REVIEW – Four characters from the Resident Evil universe – Claire Redfield among them – must face the hordes of undead once again in the next episode of the Revelations spin-off series. One of the main focus of the game is cooperative gameplay and for the first time in the history of the Resident Evil games, Revelations was released in episodic format.
Holy shit, it’s actually scary! That was my first impression once I began my adventure with the unfortunate Claire Redfield who is once again in deep trouble among hordes of hungry zombies alongside Moira Burton.
Our story so far
One of the interesting features of Resident Evil Revelations 2 was that it was released on episodic format on PC and big consoles, while on PS Vita you can
In the first section of the first episode the two of them tries to survive and get out from a strange and horrific prison-like building while hideously disfigured zombies and other monsters are trying to massacre them. In the second section of the game, we are leading Barry Burton, Moira’s father who is joined by a little girl, Natalia Korda.
Claire Redfield and Barry Burton returns as the main protagonists in the next episode of Resident Evil: Revelations 2. After a surprisingly good start, we wondered, whether Capcom can keep up the pace and deliver us another satisfying – albeit short – survivor horror adventure.
What’s perhaps the best about this game that it’s actually quite scary – unlike Resident Evil 6, or – at least for me – the HD remake of the original Resident Evil reviewed not long ago. While environments are a bit bland and not especially interesting, the monsters are generally well designed – at least in the dark – and they look truly horrific. They are also very aggressive, and quite unpredictable. The way the game builds up tension is also pretty excellent.
Survive this horror
Like in every survivor horror, ammo is scarce so you really have to make them count – especially on harder level. For a long period I couldn’t even find ammo for Barry Burton and I was actually out of ammo for both Claire and Barry at the end of the first episode for each of them.
Fortunately Revelations 2 is much more advanced regarding how your character can move and fight – compared to the previous episodes of any Resident Evil (I skipped the first Revelations). You can move while aiming (hello Resident Evil 4) you can jump away from monsters and you can also aim while crouched. Sometimes the messy camera gives you a hard time, but generally the gameplay is much smoother than in previous episodes.
You always learn something
Besides being smooth, there’s also a skill tree system with which you can upgrade gradually your skills thanks to your experience points. It’s nothing exceptional (and some skills are crap) but it makes the same old survivor horror gameplay a bit more interesting.
In a very similar fashion to The Last of Us, you can also upgrade your weapons on workbenches, which you can find across the game. It’s a bit funny that they actually look quite similar to the ones in The Last of Us. Like in Naughty Dog’s masterpiece you upgrade different functionalities of your weapons by using “upgrade parts” which you can also find throughout the game.
Not without my daughter
Besides those workbenches there are also some similarities between the story of The Last of Us and Revalations 2. I know pretty well, that Barry Burton is a long time hero of the Resident Evil series but the way looks and acts, and also his relation to Natalia, (a young girl who is not his daughter and who joins him while he goes after his own) is quite similar.
The story isn’t particularly interesting nor dramatic – it’s decent but basically it’s your standard conspiracy theory and zombie apocalypse narrative but the way it’s presented over two parallel campaign on the same place is quite interesting. The two sidekick girls are both sympathetic characters – even if Moira made me think of Ellie from The Last of Us.
Not without my co-op partner
However what’s vastly different from how the girls are in both games are the way they act and help you. While in The Last of Us Ellie only had very basic AI functions like passing ammo to you, or stabbing the enemy with knife in some cases, in Revelations 2 they are part of the asymmetric coop mode. It means that instead of just having the same capabilities (firing, stabbing at the enemy opening doors etc.) they are totally different. Moira can’t stand weapons so she won’t use them, but she will use the flashlight and find things with it Claire Redfield cannot see.
The strange little girl, Natalia has even more specific abilities. She can sense undead enemies from afar, across walls (a bit like Hitman in the latest Hitman game) and point to them. It would be an even neater skill if this would actually mark those for Barry (a la Mordor/Far Cry 4) but it can be still a useful skill. She can also crawl into small holes others cannot, and of course they are specific parts of the game where we cannot progress without that skill.
The two girls can be controlled via a coop partner in the game or by yourself, if you switch between the main character and the side-kick. It’s quite fun actually, both in single and co-op mode.
Although the Mercenaries style Raid mode will have online options patched in at a later date (couldn’t they just have waited until it was ready?) there are no plans to offer online co-op for the story mode. That’s another odd choice in today’s climate, but we can certainly imagine that much of the entertainment value would be lost if you didn’t have your partner in the same room with you.
The ugly truth behind the conspiracy
Unfortunately as entertaining and scary is the game, I was a bit less enthusiastic about how it looks. The graphics are a bit last gen. Monsters and human characters look better, although some zombies are a bit boring and Barry Burton could give up on some low res textures.
I understand that the team had a lower budget, but when you take a look at Dying Light graphics wise and you compare it to Revelations 2, you do wonder, why this game of such famed franchise looks so much poorer then Techland’s Dying Light?
A rollercoaster quality-wise
Besides the last gen graphics I had some good, zombie slaying fun with the first episode of Resident Evil: Revelations 2. The game is nothing ground breaking gameplay-wise or dramatic story-wise but it’s still a solid gaming experience. I am not sure however where this episodic direction is going whether if this was a good idea to release the game in such a way but for a first episode it certainly well worth the $5 fee.
However the game was a bit of a rollercoaster quality-wise. Disappointment was my first impression, once I started to play Contemplations. The prison milieu is gone and so was the suspenseful and horrific ambiance with it. The coastal village, which was the next main location lacked any kind of clever design, which successfully installed fear and suspense in the first episode.
Also the shortcomings of the graphical engine are more apparent in daylight, than in the dark “penal colony” of the first episode. It’s like an older woman who you find sexy in the evening and who you try to pick up in a poorly lit, dark pub, and when you both had sex during the night, you find out the next morning at daylight, that… well… she’s not quite young anymore. I had the same feeling with the next episode of Revelations 2, which seemed quite “dated” – in both sense of the term, lol.
Low resolution, bland textures, drab sea water graphics, which reminds you 2005, some badly designed human characters and other disappointing graphical properties, which were not apparent in the first episode.
Later episodes fare a bit better graphics wise – essentially because we are back in locations inside demolished, scary buildings and the developers are visibly more familiar with those, than with outdoor locations. In any case this game won’t win the award of outstanding graphics, that’s for sure. Still, it looks nicer on the PS Vita, thanks to the smaller screen.
The story was also sometimes a bit corny, after the pretty good start of the first episode, which was an excellent introduction to the whole story. Some side characters are especially lame, especially during the cheesy dialogs. The female main baddie, called the “overseer” who speaks to our team is also starting to sound like a broken record, repeating the same kind cheesy lines over and over.
Residents on the go
The novelty of leading four characters also wore off since we have the same characters in the second episode as well. Yeah, I know, it’s a bit different compared to the Telltale games, but after having so much colourful characters in Game of Thrones in only two episodes, Claire, Barry, Moira and Natalia starts to become a bit boring – especially since there weren’t that interesting the first time around. Moira feels again like Ellie from the Last of Us and Natalia is like any “strange little girl” taken from one of the Silent Hill games.
If you have no other way to play Resident Evil Revelations 2, or you’d just like a Resi game you can travel with, I heartily recommend you pick this up. Definitely be wary if you are a newcomer to the series though, or you may be a tad disappointed.
+ Most of the game is quite scary
+ Production values are rather good on the Vita
+ Co-op mode is still fun
– Rollercoaster quality-wise
– Some levels lacks suspense
– Story, characters, gameplay issues
Genres: action, adventure, survivor horror
Publication: 4 Mars 2015