Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PC
Released: March 2015
It must be hard being somebody important in the Resident Evil universe, as once you become embroiled in bioterrorism incidents or zombie outbreaks, they seem to follow you around everywhere. A simple walk to the shops can turn into a fight for survival, or a family visit can inexplicably morph into a sudden mutation extravaganza. Or maybe this happens…
At a TerraSave conference with Moira Burton, daughter of series favourite Barry Burton, Claire Redfield is basically loving life and being appreciative of the fact she isn’t involved in another horrible freak show of bioterrorism, experimentation and all-round abject horror… Until a SWAT team kidnaps them both and dumps them into another horrible freak show of bioterrorism, experimentation and all-round abject horror. Never saw that one coming!
Waking up in a strange prison sporting some fashionable matching bracelets, Claire and Moira find the accommodation to be sub-par, the food is repulsive and the natives… Well, they’re neither friendly nor welcoming. Not ones to stay for pleasantries, Claire and Moira fight their way through the army of abominations to find out why they’re here, and how they can escape. Meanwhile, Barry “Master of Unlocking” Burton is on the hunt to save them, teaming with a small girl called Natalia that he encounters along the way. This being Resident Evil and not CBBC, Natalia is not a normal little girl, possessing some strange abilities. Between both sets of characters, you’ll work to discover the mysteries of the Overseer, the woman who orchestrated this entire hullabaloo.
Right out of the gate, this game oozes a foreboding atmosphere out of every orifice; a sense of trepidation overcoming your very being… At least to begin with anyway. Later episodes don’t quite match up to the prison of the first episode. You’ll venture through mines, towns, forests and sewers, along with some throwbacks to classic Resident Evil, and whilst these can be quite intimidating (the town was another favourite) I was left longing for the claustrophobic, darkness consumed hell-hole from Episode 1.
That’s not to say that episode 1 is the only highlight, as other aspects of the game begin to shine. Barry’s second episode sees the introduction of Glasps, invisible bags of insect legs ripped straight from the bowels of my personal nightmares, designed to make you fear what could be waiting around the corner. Ammo is typically scarce, and you can find yourself expending entire clips at the wall trying to take down a Glasp or two. Fortunately, I’m yet to be killed by one in game, but if you fire enough bullets, you’re bound to kill something.
The gameplay is simple and effective, but it allows for some deeper customisation by offering a skill tree and some upgradable weapons. By the end of the game, I had my partners Moira or Natalia act as a healer, whilst tailoring both Claire and Barry to be a tank, dealing more weapon damage. However, you could spec Moira and Natalia to be experts at finishing off enemies on the ground, or give Claire and Barry some dominating melee power coupled with lightning quick evasiveness. Both sets of partners have good gameplay chemistry and mesh well together. Moira can use her torch to stun enemies whilst Claire can finish them off, whilst Natalia has the ability to “sense” enemies through walls (similar to The Last of Us), including those darned Glasps.
Boss fights can be tough encounters, as in typical Resident Evil fashion, big monsters just refuse to die. Ammo conservation is a must going in to the fight, but there’s usually enough lying around to help you get by. The problem is the lack of originality that’s sometimes on offer, not just with the standard “shoot the glowy bits to be a cool guy” method to boss fights that’s on offer here, but with the monster designs and gameplay tropes.
Ignoring the fact that one boss fight looks like a slightly mutated guy on steroids and how uninteresting that is, Revelations 2 basically rehashes the Dr Salvador/Chainsaw Sisters enemy type from Resident Evil 4, which was also a boss fight in Resident Evil 5… And he also made an appearance in Resident Evil 6. There comes a time when fan service transforms into laziness, and this seems to be it.
The overall story and gameplay does deteriorate by the fourth and final episode. Claire and Moira have what can only be described as a brief cameo section, whereas Barry’s section culminates in a horde section, the direct antithesis of traditional survival horror gameplay, and a disappointing final boss fight. However, the groundwork is laid for Resident Evil going forward in terms of plot, but that’d be saying too much.
Ultimately though, there is a lot to enjoy here. Tense atmosphere, engaging gameplay and a genuinely intriguing storyline combine to create an enjoyable romp through another horrible freak show of bioterrorism, experimentation and all-round abject horror. Fans of the series will appreciate how the game fits into the overall canon of the RE universe, whilst casual fans can still appreciate the game for its core components.