The iconic series returns in truly terrifying episodic form
Resident Evil games are known for igniting the Survival Horror genre in the mid nineties and moulding a template that many have tried to follow in the years since Chris and his fellow S.T.A.R.S Team entered that mansion on a rainy night, many have succeeded in creating something similar but a lot have fallen by the wayside in their attempts to replicate the high standards set by Capcom. Capcom set the bar very high and although they haven’t always kept up those standards and it would be very hard to do that, they are still making some seriously great Horror games and continuing to scare the pants off of us.
Published and developed by Capcom, Resident Evil returns in the form of the episodic nightmare Revelations 2. The game is set between Resident Evil 5 and Resident 6 and see’s Claire Redfield as the games main protagonist.. Episode 1 of the series begins with a short cutscene introducing you to Terrasave, fans of Resident Evil Degeneration will remember them as the non-governmental organisation who provide aid during bioterrorism. Claire Redfield is a lead member of Terrasave and the game begins with an event hosted by the organisation high up in a skyscraper. As the event begins to get into full swing she is joined by Moira Burton, the daughter of Barry Burton a member of S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team from Resident Evil. The evening is cut short when the lights go out and they are invaded by a group of darkly dressed soldiers looking for Claire.
When the madness ends Claire awakens lying inside a cell with a bracelet on her wrist and Moira nowhere to be seen. Her cell opens and she is free to leave, unfortunately unarmed. She follows the dark corridors until she finds Moira trapped inside a similar cell and the two start to look for an exit, making their way through some blood filled rooms and the echoes of something very evil nearby definitely apparent, while pushing some shelving an Afflicted Zombie attacks Claire and they realise they are in serious danger.
The first Episode appears to be set on a remote island and is split into two parts with the first part following Claire and Moira’s quest for an escape from their nightmare and the second centered around her father Barry and a young girl called Natalia, you are ranked at the end of each part by how well you do throughout the Episode with the usual S Rank for a job well done. The game can be played in Co-op though sadly not online and not with a second account signed in, although there is the ability to switch between the characters at will, each with their own different ability but this is only available of course in solo mode. But what the game lacks in online capabilities it more then makes up for with the gloriously grisly settings and some truly terrifying monsters that will haunt your dreams.
The game sets itself up nicely in the combat department with the numerous ways in which you can defend yourself against any would be attacker, first off you have the usual knife which is very common throughout Resident Evil games, you can also hold a couple weapons and switch between them very easily using the D-Pad. You can find parts for those weapons while investigating throughout the Episode but they are only found inside chests and can only be opened by the secondary characters Moira and Natalia, with these parts you can use the many upgrade tables in the game to make your weapon even stronger which certainly helps on Survival Difficulty.
There is the added option of dodging an enemy and this is done by using the left analog stick and pressing the B button and can really help you out if you find yourself overwhelmed. The second character while not actually being able to hold a firearm can still help with the use of flashlights, bricks and a crowbar so all is not lost if you find yourself in trouble. The flashlight is really handy at stunning the monsters and can aid you in taking them down.
At the end of each part and in fact direct from the main menu you can use the points obtained in the Episode to upgrade your skills and there is a whole tree of upgrades available including the option to upgrade everything from health to brick throwing thus making your characters and A.I stronger.
The game has a lot of very nice extras with Raid Mode returning from the first Revelations game, you have the option to take on the role of either Claire, Barry, Moira or Natalia in timed challenge and gauntlet rounds against a host of enemies and across different difficulties. You also have the option to play as Albert Wesker, Hunk and Jill Valentine. The points you accumulate through the Raid Mode allow you to upgrade weapons and skills making you more likely to succeed. With points earned in the campaign you can purchase two more story modes which are Countdown Mode and Invisible Mode.
The first sees you in a race against time to make it through both parts of the first Episode with only enemy kills and the shattering of the hourglass enough to extend your time. The only annoying part of countdown mode is that you can have time running out and trigger a save point leaving yourself in a constant loop of running out of time, reloading and then having the same happen leading to you having to restart the whole part over but all in all this is a very welcome feature.
Invisible Mode leaves you blind with every enemy completely invisible except from the occasional glimpse while using Moira’s flashlight or Natalia’s vision. Unlike Countdown Mode there is no clock and you can afford to take your time. You can also purchase through the main menu some concept art which only adds to this value for money episodic nightmare.
Overall Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a very fun game to play and there are more then enough scares and extras to keep you ticking over until the next Episode is released. The game is dark and surreal and the landscape straight out of the best horror films you can think of, then of course are the monsters that are well designed and move so well. Revelations 2 may have missed a trick in not allowing you to play with friends online but it definitely lives up to it’s billing and from what I’ve encountered so far I don’t see any problem in this game not being released as a full storied retail game like the first Revelations.
The return of Barry Burton is certainly a great addition and will see fans of the very first game rejoice at the second coming of a personal favourite. If the first Episode is anything to go by then fans and newcomers are in for a real treat as the twists and turns are sure to continue in the coming weeks.