I’ll admit that I didn’t touch Resident Evil: Revelations until it hit Steam in 2013. While keeping up with the other numbered games in the franchise, playing remakes, and hating Operation Raccoon City – Resident Evil: Revelations really stuck out to me. Why exactly? Simply because it was fantastic. This double-edged sword made my expectations for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 all that much higher though. If Capcom is going to slap the ‘Revelations’ stamp onto another game, it is going to come with some hard to meet expectations.
As expected, Revelations 2 comes after Revelations. The events of Terragrigia occurred, played their part, and are referenced in the sequel. Revelations 2 takes on the more recently standard ‘buddy system’ found in the recent Resident Evil games. By this, I mean that you’re put in teams of two instead of playing as the more traditional single player. Revelations 2 takes this a step further though by giving the single player the ability to control both characters through switching back and forth whenever you seem fit or necessary instead of sticking to one for the entirety of the episode.
Here the thing, and this is a good thing, the two characters that are paired together play quite differently. Sure Claire and Barry play similarly but they aren’t together. They will be your more traditional Resident Evil characters while their partners play far more uniquely. Moira is Clair’s flashlight, crowbar, and melee combo master. Without skills, only Moira can daze enemies with melee so Claire can knock them down. Once down, only Moira can ‘finish them.’ This makes for a really fun back and forth that isn’t required but really helpful for conserving ammo. Throw on the skill that will make Claire and Barry fire when not using them but not use up ammo and you got yourself a powerful little combo.
Now the other odd couple, the god of bad voice acting past, Barry and this Resident Evil’s creepy little girl, Natalia. For all but one of the episodes (Three), I enjoyed the gameplay with these two much more than the two ladies. Besides being able to melee or throw a brick, Natalia doesn’t have a whole lot of offensive prowess. Barry on the other hand is a damn tank. Natalia’s gimmick is that when crouched, she can see enemies through walls and reveal their weakness location. Not only does this allow Barry to not waste ammo guessing where an enemy’s Achilles’ heel is, but also allows him to track their movements for stealth kills. Not to spoil the surprise of this one enemy, but teamwork is absolutely required to kill this one type of enemy – it’s a perfect blend of horrifying and awesome.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 does an excellent job of mixing the familiar with the new. With returning characters like Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, you’re getting that taste of nostalgia that's hard to get out of your mouth. But you won't want to. When they mention those two horrible lines Barry said from the very first Resident Evil, I was both overjoyed and cringing. You got to hand it to Resident Evil though for staying in the same ‘world’ which allows for these types of lines to occur behind the scenes. After decades of stopping bio terror together, it’s good to see that sort of camaraderie between the various Resident Evil characters.
Speaking of decades of stopping bio terror, this has given Barry’s little girl a chance to grow up. Daddy’s little girl basically hates daddy but still knows all his friends, coworkers, and stories. This generational character adds an interesting flavor to Resident Evil, similar to Jake in Resident Evil 6. A big part of Revelations 2 is learning how the father and daughter went astray. This leads to powerful emotional scenes and dialogues between the two pairs.
While the plot and villains are 100% straight off the old Resident Evil block, there was something off in this game compared to others in the franchise. Here it goes: compared to other Resident Evil games – the writing in Resident Evil Revelations 2 is good. There, I said it. The writers set up some excellent twists, smoke and mirror effects, and sentimental moments. While playing a Resident Evil game, I felt anxiety and emotions. While I’m not a parent, I feel like sentiment would be tenfold if I was. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of awkward / cringe worthy lines, but overall I was impressed.
At the time of this review, the entirety of the game has been released. Before today, Capcom was releasing the four episodes a week apart from each other. While episodic seems all the rage right now, a week apart is still pretty different. For the hardcore fan who wanted to blaze though the game would have had to deal with these weekly seven day hurdles. Then there is the camp who waits for a TV series to finish to ‘binge’ watch the whole thing in a weekend. If this has been you, your time to act is now. The devs claimed that the episodic release was for the sake of the story and not sales – I see it as an experiment.
Raid mode is just delightful. I’ve spent many hours playing various characters, inheriting abilities to give to others, collecting medals, and whole-sale slaughtering abominations. Every mission involves you choosing a character who levels up the more you play. The missions will involve you killing X amount of foes. If you can murder everything without using a healing item, killing the bonus monsters, and do it at the appropriate level – you’ll get a completion medal. These medals serve as progression to unlocking other characters. During this process you’ll unlock new guns and new customizable weapon parts that maximize the experience. I can’t say why this is fun or addicting – but it is. As I write this, the online multiplayer has yet to release.
If you’re reading this review looking for the rant about Capcom promising couch cooperation on Steam, you’re not going to find it. I get being upset about a company promising something and it not being there at launch – it’s messed up. Two things though. One, they fixed it pretty quickly. Two, how many people that got angry at this feature really planned on using it? I consider myself a PC gamer and I’ve never once desired to play co-op on one machine. I know my preference isn’t the voice of everyone though – I accept that. If they promised online co-op and never intended to add it, that would make me pull out my pitchfork.
Since every episode had a Claire/Moira portion and Barry/Natalia portion, the gameplay is delightfully split up. Even though the two parties often find themselves in the same spots, the areas are still grossly different making the gameplay stay fresh. A ranking system at the end of each episode and three difficulties make for pretty good replayability. Throw some Raid mode on top of that and you got tons of hours of gameplay. One complete playthrough on the normal difficulty will take roughly 10 hours. Unlocking skills and finding weapons will constantly give you the feeling of higher accomplishment. Overall, I just really enjoyed this game and it definitely lived up to my high expectations. Once online co-op comes to Raid Mode, I can foresee the hours just fading away.
With call outs to previous bad voice acting, great gameplay, character swapping, surprisingly good writing, and a whole zombie load of feels – Resident Evil: Revelations 2 lives up to the Revelations standards.