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Resident Evil 2: The Rise of Leon Kennedy

The Tale of Leon

This one is tricky as I directly associate this game with Resident Evil 4, which I’ll talk about in a moment. This is mostly due in part to Leon Kennedy being such an iconic staple of the series. More so than other characters like Chris and Jill. It also doesn’t help that I had never played the original on the PlayStation 1. It wasn’t until the same friend showed me the remake of Resident Evil 1 on the GameCube showed me this port, that I’d played it, while mostly watching him play through it. I was aware of its existence, I just never played it. I did, however, play Resident Evil 3 on the PlayStation 1 but we’ll get to that later.

Many people list  Resident Evil 2 as their favorite game in the franchise. Now that it’s been announced Capcom is working on a remake of the game using the current generations model, excluding 7 (we’ll also be getting to that) people have completely lost their minds. It doesn’t mean much to me. I know the story of RE2 and how it ties into the third, I just never played it much beyond being attacked by the Licker.

Played By Proxy

I did, however, watch my friend Travis play as Claire Redfield. For some reason, I found it fascinating that Chris had a sister. I get that people have siblings and family but something about it being prevalent in a game just astounded me.While Leon is without question my favorite character in the series, Claire will always hold a special place in my heart.

I suppose that doesn’t quite say enough about Claire. Claire is a special character to me because, unlike Jill, who was a highly trained operative, Claire is just a kid. No type of special training beyond whatever Chris may have taught her. Yet she adapts and survives in the midst of what seems to be the end of the world. She is the embodiment of everything a video game heroine needs to be. She helpless at first but puts that fear behind her because of the people who depend on her.

 

Selfless, Brave, Powerful. Claire Redfield.

There are so many qualities about RE2 that makes it special to not only myself but the rest of the world. I believe that the greatest aspect of this game is the fact that Sherry was the person you needed to protect. This brings the game down from being a fearful fight for your own life in a hellish landscape to being one about doing everything in your power to keep a child alive.

Glory Unto The Dead

This is what makes Resident Evil 2 such a great game. There is a more human element to it, something I never really felt in any of the other titles in the series. Perhaps it must do with the fact that I have a daughter of my own. That really doesn’t explain why I felt that way as a teenager but that’s beside the point.

Leon

While I never finished this game, I did watch my friend Travis play through it. I’d like to blame the clunky controls and camera angles, but the truth is, at that age the game simply couldn’t hold my attention and had what I thought was a crushing difficulty at the time. Turns out I was just bad at games that didn’t require me to run left. I.E. Sonic, Mario, things of this nature.

The Power of Friendship and Science

Luckily my friend Travis was phenomenal at these games, so I would watch him play though it quite a bit. Resident Evil 2 felt different to me for several reasons, but the two that stand out the most were the monsters. Specifically, the doctor at the end after having been heavily infected with the G-virus. That thing was terrifying. The other thing that really made it stand out to me is that RE2 feels extremely claustrophobic. Now I get that this was an intentional design choice to be coupled with the fear and panic caused by the camera angles but it was an absolutely genius concept at the time. I prefer the way Resident Evil plays in 4-6, but there’s really nothing wrong with how these games were designed.

I mentioned in the beginning of this article that I associate this game with Resident Evil 4 more than anything. The real reason for that is because Leon is one the most well-developed characters in the series. He’s also been one of the more characteristically stable members of the franchise. His hair color may have changed but his personality has always been that of a selfless hero. The type of hero that is willing to risk life and limb for the sake of his friends and country.

Leon

Resident Evil 4 is where I was really introduced to Leon, or I suppose, I should say where I really got to know him as a character. So, when people have a conversation with me about Resident Evil 2 I usually just end up talking about 4. Because that’s really all Resident Evil 2 was to me, a setup for the fourth title.

 

Let’s move onto the third title, shall we?

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