Resident Evil 2 (remake) Digital Foundry

Resident Evil 2 remake plays best on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X

Digital FoundryResident Evil 2 remake plays best on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X

A big divide between the base and enhanced consoles.

Among the best remakes in recent memory, Resident Evil 2 is a true survival horror classic, rebuilt on Capcom's cutting edge RE Engine. Compared to the PlayStation and N64 originals there's a satisfying technical upheaval to show for that 20 year gap. You get real-time cutscenes, volumetric lighting and the freeing of its camera to allow third person shooter controls. Better still? The team targets 60 frames per second, but sadly it only comes to full fruition on certain platforms. Indeed, comparing PlayStation 4 and Xbox One today, it's clear 60fps is better held on Pro and X models - while the base machines, especially Xbox One S, show signs of being left behind.

It's worth touching on the visual points first. We saw it in the game's '1-shot' 30 minute demo, but with final code in hand it's confirmed. Base PS4 and Xbox One each push for a 1920x1080 resolution, but in practise there's more going on under the hood, notably on Microsoft's console. Image quality is blurrier, despite resolving to the same 1080p pixel count - much like Resident Evil 7. One theory as to why: it's using a form of temporal reconstruction, where camera changes during cutscenes show Xbox One has a rougher rendering of fine elements like hair. It only lasts for a few frames, and these details fill in eventually, but it's clear there is a deeper compromise next to a base PS4, which runs natively.

So it goes for the enhanced machines too. The target resolution on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X is 2880x1620 (a 25 per cent cut on each axis from 4K) but this time there's more evidence of reconstruction on Sony's premium console. On top of that, each appears to use differing anti-aliasing methods as well. PS4 Pro offers up a sharper image that lets you see slightly more detail at range, but with the drawback of more pixel crawl and flicker on specular highlights. If you've seen our Resident Evil 7 coverage, this should ring a bell. As for X owners? Once again you get the more pristine, less noisy presentation; fewer jaggies, but at the cost of more blur overall.

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Resident Evil 2 Remake takes Capcom's RE engine to the next level

Digital FoundryResident Evil 2 Remake takes Capcom's RE engine to the next level

Advanced effects push consoles harder - we take a look at every version.

At the tail-end of last week, Capcom delivered a multi-platform release of the Resident Evil 2 Remake - the so-called '1-shot' demo that gives users just 30 minutes to play a very small portion of the full game. It's shaping up to be a beautiful game that sees the consoles push higher-end features of the foundation RE engine for the first time, and it also sees the developer make some fascinating technical choices for both the vanilla and enhanced consoles. Meanwhile, the PC version opens up a vast array of possible settings, but based on the experience the demo delivers, the top-end experience does require some meaty hardware.

So just how does the remake push the RE engine harder than before? All versions of the demo showcase a filmic per-object motion blur, each surface that is smooth enough receives screen-space reflections, and the game makes extensive use of volumetric lighting and a bokeh depth of field. We'll be looking at the final version more closely to fully confirm this, but the lavish volumetric effects look quite a lot like the frustum voxel aligned type we have seen in many games this generation, giving any and every light a chance to illuminate the fog.

When all of those effects are combined together, we are looking at a highly atmospheric and smooth-looking game - and that is just the environments. Character modelling is also top-notch with realistic animations both in and out of cutscenes, and a lot of weight and physicality - from the way zombies react to the velocity of your gunfire, all the way down to the subtle animation on Leon's hair as he trudges down the dark hallways. There are other technical tricks designed to showcase the high fidelity assets: when you bring the camera on around Leon up close, the game spawns a tight shadow-casting light directly above his head, following the camera. It may not be physically correct, but it serves to highlight the lifelike details of the player model - another neat trick for the smoke and mirrors that is real-time rendering.

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