Resident Evil: Revelations 2 PS4 Review
Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Genre: Action, Survival Horror Players: 1-2
Age Rating: 18+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 may have the Resident Evil title, and even though it is an enjoyable game to play, it certainly doesn’t feel much like a Resident Evil game. Saying that, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 still offers much in the way of gameplay, encouraging exploration, puzzle solving, and with the addition of new characters, Natalia Korda and Moira Burton, it also offers differing styles of gameplay, with some good ideas added in the mix and showing that Capcom are listening to their Resident Evil fans and are trying more to combine the old with the new.
Claire Redfield and Barry Burton make a triumphant comeback and it is a delight to see them again; Claire has been popular ever since her debut in Resident Evil 2 and Barry has been memorable ever since the first Resident Evil graced the PlayStation back in 1996, with his droll, cheesy comments going down in gaming history as some of the worst dialogue ever, and still being quoted today. They are teamed with a partner, with Claire assisted by Moira Burton, Barry’s estranged daughter, and Natalia Korda, a surrogate daughter who helps Barry in his quest to find Moira.
The action begins when Claire and Moira are kidnapped and taken to a mysterious island, where the new foe of the game, a woman calling herself the ‘Overseer’, informs them that they have been injected with a new virus and that the more fear they experience, the more chance they have of morphing into a horrifying monster, with fear being the trigger. Claire and Moira’s fear levels are being tracked via a sensor device on their wrists, that also acts as a communicator for the Overseer to contact them at her own will. It is up to Claire and Moira to find out what is happening on the island and what the purpose of their being kidnapped was, taking on the usual enemies and some interesting puzzle-solving as they try to take down this new threat.
Barry Burton’s story begins 6 months later. He comes to the island that Claire and Moira came upon to search for his daughter, but instead finds a young surrogate daughter in Natalia Korda, and swears to help her escape the island, but only after discovering about what has happened to his own daughter and whether he can find her. Natalia also has a mystery of her own and is a key point to the plot. Just who is she and what does the Overseer want with her?
The plot takes some interesting twists and turns, and the main characters are very much likable. Claire has now matured, but there are still traces of the zesty biker girl that Resident Evil fans grew to know and love. Barry also has an interesting story and players get to discover just why he and Moira have such a strained relationship. After so many years of being in the background, it is great to finally see Barry in a proper, playable role, and to learn more about the man behind the cheesy lines, which he still spouts plenty of here. Moira is your typical angst-filled teenager, with quite an aversion to guns and has a penchant for spouting the four-letter word. Natalia is also likable and even though perhaps her dilemma is rather predictable, players will feel a sense of responsibility towards her safety and watching her bond grow with Barry is endearing. Unfortunately, other characters featured in the story are rather underwhelming; it is clear they have only been brought in to be killed off, acting quite generic and too underdeveloped to grow attached to. The Overseer herself isn’t particularly fascinating either; there is a twist in that she is related to another character from a previous Resident Evil game, but other than that, her mission is predictable and she isn’t anything spectacular.
As mentioned before, the gameplay offers much variety. Claire and Moira’s segments see them running and gunning and they have more interactions with the other characters featured in the story. Barry has a similar play style, though stealth elements have been added to his sections, and he is much more isolated in his story than Claire and Moira, with Natalia being the only other person he comes across. All main characters have their own special abilities to help with the survival aspects. Claire first starts out with a basic handgun, though finds other weapons as the story progresses, and she can also make use of secondary weapons in the form of explosive bottles, which can be used to blast enemies away or lure them to another area in order to sneakily pass them by. Moira’s preferred choice of weapon is a crowbar, which comes in handy for breaking pieces of wood across inaccessible doors, unlocking special crates that can be found around different locations, and attacking enemies. Moira is also equipped with a torch and can use the light to find hidden items or stun enemies, ready for Claire to strike using her melee attacks. Barry comes already equipped with many guns, including his beloved Magnum. He can also make use of explosive bottles as a secondary weapon, though with Natalia being his partner, it is she that offers the variety here to his gameplay. Natalia possesses special abilities in which she can see monsters from a certain distance, a yellow fog indicating whereabouts they are located. This skill is helpful to Barry as it gives him the element of surprise, and he is able to sneak up on an enemy and attack them from behind, before they know what’s hit them. As with Moira and her torch, Natalia can also point out hidden items, open special boxes, and she is even able to see the weak points of enemies for Barry to shoot at. And thanks to her diminutive height, Natalia can also squeeze through small spaces and can access areas that Barry can’t in order to open doors or pull levers to allow him a way through. Players can also play in co-op mode, with both players taking control of each partner. Unfortunately there is no on-line co-op mode throughout the main campaign, and it is probably advisable not to play off-line co-op anyway, with how ridiculously small the screens are. Whatever happened to full split-screens? However, with the addition of some puzzle solving involving both partners and with many items implemented into the game to encourage exploration, there is certainly a variety to the gameplay, and it never becomes boring or tedious with plenty to discover.
Resident Evil 6 did away with gems and the blue emblems, but here they make a welcome return. The gems can be collected to increase BP points that are then used to purchase upgrades to help increase abilities, weapons and the effectiveness of herbs. Unfortunately the upgrade system is rather superfluous, and once an upgrade is purchased there doesn’t seem to be much of an impact on the gameplay. One upgrade also has to be purchased in order to allow an AI-controlled Claire and Barry to use their guns, which is an odd idea and not at all practical; instead Claire will opt to use her melee attacks and Barry will use his knife as defence against hordes of the undead, though if Capcom were aiming for realism here, then who in their right mind would use melee attacks or knives instead of a more effective gun? Back to the items that can be found; gems are located throughout the areas and depending on the type of gem, the more points the player will gain. Another item added is the use of tourniquets. Tourniquets can be used to help prevent a character from bleeding out, though are not used as a way to completely heal, with that being left to the usual green herbs. Combining tourniquets with another element, such as an herb or alcohol, will affect the way in which they can be used and certainly gives Revelations 2 much more of a survival horror vibe, with characters having to use what they find tactically.
The puzzles in the game are intriguing and, thankfully, it doesn’t take much backtracking to solve them once you know what to do. With the focus being placed on action as well as horror survival, the puzzles do not overwhelm the game and are used sparingly. Puzzles to note is one that takes place in a slaughterhouse, with meat being the key, and an intriguing puzzle in which you have to extract a key from an eagle statue, and it is certainly a novel idea how the key is freed. Most puzzles are well thought out, and even though some puzzles can be fairly simple, there is a good ratio of puzzles-to-action here, and it doesn’t slow down the pace of the action.
The environments have glimpses of beauty, with scenic views of sunsets and gushing ocean waters as characters try to ascend a tower in which the Overseer has concealed herself. Mostly the design is very grungy and dark, making for some claustrophobic and isolated environments. A highlight is the slaughterhouse, where characters are able to run thorough pools oozing with animal blood, and a decimated urbanised area which gives the player clues as to how the island inhabitants lived. Located around the areas are the usual diaries and notes that give players an insight into what happened on the island and how the residents came to transform into such horrific monsters, though it is a shame that not much emphasis has been placed on getting to know more about them, as they are, essentially, the enemies in the games that you have to kill. Instead, they are treated like any other generic baddie in a horror game, and with how ruthless the enemies can be, it is difficult to feel sorry for the fact they were once human.
The enemy design in the game isn’t the best, with one enemy being likened to Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill franchise, with his pointed metallic mask and deadly weapon that is used to stomp down on and crush whoever it attacks. Even the enemy’s name, Iron Head, is similar! Still, enemies that Barry encounters greatly resemble that of the Tyrant, with twisted limbs and multiple heads jutting out of their bodies. Claire and Moira encounter far more aggressive enemies than Barry, being swarmed by previous island inhabitants, now known as the Afflicted, and having to deal with a couple of tough bosses. The boss fights here do not stand out as much as bosses from previous Resident Evil games, though there aren’t too many bosses to deal with thankfully, with the biggest fight, against the Overseer, being left until the finale. The design of the Overseer greatly resembles that of the Witch from the Snow White fairytale, wearing a long, black hooded shawl with her bug eyes bulging out from under the hood. Natalia could also be likened to Snow White herself, with her pale complexion, dark hair and blue ribbon; just a minor detail to note. Back to the enemies, however, and it should be pointed out that during Barry’s mission, the enemies he encounters are now the rotted, skeletal Afflicted that Claire and Moira had previously fought against in their mission 6 months prior. In Barry’s segments, the Afflicted amble about much more and are far less aggressive, and it’s great to see that they are much more zombie-like, giving the game back some essence of traditional Resident Evil zombies. Other enemies to note are the dog enemies known as Orthrus; at first glance, these enemies look like a dog/pig hybrid, but are two-headed hounds that are an easy kill; and Glasps, transparent bug-like enemies that are an instant kill for a character, should they be caught by one.
Raid Mode makes a return here also, and fans will certainly be pleased to see it make a comeback. Here, players run and gun and are given a chance to test their skills and endurance, pitting the characters against hordes of enemies and surviving long enough to complete set missions. Players can unlock many characters, though some characters featured are from the Revelations 2 story and because they were underdeveloped, the majority of players may not be that interested in using them, making them a rather worthless addition. However, other more popular characters are here to be played as too, including Albert Wesker, Leon Kennedy, Hunk, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. Players can also go online and team up with a co-op partner and blast away through missions together, and this is probably the more viable option as opposed to playing the co-op mode off-line.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is by no means a perfect game; the AI could have done with some tweaking, other characters certainly could have done with more development, the off-line co-op is certainly unplayable, and the upgrade system feels rather tacked on. The game also isn’t really that scary (though thankfully it doesn’t resort to using cheap jump-scares), but overall this outing has taken the franchise a step in the right direction. With the seamless combining of puzzles, horror and action, it certainly shows what is capable for future instalments of Resident Evil games and hopefully the ideas used here will continue into following games, and one day, perhaps Resident Evil will finally be re-crowned as one of the scariest games.