Review: Resident Evil Revelations 2 (PlayStation 4)
- Release Date (NA): February 24, 2015
- Release Date (EU): February 25, 2015
- Release Date (JP): February 25, 2015
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- Genres: Survival Horror
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- PEGI Rating: Eighteen years and older
- Also For: Computer, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Prepare for fear as Resident Evil is back with the next instalment to the main series, Revelations 2. Is the series going stale or should you really get interested in Resident Evil again? Thanks to the review copy provided by Capcom to us, I am able to give you some more insight on the matter. Read on!
The World of Resident Evil and the Chaptered Campaign Mode
If you haven't lived under a rock during the last two decades, you've bound to have heard of Resident Evil, also known as Biohazard in the Japanese market. The world has been changed quite a bit compared to our own time since the Umbrella Corporation unleashed the T-virus causing a global zombie outbreak. Fast forward 9 main games' worth of history, mystery and horror and you'll land into the beginning of Revelations 2. Unlike previous instalments in the series, Revelations 2 is being released in a timed manner with new episodes becoming available weekly in March 2015. Capcom provided us with a code for the complete game, so I'll be adding stuff to the review as time goes by and more content becomes available. The campaign will be discussed as spoiler-free as possible with a focus on the gameplay and atmosphere.
Resident Evil Revelations 2's campaign can be played in both single player as well as co-op multiplayer. The third person shooter aspect is similar to previous games in the series and somehow reminded me of the Uncharted series, albeit without the climbing cliffs and cover shooting. The main character is a gunslinger, while the supporting character is pretty much unarmed with a special ability or two, which can affect the results of fights in a do or die way. The mechanics work surprisingly well and you'll notice that both character types have their good and bad sides. Co-op is the area where the campaign really shines, as you can share the experience with another person. While the campaign can also be played through solo, the at-times-wonky AI may result in you trying to beat a higher level monster with the following result: support character is just behind a corner and won't interact with the monster in any way. The result? Restart to last checkpoint.
Episode 1-1/1-2 Penal Colony a.k.a. Let the fun begin
Everything is fine and dandy with Terra Save, a corporation aiming to help the victims of the T-virus outbreak, arranging a party and celebrating success around the world. Familiar characters from the series will be attending the party including Claire Redfield and Moira Burton. Queue the terrorists with a grab and run and you'll begin to understand the beginning settings of the campaign. Unlike a traditional Hollywood hostage situation, the main protagonist Claire wakes up locked up in a containment cell in a prison facility. Tagged with a fear indicating bracelet, Claire begins searching the facility and soon meets Moira, the supporting character for Claire. The story progresses quickly and you can experience a few puzzles here and there as well as a couple agonising moments with sudden spinning blade traps as well as jumping Afflicted/Rotted slashing at you. After finding a way out from inside the containment facility, Claire and Moira manage to produce an SOS broadcast with the radio tower outside the facility. At the same time after climbing the tower, Claire gets a better picture of the surrounding area: an island in the middle of the sea.
The SOS broadcast is heard by Moira's father, Barry Burton. As one could expect, Barry isn't expecting a fairy tale beginning when he docks the speedboat on the island, and comes prepared with a load of weapons ranging from pistols to assault weapons. On arrival, Barry meets Natalia, a young kid with special abilities capable of sensing the zombified monsters. Barry's and Natalia's section of Chapter 1 includes a lot more fighting than the first half as Barry is loaded with firepower. As such, you'll also meet more powerful enemies and be barraged with waves of enemies instead of a few monsters here and there. The length of the second half of the chapter is similar to 1-1 and thus cleared quite quickly. As Barry and Natalia reach the radio tower, Chapter 1 is completed and you will proceed to the second part of the game.
EPISODE 2-1/2-2: Contemplations a.k.a. More shenanigans
Hey everyone, Chavo here to go over some of the key elements and summary of the recent Episode 2: Contemplation. To be quite honest, Episode 2 had me contemplating my overall view of the game. The story obviously picks up right where the last episode left off, with the introduction of 2 more sub-characters that use the term "balls" in a sentence more than your average junior high school youth. The story has continued to delve into the familiar sillyness mixed with conspiracy overtones we are all familiar with in a Resident Evil game.The characters don't really add much plot wise and only serve to keep things moving for Claire and Moira.
Claire and Moira's story involves tracking the little girl Natalia (who is with Mr. Barry Burton in the other story focus) through a spooky haunted village area, making their way to a daunting tower where the supposed antagonist is holed up. I wont be spoiling much, because i'd much rather talk about the gameplay for this segment.
I sincerely hope you are searching for Ammo constantly, because you are going to need a lot of it later in the game. There will be 2 boss encounters this episode, both of which will require some quick dodges and a lot of firepower. To be honest, both of these encounters were the most physically frustrating encounters of the episode. The first boss you fight will have the ability to one hit kill you if you arent careful, causes bleeding damage so if you don't have any cloth's on you, will tick your health down to the danger zone, and is followed by a massive horde of never ending zombies that you also have to deal with if you don't want to get cheap killed. I play the game on normal, but I am almost tempted to flip into easy mode, as the encounters are starting to get nasty. You CAN avoid this fight and drag it out until a set event happens, but even then its a long drawn out raid battle that quite frankly, is tedious.
Now while you can avoid the first boss, the next boss is what will make you rip your hair out. You'll end up facing a huge hulking behemoth that can somehow shoot fire out of a giant pot, which will also deal horrible damage to you if you're anywhere near it. There is no specific method to killing him like previous RE bosses either. A guide for the game literally says for the encounter, "Keep a safe distance and shoot until he dies." Oh, by the way, streams of near endless enemies are going to be here too, coupled with some new enemies that will explode if you get to close to them. The only way to even keep up with ammo is to actually take out the weaker horde enemies to keep hopefully getting drops. Of course, this means dodging giant fire-balls and tank charges from the big brute, and avoiding exploding blobs. Claire and Moira's segment is just filled with action and frustration that took me out of the game immersion.
Qtis' playthrough continues and Barry is back with a vengeance. Most of the areas in Episode 2's second half are just rehashes of previously visited locations, so you're bound to feel been there, done that. This is not necessarily a bad thing per se, as you will probably remember the locations where Natalia's little hands will be useful. As you proceed to follow Moira's path as well as Natalia can show you, you'll meet more enemies. These bad guys are generic insect monsters, but they have a catch: invisibility. Be prepared to redo quite a few locations in the game as for some reason the monsters tend to get stuck in a certain location, which makes proceeding hard, if not impossible at times.
Depending on your actions in Moira's and Claire's campaign boss battles, you find different events happening. As you attempt to follow Moira in the derelict buildings, you'll eventually run into more monsters. After a few reloads to checkpoints, you'll end up in a section with an impeding boss battle similar to Moira's campaign. The catch? If you defeated this particular enemy (read: killed him), you'll have a breeze and pick up the drill and proceed to the next area. If you didn't happen to kill him (as yours truly due to the somewhat idiotic checkpoint saving system used during massive offensive sections), you'll meet the driller boss. Luckily Natalia can detect the vulnerable locations and you can kill the boss with a few accurate bullets and tactical dodges as you're about to be crushed with an industrial drill.
Finally the section will end. As a summary, I have to conclude that Episode 2 was both a positive experience in the story point-of-view, but a letdown in the gameplay point-of-view. As chavo mentioned, quite a few sections felt like Raid Mode games, but with limited options of getting an advantage of any kind. Similarly the game's saving system cause me to respawn 2 seconds before the boss battle begins without the option of playing the previous section again. Normally this would be irrelevant, but the section was a typical Raid Mode with monsters overwhelming you easily with limited ammo supply. Hopefully Episode 3 will bring more story with more versatile gameplay as Episode 2 could easily be skipped by reading the story from a summary.
EPISODE 3-1/3-2: Judgement a.k.a. Let there be blood!
Now into Episode 3. I had a very mixed opinion on Episode 2, so I wasn't expecting much from the last two episodes. Surprisingly, the game takes a step further into the survival horror Resident Evil has previously been known for. You'll start seeing more and more monsters with varying amounts of difficulty. Moira and Claire continue on their journey to find answers and ultimately escape from the island. The two stumble upon a note from their friend Neil and try to find him before it's too late. As with horror genres in general, an old factory and butcher's workshop is the logical place to go searching for the missing person. Revelations 2 isn't cheap on the new decorating fad of blood and the place ends up being filled from the floor up to the ceiling with a nice coat of it. More puzzles and surprises are available for the lot and the story proceeds nicely while at the same time improving the atmosphere. While trying to escape, Moira and Claire ultimately end up in the sewers, which happens to be filled with monsters but still no sign of Neil. As they proceed deeper into the complex, they start finding more and more information on why the two of them happened to be chosen into the testing facility of an island. Random laboratory reports every now and then with a few diary entries start creating a very mad outtake. Finally out of the sewers Claire and Moira find out the truth about their own employer and the island. At the same time the boss battle starts with a surprisingly strong Ouroboros-infected Neil. The battle is somewhat long, but not necessarily hard. The way you handle the situation in the cutscene will have an effect on the final chapter so be prepared!
Barry's campaign continues where it left of in Episode 2, so you'll be going down the tunnels. Many events that played out in Claire and Moira's campaign will affect your choices now by adding possibilities of gaining better gear. The two player setup makes it possible to create puzzles with one doing something and the other gaining the benefit. This has been done quite well in Episode 3 with tactical choices affecting gameplay quite a bit. Barry fights through the tunnels with Natalia giving support by opening gates and pointing out enemies. Once out of the tunnels, you find yourself in an old quarry without power for most of the place. After lugging the power source around some conveyors, which for some reason you can't use, the party manages to proceed forward in the area with a nasty Dhurlga and a bunch of Revenants behind them. Once the monsters are dead, you can proceed to the next area and end Episode 3.
Episode 3 was something different compared to the previous episode. This is mainly because the game had more to do than an endless bunch of enemies as in Episode 2. The Raid Mode type of gameplay has been made less blatant and the sectioning works quite well. Still the episode showed the problem of games with a point of no return: exploring is challenging due sometimes not being able to go back. Apart from this, the game works solidly proceeding with the story and using the gameplay elements to its advantage. As a conclusion, Episode 3 is a good addition and worth the purchase.
EPISODE 4-1/4-2: Metamorphosis a.k.a. Now we're getting there!
Episode 4 continues as you travel upwards the tower of the mad scientist. The plot thickens as she shoot herself without a second thought. Talk about crazy in horror games. As before, your actions in this section will change the event of Barry's following campaign so keep at it. The section is quite short compared to the previous episodes as I managed to play it through in about 20 minutes with similar gaming as with the previous episodes. Nevertheless, the story progresses fast and the action is there. Speaking of action and speed, the reason why you will fast forward this episode is because the place is about to blow up in a matter of minutes. This creates a sort of rushed situation and will probably lead you to missing some items along the way. Also an invisible Glasp or two will lighten up your playthrough as you have no way of detecting them without Natalia present. Claire and Moira's episode will end soon after with a great cliffhanger situation in place for the plot.
Barry and Natalia's trip gets them to an old waterway. This section will change quite a bit depending on your actions with Claire, but in any case you get an area full of monsters and fun. You fight your way through the area and end up in a section of old mining cranes. The puzzles in this section are somewhat fun, but nothing to write home in this sense. I had a death or two due to accidentally pushing the AI controlled other character down from the crane. Not really a bug I would say, but very annoying. As you proceed forwards you end up in an abandoned mine with poisonous gases leaking to the floor and the place crawling with monsters. This makes your time limited in the area with gas, but luckily you can always pop up for extra air every now and then. The mines end with a door which Natalia surprisingly manages to open with her hand print. The following area is a large mansion with Revenants patrolling around. More information on the mad scientist and her experiments is scattered around the mansion due to the place being the entrance to a secret research facility. Finally you end up in a boss fight with a very powerful and challenging enemy, the mastermind behind the whole experiment. Depending on Episode 3's events, you will either get the good or the bad ending. The episode ends here.
All in all the last episode was a positive experience. While the first section of the campaign was very short, the second part had more than enough content and exploration in it. The game's plot came to a nice conclusion with nice surprises available regardless of whether you got the good or bad ending. The episodic release schedule for the game made it relevant for a month or so, but was sort of annoying as you couldn't finish the story on your terms.
Raid mode to rule them all
After you're done with the short campaign, you'll begin wondering why you actually bought Resident Evil Revelations 2. Why would you buy a game famous for its story with a very short story mode? Two words: Raid. Mode.
I have to admit that I was ready to give Revelations 2 a very low score for the single reason of an abysmally short story. Chapter 1 could be completed with as much exploration as you could imagine with less than 2 hours of gaming (best times are ranked at less than 20 minutes for the whole of chapter 1 at time of writing). The replay value of a chapter with around 2 hours of gameplay is minimal. What did Capcom do with the game? They bundled Raid Mode with the game. What was the result? I actually want to continue playing the game.
Raid Mode and it's idea is similar to the co-op modes found in games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where you can play missions either as single player or co-op. You begin the mode by choosing you character(s), their gear, skills and commands. Once done, you head up to the exit for mission selection. The first missions are a breeze with little to no challenge as enemies are both slow and weak. A bit of a challenge comes from additional objectives but you gain some improved gear for the effort in any case. More missions with higher difficulty ratings will become available as you complete available ones.
Raid Mode is the part of the game where you can begin improving characters as you see fit. Unlike the campaign's limited character upgrades, Raid Mode has a whole lot of options for you to choose from. The more you play, the more experience you will receive. As you gain experience, you gain levels and Skill Points (SP). SP can be used to improve your character's performance ranging from healing item usage to dodging and weapon boosts. Luckily character upgrades aren't the only upgrades you'll be able to use in the mode. Loot will contain both improved weapons as well as weapon upgrades. All weapon types have both benefits as well as weaknesses, so you'll have to decide what you actually want to do with them. Contrary to the campaign though, removing upgrades will either destroy the weapon or the upgrades.
Raid Mode is the thing you'll end up playing. It's one of those game modes which will suck so many hours of your gaming time, be it alone or with a friend. The only negative aspect of Raid Mode is the implementation of microtransactions for buying more lives if you die too much. Regardless, if you have doubts of Resident Evil Revelations 2 as a good option for your game library, look no further. It's easily worth the price of entry just for this game mode alone.
Should I plunge for it?
To put it simply, yes. Gameplay is smooth and the visuals are clearly improved with high resolution textures and good, stable FPS during gameplay. While the campaign is short, you'll enjoy innovative co-op and an intriguing story for as long as it lasts in the campaign mode and then proceed to the beef of the game: Raid Mode. If you're into the gameplay style of a working third person shooter, you'll definitely enjoy Resident Evil Revelations 2.
TL;DR: Recommended even with only 1 episode. Raid Mode is fantastic. If you want a good third person shooter with zombies, you're good to go with just the first chapter and Raid Mode. If you want the whole story, buy the complete set and you won't be let down.
+ Campaign story
+ Innovative main/support character interaction
+ Impressive co-op
+ Raid Mode and its mechanics
- Campaign is short depending on whether you want the story or the gameplay
- Quirky AI at times in solo campaign
- Raid Mode microtransactions
The game looks gorgeous in HD on the PS4, but this can be expected for a modern console game. Nothing to write home about, but nevertheless the game looks great. For some reason scoping can cause blurred textures.
A game revolving around co-op with fresh ideas instead of the traditional "everyone can do everything approach". There are great things from time to time, but the frustration can kick in with the sometimes wonky AI if you're soloing the game.
The story is intriguing, though short. Some collectables every now and then in the campaign can make you want to play it once more, but Raid Mode is where everything interesting happens.
out of 10
(not an average)
A fantastic entry to the series with lots of replay value thanks to Raid Mode. While the campaign may be short, Raid Mode itself is alone worth the dollars you pay for the game.