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12 essential Resident Evil 2 tips to know before you play

The return of Resi 2 means we're back to hunting herbs and dodging undead teeth, and you might want some Resident Evil 2 tips to make that all a little easier. While Resident Evil 2 Remake is a faithful recreation of the 1996 original it’s a complete remake and that means there are new mechanics, puzzles and plenty more to test both newcomers and fans of the series. With that in mind here are 12 Resident Evil 2  tips to help you out.

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Don’t waste your ammo, and think about if you really need to kill that zombie

Yes, it sounds obvious but it’s easy to get carried away with a stubborn corpse and blow all your ammo trying  for that headshot. The thing is, some zombies can take a ton of bullets to down and still get up a few minutes later. Always think about whether you actually need to engage anything. Even faster moving enemies like Lickers are best avoided if you don’t really need to be where they are. Rule of thumb: only pull the trigger if you’re cornered or need to do something where there are bad things around. 

Go for the legs

Remember how zombie lore always tells you to go for the head? Yeah, Resident Evil 2 Remake didn’t get that memo and its undead can take so, so many headshots. You’re far better off kneecapping them. If you’re quick, one shot will buy you the time to nip past as they recoil, and if you like you can blast a leg off completely. It won’t kill them but a one legged zombie crawling along the floor will take a lot longer to catch you. 

If you down a zombie, slash it on the ground

If you have a knife on you, always take the opportunity to get a few blows in on a floored zombie. You might have to flail a bit but if you’re quick you can finish it off completely without wasting a bullet. Worst case scenario you’ll take a limb off making slightly less dangerous or slower, or just add some damage without wasting any ammo. Whatever you do however, don’t attack a zombie that’s just lying there - if it hasn’t moved it probably won’t unless you provoke it, so don’t. 

There's a quick turn move

It’s easy to miss but there’s a quick turn move that will spin your character 180 to face the other way. Just pull back on the stick and tap O to pull it off. It’s a God send in even the most basic encounters, adding a whole extra layer of mobility especially in tight spaces. However, it’s a game changer in boss fights where you often have to run away to make space before opening fire. 

Don’t combine herbs unless you have to

In the world of Resi, green herbs heal you while red herbs are useless on their own; combine the two, though, and it acts like two green herbs and gives you double the healing power. However, don’t do this unless you have to. Your health operates in three stages: Fine, Caution, and Danger which is when the next attack will kill you. A single green herb will raise your health by one, a combined red and green (and first aid spray) by two. Because resources are scarce you might want to wait to combine herbs though, in case you end up using a double heal item on a single damage point. And, if you’re worried about taking up two slots in your inventory, you can always combine them if you run out of space to free up a slot. 

Max out your Inventory

When you start you’ll discover a very strict inventory size that really forces you to think about what you pick up. You can increase this though by finding Hip Pouches throughout the game that add two slots each time you get one. There are six in total: three in different areas of the Police Station, one in the Underground Facility, one in the Sewers and one in the Laboratory. Make a point of grabbing them and you’ll make life a lot easier. 

Don’t be afraid to store things to make room

There are Item Boxes throughout Resident Evil 2 that will let you store items and retrieve them from any other box in the game. There are plenty though so don’t be afraid of dumping some gear to make room in your inventory. This is especially important if you’re entering a new area that might have things you need but still be full of monsters. Nothing’s worse than nearly dying to reach an item and not being able to pick it up. You can discard things but that permanently destroys them and there’s nothing you can really afford to throw away. You rarely go far without seeing an Item Box either so it’s usually no problem to get stuff back.

Always keep a knife, flashbang or grenade on you

Getting grabbed by a monster is bad, so always try to keep either a knife, flashbang or grenade on you. If you’re caught you have a tiny window to press L1 to use whatever you’ve equipped to escape. You can reuse knives if you kill the zombie it’s in to retrieve it, while grenades will kill and damage multiple zombies. Flashbangs will only stun momentarily but it’s better than being eaten. 

Always ‘examine’ every object you find

Some objects are hiding secrets. There are boxes you can open, and items that will reveal a secret if you can find a hidden switch. To do that you’ll have to examine it in the menu. When you do you’ll be able to rotate and move what you’re looking at around. If you find anything an X will appear, letting you interact with it and reveal what’s inside. If you’re stuck, or not sure what to do, then double check you’ve looked at everything carefully 

Red areas on the map still have something useful

When you look at the map you’ll notice there are blue areas marked ‘search completed’ and red areas labeled ‘currently searching’. All that means is that red areas still have something you can pick up in them. It can be anything from some ammo or a herb, through to that vital puzzle piece you’re missing. If you get stuck make a point of checking all the red areas first. 

Make sure you’re finished before moving on, in case you can’t get back

There are a few points in Resident Evil 2 Remake where you’ll pass a point of no return. Leaving the Police station is one, entering the Underground Facility is another. In some cases you can discover a way back later, but if you were planning to go back to solve a puzzle or pick up an item you might find you can’t for a while. There’s couple of areas as well where you drop down from a ledge that can also fence you in. Just be careful of charging into new areas if there’s any unfinished business on your list. 

When you get the flamethrower, just use short bursts

Late in the game Leon can find a flamethrower which is extremely useful against a certain type of enemy. Fuel is scarce though and because it sets things on fire it continually does damage after you’ve fired it. Because of this don’t be tempted to fire it loads, just use enough to set the thing you’re attacking on fire and wait. If the flames go out and it’s still alive then hit it again. 

If you want more on Resident Evil 2, why not read all about how the never released Resident Evil 1.5 survived 22 years to appear in the Resident Evil 2 remake? It'll explain exactly why there's an 'Elza' Walker skin for Claire.