Getting hands on with a game, prior to its release, is usually accompanied by a strict time limit, usually just 15 minutes or so, but Capcom hosted a hands on recently and the time ran into hours and boy was it good.
The game was almost completely playable, if it were not for the Capcom rep loading up into different save files, once we got to set parts, but with them doing that, I was able to experience some of Leon’s story as well as Claire’s, something that I had not been able to do until now. Starting off with Leon, the session began with Leon in front of a typewriter and that was it, there was no on screen prompt stating where to go, it was just a matter of walking around and seeing what was going on. It turns out, I went the wrong way, as I spent a good few minutes, walking around a room, that Leon had just cleared, once I was on track, it was up a ladder and out a manhole, and it was there that I ran into Ada Wong.
Series fans will know who Ada is and in what I got to see of her, she maintains the same level of snark, that she has had since we first met her. Together the pair leave the police station, heading through town, while Ada begins to fill Leon in on what happened and what she is doing here, while I won't spoil the story, if you have played the original game, most of this won’t be a surprise. What was a little surprising is that whilst looting a gun story for some supplies, the pair encounter a man, who demands that they leave, whilst the three are quickly drawn into a Mexican stand-off, the man’s daughter, comes from out back and she is clearly sick. What struck me here, was the level of detail in the little things, the ghosting of the girls eyes, the sadness in the dads, it all helped build up the atmosphere, which resulted in a pretty predictable, though none the less poignant moment.
After this, Leon and Ada head out of the shop, down into the sewers and this was where I got my first taste of a change to the game, with a massive alligator chasing me down. The whole sequence flashed me back to Resident Evil 4, with the boulders, and while it was not to difficult, it was tense, the entire time and I really wanted to do it again. Sadly, the story got in the way and the pair soon found Annette Birkin, the lady that Ada was looking for, however she got the drop on them, which resulted in Leon being shot, so Ada pushed ahead on her own. This is where things changed again, with Ada picking up a really cool item that allowed her to hack electronics through walls, follow pipes and conduits to their source, the tool was quickly throw into use.
What I liked about this tool, is it gave Ada something more to do, rather than just going and flicking a switch, she had to locate it and find out how to power it, sure the series ha done things like that before with statues and odd keys, but never with Ada. Soon after encountering Annette again, Ada is knocked down, a shard of metal stuck in her leg and before she can remove it, she passes out, letting us take control of Leon, who has just come to. Back with Leon, he heads after Ada, but her path is inaccessible, so another way must be found, which sadly required Leon wading knee deep in the sewers. The split path actually linked up a few times, just not in ways that I could change, at least during my play time, but eventually, after killing a very gross creature that was living in the water, Leon discovered Ada, but before I could attempt to work out how to get down to her, it was time to move on.
Playing as Claire was a lot different, there was quite the increase of zombies around, with just as many puzzles, the cool thing though, is Claire started in the same location as Leon, but when I left the manhole, little Sherry Birkin. Sadly, before we could venture off, a police officer came out, saying he was here to protect Sherry from Claire and after a few intense minutes, Sherry and the cop left, locking Claire back in the police station. The way out, was through an elevator that was reserved for the chief of police, but a special key was required, to access the room to power it on, this required Claire to head into he basement of the Police Station, which contained a shooting range, dog kennels and morgue and if you know Resident Evil, at least one of those things was bound to be trouble.
Turns out it was the dog kennel, but instead of being filled with dogs, well there were dogs there, but sadly they were dinner for the lickers, yep those guys. Thankfully, whoever got Claire up to that point, was kind enough to leave her with a grenade launcher and a half dozen incendiary grenades. They made quick work of the lickers that I could find, but I knew I had to push on and while thankfully getting the key, did not require to much more use of ammo, there were a few jump scares involved, but I was heading back out to the elevator. Of course, you can’t get to far without a jump or two, this time it was thanks to a licker that was hanging on the roof, but thankfully, I was able to swap to the grenade launcher and take it down, without too much fuss.
Now I don’t know what it is, as it looks nothing like anything that I can recall from the series, but it was large, strong and very keen to kill me. The reason I knew this, is that Ada had encountered the same thing, but it was not as big of a threat to her for some reason, this time though, it was on the hunt. Hiding in rooms, did little to help as it was always looking in them as well, eventually, I was able to get out of the rooms I was near and back out into he main hall, where the earlier demos I played took place. Sadly, it followed again and while I was content to try and leave it down there, I could not think of anything I could do, so I pulled out my gun and shot it in the head, but while I missed and shot the hat off, I did get a trophy, but that did not phase him.
In the end, I had to use my grenade launcher, a direct shot stunned him for a moment, yep, stunned only, and soon enough, he was back on the hunt. Using the precious time, I began to head for the room with the parts I needed, only to encounter lickers and zombies everywhere and I was out of grenades. Guns can slow a licker down, but only a little and only If they are hit in the right spot. Eventually, my bullets ran out, so it was time to run, the lickers though are faster and after ducking into another room, I was able to take a breath and use some herbs to restore my health, but it was a pointless effort as soon after, the thud thud thud of giant feet could be heard, meaning it was back. I ran and hid again, but it found me, so thankfully, managing to avoid its attack, I ducked around and ran into a room, that had only one door in and out and it followed me into the room. On the podium was an incendiary grenade, but a direct hit only stunned him, which also left him blocking my way out, but thankfully, a window was behind me, out the window I went and straight into a licker. I had to run again, I started trying to make my way towards the location I needed to get to, but before I could work out how, a licker got me and I had no herbs, so limping away was my only option, the results were that I died.
With that, I had clocked up almost 2.5 hours of time with the game, add in my other hands on time and that comes up above 3 hours and while I was sad, I died, I honestly wanted to jump right back in and keep trying. Resident Evil 2 might be a remake, but its only that in name, this game is a whole different beast, the same basic plot and characters, but everything else feels fresh and exciting and I honestly can’t wait to lose myself in the game.