Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – PS3
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: March 18, 2015
Genre: Survival Horror
Nerd Rating: 6/10
Reviewed by Steroid Gamer
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is a sequel to the first Revelations, although not directly in terms of the story plotline, and is the 10th canon game in the long running franchise. This time players take control of a pair of characters in two alternating stories-lines. Each pair has a Resident Evil veteran and a newbie. Claire Redfield and Moira Burton are the first pair, with other Resident Evil veteran Barry Burton (Moira’s father) and a little girl named Natalia being the other pair.
Authors Note: This was the first Resident Evil game to be released in an episodic format. It’s worth noting that I waited for the game’s retail launch and played the game in a couple of sittings. I also had access to two extra episodes, “Little Miss” and “The Struggle,” as well as some more Raid Mode goodies, most notably two characters Hunk and Albert Wesker. All of this content is being put into consideration for this review.
The most interesting aspect of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is the swapping stories each being occupied by two playable characters. The game starts off with Claire Redfield and Moira being abducted and awakening in a dingy, bloody rusted prison. The duo quickly discovers that they are trapped on an island and even though they have no idea why, it’s obvious these two ladies need to get off the monster infested land. There are four chapters in Revelations 2 and all of them are split into two parts. The first is with Claire and Moira and the second is with Barry and Natalia. Naturally, when you’re an ex-special forces agent, or more specifically S.T.A.R.S., to go searching for your missing daughter would be your first thought. So, players find themselves as Barry when he first arrives to the island six months after Claire and Moira, and immediately stumbles upon a young girl named Natalia. Natalia makes the wise decision to travel along with Barry while he looks for his daughter.
The co-op in Revelations 2 is a very strange beast. To begin with you don’t have to play the game with anyone else, and if you choose to play solo, you will not be responsible for your co-op partner’s health or survival….which is a good thing. In fact, much like Resident Evil 0, players taking on the campaign solo have the ability to swap between both characters throughout the game, which turns out to be very useful. Claire is the only one who can equip guns so she does all the shooting, while Moira can only melee enemies with a crowbar or shine her flashlight in their eyes, stunning them briefly. The A.I. turns out to be pretty competent, starting out acting passively and following your lead. So if, you stun an enemy as Moira the A.I. Claire will then follow up with a powerful melee attack. If you find yourself buddy-less then don’t worry because you’re A.I. controlled partners are more than capable of helping you out.
Barry’s portion of the game works in a similar manner. Barry is the only one who can fight enemies in anyway whatsoever. Natalia cannot take part in any sort of combat, but she can see enemies through walls, floors, ceilings, etc. She is also an inaudible child to monster ears, allowing her to sneak around foes at an arm’s length without them detecting her. Swapping between the two provides a tremendous amount of use, especially when it comes to “invisible” enemies. Yes, there is one specific enemy type in Revelations 2 that only Natalia can see, so you’d better get good a swapping back and forth between the pair.
The insane thing about the co-op is how it has the exact opposite effect it should have. It’s great while playing in single player because it always allows you to control the “best” or most useful character in any given situation. The problem is when the game is actually played in its intended mode (after playing the story in co-op and solo, I’m thinking maybe Capcom’s intention wasn’t for a two player adventure?) one player finds themselves completely helpless and missing out on most of the action. Watching Claire shoot down all the zombies while Moira can only stun them or run-away to avoid damage isn’t any fun for the player controlling Moira. Same goes for Natalia but to an even worse effect. If you get stuck playing as Natalia you’re forced to just run around and “point” enemies out to your teammate. In most cases they’ll probably see the monster coming in the first place and won’t even need your help. Add in the fact that on harder difficulties if Barry or Claire are getting overwhelmed by a massive hoard of virus infected citizens you’re helpless to do anything significant to get them out of the jam. Add to that co-op is split-screen only and you’re left wondering why they hell Capcom even made co-op an option to begin with.
The story is just alright but for a series that’s never been known for its writing some might find the story here to be pretty good. There’s a lot of easter eggs and references to old games that series veterans will appreciate. There are three gems that come from the story, one is the game’s villain (which I won’t say another word about as it would only spoil the fun) Moira Burton, and the relationship between each pair. Barry and Natalia balance each other out well, and the two of them share some touching moments as Natalia serves as a way for Barry to make-up for past mistakes. At first, Moira can seem very harsh and borderline dumb with some of her dialogue lines. Never before have a played a game in which the main character taunts a dead enemy telling them to go pleasure themselves with a sexual device. Yep, she says some really awful crap. However, if you can look past the obscenities you’ll find a deeper more realistic character than, perhaps, the series has ever seen. I realize that may seem like a bold statement to say about a new character like Moira, but there really is more too her words than she spits out. You just have to pay attention and dig deep enough.
The gameplay in Revelations 2 is just alright. There are hardly any puzzles, you face the same foes over and over and the controls are a bit clunky. For whatever reason Capcom still likes to “attach” a player’s arm and torso movements to the on-screen reticule, instead of having a more free roaming reticule like most third person shooters. I would understand if this helped increase the feelings of survival but all they do is frustrate you because it feels like you can’t line up your shot as precise as the game is asking you to. It’s also very linear. Yes, areas are open in their nature with multiple layers to climb and navigate, but the game is still a “point A to point B” style of game. While, you face WAY too many of the same enemies throughout your adventure the few boss fights are extremely intense and fun. One has you cramped and on the run in a rundown house, while another is faced against a larger foe, in a more open setting, but has nods to an earlier boss in the Resident Evil franchise. These bosses aren’t bullet sponges either they need to be defeated a certain way and are somewhat of a puzzle in that nature.
This game was defined by Capcom as a “budget” title. Meaning less money was spent on it during the game’s development. I have no problem with this notion and the fact that the game does look very dated from a graphics perspective doesn’t bother me. In certain cutscenes Barry’s hair looks like two shades of fudge pudding and nothing close to human hair. While, the graphics aren’t very impressive it’s the artistic design that is so bland it puts a damper on the game. Aside from one or two areas, one being a late-game treat, everything is colored with browns, reds, dark greys, and other “rusty” looking environments. It all just feels very uninspiring compared to other locations the series has seen, and on top of that you’ll be revisiting many of the same locations that Moira and Claire did when you play as Barry and Natalia. Revisiting areas is nothing new to the franchise, but the way it’s done here just encourage repetition and lackluster encounters. It’s not until the later chapters that Barry get’s to explore new areas unique to his story and this is exactly when the game gets good. It would’ve served Revelations 2 better had there been more variety in the locations.
Raid Mode is back and is much bigger in scope than in the first Revelations. There is a lot more customization this time around with a variety of weapons and mods, as well as skills and even taunts for your character. Unlike the campaign, Raid Mode supports online co-op so you can tackle these battle arenas with a pal if you so choose. Personally, I prefer Raid Mode from the first Revelations to this one. Raid Mode is less of a “ramped up” campaign mode (like the first Revelations) and is more of an open “arena” you can traverse defeating enemies. It’s like Mercenaries Mode from previous games combined with Revelations’ Raid Mode.
Extra episodes “Little Miss” and “The Struggle” share similar qualities. They both provide unique perspectives on the game’s main story and actually showed a ton of potential in the story department. I won’t say much more in order to avoid spoilers. Sadly, the gameplay in both of these modes is utterly awful and anything but fun. “Little Miss” is nothing more than one long, boring and far too easy stealth encounter. While “The Struggle” finds you hunting animals to use as continues (this mode has no saving) and is a pathetic attempt at an arcade mode.
Revelations 2 is by far not the worst game the franchise has seen, but it also doesn’t even come close to the best the series has offered. The environments are boring and you face the same enemy types too frequently. For a game that allows co-op it actually plays significantly worse in two player mode, while it excels as a single player adventure. There are some cool moments and some cheesy ones in the story and the gameplay doesn’t add anything new or interesting to the series. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is not a bad game by any means, but it’s not a good one either. Revelations 2 is just mediocre. If you’re a veteran fan of the franchise, for the price, there’s enough here to warrant a playthrough; however, if you’re a newcomer you’d be better of seeking one of the older game’s in the franchise.
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