Nice, albeit generic, graphics? Cheesy plot and story line? Doesn't quite fit into either the genre of RPG or action? If these are what you are looking for then Resident Evil 2 Platinum is the game for you. I started playing this game with high expectations. At first, one of my development team members had told me about how good the graphics of the original Resident Evil were, and then I went on to read another review by a particular reviewer on the Web, who proclaimed that greatness was just oozing from the second installment of Resident Evil. What did I find? In short, after playing partially through this game, I had the distinct urge to stop, reinstall, and replay Blood II. If that doesn't say just how bad this title is, then I guess you haven't played Blood II yet.
First off, I should note that Resident Evil 2 and its predecessor are games originally designed for Sony's Playstation. Therefore, I shouldn't be too shocked with the very basic level of gameplay to be found within. Considering the Playstation's inherit limitations, in both areas of gameplay and graphics, it is clear that this is little more than a straight port to the PC, with little effort given to optimize it for the platform. Optimize? They didn't even get that far. In fact, they never even got around to implementing a PC standard menu for the game. One of the first experiences I had with it was trying to figure out how to exit. To my suprise (after much key pushing), I found you had to use the F9 key various times in order to exit back to Windows.
Okay, back to the game review... What is this game, and why did I dislike it? Well, Resident Evil 2, as the name may imply is a sequel to the Playstation smash-hit, Resident Evil. In short, you're a rookie cop or a female of undisclosed age (whichever you may choose in the opening of the game) that pretty much fights your way through hordes of zombies, seeks clues to RPG type puzzles, and makes various insightful remarks such as "Nothing of interest here." or "It doesn't work. It seems to be broken." Your adventure leads you for the most part around the Raccoon City police station, which was apparently slated for a spot on Bob Villa's "This Old House" series, but never quite made it.
Initially, if you start off in the original style mode, then you're packing a pistol with which you are supposed to deliver four shots per zombie in order to make the fall, and then another two to the head for good measure, as well as to assure that they won't be standing up again. Since of course you have limited ammunition, your best alternative is to kill with discretion, saving those rounds for the really tight situations. Personally I preferred the Arrange Mode, as it was called, where you begin with what appears to be a Mac 10 with unlimited ammunition, and never requiring a clip change. After all, who wouldn't prefer a never-ending stream of 9mm from a fully automatic weapon to take out the zombie hordes? Upon making your way to the police station, the opportunity to "upgrade your hardware" becomes an option. From here you can move to the big leagues with the Terminator 2 style, hand-held gatling gun or the shoulder-launched anti-tank rocket. Needless to say, I chose the rocket launcher. One shot, one kill. Maybe this is where the realism of it all started to bother me though. I had never before thought of a rocket launcher as a close-quarters weapon, but in Resident Evil 2, it became as accomodating as the typical riot shotgun or MP5 for close-quarters combat. In fact, I could stand directly against a wall, fire, and still walk away unscathed. Not to mention the rate of fire bordered on classifying it as a semi-automatic weapon.
Speaking of scathing and health, the status of your character is vague at best. There are two situations which you may find your health in, depending on the success of your clashes with the zombies - Fine or Caution. Definitely a very black or white scenario, with the only other choice being "Dead". In order to heal those "cautionary" wounds though, there are cans of "First Aid Spray" to be found at varying locations throughout the game. With a magical spray of the aerosol can, you can be wisked back to the prime condition of "Fine". I think it must be similar to the stuff you use after a particularly bad sunburn. Continuing on with the topic of realism, I just happened to notice something that slipped by before, as one of my programming staff members pointed out to me the other day. During one of the particular cut-scenes of the game, you are confronted by a female scientist who is brandishing a pistol. At the same time, my programmer had a rocket launcher at the ready. Yet, not the least of good it did, as he was forced to listen through the agonizing dialog that took place. Apparently, in the Resident Evil world, firepower doesn't hold much weight.
Well, so much for realistic gameplay and weaponary. What about the graphics? The real reason I started to play Resident Evil 2 was because of the reputed graphic design and 3D that the game offered. Overall, I thought that the designers did a good job creating both the level design, as well as making it run smoothly on even my lower-end Pentium 200 machine. On the negative side though, the perspective from which the game is based is more like an action cam sequence, where the camera is placed for the most dramatic effect. This doesn't make it any easier to play the game, considering that at some points, your field of vision is severly restricted, meaning that to inspect objects or attack advancing zombies is all but impossible to do. More than once I found myself blind-firing at the sound of approaching zombie footsteps (and even more times than that hitting walls with my shots, since my angle was way off). This is in addition to the fact that the camera changes on an annoyingly frequent basis to keep up with the character movement. Even walking through doors becomes a labor with the constant pause and cinematic opening sequence that follows, before you can get to the other side.
How would I sum this game up? Well, probably the most profound thought I had as I mentioned earlier on was "Maybe I need to reinstall and replay Blood II?". For anyone who is familiar with Blood II, that statement should put this game in the correct perspective. For those who are not, my simple advice would be to avoid this title at all costs.