If I had to choose a slogan for Capcom’s approach to E3 2018, it would simply be “Nostalgia NOW!” I knew going in I’d be able to play Mega Man 11, the potential catalyst for a Blue Bomber resurgence, but I had no idea Resident Evil 2 Remake would be waiting for me as well. The heavily rumored return to Raccoon City gave everyone in attendance at Sony’s E3 media briefing a jolt of excitement, and before I knew it I was back in the solemn corridors of the police station trying not to die. Capcom’s pair of nostalgic powerhouses made them one of the top publishers of E3 2018, and my time with both games left me wanting more.
(NOTE: While Capcom offered Mega Man X Legacy Collection and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate as well, my time limited. And I had my priorities.)
Mega Man 11
Let’s start with Mega Man 11, which is attempting to bring back the classic Mega Man gameplay of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, only with a modern spin. Two bosses were available to challenge: the brick-based Block Man and the ferociously fast Fuse Man. I ventured into Block Man’s world first, and immediately I was pleased with how easy it was to get back into the Mega Man groove. Jumping and shooting felt great, the timing matching the older games enough that I didn’t notice a difference. The stage was devilish in design, challenging my platform skills with perfectly placed enemies and obstacles. I lost a few lives, more than I lost in Fuse Man’s stage right after this, before finally making it to the big blockhead at the end.
The boss battles brought Mega Man 11’s new Double Gear system to the forefront, allowing me to boost my abilities temporarily with a single button press. With Block Man I used the Power Gear, which gave me boosted Buster shots for short time.This came in particularly handy when Block Man morphed into a giant mech-looking robot, his weak spot shining from his torso like a beacon. A few well-placed Power Gear’d shots and he was toast. Likewise, Fuse Man moves at blistering speeds, sometimes faster than my eye can track. As such the Speed Gear was a major help, letting me slow down time and catch Fuse Man with a few lucky shots for the win.
Mega Man 11’s demo impressed this longtime Mega Man a lot, giving me that retro gameplay of the older games but with enough modern twists to make it feel new. I imagine there will be many hours spent trying to best the eight Robot Masters and Dr Wily once Mega Man 11 launches on October 2nd, and I hope the game continues to improve between now and then.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
After my time with Mega Man came the return of Resident Evil 2, and I was given 20 minutes to roam around the police station however I wished.
Let me be perfectly clear on one thing: this is not the same Resident Evil 2 we played back in the olden days.This is a modern take on the old story, built entirely in Capcom’s powerful RE engine, that keeps all of the story beats but changes virtually everything else. Do not expect the experience to be a complete match to the older game. All that will accomplish is many, many deaths by zombie.
The first instantly noticeable thing about this remake is the change in tone; Resident Evil 2 Remake does an incredible job of creating a dark and creepy atmosphere in this familiar territory. Every hallway is dark, lit only by the flashlight Leon carries with him. Zombies can appear from anywhere, and most of the time I’d hear one of the undead before I’d see it. Too often I’d hear a noise, raise my pistol, and have a zombie right in my face. Gone are the days of well-lit hallways and the ability to see everything in an area before progressing, Resident Evil 2 Remake is far more content in turning the lights off and heightening the fear factor.
One aspect of the older game that does make the jump to the remake is the scarcity of items found along the way. Gathering ammunition is paramount while venturing the halls, as I recall only finding one box of bullets for my handgun and maybe two healing items out in the open. That means I have to depend on Leon’s trusty knife to take some zombies out, but that means letting them close in on me before doing damage.
There is no unlimited ammunition here, no vast stockpiles to collect from before pressing on; every single bullet will have to have meaning behind it if I’m going to survive the world of Resident Evil 2 Remake when it drops January 25th, 2019.
Both RE2 Remake and Mega Man 11 prove that Capcom’s oldest and most storied franchises still have a lot left to offer. Both games blend nostalgia with modern technology excellently, tugging on my “good ol’days” sentiments while offering me plenty of new features to experiment with. If these two games are a taste of some new “what’s old is new again” initiative at Capcom, then I look forward to the next new nostalgic game Capcom has up its sleeves.