Funny enough, I haven’t actually completed the original Resident Evil 2. It seems like every time I start a new campaign, I get to the police station then rage quit when I drop all my health and ammo to kill one Licker. Tank controls aside, there’s a lot to like about the original Resident Evil trilogy. Finding an animal medallion or uniquely shaped key while fighting off lethal enemies creates a genuine sense of surrealism. Not a lot of games I’ve played feel truly shrouded in mystery but most of the Resident Evil games I’ve touched gave me that vibe. That’s why I was so excited to start playing this mod!
It should be noted that the build I’m playing is considered ‘early access’. At this point in development, the game’s ‘over world’ has been completed and many of the puzzles have been added. The developers haven’t implemented any new enemies however so everything you fight is going to be just a semi-retextured Half-Life 2 enemy. The player doesn’t have an inventory to manage so combat is significantly easier and also, the only shred of story the mod gives you is through environmental clues only. I never knew the ‘grand purpose’ of my exploration but unlocking new paths always felt rewarding enough.
In fact, the world building offered with this mod is really quite astounding. Walls always have posters or graffiti, desks were cluttered with mugs and paperwork, floors were stained and used as additional storage space. Everywhere you look, a story is being told. That being said, the ending did feel out of nowhere. The final five minutes of the game lacked so little purpose that I actually had to watch a speedrun of RE2 to see if this was where the developer stopped developing or if that really was how the original finished. It was the latter — just with zero context.
The game starts you off wielding a knife as long as your forearm and you’re standing in front of the same tanker crash that the original game starts you off with. Fortunately for the player, the knife’s reach is about equal in length to a Zombie’s swing. They can still kill you with as little as five hits at full health however because this is a Half-Life 2 mod, dancing in and out of their reach to space your own attacks makes the knife a lot more viable than the original game.
Killing all the zombies would be ridiculous as obviously the city is overrun with them. Instead, you have no choice but to book it in the only non-blocked path you can which happens to lead to the police station.
This is the point where the mod starts to feel a lot like Resident Evil even if you’re unfamiliar with the landscape. There’s usually two paths you can go down at anytime, both synergizing with each other when it comes to collecting keys or other tools needed to progress. Unfortunately, puzzle solving does take a bit of a back seat here compared to the original game. Instead you spend a lot of time going from room to room collecting various items and speculating what you’ll need to bring back for later.
If you’re going to complete this mod, you might want a pen and paper handy to note what key items you’re holding. After collecting tons of stuff then dying without saving, I was reverted back to a save that left me with no idea where I was suppose to go from there. I typically had at least one extra ink ribbon at any time so this was my own fault. Still, I could have saved maybe 15 minutes if I only knew what I was carrying.
If health is low, green herbs come in handy even though they are so small you can run right past them at times. Often I didn’t know a green herb or med spray was in the area until I happened to walk over one and the bandage sound played. Because you don’t have an inventory, you have to just make mental note of where healing items are assuming you spot them before collecting them. There were many times I found myself back tracking just to collect healing items. Also, no inventory means no crafting so red and blue herbs are no where to be found. Damage is infrequent unless you try to run past a fair amount of zombies so this wasn’t ever that big of a deal. It’s just a bummer knowing that you’re hardly ever threaten with death.
Much to my surprise, there are more areas in the game to explore outside of the Raccoon City police station. After all, there is a conspiracy going on that we’re suppose to be getting to the bottom of. I won’t spoil what happens after the police station but I do want to encourage everyone who plays this mod to get at least that far! The reason is there’s a boss fight — one very particular boss fight exclusive to this mod — that had me literally laughing out loud. Anticlimactic wouldn’t be the right way to describe this because it’s really about a rare peak behind the veil of game making that implements a ‘rough draft’.
Despite not knowing much about Resident Evil 2, I had a ton of fun playing through this mod. If anything, I’d like to go back and play the original game now that I’ve gotten a glimpse at everything going on inside it!
Blood_Wraith, I love this mod, man! You put a lot of work into this and it shows big time. I hope the Capcom remake doesn’t discourage you in anyway because you’re working with the superior version — I mean that! If a team is looking for a level designer, I believe you have what it takes because these brand new models look amazing!
If you’re looking to play through this mod, a download can be found here: https://www.moddb.com/mods/resident-evil-2-source/downloads/resident-evil-2-source-demo-v-11