More than three years later, Resident Evil 2 remains the gold standard for any developer looking to remake a classic title. Successfully modernizing the 1998 survival horror game for fans and newcomers alike, there’s no questioning its sustained quality. What we said in our Resident Evil 2 PS4 Review rings true to this day, so our new verdict will focus solely on what’s new in the recently released PS5 version.
The most substantial of which are two graphics modes: one implements ray tracing, and the other increases the frame rate beyond 60fps. You can’t have the best of both worlds, and that’s the most disappointing thing about the native PS5 remake: each graphics mode has its drawbacks to the point where there’s no definitive choice.
Resident Evil 2 was a fantastic looking title on Sony’s last-gen console and throwing native 4K resolution and ray tracing over the top really makes the game shine. The main room of the Raccoon Police Department is staggeringly bright, with reflections pouring out everywhere. Similarly, the dark corridors leading from the famous entrance plaza are still full of atmosphere, enhanced on PS5 with sharp graphics.
The tradeoff, however, is frame rate. Having ray tracing active means that the frame rate never stays constant, constantly dropping and ruining the immersion a bit. It’s not a big deal to just walk around the environment and explore, but the more action becomes on screen, the more the frame rate drops.
If you are not interested in ray tracing, then the other graphics mode is the one for you. With an apparent 120fps target (don’t quote us, we’re not Digital Foundry), the game is much smoother and sharper. Again, though, you have to sacrifice something. Images suffer if you want to double the frame rate, and that goes beyond the general lack of ray tracing. Lighting has a big impact, as do the details that make up the character models and objects in the environment.
Thus, a situation has been created where the game always has to compromise on one thing to improve on another. Ray tracing makes Resident Evil 2 look better than ever, but it won’t be a smooth experience as the frame rate routinely drops. You could opt for nearly double that frame rate instead, but the visuals aren’t nearly as good. It’s frustrating not knowing which is best overall, creating circumstances where you know certain aspects would be better on the other side of the coin.
At least it’s pretty straightforward to navigate elsewhere. Lightning-fast loading times will have you playing the game in seconds. After downloading our PS4 saves (and automatically unlocking all trophies), we were able to see all of our saves in different matches as Leon and Claire. It never took more than three seconds from when you hit the load button to when the title was ready to play once again.
The PS5’s adaptive triggers are also taken for a light turn; each weapon simulates the resistance on the left trigger slightly differently. It’s a very basic implementation, but welcome nonetheless. Haptic feedback is also included as a supported feature on PS5, although we couldn’t feel its use outside of the standard noise and vibration features.
As a whole, this PS5 version offers some basic updates over the original PS4 edition; it’s a shame there isn’t a definitive graphics mode to recommend. The game is still worth playing in 2022; its survival horror spark hasn’t been quenched in the slightest. Fans will love returning to the Raccoon Police Department with an extra layer of sparkle, and newcomers get a chance to experience one of the best gaming remakes. A cheap and cheerful update doesn’t ruin the quality of Resident Evil 2.
Capcom hasn’t really gone to great lengths with its updated PS5 version of Resident Evil 2, which gives fans and newcomers alike two imperfect graphical modes to choose from. The blazing-fast load times will have you immersed in no time, though, and support for the PS5’s adaptive triggers adds another extra wrinkle on top. Resident Evil 2 is still as good as it was three years ago; this PS5 version simply gives you the chance to experience it all over again with more brilliance.