How Hard is Hardcore: RE2 Remake

As a kid growing up on SNES, Sega Genesis, and PS1 era of games I always found myself loving games that were challenging, unforgiving, and left it up to the players to figure out strategies to conquer encounters before guides were so easily accessible online. When given the option I always choose to play on the hardest difficulty, with the exception of some FPS games because I know I suck at those games, and would end up never finishing it.

I want to make this the first in a recurring series, where I go into detail for games on the hardest difficulty setting. I will be looking specifically at how difficult it actually is, some tips for those also playing on this difficulty, and if the overall experience is improved on the hardest difficulty or actually hinders the experience. For this first entry, we will be going into detail for the Resident Evil 2 remake.

First off let's explain what the difference in difficulty is. On easy (AKA Assisted) difficulty enemies are weaker, some amount of heath regenerates, there is an auto-save feature, and aim assist is enabled. On hardcore difficulty you can only save using ink ribbons like the original game, there is no auto-save or aim assist, and enemies are stronger. ​​

Does hardcore live unto its name? In my opinion, I would say no. It is definitely harder than normal, but in line with the difficulty that players of the original would expect. In comparison, looking at the new God of War game as the hardest game I've played in a while and something like Kingdom Hearts 3 as the easiest game in that spectrum. I would put RE2 remake above average. Challenging enough that I would recommend you play it on hardcore for your first playthrough, but not too difficult that you would hit a difficulty spike and need to start a new file.

Let's go into what exactly makes hardcore more difficult compared to the normal setting. While the limited amount of saves seems challenging, Ink Ribbons are plenty and there is no scarcity of these items whenever you get close to a save point. Granted that you aren't saving every 10 minutes, and can sit down for a 30-45 minute play session each time. By the end of my first 2 playthrough, I saved about 25 times, with still extra ink to spare.

What does provide a challenge and where you will die often, is during the first half of the game where you are low on ammunition and also the unavoidable boss encounters. If you know you do not have enough ammo to take out a group of zombies, you can always avoid them or still push through them sacrificing some of your health instead. I enjoyed how I had to balance between conserving my health and conserving my ammo depending on what items I had a surplus of.

Aside from the beginning of the game, the boss battles are where I saw the most game over screens during the hardcore mode. While there is ammo lying around the area, missing shots and not aiming for the enemies weak points often had me unloading much of the ammo I had saved up to that point. While making sure to also bring along a healing item, or two, managing for inventory space is important before going into these fights. Luckily, there is always a save preceding these sections, and you can backtrack to areas to get more resources before trying again. You can also upgrade your carrying capacity asap to hold more items, especially on a second playthough as all the puzzles or safe codes stay the same. Hardcore mode does a great job of always making you feel that every shot of a weapon is important, and I had to stop myself from wanting to load a recent save just to save a few bullets. You also utilize different sub-weapons, like knives and grenades to conserve ammo or avoid taking damage.

RE2 remake does a good job of creating a hard difficulty that is the perfect sweet spot of being challenging and encountering a good amount of game overs but is not brutally unforgiving. On my scale of hard difficulty, I would give it a solid 7.5 out of 10.

Let me know what you all think of the RE2 hardcore difficulty. Did you play it on your first playthrough or second? Which area/boss gave you the most trouble? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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