|Genre||Publisher||Release date||Release O.S||Available on|
|Survival Horror||CAPCOM||20/03/2015||PS4, PS3, 360, Xbox One, PC||PlayStation Network|
The Resident Evil series has fallen on hard times. What once was a franchise that would go on to help define the horror genre itself in 1996, only to then redefine it once more in 2005, is now showing a real lack of direction. One could perhaps pin this on CAPCOM’s constant attempts to perhaps recapture the magic of Resident Evil 4 whilst also keeping up with today’s popular third person shooters. It’s a real shame especially when you consider just how impressive the series has and can be. Enter Resident Evil Revelations 2, a sequel to the 3DS hit that brought things back to its horror focused roots… sort of. Is this second nightmare a step in the right direction for the franchise?
The game’s main campaign is actually split into two separate stories. The first which focuses on Resident Evil veteran Claire Redfield and newcomer Moira Burton (that’s right, Barry Burton’s daughter), sees the pair kidnapped only to then awaken on a remote, deserted island with no clue as to their whereabouts and a pair of nasty wristbands that injects its host with an unknown virus. The second campaign meanwhile sees you taking on the role of father Barry Burton and little girl Natalia as the pair set off in search of Moira and Claire.
The story isn’t anything particular new, but its brisk pacing and often surprising twists help keep you invested in where exactly the game will lead you next. I have to admit it was around halfway through, that I found myself going from interested to gripped, of course whilst “enjoying” the usual cheesy Resident Evil dialogue and voice acting. Where were Claire and Moira? Would Barry find them? Who is the Overseer? It’s especially disappointing then that the game fails to really deliver when it comes to answering many of these questions. While we do find out just exactly what is going on, the actual answers themselves prove neither substantial enough nor are delivered in an overly satisfying manner instead relying on clumsy diary entries to weave a lot of the tale and an abrupt ending.
Since the two stories take place within the same location, you’ll often see the same environments more than once. This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if the actual surroundings weren’t so bland – clichés ripped right from the Resident Evil handbook. The enemy design too leaves a lot to be desired with variation and imagination feeling like an afterthought. In fact outside of a few interesting boss encounters, everything else you face off against neither surprises nor exactly excites.
It also doesn’t help matters when the game itself looks less than impressive. While you’ll notice the odd nice touch here and there, the game constantly shows its past generation roots with textures muddy and character animations rough. It’s not an awful looking game by any means, but when you consider how often the series has set the standard when it comes to visuals you can’t help but feel disappointed.
From a gameplay standpoint Resident Evil Revelations 2 is certainly still decent fun. The same over the shoulder view, satisfying gunplay and light puzzle elements all work as intended. Episode three in particular stood out for me thanks to its focus on brainteasers, and yes while they weren’t necessarily the toughest of puzzles, they certainly brought with them some more interesting ideas and level design. It’s just a shame their appearances are too infrequent.
Interestingly, both stories will see players switching between their two respective characters throughout which actually works for the most part. While you’ll rely on Claire and Barry for the more active, gunplay focused sections of the game, Moira and Natalia can prove helpful as supporting roles since they can blind enemies with a flashlight and even see enemies through walls. It almost promotes teamwork and this is no more evident than when someone fills the shoes of the other character. Using my friend to blind enemies while I followed up with a roundhouse kick proved very satisfying. Unfortunately the supporting role never amounts to much more than just that, with Moira and Natalia only able to use weak melee weapons as a form of defence – a tune I’m sure will outstay its welcome for anyone playing through the entire campaign this way. Furthermore I do not appreciate having to scan the environment with either of the pair in order to pick up shining items I can already clearly see. It’s annoying.
Much like the tried and tested environments and enemies, the gameplay too can feel a little too familiar at times. Set pieces that feel as though they could have been lifted straight from past games - the standoff in a barricaded building, a frantic escape from a self destructive facility and the same abandoned villages we know far too well all make an appearance here. It further emphasises the lack of spark that I feel for this entry in the series. Not to say it’s a bad campaign by any means, just one that that is lacking in real punch or memorable moments.
While the campaign might offer a far shorter adventure than you might expect from a Resident Evil title, it’s the Raid mode that offers the real staying power. Taking the addictive formula laid out in the first Revelations, the sequel expands those ideas further to create what now feels as though it could well be its own standalone experience.
Raid mode sees you fighting your way through individual stages, each housing a finite number of pre-selected enemies. Utilising your customised load out to dispatch… well… pretty much anything that moves, you’ll level up your characters, earn medals for various achievements and unlock new weapons and perks along the way. It’s a compelling take on the Resident Evil recipe that constantly found me coming back to try and earn myself a higher level magnum, fire bullets or unlock another character to play as.
It’s not without its faults, however. For one I found the mode took its time to get going. In the initial stages, enemies don’t pose too much of a threat and can be toppled with ease. Also it’s a surprising shame that like the campaign, the online is unaccounted for here too. Raid mode worked best in a pair in the original so those wanting to experience this for themselves will have to be a little more patient.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is an entertaining enough ride despite its lacking innovation and dated feel. The episodic distribution is an interesting move from CAPCOM that did have me quietly anticipating each weekly release. However when all is said and done, Revelations 2 leaves me concerned for a series once at the peak of its genre. While these ventures are okay, the inevitable seventh instalment in the series needs to really shake things up if it wants to prove the series is still relevant.
- Barry Burton is back!
- Competitive pricing structure
- Raid mode is addictive
- That same Resident Evil gameplay…
- … That is starting to feel too familiar
- Campaign quality inconsistent
- Shows its last generation roots