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How You've Been Playing Resident Evil 2 Wrong This Whole Time

Though it has been more than 20 years since Resident Evil first lurched onto the scene, devouring the brains of an entire generation, it is still held in high regard. A remake of Resident Evil 2 was released in Jan. 2019, being hailed as "one of the best Resident Evil games ever."

Well, if you want to get the most of your Resident Evil 2 experience, then you need to stop playing the game the way you've been playing it. Things that worked in the original version may not necessarily be the best route for the 2019 remake. The remake has several differences from the original that will keep even diehard fans of the original on their toes. It's not that you're guiding Leon and Claire poorly, it's just that you may be doing it wrong. You may not even realize it. But that is where this list comes in.

Not to fear (well, okay, fear a little bit; there are zombies thirsting for your brains, after all); here's what we'd suggest you do instead.

Don't ignore the Raccoon toys

The fine folks of the Raccoon City Police Department must have an awful lot of hometown spirit, because there are 15 toys of town mascot Mr. Raccoon hidden in various spots in the police station. While these look to be little Easter eggs at first glance, or perhaps an inconsequential fetch quest, the Mr. Raccoon toys actually serve a worthy purpose.

Rather than walk by them, you need to either shoot or swipe at them with your knife. Destroying all 15 figures will unlock the Infinite Combat Knife. This weapon is invaluable, since it won't wear down after repeated slashes. If you equip it as your sub-weapon, this will allow you to knock away zombies who get too close without worrying about using up the knife. You should also use the knife to do a quick check on prone zombies, just to make sure they aren't planning on waking up and chomping down on you.

It'll take a bit of playing through each character's scenario to find all of the Mr. Raccoon statues, but it's definitely worth the time and effort. This handy guide will show you where all the little critters are hiding, so get to hunting!

You're wasting your ammo

In stark contrast to the more action-oriented Resident Evil 5 and 6, this game returns things to its survival horror roots, therefore lending an extra level of resiliency when it comes to your undead enemies.

Unlike the easily skewered zombies on The Walking Dead, the standard zombies in this game are total bullet sponges. Yes, it's possible to occasionally squeeze off a decent headshot and put a regular zombie down. However, more often than not, all you'll be doing is filling them with lead and using up ammo that could (and should) be reserved for more pressing confrontations like boss battles, lickers, or zombie dogs.

It's tempting to try to take every zombie out so you don't have to worry about them later, but save your time and resources and just run around or away from them. The quick turn in this game is tailor-made for moments like this, so there's no shame in getting away. You'll be glad you did when the next giant monster starts thumping towards you out of the darkness.

Speaking of giant monsters, another reason to try to avoid discharging your weapon is that it's one of the main things that will attract Mr. X, the hulking Tyrant who chases you throughout the game. In an interview with PC GamerResident Evil 2 co-director Kazunori Kadoi confirmed, "Fundamentally, gun fire will catch his attention the most."

With that in mind, sometimes you're better off ignoring that itchy trigger finger.

Run like hell from Mr. X

The genetically enhanced Mr. X is a nearly unstoppable killing machine, but he can be slowed down. Enough damage will eventually stun the Tyrant, dropping him to his knees. While you can take this time to run away, the mistake you've made is engaging with Mr. X in the first place.

If the normal zombies are bullet sponges, then Mr. X is a bullet ShamWow. All you're doing when you take him on is wasting ammo, especially since he can't be permanently put down during chase scenes. 

Honestly, we would suggest turning around and finding the closest exit. Remember, Mr. X cannot follow you into Safe Rooms, so be sure to check your map for the nearest one as soon as you start to hear the monster's distinctive music. Better yet, try to memorize the Safe Room locations, so you'll waste less time.

But don't just take our word for it. In an interview with ComicBook.com, Resident Evil 2 co-director Yasuhiro Anpo said, "If you hear its footsteps, then I'd say run like hell."

Don't forget about sub-weapons

Sub-weapons are a necessary resource in Resident Evil 2, especially if you get swarmed. Even if you're able to dispatch one or two baddies with your pistol, if you're surrounded, you're more than likely going to be pounced on by one of them. When this happens, you're given a prompt that will allow you to fight back with a sub-weapon, saving yourself a bite from the undead.

The temptation is to only use the knife as your melee sub-weapon. However, if you have a flashbang or any other grenade type, go ahead and equip that bad boy as your sub-weapon. Though you may find yourself annoyed by the idea of using up a grenade on a single enemy, it's much better than the alternative. If you have to give up an explosive to avoid losing a chunk of health or being beheaded by a licker, then that's a reasonable trade. 

Besides all of the strategy, it looks absolutely awesome when you shove a grenade into one of those suckers' mouths. Plus, you'll get the hilariously named "Bon Appétit" trophy if you set the grenade off early with a well-placed bullet. And honestly, that's the best reason why you should already be doing this.

Take a look, it's in a book

Memos and books expounding on the lore have been a fixture in video games, with series as diverse as Pokémon and Fallout using these to fill in some gaps in storytelling and enhance the player's immersion. It can be tempting to just pick these up and tell yourself you're going to read them later. After all, a lot of the (many, many) books in Skyrim were just story collections that didn't give your character any power-ups. 

You may be making a big mistake by tossing whatever memo you just found in your knapsack and moving along, though. Make sure you read every last thing you find: books, signs on the walls, all of it. Even if it may not seem immediately obvious, many of these tomes will give you hints about upcoming puzzles or plot points. Even if you have already read them, take another look if you find yourself lost. Maybe something in these pages will jog your memory. 

Also, reading is good for you.

Look a little closer

Are you stumped by a puzzle? Did you carry a bulky gear all the way upstairs, only to find that you still can't progress? Are you finding yourself walking back and forth through enemy territory to see if you missed something? Before you waste your time looking for something that may not even be there, stop for a minute and take stock of your inventory. You may already have everything you need to proceed.

In the same way the various memos and books can offer much-needed information, inspecting the items in your inventory can help you figure out what to do next. Each item has a description, with most of the Key Items' descriptions offering clues to their uses. Also check each item to see if it gives you a "Combine" option. For puzzles like the statue in the evidence lock-up, you will have to combine separate Key Items to complete the puzzle.

Save that last green herb

Okay, so you've just been bitten. You managed to beat the zombie that attacked you, but your health is in the yellow. Before proceeding, you remember the single green herb in your inventory. You take the herb and restore a bit of your health. Believe it or not, that was actually not your best move.

Resident Evil 2 isn't terribly stingy with the placement of herbs throughout the game. The odds are pretty decent you'd have found another herb soon enough. As this recipe guide will show you, herbs are always more useful when combined. Even a second green herb will yield a better healing power-up, while a single red herb is useless on its own. 

Basically, regardless of your injuries, don't use the only green herb in your inventory. Within minutes, you should be able to find something in the police station that will make that herb (and you) even stronger.

Learn when to walk away

Look, it would be great if you could just stock up on guns and power-ups and go full Master Chief on the Umbrella Corporation. Unfortunately, that's not normally an option in the survival horror genre, Resident Evil 2 included. You just can't pick up everything. Honestly, one of the biggest stresses in the Resident Evil series has nothing to do with zombies. If you're going to survive in Raccoon City, inventory management is key. 

On the flip side of the previous tip, if you find a weapon upgrade or healing item that you cannot carry, make a mental note to come back for it. Some weapons, such as the shotgun, take up multiple inventory slots and need plenty of free space to be carried. While these are invaluable armaments, it's much better to use that Key Item burning a hole in your pocket first (rather than storing it), so you can get it out of the way. Once you've done that, you can always double back for the weapon or item that caught your eye.

Storage boxes are your friend

You've just found a Key Item, like one of the clock tower's gears or one of the many security cards. The logical next step is to pick it up and add it to your inventory, right? Except your inventory is full. Oh well, you just discard that blue herb you haven't used yet and pick up the security card. After all, the card is what you really need to proceed, right?

Wrong. No matter how annoying it is, you never, ever delete a healing item or ammo. Even if it means backtracking, go find the nearest Safe Room and storage box so you can safely stow the herbs and whatever else is keeping you from adding the Key Item to your inventory. While you might hate having to double back on yourself, you will be glad you did. Using that security card to get to the next room isn't going to help much if you don't have the resources to survive what's on the other side of that door.

Don't give up on the Special Weapons Case

There's a completely optional fetch quest that is easy to pass up on a first playthrough, but you're doing yourself a massive disservice if you're ignoring the Special Weapons Case. It takes a bit of time and effort, but it is completely worth it once you get the goodies inside. The route to doing so requires that you find and use several different items, eventually leading the player to a discarded S.T.A.R.S. badge, which is actually a well-disguised USB drive.

The loot found within the Special Weapons Case varies depending on the player character, but both results are well worth the hassle. Leon will get an extended barrel for his Magnum, which will stabilize the weapon and increase its damage. Claire will find a compressor for the MQ-11, which reduces recoil and will hopefully cut back on wasted ammo with its tighter aiming capabilities.

This brings us back to a tip from earlier: examine everything. It's the only way to find out the badge's true purpose, meaning it would otherwise be very easy to miss out on these helpful items.

Learn when to let go

Okay, this is the last time we'll harp on the inventory management, but it legitimately is one of the biggest points of strategy in Resident Evil 2. Polygon referred to it as being "like a game within this game." While throwing away important items is usually a big no-no, another thing to keep in mind is knowing when it is time to let go.

Luckily, the game will tell you when a Key Item has been used up, as a red checkmark will appear in the corner of its inventory slot. The game also won't let you throw the item away until it's served its purpose. This is good in the sense that you won't accidentally put yourself in a situation where the game is unplayable, but it also means you're stuck with that item either in your inventory or in a storage box until the game is satisfied that you don't need it anymore. 

In this situation, rather than backtrack over and over again to store the Key Item, only to find the other door/machine/whatever it's used for, simply hang onto it and keep searching. Once you see that red checkmark, chuck the Key Item and free up that sweet, sweet inventory space.

Spread out your save files

Picture this: Leon is completely out of ammo. He's limping down the hallway, holding his stomach, just a tiny bit of health left in him. He comes around the corner and into a room full of zombie dogs. They swarm him and he dies.

You load your save file ... and Leon is completely out of ammo, limping down that same hallway. There's no way to backtrack and look for more ammo or herbs because the zombie dogs are outside the save room. This is literally all your fault, because you should have spread out your save files. 

In a game as unpredictable as Resident Evil 2, there's nothing wrong with leaving yourself a margin of error. Unless you're playing in Hardcore Mode, you can save as many times as you want. Did you just find the key to that locked door that's been in your way? Save your game. Also, when you're finally ready to use that key, consider saving it again in a separate slot. You have no idea what's behind that door.

Staggering your save files is a great way to backtrack if you need to. Sure, you'll have to play through sections you've already done, but by going to an earlier save, you can strategize in different ways. You'll be glad you have that save from thirty minutes ago, so you can forage for supplies and better prepare. You don't want to paint yourself into a corner.

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