I played Resident Evil: Revelations 2 entirely on PS4. This review is based on that version alone. Others may differ.
Resident Evil has always been a series close to my heart. Ever since the days of the blocky pixel zombies and the ‘I hope this is not Chris’ blood’ voice acting, I have laughed, cried, cried some more and tore my hair out in frustration at the series. Resident Evil 4 is one of the greatest games of all time in a lot of peoples’ opinion, but it also marks the first look into the downfall of the series. With the rightful success of Resi 4, Capcom started to take the series in a more action oriented direction leading to the mediocre Resi 5 and abominable Resi 6. At this point, I don’t even want a Resident Evil 7. And after playing Revelations 2 (a ‘sequel’ to the 3DS then everything else Revelations) my opinion has only changed slightly for the better.
I want to preface this by saying that I didn’t play Revelations 1, but through watching friends play it,, I have seen pretty much all of it, even if not going hands-on myself. Revelations 2 is a sequel, but not really at all in any way a sequel. You don’t have to have played Revelations, no real story threads are continued, to the point that I don’t know why they just didn’t call it something else. I mean, did Revelations 1 sell that well? What’s even more ridiculous is that Revelations 2 is episodic. So you get Revelations 2 Episode 1 etc.
Revelations 2 follows Claire Redfield and Moira Burton initially as they get kidnapped by a mysterious organisation and trapped on an island where a woman called The Overseer makes them fight for survival. The action also shifts to six months later where Barry Burton comes to the island to rescue his daughter and finds a mysterious girl called Natalia alone and scared. So there’s 4 episodes and they’re both split into Claire/Moira and Barry/Natalia sections.
I loved the episodic structure and the fact that Capcom had all the episodes ready and released them weekly was great. It really felt like I was getting a month’s worth of content. I enjoyed being able to come home on a Wednesday after uni and having the next instalment cued up and ready to go. However, the two story structure to the episode wasn’t fantastic. The narrative didn’t really feel like it was about anything. Playing a single episode made the story feel like a slow burn. Like it was maybe an American drama with 24 episodes. But there were only 4. And looking back on the whole game, hardly anything happens really. The only real saving grace is the cliffhangers are pretty good, and are enough to keep you going (for a long running fan of the series, episode 2s cliffhanger in particular is a gamechanger)
It is a shame, because the gameplay feels like it has captured some of the old magic. Solo you freely swap between the two characters you are currently playing. One character is offensive (guns) and one is purely defensive (flashlight to stun/scout enemies). In co-op, the game is great at providing enough for each player to do, so the character playing as Moira or Natalia doesn’t feel like they’re getting the raw deal (although, in essence, they are). I only played one episode in co-op with a friend but everything worked great. And alone, the AI was perfect in doing what I wanted it to do. There was only one moment where I had to get one character to stand by a door and another to pull the lever that I had a problem. The door and lever were quite far away from each other and I could not get the AI character to stop following me and wait by the door. Thus I kind of had to shimmy each character and keep swapping between them to make sure they stayed. It was kinda dumb but not game breaking.
The game has that dumb Resident Evil tone, and everything is utterly ridiculous. The mere inclusion of Barry Burton seems to be a callback, but it leads to some funny dialogue at least. There are also a lot of references to Resi 1, particularly the dumb dialogue (which having just played Resident Evil Remake HD Remaster Remake hit home pretty well).
In the package, you also get a Raid mode, which feels like the natural successor to Resident Evil 4’s Mercenaries mode. Waves of enemies come at you in an arena level and you have to fill specific criteria to gain medals. Raid Mode lets you level up characters and includes a loot system, for better weapons and mods. I did not expect to get sucked into it as much as I did, but it was actually great, with new levels getting added every week. Although I think I’ve probably had my time with it, you could conceivably play it for a long time.
Revelations 2 was ultimately enjoyable. The gameplay was solid, the narrative provided enough hooks to keep me coming back and the price was great. Really £20 for this much content seems remarkable in this day and age, with full price games like The Order and Destiny being laughably light on content. If you got the season pass (I don’t know if you can get these any other way but its possible) you got two extra episodes featuring Moira and Natalia respectively. I have played a little of both at this time, and they’re fine additions but by no means essential to the experience.
The ending to Revelations 2 actually seems quite pivotal to the rest of the series and I’ll at least be interested to see where the narrative goes next. Resident Evil 7 is still a troubling thought however, but at least Revelations 2 seems like a small step in the right direction. The low moments are few, but the high moments are not particularly high either. A fan of the series will come away feeling satisfied if little else, but in a time when games usually fail to deliver, this was a pleasant surprise.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 gets