The new remake of Resident Evil 2 is already considered one of, if not, the best entry in the series. After nearly a decade of questionable releases, fans are happy to have a Resident Evil game that showcases what makes Capcom’s survival horror franchise so special.
With all the hype surrounding Resident Evil 2, it’s easy to forget Resident Evil 7 helped put the series back on track two years ago. Taking inspiration from other modern survival-horror titles, the seventh Resident Evil was a true return to form that received much praise from fans and critics. Both Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2 made the classic series relevant again.
Both of these games are solid in their own right and worth trying out. However, given their differences, they’ll each appeal to different types of players. Let’s see how Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2 stack up against one another.
Both of the recent Resident Evil games are survival horror. These games are not so much about blasting away every zombie and monster in sight as they are about resource management, puzzle-solving, and exploration. However, the games balance these mechanics in their own unique ways.
The most immediate difference comes with their respective camera angles. Resident Evil 2 features the third-person, over-the-shoulder camera angle first introduced in Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 7 is played from a first-person perspective. This camera angle impacts gameplay significantly. First, Resident Evil 7 is a more immersive experience since players are no longer controlling the protagonist, they are the protagonist. Secondly, the camera angle heightens the tension since it’s difficult to see one’s surroundings.
Though neither is an action title, Resident Evil 2 leans more toward that direction. Each of the main playable characters in the remake can carry a wide assortment of deadly weapons. While ammo is scarce, you get more than enough to handle all of the nasties in your path. You have the advantage, despite the overwhelming odds.
Resident Evil 7 has its fair share of weapons but they don’t exactly empower you. Even with a shotgun in your hand, you’ll feel like a small mouse facing a massive snake. Weapons only really serve to put distance between you and the molded, and of course, the crazed Baker family members.
Stealth is a major component of RE7. Players can hide behind, under, or inside of objects in order to avoid detection. This is a mechanic which RE2 simply doesn’t have.
Verdict: If you want a more traditional experience, Resident Evil 2 is for you. It deftly brings the classic formula into the 21st century. On the flipside, if you want to experience true terror and helplessness, Resident Evil 7 will satisfy.
Though each game is Resident Evil canon, their stories could not be any more different.
Like the original, Resident Evil 2 takes place in Raccoon City after the outbreak of a virus that turns the populace into undead zombies. It introduces players to rookie police officer, Leon S. Kennedy, Chris Redfield’s sister, Claire Redfield, mercenary Ada Wong, and the Berkin family: Sherry, Annette, and William. The latter two are scientists working for the Umbrella Corporation, and the former is their daughter.
Taking place months after the events of the first Resident Evil, it delves deeper into the machinations of the Umbrella Corporation and their quest to create powerful bioweapons. The story is heavily inspired by classic zombie films and modern sci-fi horror. While scary, some of the situations in RE2 can come off as outlandish and (unintentionally) humorous.
In Resident Evil 7, players follow the exploits of Ethan Winters as he visits a dilapidated plantation in Louisiana after receiving a message from his supposedly deceased wife, Mia. There, he not only reunites with Mia, but meets the Baker family. Mia and the Bakers are not only psychotic, but have strange regenerative powers. As the story unfolds, players see how it ties into the series’ main plotline. In story and tone, it is comparable to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes. It is also more grounded in reality.
Verdict: If you want a straightforward, serious horror story, Resident Evil 7 is what you want. Those who want a less-realistic, more over-the-top tale and classic, recognizable characters will gravitate toward Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 2 is easily one of the scariest games of 2019. Its darkened rooms conceal whatever potential horrors lie in wait. Blood-stained walls, decaying corpses, and devastated rooms add to the visual horror. Then there’s the sound design. The sounds of creaking wood, garish groans, and unsteady footsteps from areas unknown only serve to boost one’s feelings of dread. This is not a game you want to play with the lights off.
As scary as Resident Evil 2 is, it’s got nothing on Resident Evil 7. The aforementioned first-person perspective is the main reason why this title is easily the scariest Resident Evil game ever released. The perspective puts players squarely in the shoes of the main character. It also obstructs one’s view and makes it easier to become disoriented.
Like Resident Evil 2’s Mr. X, the Baker family is constantly hunting you down, particularly, their patriarch, Jack Baker who will bust down walls to find you. The female Bakers are just as frightening, especially the elderly woman who is always disturbingly sitting in random corners of the house. We also can’t forget about the molded creatures whose black, amorphous bodies come straight out of a nightmare.
The sound design is just as unnerving as that of Resident Evil 2’s. Let’s not forget how you can play the entire game in VR on PlayStation 4. Resident Evil 7 is survival-horror at its most extreme.
Verdict: There’s no contest here. While Resident Evil 2 certainly serves up scares, its atmosphere isn’t as oppressive as that of Resident Evil 7. It’s difficult to see any Resident Evil title topping RE7 in the horror department anytime soon.
Resident Evil 2 features two main characters: Leon and Claire. Once you complete the campaign of one, you can then play a “second run” with the other. While both campaigns are largely similar in terms of locales and bosses, they have different cutscenes, enemy placements, and some altered puzzles. The second run is actually more challenging than the first playthrough since there is less ammo and resources. Inventory management is even more crucial since you don’t can’t expand your inventory as easily.
You can play the Hardcore difficulty which has tougher foes, fewer items, and requires ink ribbons to save. After completing the campaigns you can play through two mini games which challenge you to get through an area as quickly as possible. Capcom also plans to release additional free episodes centering on other survivors soon.
Resident Evil 7 doesn’t have two core campaigns like RE2. However, players need to make a crucial decision near the final act which will impact the ending. There are also different cutscenes and boss battles depending on what path you choose. Players who want to see both routes will want to play the game at least twice.
As if Resident Evil 7 wasn’t already harrowing enough on normal difficulty, Madhouse Mode delivers a truly terrifying survival horror experience for those who want the challenge. In this mode, both the Molded and Bakers are tougher to kill and can kill you faster. Resources are scarce, and you can only save your game with cassette tapes you discover. There are also more coins to collect (33 as opposed to 18).
Since RE7 is two years old, folks can immediately try out some of the post-launch DLC add-ons. Each of these chapters expands on RE7’s core story and resolves a couple of loose threads. They’re not crucial, but certainly add more playtime for those who want to get more out of RE7.
Verdict: You can play Resident Evil 2 multiple times to experience different scenarios. The Fourth Survivor also adds replayability. RE7 doesn’t have more replayability than RE2 but it currently has more content thanks to the DLC expansions. In the end, both games are about even in this area, but RE2 offers more out of the box.
Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 7 deliver excellent experiences for series veterans and newcomers alike. While they each bring something unique to the table, they’re both exemplary of what makes the franchise so special. Some may prefer the more traditional Resident Evil 2, while others will connect with Resident Evil 7’s fresh take. Either way, you can’t go wrong with either title.