I was sort of hoping for this too when I saw you could get boards to barricade some openings to the outside and stuff. It made me interested to see if they were going to add way more NPCs or something. But I guess they’re kind of between a rock and a hard place with that.
Remakes of movies get a lot of leeway with switching the story and characters up but the same but with this game the story and interaction was always going to be a bit limited because of the game it’s a remake of.
I think Capcom for better or worse made the game’s atmosphere more interesting in this respect though, the lobby’s makeshift triage, with the bloody cots/etc., as an example, is a new addition to the remake! The original game has great graphics and lots of cool little touches, but you feel way more alone and immediately like you’re supposed to avoid or kill anything you run into between that and the scene in the gun store. Like your first encounter with a human is a fully loaded gun wielding dude in his own gun shop and he get almost hilariously clowned on. Then for a while it just feels like Claire+Leon+Marvin are the only human beings left in the universe. The original does a great job of making you feel completely fucked and trapped for most of the game because of that and especially short bit before you get into the station itself where you have to just run away. Almost no other video game looked/sounded/felt that intense at the time. Coincidentally, my wife and I introduced our some younger relatives to the original Resident Evil 2 and the original Clock Tower last weekend. Both were big hits and it was cool to see two very different looking games be just as scary and tense to someone. Both have a really keen understanding of the lighting and look of the movies that inspired them which is a huge strength of the best RE games.
But I think RE2 (both the original and the remake) are also helped by those original PSX limitations by just not being very long games, which works in their favor. You get this mash-up of 80s zombie flick and 90s action flick in one concise burst. And the museum-turned-police station is a good way to have a building with weird art stuff/puzzles built into it that’s not going to be totally overrun with zombies and is also not just a retreat of the same mansion like they originally wanted to do.
I was kind of torn on Claire starting off with a gun too honestly. In the original she doesn’t get one until she meets Leon and he gives her his spare, and she knows how to use one and all but there’s a progression where she gets a gun from him, the car crashes, she stumbles into the gun store, gets some more ammo, etc.
But I think they figured it wouldn’t be a big deal to start her with one here due to inertia of how the story went through the games - she’s there searching for her brother and Capcom assumes we know how that plays out and that she looks up to Chris and was informally trained in handling firearms/etc. by him. So it’s not like she’s packing when going out to get groceries.
I didn’t mind it for another reason though. Claire headlines two other games, Code Veronica and Revelations 2. Both of them open up with her getting knocked out, disarmed, and trying to get out a prison, so this was a nice change of pace to just have her be competently able to fight her way out of a situation from the get go.
But but but but, Code Veronica, the Marvin equivalent wounded guy that gives the opening exposition and then hangs near the starting point character can be cared for! When you look around as Claire you can see how he’s hurt and what type of drugs he needs and actually find it later on and bring it back to him. So again those additional things in the RE2 remake had me hopeful some stuff like that would be possible.
Fortunately RE2 is such a strong game and Capcom put so much atmosphere into this that it’s awesome despite that and, hopefully, it leads to a remake of Resident Evil 3. Lord knows that’s the RE game that could use a remake the most, plus it already has a lot of points where more character interactions could be added in without really breaking the story since it was made to have a slightly more open feel in mind anyway (even if the PSX couldn’t quite pull that off and Raccoon City is a town made up entirely of alleyways and warehouses and one police station).