As a fan of the original Resident Evil: Revelations, I came into Resident Evil: Revelations 2 with high hopes. In my option, the original Revelations is the best Resident Evil title we've had in the last few years. Instead of a full release like the previous Revelations, the sequel has been broken into episodes, the first of which is titled "Penal Colony."
As the title suggests, the main environment of Episode 1 is a freaky old prison. The environments do their job of taking a cliché scenario and adding Resident Evil elements to it. The game adds lairs of questionably possible traps and puzzles while sprinkling a fair share of bazaar and grotesque. The environments are true to the previous Revelations game – mostly narrow areas with quasi backtracking and shortcuts. Many of the situations you find the characters in are predictable. Like, if I asked you to write down five things you’d expect to happen in a prison in a Resident Evil game, I’m sure you’d get a few right.
This episode is broken down into two different parts of a campaign. One involves Claire and Moira while the other deals with Barry and Natalia. Claire, being the most recognizable of the four character at this point, starts the party off. After waking up in a jail cell in an unknown location, she has to escape and find out where the hell she is. With a strange wrist band and cameras watching her, it’s as if the mouse is freed in a horrific zombie infested maze. In no time, she discovers Barry Burton’s grown up daughter Moira in a cell not too far off where she is soon freed to join the great journey.
Claire takes on the more soldier roll while, Moira, well, carries the flashlight. Don’t get me wrong, the flashlight is useful for finding hidden items. From a gameplay standpoint, though, the need to switch characters just to find something only one of the characters can see if sort of annoying. Towards the end, Moira learns to fight a bit though. Her deadly flashlight can blind zombies which allows for a devastating follow up melee attack. Moira also carries the crowbar which is awesome for attempting to protect her while hordes of zombies tear off Claire’s face. In all honestly, I really like the dodge + flashlight + melee combat as Moira. So far, I can’t tell if that's weird or not.
These two are being lead around by a voice in their wristband who calls herself the Observer. I assume this is the villain of the game? Let’s face it, even though he’s dead, the main villain will somehow be Wesker – I’m kidding, I think. By no means do these ladies trust the Observer. All she talks about is fear and recites poetry. So yea, like your Goth friends in late 90’s High School. Your goal is to escape, survive, and find a way off this horrific island you end up learning you’re on.
Now Barry, good ole Barry, he’s not some captured damsel in distress. He comes to the island armed to the teeth with every intention to get his little girl back. The moment he docks, he meets the creepy little girl Natalia. He tells her to stay on the boat but she refuses. Barry makes the comment that no little girl will listen to him (trouble in paradise). Thus Barry begins the ever fun escort quest with a really really young girl.
OR SO I THOUGHT! I love being wrong. While the zombies will absolutely attack Natalia, she isn’t helpless. Actually, she’s sort of awesome. The gameplay dynamic between the two is remarkably fun. When crouched, she can see zombies through walls, items through walls, and moves around nearly completely stealth. This allows you to ambush zombies and have Barry take them down with stealth instant kills. She can also toss reusable bricks that hurt enemies and trigger traps. Since she has this sort of Newt (from Aliens) thing going on, she can also travel through small ‘little girl’-sized holes to unlock doors for Barry, get key items, or to simply solve puzzles. Between the two different duos, I found myself having WAY more fun with these two than the two ladies.
As hinted towards, Barry comes to the island armed with the intention of finding Moira and rescuing her. It is also mentioned that Barry was briefed on this mission so it’s not some sort of loose cannon heroics; a team knows Burton is on this mission. Weirdly enough, the majority of the zombies Barry has to fight are easier than the ones the ladies fight – despite the fact that he is far better armed. This is balanced later by this team being introduced to more advanced zombies that take more action to defeat than simply putting bullets into until they stop moving.
This episode does end off with a… revelation as well as a cliff hanger. You need to rope players back in somehow. Even without the cliffhanger, the gameplay in Revelation was fun. Things you accomplish with one team can make the other team have an easier time. The best part, though, in both storylines the characters mention one of Barry’s legendary bad lines from the original Resident Evil. This made me both really happy and cringe at the same time. Unless you’re making fun of Barry’s writing, you’re not having a good time. Thus far, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is definitely living up to the Revelations name. I can’t wait to dive into the next episodes.