For the written review, see below!
Resident Evil has been in a bit of rut in the last few years. With no game actually living up to the expectations that 4 set and Capcom essentially wetting themselves in front of everyone time and time again, it’s safe to say that a majority of Resident Evil games have been a bit, well, similar to finding a skid mark in your pants.
But Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a new venture for the series, being that it ditches the full game aspect and on a weekly basis, Capcom will be bringing short, two to two and a half hour episodes that follow an almost TV-esque style of story.
Revelations 2 follows series regular Claire Redfield and newcomer Moira Burton, as they are kidnapped from a party hosted by ‘Terrasave’ (because ‘Terr’ doesn’t have to end with a ‘rist’, if you want a gist of how well written some of the game is) and find themselves trapped on Penal Colony, your usual spooky prison island with all the lingering mysteries that follow it.
I found the first half of this episode to be actually a little dull in places. Claire doesn’t have any real spark other than a few cringe inducing moments – she makes a Claire Sandwich joke – and Moira is written by people who have forgotten how young people actually talk, with most of her sentences punctuated by unneeded and almost out of place swearing.
However, it’s the latter half of the game where things actually start to pick up. This is mostly down to long time missing (and I mean, a long time, with him actually last seen in 2002), Barry Burton. Barry’s side of the story introduces Natalia, a young girl who possesses the ability to sense enemies and has a bunch of unanswered questions following her.
Barry and Natalia have this rather shallow relationship that will obviously build as time goes on and it’s not refreshing to have a male protagonist, but it is always nice to see a relationship that isn’t built on wanting to get rid of the child. Barry will praise and act fatherly around Natalia, with it never actually being shovelled into your face. It’s just Barry and for a Resident Evil game, that’s pretty fantastic in some respects.
However, this definitely feels like the first episode of any series that has ever existed. Maybe even like a middling pilot. It’s all set up for what’s to come and it’s kind of a detriment to the episode itself, as nothing actually happens other than a few snippets of forced character development for Moira, mostly to do with her and Barry’s poor relationship.
Even in the game itself, playing it is very much like the first couple hours of any Resident Evil or horror game. You’re pretty strapped for items, having to make do with whatever you can find and you’re unfamiliar with the enemies while the game teaches you what’s what.
Resident Evil Revelations 2’s first episode is betting everything on the tension it hasn’t built into keeping you on the edge of your seat or possibly scared. The monsters are nothing we haven’t seen before, with a mixture of shuffling zombies and the ‘infected humans’ variety of beasties. Pop them in the head, they fall over and then you knife them to make sure you actually got them.
It’s this familiarity that detracts from the single player, as I already knew what I was in for as soon as I saw the first enemy. There’s no surprise, with the only real shock coming from a giant, hammer wielding enemy that isn’t introduced and just clubs you over and over.
What could have been a huge drawback actually introduces some cool aspects to Resident Evil. Your partner cannot use weapons, save for Moira and her crowbar or Natalia’s ability to bash zombies with a brick. These characters can access things that the others can’t, but the game never uses them in a style that harks back to Resident Evil Zero, in which you would have to solve a puzzle using both characters available to you. Instead, they’re mostly utilised in just pulling switches or opening boxes.
In co-op mode however, your friend is going to be extremely bored. With Moira and Natalia limited in what they can do, they’re mostly on pick up and distraction duty. It almost feels as if they just threw it in to appease those who’ve been playing Resident Evil since 5’s introduction of co-op, but in the end, the only reason you’d ever want to really play it that way is if you’re having trouble with the computer.
Revelations 2 also introduces perks to each character, spending acquired points through the single player into making each of the four characters or items that bit more useful. A bizarre perk though, is the need to unlock the ability to have the computer use guns. When I found this perk, I almost put my head through the desk, as I struggled with a particular section that involved being swarmed and couldn’t do anything but fumble through it or hope for the best, because Claire just kind of stood around gormlessly.
I can’t exactly speak poorly of the lack of things going on in the first episode of Revelations 2, because it does feel like those couple hours of any game, where they have to show you the basics before throwing you into the deep end. But the lack of any real puzzles and Resident Evil stuff going on, almost makes me worried that this is might fall back on the story over anything else.
There’s one thing the game cannot fall back on, however and that’s how it looks. On PS3 and from what I’ve seen of everything else, the game certainly looks like the first Revelations and that was an upscaled 3DS game. Even with the knowledge of this coming to the Vita, it’s an ugly game and not in the way that you want it to be.
Raid mode makes a return, with up to two players taking on a series of challenges (mostly kill all the things) and levelling up individual characters. The whole thing is literally busy work to keep you hooked on the game while you wait for the next episode, but it’s actually quite fun. Going through and trying your best to get all the medals or replaying something to beat your time and score is something I’ll always appreciate.
A downside to it is the finicky nature of it. Characters cannot be equipped with the same guns, you can only hold so many guns in storage before you have to destroy them and the whole mode is filled with microtransactions. Luckily, they’re all for things you’ll hardly need, but it’s a dire shame to see them offering up revivals for a cost, when it already gives you ten at the start of each round.
It’s a silly little thing, that’s fantastic if you grab a friend and go about blasting zombies and mutants away. It even changes up the different monsters with various effects, that can lead to actual strategy being implemented.
Just to add, at the time of writing this, the PS3 version is broken for some. Downloading the required Raid mode pack to play with friends is supposedly breaking the game, having it hang on the loading screen. To get around it, I had to log out of PSN and force the game to not log me back in. Once on the main menu, I could get online and do usual business, but the ingame store was still broken. There’s also people saying that Raid mode is freezing the game or just not connecting online on other consoles.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is an intriguing step in what could be the right direction for Capcom’s flailing series. It might not have blown me away, but the fact I watched the ‘Next Time’ with anticipation, has gotten me quite excited to see how this thing turns out over the next few weeks.Tweet