Taking place just months after the little incident at the mansion, RE2 starts off in Racoon City, where zombies are popping up all over. You enter the role of either the mega-hunky Leon S. (as in "Sexy") Kennedy, or the somewhat tomboyish Claire Redfield. Leon is a rookie police officer, and it's his first day on the job. He feels it's his responsibilty to protect the people of Racoon City, and to uncover the truth behind these disgusting creatures. Claire just wants to find her big brother, Chris, one of the stars of the first Resident Evil. Each character's game is on a separate disc, and after playing through the game as one, you can play again, with alot of changes as the other. This lets you see both characters points of view, without playing the same game over again.
The control took me a long time to master, but once I got it, it was perfect. The fact that you limp when you're severly injured really helps add realism, and lets you know that you need healing. I didn't realize how great this was, until I kept dying while playing RE1, because I didn't know I was hurt.
RE2's music is dark and spooky, and sets the mood of the game fairly well. It doesn't seem quite as creepy as the music in RE1, but it still helped to scare the shit out of me. The sound effects are awsome. There's nothing scarier than walking into a room, and hearing a slight scratchy "tap tap tap" and knowing it's something BAD, but not knowing what it is. Also, sounds like shattering glass help add quite a bit of scare to certain parts of the game. The voice acting is certainly better than in RE1, but it still doesn't deserve any awards. Alot of times Claire sounds like she's trying to seduce Sherry, and that just isn't right.
The characters look smooth and realistic, and the pre-rendered backgrounds leave no room for glitches. The CG cinemas throughout the game are nice looking, though they don't compare to those found in Parasite Eve. Even still, they help keep the story moving, and the voice acting with the CG helps to bring the story together.
There are two difficulty settings in RE2: Easy, and Normal. In the easy mode, you get more items, as well as a special rookie memo, that tells you some secrets of the game. Normal isn't overly hard, but it's definitely more difficult than the easy mode. There's no "Hard" option, but if you're trying to score high, in order to get Hunk and Tofu, the game's difficulty just about doubles.
Resident Evil 2 is a game that can only be missed by those too young, and those who can't deal with horror. Oh, and people with heart conditions probably shouldn't attempt to play it either. This game is so great, that everyone else should at least give it a try.
Katie the Web-Mistress