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Resident Evil Revelations 2 Review

Persevering Through Madness
by Kimberley Wallace on Mar 16, 2015 at 09:01 PM
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Also on Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher Capcom
Developer Capcom
Rating Teen

The Resident Evil franchise has seen its share of ups and downs as it tries to find an identity while retaining what made it popular in the first place. The first Resident Evil Revelations was a pleasant surprise, modernizing the series with faster gameplay while still retaining its horror and tension. It was Capcom's best attempts to capture the best of both nostalgia and modern action. Resident Evil Revelations 2 continues that feat with more visceral gameplay and intense encounters. Everything feels better than its predecessor, but Revelations 2 struggles with momentum due to poor pacing and tedious puzzles.

Revelations 2 features one of the more engrossing stories in Resident Evil. A mysterious woman has trapped our heroes on a secluded island, putting them through horrific experiments. The story has two campaigns that alternate each chapter; one focuses on fan-favorite Claire and newcomer Moira, daughter of popular character Barry Burton, while another jumps forward in time, starring Barry and an enigmatic child named Natalia.

Bringing back two characters that haven't been seen for years works to the game's advantage. Finding out what they've been up to is just as interesting as discovering who's at the roots of these heinous occurrences. Moira and Natalia also hold their own secrets and surprises. True to the series, be prepared for some crazy plot twists, laughable dialogue, and campy moments. It all comes together in a very satisfying way, and every character has unique arcs and development throughout.  The only issue is the pacing feels uneven; sometimes the game lacks explanation and a reveal jumps out of nowhere.

Bonus Episodes?

Resident Evil Revelations 2 has two bonus episodes that come with the retail version, but can also be purchased digitally. One episode focuses on Moira, the other stars Natalia. These episodes didn't factor into our review, but we wrote up impressions about them. See how they fare here.

The Resident Evil basics haven't changed; you're still blasting through zombie hordes, corridor-crawling, managing resources, and finding a way around occasional obstacles. Combat is smooth, and features precise, entertaining gunplay. Claire and Barry handle the guns, while Moira and Natalia work as support characters. Moira can shine her flashlight in enemies' faces to stun them or melee attack them with her crowbar, while Natalia can spot zombies through walls and throw bricks at them for damage. I enjoy how the characters' abilities work together, like having Moira use her stun so Claire can line up a headshot.

You can swap between characters with a click of a button, but a friend can also pick up a controller for local co-op. However, I had more fun playing solo, since Moira and Natalia have smaller combat roles and are more vulnerable, making them less fun to control long-term. The only hindrance to single-player is that the A.I. is anemic, and doesn't make a difference in battle. Due to bad decisions and questionable path-finding, I had some battles where it was hard for the A.I. to stay alive. Sometimes you're forced to switch away from your gun-toting characters to pry open doors, and this was always where the A.I. let me down, never keeping the enemies at bay.

Exploring the island, you encounter everything from creepy prisons to grotesque meat factories. Old standbys like the woods and sewers are also in place, but they are the least exciting of the bunch. I appreciate that the dialogue and setpieces have plenty of nods to longtime fans. The only big knock is you're doubling up on a lot of the same environments in both campaigns, since Barry is retracing Claire and Moira's steps. Granted, Barry takes new routes through these and has some different encounters, but these places lose their mystery a second time around.

At the very least, Capcom interjects exciting situations in every chapter. My favorite moments were when I was locked in with a horde of enemies rushing towards me, trying to keep the crowd under control. I also reveled in stealth-killing enemies, and enjoyed the stranger enemy types like invisible and instant-kill monsters. Plus, some of the boss battles are insane, requiring every last bit of ammo you have. I'd feel panicked as my ammo dwindled, wondering if I'd make it through, when the boss went down with only two bullets remaining.

I love the chaotic moments, but Revelations' weakest part is its dated puzzles. For instance, moving a power supply through various conveyor belts is tedious and unexciting. Every puzzle brings down the momentum. They aren't fun, and feel more like tacked-on busywork to prolong the episode. Thankfully, the story and intense encounters take center stage, and you only encounter about four of these tedious affairs. As soon as they're done, they're long forgotten and you're back in the fun of tracking down the lowlife that's out to make your life on the island miserable.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 gets a lot right. It left me on edge and invested in the world and characters. I just wish the experience was more even, because some dips in the action hinder the experience. Still, trudging through the slower moments does pay off when you experience the adrenaline rush from some of the unforgettable moments.  

Falling In Love With Raid Mode

I got completely engrossed with raid mode, which allows you to build up your own iconic Resident Evil character. You take on levels with waves of enemies and collect items, such as new guns and upgrades for them. Completing stages helps level up your character; you can apply skill points and customize your guns afterward. If you want to prove your skills and feel the intensity of battle, this is the mode to play. You earn special medals for completing extra goals like killing every enemy on the map. Get enough medals and you open up new level sets; some are straight out of the main campaign, others are new for the mode or reappear from past games. I had a blast watching my character grow, finding better weapons, and throwing myself into insane challenges with restricted time and ammo. Raid mode gives you something to do after you’ve completed the main story, especially with daily challenges and extra perks.

Bring back fan favorites Claire and Barry alongside newcomers for a new deserted island adventure featuring do-or-die situations
Character models look the sharpest they ever have, but the sparse environments leave much to be desired
Sound effects and music add to the terror and the voice acting fits the characters
The mechanics are easy to grasp, but the game could do a better job at reminding you of commands you haven’t used in a while
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is intriguing with memorable battles, tense action, and surprise twists. Unfortunately, has some trouble keeping its momentum

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Resident Evil Revelations 2

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