Tripwire’s contributing writer Simon Kennedy takes a look at Steam Forged Games’ Resident Evil 2 game, out now…
Resident Evil is one of gaming’s biggest franchises to date, spanning over 20 years and has seen many adaptions in the form of novels, films, comics and even toys. But Steam Forged Games have decided to bring us something different, a board game adaption of the original Resident Evil 2 game, namely the most critically successful of the series.
Backed by a very successful Kickstarter, Steam Forged Games have brought out a dungeon crawler style board game of the highly renowned survival horror title of the same name. How does it hold up? Let’s see.
Simply observing the box art will resonate good vibes with fans and new comers. The imagery, framing and use of colour make for a visually striking package. While it differs from the artwork of the original game, it still implements the style of the promotional artwork for the original game. When you open the box, there is a nice greeting a printed image of the original “graphic content” warning screen you could see with older horror games. Personally I loved this and felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia seeing it. It’s not completely needed but I loved the consideration.
Now as this is a dungeon style crawler with different scenarios written up to be played, it’s expected to have multiple board pieces ranging in size and style. There are various board pieces that make up main rooms, corridors, tight spaces for safety (save rooms if you will) and larger areas where you might face one of the big G virus baddies. Everything fits nicely into place and visually everything looks good enough. I did find the overall tone of the pieces to be a little too dark, revealing little detail on what the location would be, but as there are multiple scenarios it would make sense to have the visual presence of the board pieces a little verge.
Included are a number of other pieces that make up the doors, stairs, ammo counters, ink ribbons and points of interest. All of these look reasonably nice but again look a little too dark to see what they are. I would’ve preferred if say the Type writer, Ink Ribbon and Item Box were 3D models, or even if the doors were.
I was also a little disappointed with the “walls” and doors included as they’re just simple and bland bits of board. I couldn’t understand why they’re not 3D or even just better bits of board that could stand up possibly. The ones included can blend in too well with the main board pieces themselves.
I honestly almost mistook the walls as bits of rubbish or leftover frames you get once you popped out all the main pieces. There also needed another compartment tray for all these smaller components as packing them away and bringing them out can be a nightmare.
But when it comes to the figures, wow, these are amazing. The level of detail on the main characters, zombies and the larger enemies was impressive, showing off an incredible amount of detail and above all, exact resemblance to the characters in the game. Steam Forge Games and the artists who have made these models did a damn good job at the figures.
Steam Forged Games have done a pretty nifty job at incorporating all the elements of a classic survival horror game such as exploration, dealing with the unknown, resource management and intense combat. Often survival horror is about a choice on whether you use resources to progress a troublesome situation or grit your teeth and pray you can pass by a Dangerous foe. This idea is infused into the Resident Evil 2 board game along with a couple of new dynamics.
Firstly you can pretty much play through the key events in the original game’s campaign, such as getting to the S.T.A.R.S office in the police station, making your way through the sewers or escaping the lab before it blows up. These scenarios include all the key items that appear in the actual game, such as the police station keys.
But what is quite interesting now is that two players can take part in each scenario but normally starting in different points. So for the first scenario set within the west wing of the police station, Claire and Leon with start on different floors and have to work their way to meet each other in the S.T.A.R.S office. This adds a whole new dynamic as you can co-operate to help each other out, but supplies will be limited as there are two players working the same scenario.
You can find other items to heal yourself up, ammo and new weapons which come from exploring. But of course, the most important or useful items seem to be in the most dangerous places. There is a high risk and reward system in play and small things such as opening/closing doors behind you rack up the intensity. You can even save your progress during the play through with an ink ribbon and type writer found in the save room.
What I do like about this Resident Evil board game is that while there is a scenario guide to help you set up all the main events, you are free to do as you please. You can increase the enemy count, reduce items or add more players. Hell you could even make your own levels such as the Dead Factory from Resident Evil 2. The guide is there and everything written by the designers is a great outline, but there is room to add in small additions if you like.
Setting up and Rules
Setting up everything is pretty straight forward and anyone new to the game will be able to understand the rules without much of a learning curve.
Each player can perform four actions in their turn such as moving, opening/closing doors, interacting with a point of interest and fighting. You can do any one these actions or simply plan out a strategy to aid your partner or yourself. At the end of each turn, tension cards are drawn and these make up whether you’ll live a few moments more or simply become zombie chow. Aside from the tension cards, zombies also move and will follow the player closest to them. This can be utterly nerve wrecking or an exploit if you’re brave enough. As you can lure enemies away from a point of interest or the other player if needs be, making it a great but dangerous tactic.
Attacking and dodging are simplified to dice rows which is nice as players will need to worry about their inventory and health. Meaning you can gage the basic concepts of evasion or attacking without having to do too much homework. While there are plenty of different components such as mixing herbs, attacking and even the behaviours of all the enemies, they’re simple to understand and after a session or two, can naturally flow with the game as it evolves.
This board game adaption of the beloved survival classic is a treat for fans or those who love a good objective orientated dungeon crawler. The gameplay is mechanically straightforward, immersive and allows for multiple player strategies to be implemented. The nice selection of enemies, tension cards and again the freedom to alter enemy count/placement means you’ll be able to replay the same scenarios over and over with it feeling fresh each time. The models are great and overall the presentation is pretty decent. I do wish Steam Forged Games had included some 3D doors/walls and some other key objects into the basic package just to match the impressive models. But overall Resident Evil 2 the board game is an immensely joyable trip down memory lane and a great adaption of an already great game.
Visit Steamforged Games at their website