Horror Film Experts Explain Why Resident Evil 2 Is So Scary


Seven years ago, you’d be forgiven for considering Resident Evil to be a dead franchise. At least as far as its survival horror heritage was concerned. From Resident Evil 4 onwards, Capcom decided to ease the series in a more action-oriented direction, only retaining some elements from the classic era. Come 2012 and the release of Resident Evil 6, however, the formula had diverged too far, by which point veteran fans had long-since moved on.

With feedback aplenty received, Capcom returned to the drawing board for 2017’s Resident Evil 7, cutting the unnecessary baggage and distilling the experience down to its core values. The result was a critically acclaimed return to the series’ roots that only made Capcom’s announcement of a Resident Evil 2 remake two years prior all the more tantalizing.

That retelling of Leon and Claire’s struggle to escape the zombie-infested remnants of Raccoon City has since come and gone, though even now, several months after launch, the remake’s exceptional attention to detail and effortless ability to cause incontinence (thanks, Mr. X) remains a hot topic of discussion, especially in regards to the question of why it’s scary.

As it turns out, the answer is straightforward. Capcom simply has masterful control of the genre, even to the extent of impressing bonafide horror experts. In a recent interview with PCGamesN, prolific horror film producer Sandy King offered her own thoughts on why Resident Evil 2‘s scares are so successful.

In a lot of games, the main character is you. The story takes a backseat. The character is you. It’s your heart beat that’s racing, you’re in the trap. You’re not watching someone else.

One of the great things about horror is the element of surprise, literally and figuratively. Players want the monster to win; they don’t want to see it coming. Our job is to do the unexpected to you. Our job is to set up rules and then use them to subvert expectations. You always want to overdeliver, like Capcom did here. You always want to top what they think you’re going to do.

Furthermore, King even offered praise to the way in which Capcom handled Resident Evil 2‘s puzzles, particularly how they remain in-world (i.e. don’t freeze time by opening a separate interface) and must be solved in real-time. “It causes frustration when you’re under the stress of something coming for you,” she says, adding that “Getting through that draws you in, versus buying into the characters in a movie.”

King’s analysis certainly provides a fascinating insight into the wider grand design of horror experiences, and proof – not that it was needed – that Resident Evil 2 is so more than a lucky home run. It’s Capcom at its absolute best.

Bring on the Resident Evil 3 remake.

Source: PCGamesN