Leon Kennedy is one of my favourite videogame characters of all time. He's stupid, jocular, ludicrously good-looking and cracks some of the best/worst oneliners in history. “I need a report on your situation,” inquires Hunnigan at the start of Resident Evil 6. “I just shot the President,” Leon replies, his perfectly designed fringe hanging gracefully across one eye. He's a guy that you just want to be around. Whether macho, funny or trying it on with one of the many, many ladies that he meets, every word out of Leon's mouth is pure gold. In a world of try-hard heroes, all with gritty “back stories,” he's an unadulterated, absolute joy.
As for Resident Evil 2 itself, I don't think there's a game I've completed more times. Over and over and over again I've beaten it, never quite reaching the world-record breaking speed run time of 1:12:53, but coming consistently close. I don't play it for challenge. I'm not sure I even play it for fun. After seventeen years and so many runthroughs, I keep returning to Resident Evil 2 because it feels like -- home.
Nostalgia is bullshit, especially since game-makers and marketers are constantly appealing to it in order to sell their games, but Resident Evil 2 is the closest thing I can think of to a Hollywood classic on a Sunday afternoon. Like Jaws or The Great Escape, I know every line, every beat, every shot, and it feels just like a warm blanket, pleasing enough to distract my imagination, familiar enough to feel safe and relaxing.
The colours, the sounds, the objects – everything about Resident Evil 2 is instantly recognisable to me, and it's a game I play unlike any other. I sit there, running it through, not really paying attention, and it's like I'm just idly turning a Rubix cube. I could be talking to a friend or chatting on the phone, and still just ticking along with it. Like a long-lasting couple, content to slob in their pyjamas, watching TV together, this, I think, is what affection for a game truly looks like.