I played Resident Evil when I was 6 years old and I never had any issues just because the game didn't tell me exactly where to find what I needed. I miss the times when exploration was encouraged
And why compare L4D with RE? They're drastically different games. L4D is all about shooting zombies for fun (very arcadey game), RE is all about ambience and survival (until RE4 came and changed everything).
Also, Resident Evil 2, a fetch quest? Oh please, you must lack a soul if you didn't notice the flawless atmosphere and failed to appreciate the deliciously cheesy plot and dialogue. I weep for you.