Resident Evil 2 Remake Review: An Upgraded Classic Rollercoaster Ride

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I know I am a bit late to the party. I finally got a chance to play Resident Evil 2 the remake, which was released back in 2019. For those who are new to my blog, I am not a little girl and I’m definitely not new to this franchise. I first played this game with my brother back in day where we supposedly fake sick so we can skip school (actually the real deep root was social anxiety. Some kids just function better in smaller crowd).

Let’s just pretend you are new to the game. There are two parts to the game that you can play: the rookie Leon Kennedy’s route or the good bad-ass Claire Redfield who is searching for her brother. The proper order is to select Leon’s route, but back then playing the original, I started off with Claire because she is GIRL POWER!!! Did I mention that she is bad-ass a minute ago? Yeah I did.

Anyway, this game is well designed in terms of appealing to the younger generation of gamers without jeopardizing its survival horror aesthetic, which older fans often complained how they didn’t like how the Resident Evil franchise turned into action games. Zombies are noticeably less aggressive and slower than Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. Atmosphere is very dark in tight corridors. Ammo is scarce so don’t go shooting blindly and aimlessly out of terror. The remake is also generous enough to allow players to switch to Assist Mode if they are having trouble. Assist Mode is another way of saying easy mode, but it seems like the developer didn’t want to hurt player’s feelings so they called it Assist Mode which sounds more polite than easy (that’s just my speculation though. I like to come up with backstage stories lol). Standard Mode is normal mode. Most people start off with Standard Mode, which is what I did. But then I realized I had to switch to Assist Mode because I kept dying, trying to explore the police station. It’s difficult to explore if you are new the game because there are enemies (the infamous lickers and the Tyrant) that will get in your way!

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It’s nice that the developer allow you to switch mode in the middle of the game as the earlier Resident Evil games rely heavily on exploration and solving puzzles, which I like very much. I am the type of gamer who enjoy playing games twice: one for story and second for the gameplay. Like anything, practice makes perfect. So the order I went back then, was to play on easy mode to get the feel of the game as I don’t rely on guides. It’s more fun to figure things out yourself. Another generous thing about the remake is that you don’t need ink ribbons to save. In fact, it autosaves quite frequently. So you don’t have to panic about not having enough ink ribbons to save your progress! For some players, especially kids who are just learning how to play games (we’ve all been there) it’s a nice component, but not so much for the veteran players. Lastly, the map is also well thought out. It’s easy to spot what items you missed which make it easier for you to backtrack, and once you found all the items, the location of the map will turn red to clear, which means you don’t need to revisit the area. This saves a lot of time. Can you imagine those who have memory problems? Back in the day, games were kind of hard. Our only cue was looking for flashy things. Games like this really do test your memory skills. Like a mouse in a maze, you got to know where you are going in order to survive. It’s kind of like solving a math equation if you think about it. There is an order to everything.

Overall, I enjoyed the remake. It’s a fun game for newcomers and old fans. But personally, I think the franchise is dead to me as I still have yet to play Resident Evil 7, which I heard was decent, but I’m just not excited enough to play. Nonetheless, it’s still an iconic series that will always have a special place in my heart. The little girl in me likes to come out and shoot some zombie heads once in awhile. I still have to explore the side mini games that the game has to offer.

P.S

There are some jump scare parts. Okay you got me, haha!

The $$$ I Flushed Down the Toilet (Video Games Purchase)

Well I am back with my 3 list of recommendations, but this time I don’t recommend them. I called this The $$$ I Flushed Down the Toilet Edition post. If there is a game that looks promising and you are tempted to buy on launch day, tell yourself to halt! The price of the game will eventually drop. Don’t flush your money down the toilet especially during these hard economic times. There is a possibility you would feel ripped off. Plus, I’m pretty sure your backlogs huge. The games ain’t going to run away so you don’t need to buy on launch day.

We all know videogames can be expensive to begin with and some people like me enjoy browsing games, hoping to play the next big thing that will send our heads flying out of space because reality sucks. Oh I wonder how many times I have envisioned Nemesis from Resident Evil came crashing into my office building where I work or when I was a teenager, I used to pray for some little excitement like human combustion or something so I can get out of school. Only in videogames I can unleash my craziness!

There are times I made a bad gamble and purchased games I regret, so here are the following three (keep in mind everything I say is subjective. Please don’t take offense if I mention the games you like. We all know gamers can get really touchy with their games.):

#1 Silent Hill: Homecoming

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As you probably know by now if you have been following this blog, I love survival horror games. Fell in love with the genre when my brother introduced me to Parasite Eve. Take that back, it was actually Friday the 13th on the NES that made me enjoyed the genre. There was a moment in time where I was separated from my family for awhile so I miss playing games with my brother. So when we do get the chance to play games together, we get excited and happy. We bought Silent Hill Homecoming which turned out to be a big fat disappointment. My brother and I thought we could relive our childhood memories playing this survival horror game, but when things got juicy in the game and we thought we were halfway, the credits started rolling and we were left baffled by what we just played. So yes I paid the full price. I believe it was 60 dollars excluding tax. So around 64 dollars down the toilet. Actually I trade it in for 11 dollars at some boutique game shop. I still got ripped off because it was that crappy.

#2 Extermination

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I remember buying this game without knowing who was the game designer, so a couple years later when I found out SWERY designed this game, I was shocked because I enjoyed Deadly Premonition, which I played a few years later. Unlike Deadly Premonition, this game is booooooooooooooooooooooring. I tried so hard to enjoy it but it felt like a chore to beat, so I just gave up. There I go again. Money down the toilet because once upon a time, I thought all survival-horror games were created equally. Oh such a naïve little girl, I was.

#3 Nioh

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I know some of you soulsborne lovers might be shock that I listed this game despite the fact I am a souls fan. Well no offense, this game is not a soul game and I never treated it as a soul game. I didn’t dislike this game because it didn’t meet the soul-like criteria, I just found the gaming mechanics and the level design a bit rather disappointing. It simply didn’t flow well to my liking. So I never finished the game because I got bored. It is such a shame because the demo was promising but not the final product.

So there you have it. Now it’s your turn. What are your regrets? I want to hear from you. I hope we still can be blogging friends after I just finished revealing the $$$ I flushed down the toilet purchases. Until next time, bye-bye for now.

Onimusha: Warlords Review (PS4)

Who in the world watch horror movies and play horror games during the pandemic? Isn’t real life like a horror story? Well that is okay, I won’t judge. My life was never normal to begin with so this is actually normal to me. I’m not phased by the pandemic that much. Welcome to the club, world.

I want to do something a bit different for this blog post, why? No one seems to enjoy reading critical essays beside weirdos like me. So I will talk about games casually and show off my gaming skills: I mean my average gaming skills.

I completed Onimusha: Warlords on easy mode and got a B score. Not so bad for playing the game blindly. Now I know how to beat game faster as I know what to expect. Going to attempt to beat game in 3 hours so I can get a shiny trophy. I’m playing on normal mode without consuming any medicine or herbs. Sounds like a challenge? For me it is–that is why I didn’t mind how short the game is. Typically, I play game twice anyway. One for the story, and two for the gameplay.

One thing that drew me into games in the first place was actually the artistic nature of the game. Onimusha:Warlords is charmingly beautiful. I feel like a little girl again sitting in my coffin-like bedroom playing games with my brother. My brother and I enjoy playing surivival horror games together. Onimusha: Warlords feels like Resident Evil 2 in terms of music placement and stage layout. Instead of killing infected zombies, you kill ninja demons. Because of good game design and the correct usage of colors (lighting in the game is well balanced), I didn’t feel forced to complete a game for the sake of completing the game. Onimusha: Warlords felt smooth and it was pretty to look at. However, this doesn’t make the game perfect. There was one aspect of the game I didn’t enjoy: I had to level up my weapons to unlock certain area to proceed in the game (I hate grinding). Luckily there are only three weapons: blue, red, and green that you can max up to 3 times. Simplicity in weapon choices and upgrades is not a bad thing in game design. In fact, it helps players like me stay focused. Players want to feel that they are progressing. This makes us want to finish the game.

When it comes to story, there is nothing mind blowing about it. The male lead saved the princess. The game follows the same footstep as Resident Evil games in terms of unraveling its tale: You uncover the mystery behind the manor by reading journals left behind. In fact, I had a good laugh reading the journals. It sounds crazy. I didn’t know demons are divided into social class just like we humans. It is a good metaphor to describe selfish evil people. The history of humanity has always fought against darkness and Japan is no exception despite it being so isolated.

Overall, I enjoyed the game, especially the cinematic scenes and well design characters. They were pleasing to my eyes. It’s a shame that PS2 survival horror game-style no longer exists. I am quite fond of it actually.

The Evil Within 2: Not My Cup of Tea

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 I deleted my old post and revised it since I do have something to say about the game once I beat it.  The game had a lot of potential, but unfortunately it wasn’t what I was hoping for. 

Call me picky when it comes to survival horror games, but I believe concepts do play a major role in horrifying audience.  Take for example, Silent Hill 2 will always be my favorite survival horror game because the developers know exactly how to define horror and  create a game which still haunts me till this day.  I learned to love the fog in winter because I experienced the chillness in Silent Hill. But this post is not going to be about the survival horror genre or Silent Hill games.  This is about The Evil Within 2 and my thoughts on it. Please keep in my mind, I am speaking from an artist perspective and from someone who dislike movie-like games.

With any artistic medium (I think some video games are a form of art), it’s wise not to imitate even if you are under the spell of nostalgia. I am not a fan of imitation.  You can  admire a successful game that haunts people–but reinventing the same thing doesn’t frightened people (at least for me) because we already walked that path before. The Evil Within 2 feels like a confused horror amusement park.  It cannot decide whether it wants to be an action or horror game. Hey, some people might like this game for the way it is and good for them. Personally, I don’t like games that feel generic.

What disappointed me about the game is its strong opening. The game introduction was atmospherically scary. Yes, there was a little chase here and there. Fun for a bit, but then it got sloppy  as soon as all the suspense is dispersed and the climax is reached. From there on, I found myself playing a cheap thrill. If gameplay is lacking then I expect a decent story, but this game has neither of them. The game design feels unpolished.  Why recycle boss enemies once it has been defeated? Why do I need to level up my skill trees in order to make the game a bit more fluid? There is some obvious technical issues with the game, especially in combat.  The cheesy dialogues amplify the  cliche plot.  I started asking myself, “Why I am playing this game?” I forced myself to complete the game anyway because I hate not completing games. I would have enjoyed the game more playing as Juli Kidman because she is an interesting character.

I enjoyed the first game even though it was not perfect. So I was hoping The Evil Within 2 is more of a refined version of the first. Sadly no. The only thing that Evil Within 2 has is a simplified story.  You  play as a detective who is given the chance to save his daughter.   In my honest opinion, the game failed to horrify and tell a good story because its attention was focused on trying to be a movie.

So no, I do not recommend this game if you have particular taste for horror games like me. I prefer the earlier Resident Evil games over The Evil Within series now that I have finished the game. This game is designed intentionally for the mass market (movie watchers), and there is nothing wrong with that. This game is just not my cup of tea.

Kuon: An Enlightening Survival-Horror Video Game

Kuon, developed by FromSoftware, was one of the survival-horror video games I tried to squeeze in the month of October because of Halloween, but I ended up playing it into November.  It took me a month to complete  because I took my time and did not play every day. You can complete the game in 10 hours or less. Despite the short length of the game, Kuon is exceptionally great and is now on my top list of favorite games. Let me explain.

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The art direction in this game is superb as it reveals a simple but strong plot. The  use of sound effects and music created an intense horrific and isolating atmosphere. There were a few times, I was startled.  And yet, at times, it was not all scary. The sound of nature (e.g., footsteps, stream, wind) can be heard throughout the game, giving life to the atmosphere.

The placement of the sound effects ( monsters groaning, monk chanting in the temple, the twins singing) in the game were not overdone or overused. They all served a purpose and integrated really well to build suspense and tension. They also acted as subtle cue to steer me to the right direction, without acknowledging that I was playing the game. I was in the game.

Lastly, the three different protagonists (all females with unique personality)  which were played in three different phases, summarized the story so well that it left me feeling awe and sorrowfully happy.

Because of the game’s art direction, I was drawn to the game and understood the plot. This game is about the perversion of immortality. The father is so  driven to perfect the spells at the expense of his own daughter’s life and his disciples that he loses his humanity. The father, an authoritative figure, is evil and must be defeated by  the master exorcist, who is like a motherly figure. She rebukes the father and put things back in order.

This was the impression I got from the playing the game. Without the  art direction in this game, the story might have not been told well. It might have been another horror video game. But this one is special. It taught me something: We will die one day, why not enjoy the life we are given now in the present moment instead of tampering with something beyond our scope of reasoning?