Day 6

Why Resident Evil 2 can't and won't stay dead

Resident Evil 2 is a much-anticipated remake of the 1998 classic. Video game writer and reviewer Chad Sapieha credits the original with launching his career and says the new one does the old one justice.

Welcome back to Raccoon City

Players control Claire Redfield navigate a police station full of zombies in the remake Resident Evil 2. (Capcom)

On Friday, Capcom released its much-anticipated remake the survival horror classic Resident Evil 2.

Originally released in 1998 for the first generation of PlayStation, RE2 became one of the most popular and cutting-edge games of its era.

In the remake, like the original, players control two characters: rookie cop Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield. However, in the new version there are two separate campaigns, which effectively means two different narratives to play.

The objective in each is to help them escape a police station overrun with feral zombies.

Capcom released the first Resident Evil 2 for PlayStation in 1998. (Capcom)

Chad Sapieha, who writes for the National Post, has been reviewing video games for 20 years, but he's been playing them a lot longer. He says the 1998 RE2 is a seminal game for him.

"I had fallen away from games because I wanted something more than what I was playing when I was a kid, things like Super Mario. But I really wasn't seeing it out there," he said.

One day, he struck up a conversation with a clerk at a games store. While explaining why he had put the console on the shelf, the clerk talked him into trying a new style of horror-shooter game. He walked out with Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2.

"I was completely knocked over by what they had to offer. There was more mature content. There was real terror. There were graphics that were almost lifelike at the time," he said.

The story line in Resident Evil 2 picks up a few months after a biological weapon turns residents of Raccoon City into zombies. (Capcom)

Sapieha says that when he shared his reaction to the game with friends, it influenced his career path.

Now an experienced reviewer, Sapieha says the 2019 remake has improved on the original in every way while keeping the elements that made the original game special.

"It has the very same atmosphere and vibe but with modern graphics," he says. "It just felt the same as when I was playing it 20 years ago.

The Japanese game maker first announced a remake was underway in August 2015. Now that it's out, gamers are realizing how evocative and nostalgic a good remake can be.

"I think the developers have done a great of lifting it up and delivering it to a more modern audience," he said.

To hear more from Chad Sapieha, download our podcast or click 'Listen' at the top of this page.