Boardgame moments, Under The Lid

Resident Evil 2 The Board Game – First Impressions (Under The Lid)

Here he goes, banging on about horror and atmosphere again.. but you have to admit, back when Resident Evil 2 came out it was the scariest damn thing ever. Those camera angles may have been hell but they built up that suspense; hearing a noise or creak but not seeing the cause… When it actually came to things being scary, there was always a clear line between a jump due to expected horror and a genuine horror jump because something caught you off guard… As example from RE2, seeing the Licker enemy for the first time was expected horror, scary but built up so you knew something was coming. Whereas fighting Birkin in his stage 3 form on the platform was a genuine horror jump, there was no cutscene or prompt, just an 8ft tall mound of flesh falling from the ceiling then attacking you for moving a platform. A genuine horror jump is what causes people to freak out, leave the room or turn off the console! All this was before the cheesiness, ridiculousness and overpowered skills of games like RE5 or Doom. I like them, but they’re far from horror. Horror is only horror when you don’t feel like a problem can be solved; not knowing how to deal with it is the worst part. That tied into atmosphere helps build that feeling of suspense, something which a lot of video games nowadays fail to do in my opinion. But this game promised that fear and hopelessness again, knowing you’d be stuck if you came ill prepared, explaining why I’m hyped to check out the components!!!

So straight off the bat, there were no packing peanuts. The game came in 4 sections; KS Exclusives, core game, B-Files alternative play, and the survival horror expansion. A lot of bang for your buck. Needless to say my partner was not impressed as we’d only recently found space for Nemesis and Coma Ward!

I opened the KS Exclusives first to get a look of the alternative costumes (that and it was he lightest box so I felt I’d be able to open and pack it back up the easiest!)

As much as it is all aesthetic and cosmetic stuff, the quality looks awesome! Never complain at a freebie! From there I felt obliged to go in a sensible order; core, B-Files, expansion. As soon as you open the lid you get both Steamforged’s classic joke and a reminder of the game’s roots!

The core box is full of the essential stuff (as you’d guess) but it took me aback after I lifted the third cardboard sheet to pop out and I noticed I wasn’t half way through to the miniatures. I did quickly skip over the rules because I’d focus more on them for a play though. To be honest, if they’ve done half as well as they did the Dark Souls’s rules I’d be fine (they made sense to me anyway). What did catch my eye was the scenarios book, it’s an homage again to the game’s roots and allows you to run through parts of the actual story of RE2, which is pretty cool. The cardboard components felt very well made and I always love a good spinner for tracking stuff, but the ammo tracks had actual ammo on, a nice touch! I cracked open the plastic case of the miniatures and opened the cards and quickly realised I’ve become a card snob. I don’t like the quality of any of the cards, I think it’s weak and flimsy… I know I said the same for Coma Ward but it’s true! I’d suggest I lower my standards but that wouldn’t exactly reflect well on the whole quality of the game. It didn’t bother me too much this time but still.. anyway. The minis! They look awesome, very detailed and specific to the game genre, horrifying!

Now the B-Files… If you haven’t played RE2, the game is based around 2 characters who follow two different paths through the game and encounter different obstacles. The B-Files is the other path effectively. It threw me initially; the box with the B contains more rules, a bit backwards; surely the game can’t be that different! It isn’t! It’s mostly more scenarios!! Quality! The cardboard to be punched is less numerous in this one but adds more rooms, and the miniatures include the addition of the iconic Tyrant T-00 (Mr. X himself!) and the one that gave me nightmares, the T-03. This bad boy hunted you down throughout the B-Side story and chased you wherever you went. No warning, no introduction, often just walking through a concrete wall to get you. Genuine horror jumps all round!

I finally opened up the Survival Horror Expansion, which included no cardboard punch boards. I was sort of relieved. As much as I adore the time spent adding components and mechanics, using all those components together would mean a bigger table would be needed! The booklet included rules for the characters who weren’t any of the main 4, and allowed players to relive the stories of those characters who had an impact on the RE2 story but may not have necessarily escaped, or wanted to escape, Racoon city. It also includes rules for the PvP variant, where players don’t necessarily strive for victory but aim to hinder through selfish acts and self gain. There is also the addition of the Ivy enemy and Giant Spiders, both of which are terrifying.

I honestly can’t wait to try this out, but with the way I’ve been receiving kickstarters and new games, and with Christmas around the corner, I don’t feel I’ll have time until the new year! That being said, the game looks awesome and I’m hyped for the nostalgia trip.