Capcom’s upcoming remake of Resident Evil 2 has already been praised by those lucky enough to have tried out a demo for bringing horror back to the long-running zombie series. Resident Evil 7 undoubtedly kicked off this pivot away from Resident Evil 5 and 6‘s action-based gameplay, and it seems Resident Evil 2 will continue to carry that torch. Critics (including us) have noted the remake’s attempt to capture the spirit of the series’ early entries by creating an experience that feels unnerving and chock full of tension. In other words, Resident Evil is scary again—or is trying to be, at least.
While the overall effectiveness of the remake as a horrific experience can’t be confirmed until the game releases next year, Capcom has shared enough about Resident Evil 2 to give survival horror fans hope. One of the most recent ways was through the first look at the original game’s most iconic enemy: the Licker. Gameplay footage (via IGN) was recently shared showing Claire Redfield taking on several of the mutated creatures, and overall, it didn’t disappoint.
For those unaware of what a Licker is, these bioweapons have been classified as a mutated version of a zombie that’s been infected with a rare strain of the T-Virus. The disgusting name comes from the monster’s exceptionally long tongue, which is only slightly more noticeable than their exposed brain. They were introduced into the series in 1998’s Resident Evil 2 and have been a fan-favorite enemy ever since due to their unrelenting and fearsome nature.
While the frog-like creatures have popped up in other entries in the series, their intimidation has lost its consistency. The last core title to feature Lickers was Resident Evil 5, and since that game was more action-oriented, players had many different weapons at their disposal to take out the monsters quickly. Sure, that game had the beta breed of Lickers, making them less powerful than Resident Evil 2‘s alpha counterparts. However, that doesn’t mean Capcom couldn’t have used them in a more terrifying way, rather than just throwing them all into one room to be picked off. The good news is that the new Resident Evil 2 doesn’t seem like it will be holding back on fear, especially when it comes to how the Lickers are presented.
As seen in the footage, it appears the Lickers will once again be able to scurry along ceilings to drop down on the player. This was actually how the monster was first introduced to gamers in the original, but unlike that first encounter, Capcom has made the experience even more terrifying through lighting and the camera position. The Raccoon City Police Department will have dark corridors and high ceilings, meaning most light, if any, will come from Claire and Leon’s flashlight. Combine that with the third-person over-the-shoulder camera and players will have to continually monitor their surroundings, including what could potentially be above them. This is where the Lickers will definitely shine, as they’ll be able to drop in out of seemingly nowhere, making the already tense situation even worse. I want to be nervous walking around the game’s hallways or when opening a door, and the nature of these Lickers could be the key to make that happen.
At one point in the gameplay clip, a Licker does get the jump on Claire, and even as a spectator, I was terrified. In the original, Lickers could famously kill the player in one hit if they were able to unleash a leaping strike. With Lickers dropping down from above in the remake, players could be seeing the game over screen pretty often. It also seems that the development team made sure to make the creatures hard to kill again. For example, Claire unloads several pistol rounds directly into a Licker’s brain, but it still puts up a fight. Compare this to Resident Evil 5‘s slow-moving and “one good shotgun blast to the head oughta do it” beta Lickers, it’s clear we’re heading back to what originally made the enemy intimidating.
What’s even better is that the Lickers only represent one aspect of Resident Evil 2. If Capcom put this much detail and attention into one species, it’s likely that the other monsters, like Hunters or Mr. X, could be just as terrifying.