Since the advent of the games industry, every new video card, graphics engine, and generation of gaming hardware has raised the quality bar for graphical fidelity. That makes choosing one title in a year of hundreds as much an art as a science. When pondering this choice, our crew selected games whose graphics served their themes and gameplay. That made the audiovisuals of Capcom's Resident Evil 2 remake a clear standout.
By any metric, "RE2make" is a looker. It's photorealistic, yet also subtly stylistic. Streets, buildings, rooms, and corridors look like they could be set in the real world--not that any sane person would want to live in them. Zombies, rotted dogs, William Birkin's increasingly warped and mutated body, and Mr. X seem of our world yet cut from the pages of darker, grislier comic books such as those inked by Frank Miller or Dave McKean.
The devil is in the details. The shiny slickness of rainwater on Claire's red leather coat. The stomach-churning gore of the zombie you find in the west hallway of the police station, its upper jaw connected by thick, glistening tendons. The foreboding atmosphere of the RPD's main lobby--dimly lit, with bloodstains and barricades that speak to the horror that took place there, and that will take place again. The cavernous spaces and abnormal cleanliness of Umbrella's secret underground laboratory. The shadows and vomit-inducing waste of the sewers.
Too often, high-fidelity graphics result in models and settings that look too shiny. More plastic than organic. Resident Evil 2's RE Engine is a powerhouse as suited to third-person horror as 2017's first-person Resident Evil 7. Its environments evoke verisimilitude while still being suitable to video game antics. I love the look of this engine, and can't wait to see--and be reduced to a gibbering crybaby by--Nemesis in 2020's remake of Resident Evil 3.
Miss any of the other 2019 awards? Check out our Year of the Games: 2019 article to get caught up on all of the winners.
David Craddock posted a new article, Shacknews Best Graphics of 2019 - Resident Evil 2