The sequel to the once Nintendo 3DS exclusive is here with Resident Evil Revelations 2, spanned over four episodes (plus to bonus with the complete season and retail version) each episode of Revelations 2 follows the events of two pairings, split into two segments. You will begin the campaign in control of series veteran Claire Redfield and her side-kick, who is the daughter of Resi legend Barry Burton; Moira. After unceremoniously being kidnapped from a luxurious TerraSave party, Claire and Moira find themselves awakening in a seemingly abandoned, dark and dingy detection facility.
It soon becomes apparent for both Claire and Moira, that they are most certainly not alone. Not only are they accompanied by some (not so scary) mutants, but to make matters worse the duo find colour coded bracelets that will reflect the individuals level of fear for the individual wearing them. So in a nutshell, if that wristband goes red, it might not end well for the unfortunate individual. However, to top it all off, it seems that Claire and Moira are being very closely and sinisterly monitored by a female that refers to herself as “The Overseer”.
The second part of the campaign see’s you in control fellow series veteran, the main man himself, the one and only, Mr Barry Burton and he is on a mission to save his daughter, but upon arriving at the island he is unexpectedly teamed up with little girl that clearly knows more than she’s letting on, going by the name of Natalia. During Claire’s campaign, Moira makes it obvious that she has some daddy issues, for reasons unknown. Despite this, Barry is a father and like any good parent, they will move heaven and earth to ensure the safety of their children. This spurs Barry on to discover the location of his daughter Moira and rescue her from harm’s way. I won’t reveal any further plot details related to each of the episodes, so you can read on knowing that this review will be spoiler free.
Resident Evil fans of old will easily pick up and play this with much ease, in fact so would just about any half decent gamer. It follows the similar gameplay structure since Resi 4 with the third-person over the shoulder viewpoint. One trend that has also followed in recent Resi titles is the co-op partner. While I am not a fan of a second character being with you in a Resident Evil game, thankfully gone have the days of the sniper-scope-sight hogger, otherwise known as Sheva causing irritation. Though unlike Resident Evil 5 & 6, you cannot play with an online co-op partner, the only way this is possible is by good old local co-op. Some gamers may appreciate the partner being by your side, but for me, games like Resident Evil, Dead Space and Silent Hill should be an isolated experience to increase the horror tension.
The roles that Moira and Natalia have are currently very minimal, in comparison to Barry or Claire. Though, both Moira and Natalia have the ability to locate ammo and herbs that neither Claire nor Barry will be able to see, nor will they both will also be able to open crates that contain BP (which stands for Bonus Points I believe), which you can spend on upgrades & abilities, and can both carry and pass ammo and so forth. However they do have their own special abilities that the other does not possess. For example, not only can Moira’s torch be used to locate items of interest, but she can also blind some enemies with her flashlight, which gives Claire an added second to plant a bullet inbetween their eyes or Moira can crack them over the head with her crowbar. Natalia has the ability to see enemy’s shadows through walls, can trace footsteps to key locations, fit through small gaps and can get quite aggressive when equipped with a brick.
While neither Moira nor Natalia are nowhere near as annoying as Sheva, they do both have their own annoyances. For example, when you are trying to make a quick getaway in an attempt to preserve ammo, they at times have the habit of getting caught up in the chaos and don’t seem to have much of an ability to fight themselves out of a struggle. There was also a time when Natalia got caught going to and from a vent, which caused a lot of frustration as I was trying to finish episode one in the my fastest time possible during the Countdown mode, as a result I restarted the game from the beginning.
In general the combat itself from the controlling player’s works absolutely fine and it would be picky of me to find a fault with how Claire and Barry handle, so in that respect Capcom has done a fine job. Resident Evil Revelations 2 may not be a return to form with its horror aspect, as there’s very little about the game (other than a couple of jump scares) that’s actually scary. This of course is very disappointing and I know I’m not alone in saying this. I’ve been scared witless in recent months by playing games such as Outlast, Alien: Isolation and even the Silent Hills demo (P.T). They all reminded me of how downright terrifying games can be, I don’t expect the Resident Evil series to be as scary as the aforementioned games, but I expect it to be not far behind and as a devoted fan of Resident Evil and the survival horror genre in general, it pains me to see the series losing its scare factor.
If anything, the one element that does provide horror-like tension is the scarce ammo in Revelations 2. You won’t find it much of a problem on Easy, but going up from Normal, if you gun everything in sight, you will find yourself running low on ammo towards the end of the episode during key battles. This brings the good old Resi strategy into play, knowing when to use your bullets and knowing when or where you can make a run for it to save some precious ammo. This at least still remains in this game, something that was totally lost in the gung-ho Resi 5 & 6. Though unfortunately, the sequel to Revelations has lost much of its claustrophobic set-pieces that were apparent in the first game.
Like in the original game, you can also upgrade your weapons with custom parts. Though unlike having to upgrade at located crates, there’s now the subtle implementation of a good old Dead Rising-esque workbench. As with the first game you can equip these custom parts to give your weapon some added firepower, increased bullets, precision and so forth. Custom parts can also be used in the ever addictive Raid mode (more on that later). During the various campaign modes that Revelations 2 possess, you will earn BP. As I’ve mentioned Moira and Natalia can find BP in crates, you will also earn them by finishing the episode with a good accuracy, speed time, retries and generally by killing enemies. At the end of each episode you will be given a grade, the better the grade, the greater BP you will be awarded with your scores and times being uploaded to the online leaderboards.
Visually, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is by far not the best looking game on the new gen systems. I know graphics are not everything, but they are (in my opinion) a contributing factor in almost any games immersiveness. Capcom will say that the reason for this is because it’s a budget title and it is most certain that (and offers great value for money too). But especially since the launch of the new gen systems, I’ve seen a lot of stunning indie games and I’m sure all have a far more restricted budget then Revelations 2. Though in the games defence, it does offer a lot of bang for your buck.
One of my favourite aspects of Revelations 2 is its soundtrack. For a game that is lacking any genuine scares right now, the soundtrack provides even more purpose in adding to the games atmosphere and moments of tension. The soundtrack itself is composed by three individuals; Kohta Suzuki, Ichiro Komoto and Nima Fakhrara, and they have all done a superb job in creating that much needed Resident Evil ambience. You should also be pleased to know that Ed Smaron has reprised his role as Barry Burton and so too has Alyson Court as Claire Redfield. It’s also worth nothing that the two key supporting roles also do a fine job at portraying their characters; Moira Burton (Hope Levy) and Natalia Korda (Michelle Ruff). While the voice acting won’t go winning any awards, the job is done well enough to help progress the story and make you feel invested in the games characters, all with that legendary Resi cheesy charm.
An area in which Revelations 2 shines, is with is shear amount of replay value. On average it probably took me around 60-90 minutes to beat each characters chapter (two chapters for each episode), other than one during episode four. That alone is not bad for the mere £4.99 that each episode costs at an individual purchase. So for the cost of the complete season, you get around 8-10 hours for your first playthrough, which isn’t that bad for the price, especially when considering a recent AAA might not give you half that playtime for potentially triple the cost. And that’s just Revelations 2’s main complain and not even the added extras. Though, once you know your way around each chapter and you get that speed run bug, you could easily complete each chapter in around 10-15 minutes. Now don’t let those alarm bells ring, because it won’t take you nowhere near that long to finish on your first playthrough. Also Capcom even encourage you to finish the each chapter in your fastest times possible with the multiple modes that you will unlock as you progress into the game.
For example, you have your normal campaign, which still had me wanting to speed run it just to see what my end of chapter grade will be. Then you’ll be able to unlock the Countdown mode, which is kind of like the Mercenaries mode that we’ve seen in previous Resident Evil games. Only in Countdown it’s all about the speed run and hitting the egg timers and killing enemies to stop the clock from running out and unlike the Mercs mode, you won’t be playing on a dedicated map, as it will be the entire chapter (with cutscenes) that you’ll be playing through. The other campaign mode that will eventually be unlocked is the Invisible mode. As you have guessed, the enemies here are invisible, though they do reveal themselves for the first second or two of the encounter. This particular mode is the most challenging and will test your patience from time to time, but it sure as hell is a lot of fun. You will get the Countdown and Invisible mode for each episode and each its respected chapters.
Also, if you pick up the retail version of the game or the season pass, you will be gifted with two additional episodes. One episode is called The Struggle, which will focus on Moira’s events after the Claire campaign, while Little Miss will tell the tale of Natalia’s shenanigans inbetween Claire’s campaign, before she meets up with Barry. I won’t go into any plot details for each of these episodes, but what I will say is that Moira’s episode is almost like a survival mode where she must also hunt and kill animals, which will then contribute towards giving you continue should you die. While Natalia’s episode is stealth based with no direct combat.
The third and final mode is Raid. If you’ve played the first Revelations then you will know what this fun and addictive mode is all about. In Revelation 2’s Raid mode you can choose from Claire, Barry, Moira and Gina, with Wesker and Hunk as the two downloadable characters (more characters are unlocked with each episode). Once the update goes live at the end of March 2015, you will then be able to play Raid via online co-op, as well as offline of course. You will then choose your map (more will unlock as you complete each) and try to defeat all the enemies as fast as you can and some maps will even require you to defend a target from the enemy. As you finish each map, you will be rewarded points that you’ll be able to spend on upgrading each characters skills and abilities. Each character will level up individually, so try not to neglect anyone too much, even Gina. Much like the campaign, you will be able to upgrade weapons with custom kits. The best way to do this is to find the treasure chests located within each map, which will grant you these custom kits, as well as new weapons. Also, just like the campaign, your best times and scores in Raid will be uploaded to the online leaderboards, which adds that extra competitive edge.
In total you will get more than a whopping 200 maps in Raid, all with your main missions and the daily missions. The daily missions will be much like its main counterpart, only each will have set stipulations and of course each will only be available for 24 hours, until the new challenge arrives. By defeating the daily missions, not only earn BP and SP to upgrade your skills and abilities, but you will also earn life Crystals. The aim of the game in Raid (other than the high score); will be to stay alive for as long as possible, when you die, its game over. Unless you have a Life Crystal, which is effectively acts as a continue, similar to what you would find in good old arcade machines. You can also purchase Life Crystals as an in-game microtransaction. For just cause in most cases, microtransactions come under much scrutiny, but in Revelations 2, you are not forced upon to buy them, it’s all your choice either way. But for me, I have no intentions of using the Life Crystals (though I do take on the daily missions), because I want no safety net when playing Raid, to add more emphasis in staying alive for as long as possible.
Overall, my impressions of Resident Evil Revelations 2 are positive, just going by the fact of how incredibly addicted I am to its various campaign modes and of course with Raid. But in saying that, you might not be too please if you get the poor ending, so if you can get the good ending and admire the cliché, Resi cheesiness! (If you do an internet search, you should easily find how you go about in getting the good ending). Although it does sadden to say that the game does not scare me (thankfully I have the awesome Resident Evil HD Remaster for that). But for £19.99 for the complete digital season, you get so much value for your money, even with the £29.99 retail version (cheaper if you shop around on the internet). Above all else, the game is a lot of fun and with the game being set between 5 & 6, not to mention that we get to play as Barry Burton, Revelations 2 ads to the ever evolving lure of the series.
My expectations for the game were relatively moderate prior to playing, yet I found myself enjoying the game far more then I had expected. Revelations 2 still may not be quite as scary as I would have liked (though it does have far more creepy moments then Resi 5 & 6 combined), it provides some tension when its needed, starves you from endless ammo (for your initial playthrough at least), retains its cheesy charm and has a story that should keep you gripped from start to finish. This game is a more then worthy entry into the long running series and I couldn’t recommend it enough to loyal devotees and survival horror fans alike. In fact, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is not only a worthy entry into the series; it’s a worthy entry into the revving survival horror genre.
+Great value at £4.99 per episode & for the season pass
+Multiple modes encourage multiple playthrough’s of campaign
+Story kept me gripped throughout
+Loads of unlockable goodies and upgrades to acquire
+Raid mode is expanded on the 1st Revelations and is addictive as ever
-New gen version doesn’t look new gen
-Despite having some moments of tension, it’s still not as scary as hoped
-Seems odd not to have online campaign co-op, only local co-op