago. Thank you Capcom.

What changes would have you made? What do you agree or disagree with me on? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time, take care!

For the latest updates on my work, follow me on Facebook and Twitter here!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Mixtape: Best Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Music

Hi everyone, and welcome to another one of my Mixtapes. In case you're not sure what a Mixtape is, here's an explanation...

A Mixtape is a playlist of a certain genre, band or era. The list is generally 80 minutes long, the same length of a blank CD, with further recommendations if some of the songs aren't to your taste. Remember kids, downloading is wrong! 

The Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis if you're from the US) is one of my favourite consoles. It was the first console I ever had as my own, and it holds a very strong sentimental value. Some of the music from this 32-bit era was truly tremendous. It's amazing how much power the console had at the time, in terms of producing great tunes. The 64-bit era and beyond changed music in video games forever because they could play actual genuine music, but back when the Mega Drive was around that wasn't the case.

So I wanted to showcase my favourite songs from my favourite games from this era of video gaming. If you want to see an actual list of my 50 Favourite Mega Drive Games, simply click this link here. But as for the music, here's the playlist below, with links to each individual song!
  1. Title Theme - Street Fighter II Championship Edition
  2. The Desert - Aladdin
  3. Title Theme - Micro Machines 2
  4. Duckberg - Quackshot
  5. Opening Theme - Mortal Kombat
  6. Mars 1 and 2 - Taz: Escape from Mars
  7. Main Theme - Micro Machines
  8. Area 1: Jammin' Jungle - Mega Bomberman
  9. Forest and Mountain - Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  10. Lava Reef Zone Act 2 - Sonic and Knuckles
  11. Never Return Alive - Streets of Rage 2
  12. Concentration - Super Monaco GP
  13. Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
  14. Act 1 Boss - Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  15. Dub Slash - Streets of Rage 3
  16. Diamond Dust Zone Act 1 - Sonic 3D
  17. BGM 3 - World Cup Italia '90
  18. Star Light Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog
  19. Ninja Step - Revenge of Shinobi
  20. Theme of Seven-Force - Gunstar Heroes
  21. Death Adder - Golden Axe
  22. Stages 9-12 - Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
  23. Attack of the Barbarian - Streets of Rage
  24. Atropos - Columns
  25. Visitor's Center - Jurassic Park
  26. Metropolis Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  27. Hard Road - Super Hang-On
Some of these not to your taste? Here's five alternatives...
  1. Fighting in the Street - Streets of Rage
  2. Hydrocity Zone Act 2 - Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  3. Make Me Dance - Revenge of Shinobi
  4. Goro's Lair - Mortal Kombat
  5. Mystic Cave Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog 2
To listen to the playlist on YouTube click here!

Well I hope you enjoyed this list. It made me feel very nostalgic, I don't know about you. Anyway, until next time, take care!

For the latest updates on my work, follow me on Facebook and Twitter here!