Even after all the changes the Resident Evil franchise has gone through, whether it was going from true horror to more of an action game, very few thought it would ever go the episodic route. That is indeed a new concept that games outside of the story driven realm haven’t tapped into. How successful can it be for the horror genre? Well, Resident Evil Revelations 2 shows us that it can work even if it isn’t perfect.
You begin as the badass Claire Redfield at a party with Barry Burton’s daughter Moira. Like all great soirees, there were party crashers. Unfortunately for both of our protagonists, after being kidnapped they find themselves in a prison-like structure. Literal madness ensues with plenty of monsters chasing you as you attempt to make your escape, all while being guided or more accurately taunted by a female voice coming from your newly acquired wrist band.
The second part of the story is through the eyes of Barry Burton as he shows up to the island in search of his daughter Moira. He finds a strange little girl named Natalie who tags along and serves as the connection between the two groups. This is where things get even more interesting. You circle back to locations previously visited by the two ladies, giving the whole situation a different outlook. Divulging any more is going into spoiler territory, so we’ll stop there. The story here is incredibly interesting and will have you asking for more. It takes some heavy inspiration from classic horror story teller Franz Kafka. The Metamorphasis seems to be the biggest influence here so it is no wonder the story is so enthralling.
Once you take control of the characters you’ll be tasked with solving some environmental puzzles which is made possible by the ability to switch between the two playable protagonists, all while taking down some T- Virus beasts. Movement feels a bit slower and does give that classic horror survival feel and for the most part it is just that. Of course there are still those action sequences but for the most part it is not too bad.
It does a decent job of mixing old school Resident Evil and new school. It is not ultimately scary but it does build tension well and the short episode format makes it so you don’t get burnt out on the scares. As for the puzzles, they are a bit of glorified fetch quests, but nonetheless it is still fun to walk through creepy rooms and whatnot to get your items. Another issue is that you will see the same enemy over and over. It might seem like a dull formula but the gameplay is smooth enough to still be fun.
The best in the genre use the environment as a character itself and unfortunately Revelations 2 doesn’t completely succeed here, at least not at first. Locations vary from moderately interesting to generic. There is a whole scene that takes place out in the woods that you’ll swear is straight out of Alan Wake, another popular horror game. Graphically it can also look pretty dated, the world lacks some detail and it looks like a last gen title. Which is a shame considering how well done the cut scenes are made.
The game is built with co-op in mind, for better or for worse. A lot of times the need for a companion feels completely forced and it becomes a bit of an annoyance if you are playing alone to keep switching between the characters. Add the fact that you must also keep an eye on the other characters health bar because if they go down, so do you, which at times makes it feel like an escort mission. Moira in particular would be obsolete if Claire would just carry a flashlight and crowbar.
If a friend joins the game, they must accept the fact that they will be pointing at things, picking locks, opening doors, and pointing flashlights, maybe an occasional crowbar crack. That being said, a friend can drop in and drop out at any moment which is always appreciated. For the most part, it is a much better experience to have a partner just because they take care of all the dirty work you don’t necessarily want to do. If you have a skilled friend they can also be huge help with blinding enemies and showing their weakness, just don’t expect them to be able to jump into the action.
There is also the inclusion of Raid mode. This is for the arcade fan that just wants to mow down hordes of enemies. It takes an RPG element by leveling up characters through doing missions in which you must reach the end of a stage in different environments and accomplishing different tasks will reward you with medallions which help unlock new weapons, skills, and levels. Surprisingly it is addicting and rewarding. It can also be done with co-op.
Although Resident Evil Revelations 2 falls flat at times with some poor visuals, generic environments, and sometimes useless partners, it is undoubtedly fun and interesting. You don’t even really need to play the first Revelations to enjoy this title. The story will keep you wanting more and the package as a whole is strong with Raid mode. You may be able to complete it between 2-3 hours game sessions but there is plenty to love for fans of the franchise and for those that are new to it. If you are even moderately interested, give the first episode a chance.
– The story is incredibly interesting, showing its influence from Franz Kafka.
-Gameplay is smooth, fun, and great with a friend. Though scares are short, it builds tension well enough to keep you wanting more. Raid mode will also prove to be a time sink.
– Episodic format actually works! A huge surprise that the story is interesting enough to make you want more and it also assures that you won’t be burnt out by jump scares since it is a short 2 to 3 hour gameplay session.
-Poor visuals and generic environments.
-If you are playing alone, your companion can and probably will become annoying.
-Taking down the same enemy over and over again is not fun. There should be more variety to enemies.
3.5 out of 5 burritos.
This review was completed using a PS4 copy of Resident Evil Revelations 2 provided by Capcom. The game hit PS3 and PS4 February 24, 2015 and Xbox One and Xbox 360 February 25, 2015.