Thursday, 30 April 2015

Resident Evil: Revelations 2

After a seemingly endless amount of lackluster releases in the Resident Evil franchise, Capcom have turned a corner in this highly enjoyable episodic horror-fest. Whilst not quite reaching the heights set by the most popular games in the series, a large amount of effort has been made to give fans of the series what they want from a Resident Evil game, whilst also crafting an almost self contained story that will not alienate any newcomers to the franchise.

Out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC comes Resident Evil: Revelations 2. In a series first, Capcom have turned to delivering an ongoing plot, continuing over 4 episodes, with each one building in tension until the very end. The story follows two separate timelines each with its own pair of characters, starting with the familiar Claire Redfield and newcomer Moira Burton.  It doesn’t take long for the pair to discover things aren’t quite right. After being captured, they are pitted against an evil ‘overseer’, whose motives become clearer as the game unfolds. Resident Evil has never set the world alight with its plot nor its character dialogue; in fact for the most part it has always been pretty dreadful. It came as quite a pleasant surprise to find that the story told in Revelations was not at all convoluted, as it was in Resident Evil 6, nor the dialogue quite as cringworthy as in every other Resident Evil game. Characters seems a lot more self realized in this installment and even poke fun of some of the terrible one lines we once heard in previous installments. This is elevated by the gameplay, which is no longer like the Resident Evil of old. The scares are less, if existent at all, but to its credit, this is clearly not what Capcom were going for in this game. Alien isolation and The Evil Within will test your courage in different ways while Revelations 2 seems content in offering a faster paced more action orientated game while throwing in the occasional jump scare to tease the player. 

In the second timeline we see the return of Barry Burton who is joined by mysterious newcomer Natalia, a little girl who is already on the Island when Barry first arrives. It is possible to swap between each character of the pairings whenever you choose and while Natalia and Moira cannot fire any weapons, both carry their own useful abilities that serve more than just moving the story forward. For example, Natalia is able to sense enemies at a distance and through walls, making it easier to plan your approach accordingly. She is also able to spot hidden objects that Barry is unable to see. Likewise, loud mouth Moira carries a torch with her that can be used to blind enemies, giving Claire more opportunity to pick off foe without becoming overwhelmed. It is these mechanics that Capcom have clearly thought about, and while they don’t work to the degree I was hoping, for the large part it all comes together pretty well and certainly excels in some of the large set pieces that were clearly created to show these advancements in gameplay.  Likewise a lot of thought has been given to the leveling up system in the game and heightens the need to explore every corner and dark corridors. This further emphasizes the use of the secondary characters in the game that are able to see these items, while Claire and Barry take care of the monsters that plague the island.

This brings us on to the actual locations of the game itself. This is an area where I, personally would expect Capcom to have excelled, given the unique island premise.  Aside from a few locations mainly towards the end of the game, too much of your time is spent wondering around areas we’ve all seen before. Sewers and derelict building are plentiful and would almost be plausible had more effort actually been put into distinguishing these areas from one another, but unfortunately we’re treated to one grey and brown area after another.  The game lacks a gleam and crispness that you would expect with the newest generation of consoles, and while the game is also available on both the PS3 and Xbox 360, I cant help feel like the game would have been better suited to perhaps the PS Vita the 3DS.  Regrettably not much can be said about the enemies that you face, who are as unimaginative as the areas they are placed in.  This is slightly rectified by end of level bosses, but none of them are particularly memorable or stand out from other iconic bosses faced in other Resident Evil games.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is an enjoyable game and flourishes in its co-op mechanics and its arcade gameplay. It keeps the player motivated to see through to the end of its plain but satisfying story. It’s a shame then that the levels and enemies simply do not match these areas, as too much time is spent in boring and bland locations that you often have to repeat when the timeline switches between the two groups. Had Capcom spent a bit more time in developing the locations visited, we may have had a truly memorable Resident Evil game, something fans have been waiting a long time for.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 gets a passable 3/5.


Gareth Thompson

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 at CeX

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