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Resident Evil Revelations 2 Review


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On 06/02/2015 at 12:00 PM by Jon Lewis

Barry’s back! Tell a friend!
RECOMMENDATION:

For fans of Resident Evil.

I think that Capcom is on to something with the Revelations spin-off series for Resident Evil. I enjoyed the first game a lot because of how it blended the feel of the traditional, horror based Resident Evil games with the action packed nature of the more recent games. After being disappointed by Resident Evil 6, I was down on the series but I still couldn’t help but be excited when I heard that a sequel to Revelations was in the works. And to my delight, Revelations 2 delivers. 

The Revelations series takes characters from the well-established Resident Evil series and places them in side stories that, though they have little effect on the established canon, are nice additions to the lore. Revelations 2 tells a story that follows two pairs of characters as they try to uncover mysteries regarding Terrasave, an organization started in the wake of the events of Revelations 1. 

The first pairing consists of series veteran Claire Redfield along with newcomer Moira Burton. Fan favorite Barry Burton (Moira’s father) stars in the second pairing along with a mysterious orphan girl named Natalia. After Claire and Moira are kidnapped at a company party and taken to a mysterious island full of tortured and mutated beings, they try to make it out alive. After picking up a distress signal, Barry sets out to save his daughter. 

Resident Evil’s story has always been delightfully campy, and this game is no exception. Claire is a much more mature and confident character than she was in the past, and Barry is a clear contender for badass of the year. Moira may rub people the wrong way with her frequent swearing and attitude, but her character arc is satisfying as you learn about her troubled relationship with Barry and her reluctance to use armed weapons. The mystery of Natalia opened up the doors for some great twists and an ending that has me excited for more. 

Coming off the heels of other episodic games like Telltale’s Walking Dead, Revelations 2 embraces that unique model and does it better. Those who purchase the game now have access to all the episodes at once, though I believe it’s best enjoyed in order. This structure allows for concise story arcs in each episode. Each episode is self-contained, and has a beginning, middle, and end, which allow both Claire and Barry’s stories to lead to interesting cliff-hangers.  As a result, the regular story hooks kept me engaged. In every episode I was dying to play the next one to see what happened next. 

My favorite thing about Revelations 2 is simply how much fun it was to play. The balance of faster, modern shooting with the conventions of Resident Evil somehow accomplishes what Resident Evil 6 failed.  Gone are the days of stop-and-pop shooting, yet it still feels much closer to Resident Evil 4 and 5 instead of 6. Revelations 1’s dodge mechanic returns, but this time it’s mapped to a button press. The dodge mechanic lacks the invincibility that it once had, but it’s an effective tool if used correctly. Plus, with the help of the skill tree, you can enhance the dodge to make it more effective at getting you out of a tough spot.   

Yes, this game does in fact have a skill tree, a first for the series. By using BP (Battle Points) that you accumulate by finding items or simply completing the chapter, you can purchase upgrades for your characters that enhance their abilities. These include small things like speeding up heal time, or increased gun damage while crouching. There are also much more crucial upgrades like being able to increase the window of invulnerability for your dodge that can be earned after a certain amount of playtime. 

One more unique mechanic for Revelations 2 comes with the character pairings. While Claire and Barry do most of the traditional gun toting action, Moira and Natalia have more passive yet still important roles. Players have the ability to switch on the fly between characters in order to get through the story. Moira carries a crowbar that can be used to unlock doors and a flashlight that can be used to find hidden markings and items, and stun enemies. She can also finish off enemies with the crowbar if used properly. Natalia has a special ability that lets her see enemies through walls. Due to her size she can crawl into areas that Barry simply can’t. Using both characters and utilizing their strengths was a ton of fun and created a lot of interesting gameplay scenarios. 

I really appreciated how, while Revelations 2 obviously boasts of plenty of combat opportunities, it also wasn’t afraid to put puzzles back into the mix. Many of the puzzles reminded me of the earlier games in the series. One in particular involved an item that, when removed, would start a trap. The only way to get past it was to find a replica of the item and replace it with the real one to avoid being killed by it. I feel they broke up the action in an interesting way and were a nice way of making up for my concern that the series was headed away from its action packed direction. In later episodes, the puzzles did drag out a bit, but I still welcomed them more than anything. 

I must add that playing the game via split-screen co-op with my brother added to the fun of this experience. Unfortunately, it isn’t optimized. For example, rather than the game talking up the full half of the top and bottom screens, you are left with a little blank space which makes split-screen an unfavorable option when not playing on a big screen television. While I’ll never get why they don’t take advantage of the full top and bottom halves of the screen (like Borderlands does), it still was a lot of fun running through the level and playing alongside someone during couch co-op. 

For me, Revelations 2 got it right. The episodic structure made for some really cool narrative hooks. The characters had interesting arcs. The action was fun and fast. It harkened back to a lot of things that were missing from the series, like puzzles and item management. It ran at a smooth 60 frames per second for the majority of my playtime. While some may criticize the dull environments, they didn’t really have an impact on my experience, as the gameplay around them was still satisfying. And most importantly, I felt that the game was creepy and at times scary. While you won’t be paralyzed in fear, you may get caught off guard by a jump scare or two, which I always appreciate in games like these. 

I mentioned that the game is episodic; for a perspective on its overall length, consider that each episode lasts anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. With 4 episodes, and 2 bonus episodes for those who got the season pass, that’s an 8-12 hour experience that’s easy to digest and extremely affordable. For a $24.99 digital download, you can’t go wrong for that value. Not to mention the arcade side content in Raid Mode, which is extremely fun on its own. With online co-op and tons to unlock, Raid Mode might justify a purchase more than the story for some folks.                                          

If you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed Resident Evil: Revelations 2. It reminds me of what made the series special, while modernizing it in a satisfying way. It has a fun story and campy writing that longtime fans can appreciate. If I had to call out this game for any flaws, I would have to say that some of the later chapters do drag on a little too long because they force you to do somewhat tedious puzzles. Also the game’s linearity doesn’t necessarily lend itself to backtracking and exploration. Instead, they give you the option to replay chapters, but it isn’t as enticing to me. That said, for those new to the series, I’d definitely recommend starting with a previous entry; much of the joy here comes from callbacks and fan service, but it’s still fun enough on its own right. If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil franchise, I’d say that this game is a must play.       

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

mothman

06/02/2015 at 01:36 PM

I started playing this before my PS3 died and now that I have a new one I'll need to start it again. What I played of it was fun. I also need to finish the first one which I have on 3DS, PS3 and Steam so I have my choice of platforms. 

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

06/02/2015 at 03:02 PM

highly recommended. Both are great, campy fun with more scares, or creepiness at least, than the most recent main entries.

asrealasitgets

06/04/2015 at 10:27 PM

Yeah. I pretty much agree with what you wrote. I played each episode as they were released each week and replayed them all waiting for the next episode and played that arcade mode to keep me busy as well. It was more focused than RE 6 and Rev 1, which split you off in different directions, while this game just took place in one place. I really love Code Veronica and this is the closest to an HD remaster of that island adventure I'm going to get, so I embraced it as such. Quite fun!

BrokenH

10/05/2015 at 03:57 PM

I actually ended up liking RE Rev 2 more than Evil Within which is ironic as Evil Within obviously had the bigger budget and much more visual polish!

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