Some of you know that I have been a very obsessed and addicted gamer. Many years ago, it was pretty much all I did, and I spent many days for hours on end playing games on my playstation and x-box. My gaming days are behind me now, though the memories of those days certainly aren’t. One of my favorite gaming series was Resident Evil. This survival horror game, had you fighting the evil Umbrella corporation responsible for creating a deadly virus that turned people into blood thirsty zombies. There is a scene that I remember vividly from the first game. Your character was moving through a quiet hallway. You felt that something was about to happen, but you didn’t know what. Then all of a sudden a raving zombie dog crashed through one of the windows. I was playing with my headphones on, and it was enough to let me drop my controller on the ground. That’s how much it scared me. The series spawned many sequels, but a fan favorite has always been the 2nd part. That game was recently remade for modern consoles and looks so gorgeous that I was almost tempted to buy the game and a new console. But I resisted that temptation and instead got myself something entirely different: The Boardgame version! I know it seems strange to buy a boardgame based on a computergame, so let’s find out if cardboard can beat the computer!
I have a lot of boardgames in my collection that have seriously beautiful components, and that’s usually one of the things that draws me in. I have to be honest though, this game isn’t one of those. With the exception of the miniatures and some of the cards, most of the material contained within the box is pretty bland, or even downright ugly. The game comes with a stack of tiles in all kinds of shapes that you use to put together the board. Most of these are so dark, that you can hardly see any details on them. Then there are doors, represented by counters, which are even worse. I often had trouble seeing if they were in an open or closed position when they were put onto the board. The price for the worst component however, goes to the walls, that look more like leftover packing material than anything even remotely representing a wall. Luckily the game is saved by the miniatures contained within the box, which look really cool. Most of these are the monsters that you will encounter during the game, such as the zombies, dogs and the horrible lickers to name a few. Rounding out the game are a bunch of tokens, a few stacks of cards, custom dice and a rules and scenario book. All in all it gets the job done, but they definitely could have made this look so much better.
So is the gameplay itself as bad as the way the game looks? Hell ….to the no. Luckily the game is a blast to play, and once you get the hang of it, you don’t think twice about the way it looks anymore. Resident Evil 2 the boardgame, let’s you take on the role of one of the famous characters from the computergame, such as Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield. You can play the game solo (and have a true survival horror experience) or with up to four players. In each game you pick a scenario that you want to play, and set up the board accordingly. Set up time takes a while, as you have to construct the board with the different tiles each time you play (each scenario has a different board set up). Players take turns exploring the board, scrounging for items, fighting enemies and looking for a way to complete the scenario. The biggest challenge lies in deciding when to fight and when to run away. Ammo for your weapons, is just as scarce here as it is in it’s computerised counterpart. As such you can’t go into full rambo mode and try to kill every enemy you encounter.
Players are under constant pressure from the aptly named tension deck, a set number of cards that not only contain all kinds of nasty stuff that can happen, but also acts as a timer. When the deck runs out of cards, it’s game over. This being a cooperative game, the players have to work together to beat the game. The four different characters that are included in the game, all have their own unique abilities, that can effect the game in different ways. The players win the game when they all survive and complete the scenario. In one game they might have to reach a certain location, in another they have to escape an area before a self destruct sequence blows the place to kingdom come. Every scenario has it’s own set of challenges and difficulty. If you want you can even link all of them together in a campaign where players can keep the items they found in a previous level, and bring them to the next one. Whatever you prefer, there is an awesome amount of replayability and no two games are ever quite the same.
The rulebook of this game does it’s job by teaching you the game in different stages. It starts out with some basic gameplay, let’s you play a scenario, and then continues with some more advanced rules. I had no trouble learning the game, and rules questions that popped up during a session, I could find answers to rather quickly in the rules booklet. As such it’s not a difficult game to learn. Winning the game however is an entirely different matter. Just as the computergame this is based on, it’s quite a challenge to beat it. I have had games where I lost five minutes after I set up (due to some bad dicerolls, and unlucky cards), but overall it takes time to either win or lose the game. Winning takes careful planning though, with the most important thing being how you use your items and weapons. You usually have the urge to kill an enemy as soon as it emerges, but that isn’t always the best course of action. But it’s not impossible to win, and finding out just how to do that is part of the fun.
When I first opened the box and laid eyes on what was inside I could not help but feel disappointed at the quality of the components. I was shocked at how a game based on such a popular franchise, could look so ugly (again not counting the miniatures). The game certainly isn’t very cheap either, so I was beginning to wonder if this had been a waste of my money. However, luckily my shock turned to elation very soon when I started playing the game itself. It really is a fun and tough as nails survival horror game, that offers just as much challenge as if you were playing the game on a console. The fact that the game also has a lot of replayability is another bonus. Since it’s release a number of expansions have been brought out to add even more challenges to the game, including new monsters and scenarios. As I have just bought this game, and still have enough mission in it to complete, I have as yet no plans to buy any of these. I might definitely be tempted to buy them later though. All in all Resident Evil 2 The Board Game is a fun experience, especially if you are a fan of the original games.
I give Resident Evil 2: The Boardgame a 8 out of 10 score.