It’s hard to be heard in the cacophony of zombie stuff. Standing out in such a saturated genre is a trick any day of the week, especially in the video game world. Capcom is a heavy hitter in this department; their cornerstone series Resident Evil rising from fledgling to a grandfather of video game horror. Hitting the undead scene in 1995 and taking off like a shot, the Resident Evil franchise has remained a constant and steady contributor to digital horror, dolling out quality games over the years.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is the latest in this prodigious line up. The series has branched in recent years, splitting into the main storyline and side adventures, and that’s where Revelations comes into play. Revelations launched on the Nintendo 3DS in early 2012 to great reviews from critics and fans alike, with an equally successful console port mid 2013. Presenting itself in unique TV episodic-type chapters, it fed the adventure to players in flavourful bite sized portions.
Revelations 2 has taken that to the next level. The campaign is being released in four separate episodes, with a complete collection on disc available same day as the last chapter. You’ll still be hall-crawling and zombie shooting, this time as series veterans Claire Redfield and Barry Burton. Both characters have been missing from recent rosters of the main games, though both appeared in the 3DS exclusive Mercenaries 3D.
In a wild throw back 2002’s Resident Evil Zero , the game features two playable characters at any given time that you switch between, leapfrogging through the environments. Claire is paired with Barry’s daughter, Moira, and Barry is saddled with young and mysterious Natalia. Claire and Barry act as fighters; they’ll be gun toting as your main course of action. Anyone that played Revelations will be familiar with the weapon swapping with the d-pad, and having healing items mapped to a button.
Moira and Natalia make themselves useful as item hunters, shining a flashlight and pointing, respectively, to find expendable items to aid you in your escape, essentially replacing the item scanner from the first Revelations. There’s also a lock picking mechanic that’s introduced that can only be done by these secondary characters, and it’s not fun. A circle appears, where your roll the cursor around, looking for a yellow glow. Once you find that, you have to find where in the yellow glow is the sweet spot to complete the unlock. It’s very specific and unforgiving, though thankfully there doesn’t appear to be a limit to the times you can try.
I would say the secondary characters are really what takes away from the game. So far, they’ve served as busy work, stopping the action so they can complete their minigames and find some use. At best, they’re four extra items slots to store things and at worst, they’re more of an obstacle of progression.
The environments are spooky and lonely, but so far not as claustrophobic as its predecessor. The soundtrack is quite creepy, oddly metallic and hollow sounding–a good fit for the dank, abandoned prison episode one takes place in. The customization from Revelations rolls over in the form of workbenches: you collect custom parts and illegal custom parts (via Moira and Natalia’s search function) to increase firepower, firing rate, reload speed and ammo capacity. Pleasantly, all upgrades are swappable, so if you find a better upgrade you have the option to change them out.
And that’s only the main game. The popular Raid Mode returns, allowing players to run a monster filled gauntlet, competing for most kills and fastest times. Featuring over two-hundred levels and boasting fifteen characters (though not all available at the start), this will easily be where you spend most of your time with Revelations 2. Weapons upgrades, costumes, and other unlockables are exclusive to each mode.
There has been some serious grief over a miscommunication regarding the status of the co-op modes. The console version features same-couch co-op for the main story, with online co-op coming to the Raid Mode at a later date. This information wasn’t so specific in the original specs of the PC version, and sharp backlash came down from the community from this oversight. Capcom has since apologized and updated the information, advising they hope to have a better solution available soon. Co-op options for PC, perhaps? Let’s hope so.
In spite of all that, it’s hard to cast too final a judgment on episode one, as it’s only episode one. If this is setting the pace for the other three episodes, however, I think we’re all in store for a tight, eerie ride.