In part because it has silly masks
It’s going to be a good long while before I’ve had my fill of Resident Evil 2. The more I play, the more fun I seem to have, and that’s no accident. As with the series at large, Capcom has done a marvelous job crafting a game that’s enjoyable your first time through and only more rewarding as you optimize the fastest routes and unlock delightfully overpowered gear. Single-player games can have longevity too!
For players who’ve run the gamut with Leon and Claire’s outings, there’s a new set of extra mini-modes exploring four familiar characters who never made it out of Resident Evil 2 alive. Similar to Hunk’s 4th Survivor mode included at launch, The Ghost Survivors runs you through an action-packed gauntlet where every bullet, flash grenade, and footstep can have an impact on your success or failure.
There are three outings to start off — “No Time to Mourn” with local businessman Robert Kendo, “Runaway” with the mayor’s daughter Katherine Warren, and “Forgotten Soldier” with U.S.S. member Ghost — plus an unlockable scenario, “No Way Out,” featuring the blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em sheriff.
You can play the first three seven-minute-or-so modes in any order, though I’d highly recommend swallowing your pride and using the “training” setting to get your footing and learn the ideal routes. The Ghost Survivors’ default difficulty leaves little room for error, and as a result, it’s easy to bounce off.
There are three new undead variants, each requiring slightly different tactics. Poisonous zombies are best shot from a distance or outright avoided. Armored enemies usually have a vulnerable leg or arm. And the spookiest of all, the melted-looking creeps, require serious firepower to put down. The Ghost Survivors also includes a bit of Mr. X and lickers so, yeah, it’s a party. To stay stocked up, you’ll want to find vending machines (which offer a choice between multiple items) and backpack zombies.
I’m not invested in my scores enough to trim down my completion time, but I am super into the idea of unlocking masks for these characters. It’s a perfect incentive to strive for improvement. Aside from the tiger mask up top, there are also looks inspired by grotesque enemies including a familiar face from Resident Evil 7. The silly dress-up reminds me of Dead Rising in the best possible way.
The fourth and final mode places you in the sheriff’s shoes, and you aren’t getting out of the gas station from RE2‘s intro sequence until you’ve offed one-hundred unlucky undead. Infinite handgun ammo is reassuring at first, but this close-quarters survival arena doesn’t offer much breathing room.
I wouldn’t have been super impressed with The Ghost Survivors had it been paid DLC, but as a free post-launch extra, it hits the spot. It’s more approachable than The 4th Survivor, so even if you aren’t one for Resident Evil‘s more frantic arcade-like offerings, it’s worth half an hour of your weekend.