Resident Evil Revelations 2 Review
The Resident Evil series was once known as one of the strongest series not only in the horror scene but in gaming overall. It was a powerhouse title that delivered thrills, action, exploration and at the time breathtaking production values and a solid story base. Over the years the enthusiasm toward the series has been demolished, due to a quality decline with each entry under the banner seemingly making little progress and even at times going backwards in some regards. Since Resident Evil 4 was released in 2005 the series struggled to gain either critical acclaim or sales. This changed somewhat with the release of Resident Evil Revelations, releasing on of all systems, the hand held 3DS. Revelations gained a solid reception from critics with its focus firmly on what made the series great in days gone by and this saw the game ported to the main home consoles with some success. Three years later and we have a sequel with Revelations 2 releasing but this time the 3DS misses out. So has the latest Resident Evil title, and second release in this side series finally lifted Resident Evil back to its dizzying heights or has the series once again taken a step backwards?
In a first for Resident Evil, Revelations 2 has adopted an episodic release in the fashion that works so well for Telltale adventures. It seemed like a strange choice at first but thinking back to the first series title, Revelations, it makes more sense. Perhaps due to being a hand held release the first adopted a chapter approach for its levels. This was a great idea as playing one or two of these chapters on a hand held felt natural for the train ride play, or twenty minute time killer. This time round you again play as two main Resident Evil favourites in Claire Redfield and Barry Barnes. Due to these two being separated not only in the same place but differing time lines and the story being played from one to the other in each chapter an episodic release feels the right choice. If you bought this via digital you were greeted with a weekly release of the four episodes, however a disc release with all chapters is near release.
Revelations 2 is set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 with Claire and Moira, Barry’s daughter, being abducted along with a number of Terra Save employs and taken to a desolate island where the afflicted are in wait, with a hideous experiment being performed on the hostages by “The Overseer”. Claire awakens with an irremovable fear bracelet attached to her wrist and Moira in a cell near her. From here Claire and Moira’s storyline concentrates on staying alive and escaping the island. As I previously mentioned Barry’s story takes place on the same island but is in fact six months after Claire and Moira’s. Getting a distress signal from his daughter Barry has sprung into action and headed to the island to save his beloved daughter. Here he meets an unusual girl by the name of Natalia who aids him on his quest.
Although both Claire and Barry feel like the main protagonists in the game, both Moira and Natalia are controllable characters. This is done either by switching between your duo or having a friend partake their role with either online or split screen co-op. Whilst co-op is not required to progress the game is far easier to play this way. Relying on an AI controlled companion is similar to giving your second controller to your cat, (or dog depending on which way you swing), with all none controlled characters either being quite useless or consistently in need of revival. It can lead to frustration, enough to the point of regretting buying the game. Whilst both Claire and Barry are your weapon wielding monster slayers, both Moira and Natalia have abilities that are more than handy. However each can be compared to Resident Evil 5‘s Sheva and playing co-op will lead to coin tossing or a round of paper, rock, scissors to see who gets the “true” character.
Graphically the game is hit and miss. Playing on the PS4 I found little improvement over Resident Evil Revelations on the Wii U, perhaps this was due to being developed for both generations of console but the end result is far from spectacular. The cut scenes are still high quality but this has been the case with Resident Evil as long as I can remember. Some of the character models look quite good but the environments and overall presentation is a letdown. The sounds were all of decent quality with weapons having a hefty punch and thankfully Barry is still overly gruff and continues to display the disjointed dialogue that feels like an ode to the original Resident Evil characters. For the most part the animation is quite fluid, however ai controlled characters and enemies will at times find themselves walking into walls and continuing to try to walk through it.
The use of two characters within each chapter gives the opportunity of some decent puzzle elements. Often puzzles will require one character engaging with elements whilst the other is required to defend position. Likewise in combat situations, especially against tougher enemy types, the duo is needed for success. Moira is equipped with a flash light that can blind enemies momentarily giving Claire the upper hand to dish out punishment, whilst Natalia has the ability to sense monsters, pointing out positions even through obstacles and also highlighting weak spots. Both are needed to be used in some situations to gain progression which is a strength but also a weakness of the game design. It works fantastically when being played with a co-op partner, relying on the AI however is extremely frustrating and I found myself switching between characters and continually reviving the other.
The main story is formed from eight chapters split evenly between Claire and Barry’s storyline. I was quite impressed that changes you make to the environment throughout Claire’s story will be evident in Barry’s and can also cause hindrance at times. Unfortunately as with most Resident Evil games the story isn’t exactly compelling and more so used as a vessel to introduce the stars of the game, the enemies. These are quite varied and the boss battles are really fun, requiring thought and patience to complete. Each chapter took me around forty five minutes, so expect the adventure to take around six hour to complete. This represents pretty good value for a $37.95 price tag, and there are also two extra chapters included with the full season. Better still Revelations 2 includes raid mode.
Raid mode is an RPG styled challenge mode in which you play through areas that contain different section to complete. These sections are passed by killing a certain amount of enemies to acquire a key that opens the next section. Once all are complete there is a reward given and you return to the modes hub, a room where customisations and level selection is able. There are plenty of past Resident Evil characters to use (if paid for as DLC) and many skills to unlock and upgrade. The enemies themselves show a health bar above their heads and each attack takes off hit points in resemblance to Borderlands. I found raid mode to be extremely addictive and as you progress, quite difficult. It too is able to be taken on in co-op which was extremely fun and the thirst to complete and unlock everything gets quite a strong grip on you.
Overall Resident Evil Revelations 2 was an enjoyable romp. Although the story is a little disappointing, the action is strong and Raid mode adds to a package that already shows quite good value for your dollars. It is best played with a human partner but is playable enough for solo adventurers to have a look at. Even if you have apprehensions Raid mode is well worth investment and it comes packaged in the first episode at the miserly price of $8.95. I don’t think zombie games will ever die out and as long as they show the value that is given here, I won’t be complaining.
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