A well-done remake can be the best introduction to an iconic series

Leon and Claire in Resident Evil 2 Remake
(Image credit: Capcom)

With games like Resident Evil 4 and Silent Hill 2 in-line for modern day reimaginings, and the likes of The Last of Us Part 1 and Resident Evil 2 striking a fine balance between nostalgia and new, remaking classic video games is definitely in fashion. But news of remakes isn't always well-received by players. When we've waited years for deeply woven stories to hit our consoles, it seems futile that in just a short time there's a remastered version of the same title on the shelves. But it raises the question: are we viewing this with a sceptical gaze? 

Many fans of the originals wish for their favourites to remain untouched and celebrated for their innovation. Don't get me wrong, I get it. However, this skewed view held by my past self and others hinders players from discovering some truly incredible stories. If Leon and Claire's parallel tale hadn't been rebuilt from the ground up for the Resident Evil 2 remake, for example, I wouldn't have been introduced to the Resi universe whatsoever. 

Raccoon City on lockdown

Resident Evil 2

(Image credit: Capcom)

I finally sat down to play through that fateful night in Raccoon City during lockdown. Which was probably not the best thing to be playing during a worldwide pandemic, but there we are. I'll be honest, I went into it with very little knowledge, I knew there would be dual campaigns, zombie dogs that would revel in ripping my face to shreds, and a whole lot of jump scares. Yet the story and its world were completely new to me, and although petrified after pressing start on the menu screen, I proceeded. 

Choosing Leon's campaign first, I felt as though I was experiencing everything with him in tandem: neither of us had idea what was going on, we both kept asking rhetorical questions, and we certainly weren't getting paid enough for putting ourselves through that hellish evening. Then, working my way through Claire's campaign and navigating through the chilling Sherry Birkin section (where you're pursued by the scariest monster of all, an angry adult human), I was sold. It's easy for me to say it with no point of reference, but after playing this, I still feel as though I haven't missed out on the original. 

Resident Evil 2

(Image credit: Capcom)

"Video game remakes allow classics to be discovered by newcomers, introducing an entirely new age demographic to some of video game history's heavyweights."

Although survival horror is by no means my favorite genre - torchlight gives me the creeps - I'm relieved that I pushed that aside, and experienced what this had to offer. Obviously, raising a toast to the source material is a must, but if rebuilds like these were kept off the table, it closes the door on opportunity. Newcomers deserve an easier road inward. Remaking games allows studios to add accessibility options, while pouring more time into stories that they were unable to the first time around. 

Another plus is that they're also allowing classics to be discovered by newcomers, introducing an entirely new age demographic to some of video game history's heavyweights. I'm thrilled that so many of us have been able to play these definitive stories with a modern twist; being able to experience the Resi 2 remake has opened my mind to inviting more retellings in. Resident Evil 2 has become the blueprint for what a remake should be: faithful, yet peppered with its own originality. It takes core moments and elevates them to a place where they're still honoured, but where classic fans are able to revel at the newness. With the release of the Resident Evil 4 remake due in March, it leaves me with enough time to discover more of Raccoon City's bloodcurdling mysteries. Oh, Jill…

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