Resident Evil 2 Remake Differences – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Recently I got my hands on Resident Evil 2 Remake and I had a great time. It felt like the game Resident Evil 2 always would have been if it had always been made in this generation of video games. 

That being said, as Resident Evil 2 Remake is a remake of a 20-year old game, there have been some serious changes made. With that in mind, I kept a mental note of the Resident Evil 2 Remake differences I found as compared to the original.

Here we go.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Differences

New Control Scheme

Resident Evil 2 originally made use of Tank Controls. While that was fine for 1998, it’s just not going to fly in 2018. Anyone who’s played Resident Evil 6 will know how badly using standard controls in Resident Evil can be, though that might be due to the overall shoddiness of the game itself.

Thankfully, the controls in Resident Evil 2 Remake are perfect. Controlling Leon and Claire feels great, aiming and shooting is far more engaging than in the past and you’re never struggling to make the characters go where you want them to.

That doesn’t mean that Resident Evil 2 Remake is any easier. It’s still pretty easy to be overrun by the undead and there’s every chance you’ll find yourself backed into a corner with no chance of escape.


First introduced in Resident Evil Remake, sub-weapons include grenades, flashbangs, knives and the like. Like in the first remake, when Leon or Claire are grabbed by a zombie, you can hit a button to use your sub-weapon. 

If you have a grenade equipped, you’ll stuff it into the enemies mouth. If you have a knife, you’ll jam that right in their ear hole.

Even better than in Resident Evil Remake though, is the fact that you’re able to use sub-weapons anytime you like. Instead of being restricted to only using them when you’re attacked, if you’re feeling destructive, you can chuck a grenade as you please.

Should you have the knife equipped, you’ll be able to recreate the knife fight scene from the music video for Beat It.

Differences are Key

Aiming and Firing

In the original Resident Evil titles, you just needed to point your gun near the direction a zombie was for it to hit them when you fired. It wasn’t until later in the series that you actually had to aim.

When Resident Evil 4 rolled around, the camera moved to an over the shoulder view and Leon needed to actually target his enemies and their different appendages to take them down.

That same aiming and firing control scheme has been mapped onto Resident Evil 2 Remake. It should be second nature to most modern gamers and really helps to make the shooting far more interesting.

Best yet, if you want to do more damage there are special shots you can pull-off with handguns. When you aim, the reticule will slowly move towards the centre before becoming a solid dot. When you have the solid dot on your screen, your shot will be more powerful.

Make sure you use this for maximum headshot kills.

Deforming Zombies

Back in 1998, it wasn’t really possible to show the damage bullets would do to the rotting flesh of the undead. Thankfully in 2018, we can totally do that.

The power of the RE Engine means that when you shoot a zombie right in the face, that part will be blown away, revealing the gore underneath. Shoot him in the face enough times and he’ll look like a plate of pasta coming at you.

Better still, if you want to kneecap one of the undead bastards, I highly recommend it. It might take a few shots, but you’ll be rewarded with his leg coming off from the knee down.

RE2  – The Terror Zone

Voice Acting

Voice acting has never been Resident Evil’s strong suit, but that’s about to change with RE2 Remake. Characters are voice professionally and with some actual emotion and acting.

While later entries in the series have had vastly improved voice-over work, Resident Evil 2 was pretty woeful. With the remake, voice acting is believable and a far cry from the bad old days. 

Though I do have to say that I hate what I’ve heard from Leon so far. The new voice actor just doesn’t suit the character and sounds far too young and high pitched. Everyone else sounds great, but Leon sucks.


Before autosaving was a thing, Resident Evil made players save manually by using the in-game typewriters. They’re still there in Resident Evil 2 Remake, but I’m not sure why.

In my hands-on time, RE2 Remake autosaved fairly regularly and made the typewriters obsolete. 

There is a hardcore mode which may turn autosaving off, which would make the typewriters essential again. However, for now, I’m not sure if that’s the case. This one is more wait and see.

That being said, I’m a bit torn on autosaves. On one hand, it’s convenient but on the other, it takes away some of the anxiety and fear that comes from being two hours out from your previous save with no ammo and no health.

Same, but Better

Mr X/Nemesis

In the original game, Mr X would show up periodically to harass Claire and then disappear after you shot him to pieces. In RE2 Remake, he’s not dispatched so easily.

Instead, he acts like the Nemesis and doesn’t leave you alone. He’ll follow you from room to room, hunting and stalking and trying to murder you.

If you’re able to lose him by running, hiding or heading to a safe room, he’ll continue to roam, waiting for any sign of you. Should you fire your weapon or aggro a zombie, Mr X will soon make his presence known and you’ll have to escape all over again.

Weapon Customisation

In Resident Evil 2 you could find one or two items to customise your weapons. There was an attachment for your handgun that let you fire three shots at a time and was more of an ammo waster than anything else if I remember correctly.

In Resident Evil 2 Remake, weapon customisation is a much meatier affair. Scattered throughout the police station are all sorts of mods and parts for your weapons that change how they fire, the damage they do and their range.

As you find these mods you’ll be able to customise your weapons for every situation and best of all, once you’re finished you can remove the mods. 

There was an incident…


The original level design for RE2 was great, but you can’t remake a game 20-years later without making a few changes. The map/environment in Resident Evil 2 Remake is really different from the original, yet also the same.

Rooms have been expanded and made bigger and they’ve also been given a lot more detail. Corridors which once took you straight to the next room are now longer and take different turns to new rooms and different places. 

Veterans of RE2 will find that they’re knowledge of the old game isn’t all that helpful. However, they’ll get a thrill when they do recognise a location.


I won’t go into any details about new content that I saw, but rest assured that there is a lot more story content in Resident Evil 2 Remake. Backstories have been fleshed out, minor characters have larger parts, all-new locations are explored and certain events happen in a totally different order.

It makes sense to change some of these elements as crafting a deeper, richer more engaging narrative only serves to improve on the original. That and it would be tough to introduce all new sections of gameplay without narrative reasoning. 

There is a tonne of differences in Resident Evil 2 Remake and this list is hardly exhaustive. It’d be impossible to list every change made to the remake and it would take away from the joy of discovery when playing.

Most of the changes that have been made by Capcom are improvements, though some aren’t.

Leon’s voice really is terrible which is a shame because he’s 50% of the main characters. 

What changes are you hoping to see?

Resident Evil 2 Remake will be available on January 25, 2019.

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Leo Stevenson
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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