Resident Evil 2 is out, and it’s getting rave reviews (ours including). If you’re planning on taking a trip down to a  zombie-infested Raccoon City as either a rookie cop or a biker girl, there’s no better time than now!

Here are a few tips & tricks to maximize your fun and playthrough.

Do Not Dial Down The Default Difficulty

After you die a few times, Resident Evil 2 will ask if you want to play the “assisted” mode. It adds aim-assist, weakens the enemies, and gives the protagonists some minor health regeneration.

Don’t do this; part of the fun of RE is playing it on normal difficulty. Since the game is all about struggling for survival, you should push on through. Besides, it’s a step up from the original RE2’s tank controls.

Only Adjust Brightness If You Need To

Resident Evil 2 is a dark game, and rightly so because it adds chill and suspense to where you’re going and what you might approach in the depth. But if your TV is pretty old and its default brightness setting is borked, it doesn’t hurt to tweak it just a teensy bit.

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Play as Whoever You Want

There is no “right” way to play the game. Both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield have access to different weapons and story moments. You’ll be playing the other character in your second playthrough anyway, so just enjoy the ride.

Save Often (In Your First Playthrough)

Thankfully, you don’t need ink ribbons to save your game. Don’t be afraid to save if you need to take a break or if you snagged a new item or weapon. Sure, it’ll affect your game ranking, but that’s something you shouldn’t worry about on your first playthrough.

Explore Everywhere

If you really need to stock up on weapons and crafting materials, you need to check out every corner. Yes, even the ones with tons of zombies in it.

When In Doubt, Check Your Map

The map isn’t simply good at helping you find a specific room. It’s also good for knowing what else you need to explore. Red rooms still have items in them. If you’re looking for a key or unsure of where to go next, try heading for rooms you haven’t cleared.

Craft Ammo ASAP

You’ll find gunpowder throughout Raccoon City, which you can combine to make bullets and other types of ammo. It’s tempting to stockpile this for when you “need” it or want to make special ammo. But the truth is that Resident Evil 2 is so generous with these materials that you’re better using them as you progress and having ammo right away. Even if you’re twitchy, you’ll have tons of bullets and even grenade launcher ammo by the end.

Pick Up Everything

Even if it looks like garbage, it isn’t. If you have the inventory room, take it. If you don’t know what to do with it, store it in an item box and use it when you do.

Examine Items Closely

More than most games in the series, Resident Evil 2 likes to hide items within items. If you find a book, go into your menu and open it. That badge you found? There’s a button on the back that totally changes what it does. Examine everything you find to make sure you’re not missing a puzzle solution or key item.

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Discard Useless Items

Some keys and special items are useless once they’ve unlocked all their corresponding doors. If you look in your inventory and see a red X over the item, select it and choose “discard”. You’ll free up coveted inventory space that you can use for ammo and other goodies.

Combine Herbs

Herbs can be combined for a variety of useful effect. The most standard combination is Green+Red, which creates a mixture that will heal you to full health. You can also combine Blue with Red to get rid of poison and gain temporary resistance to status effects. If you combine all three colours, you’ll gain a bonus to defence. Know your combinations and use them wisely to heal quickly or prepare for boss fights.

Remember Safe Combinations

While puzzles change on your second character’s playthrough, safe combos stay the same. Write it down somewhere and use it later to save yourself some hassle.

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Hit Zombies In The Head And/Or Kneecaps

They might be able to take a beating but you actually have a lot of ways to deal with zombies. Shooting them in the head (multiple times) can put them down quickly, but if you don’t have the ammo you can also shoot or knife them in the kneecap and run past them when they fall.

Poke A “Dead” Zombie

Unless you manage to blow a zombie’s head off, there’s a chance that they’ll get up again even after you’ve “killed” them. Defeating them enough times will stop them from reviving but you should always be dealing with corpses to avoid getting caught off guard.

You Can Turn Around Quickly

This changes depending on your console but if you press down and O on the PS4 controller, you’ll do a quick turn. It’s good for getting away from zombies, and you should get comfortable using it.

Use Your Knife

Knives are incredibly useful, and you should always carry one. Not only can they be used to escape an enemy’s clutches, but you can also slash at zombies when they fall to do extra damage. For extra effect, slash their arms. You can cut them right off, preventing them from grabbing you in the future.

Burn Plant Zombies

Eventually, you’ll find zombies infested with mutant plantlife. You can temporarily dispatch them by shooting weak points but if you have the flamethrower or incendiary grenades for your launcher, you can burn them to a crisp to keep them from getting up. If they’re black and shrivelled, it means they’re down for the count.

Just Run From Mr. X

Unless you’re caught in a dead end, there’s no need to waste ammo on Mr. X, the massive and mostly invincible Tyrant that stalks you throughout the game. If you’re in a tight spot, try to bait a punch of out him and dodge around. Just run away and, once you’ve lost him, go back to wherever you need to be.

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Play The “2nd Run”

After you complete the game with one character, you unlock a “2nd” story route for the other. You need to play this in order to get the real ending. The second story hits all of a character’s plot beats but revamps some of the puzzles and enemy placement for a sort of ROM hacked experience. This is what you want to play if you want to actually finish the story.

Don’t Waste Ammo On Your “2nd Run”

Yes, if you play this game long enough, you’ll know that you don’t need to kill enemies to survive. Unless they’re in a room with a puzzle, in which case you need to deal with them. You can run away from most of them; the game is built for this since you can only get the highest ranking if you finish the game in less than 3 hours.

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How To Deal With Mr. X/The New Tyrant

The Tyrant will pass right by you in the following rooms — or he might just stop outside of them. If so, leave the room briefly and return to get him walking again.

  • Interrogation/Observation Room (1F)
  • Watchman’s Room and Break Room Hall (1F)
  • Boiler Room Safe Room (1F)
  • Darkroom Safe Room (1F)
  • Chief’s Office (2F)
  • S.T.A.R.S Office (2F)
  • Clock Tower (3F)
Here are some additional tips to avoid Mr. X:

  • You can always hear Mr. X’s footsteps if he’s nearby, and consider yourself safe from him when you can’t hear him. With certain “surround” audio setups, you can hear exactly where the Tyrant is in the building.
  • More often than not, if Mr. X does not know your current location, he will begin patrolling most of the main hallways and the Main Hall, but rarely checks the smaller side rooms unless he already knows your location.
  • If Mr. X is too close to get away from, you can “bait” out his slow forward lunging punch by strafing him – as he is slow to recover and stand up from that attack, and can’t stop you from passing until he stands back up straight.
  • Leading Mr. X across the Main Hall and between floors is an effective way to lose him. Learn the various paths to where you need to go and alternate them with the Tyrant on your tail.
  • The more doors you can put between yourself and Mr. X, the faster he can lose your trail. He tends to only start really speedwalking when he has a true line of sight and straight path to you.
  • The Tyrant can climb ladders, but usually will avoid climbing down them. In the Library, for example, he will hop immediately to the lower floor.
  • The Tyrant will push zombies out of his way. It’s unclear if he damages them.

Can You Kill Mr. X?

Although you cannot kill Mr. X in his initial police station encounter, you can stagger him with shots to the face and other weapons. We recommend saving your ammo and running.

In extreme situations where you find yourself cornered or unable to get past him in a tight corridor – 10 headshots from a handgun can usually cause him to drop to one knee, and incapacitate him for 30 seconds, giving you time to get far enough away that he loses your position.

A single headshot from Leon’s Lightning Hawk Magnum can also stagger Mr. X for several moments, rendering him unable to stop you from running past him.

Mr. X’s Shortcut

The Tyrant will bash through the Press Room wall and create a shortcut from the Interrogation/Observation Room hallway to the Press Room. This happens seemingly randomly, as he can do it, then, when you reload the same save, he might not do it again.

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