“Invisible monsters. Oh that’s gonna be fun. I see dead people…”
Unlike the first episode, the second of episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 starts in full swing. The more vaguely named episode “Contemplation” definitely switches up the pace of both pairs of the game’s heroes, but does this harm or hinder Capcom’s new episodic venture?
Leaving the confines of the prison behind this episode sees the characters traverse through the forest to a nearby village and then the city beyond the base of the mysterious tower that looms over the island. Even with the switch up in environments, the visual feel of them still falls a bit flat. Textures look a bit washed out, they’re repeated and nothing really stands out as they all kind of blur together. Despite the flatness of the environs, the game still manages to evoke good design and the lighting effects still definitely stand out. Don’t expect any HUGE change in the scenery but it is good to get away from that prison into some new locales as you work your way through the second episode.
Claire’s half of the episode picks up immediately where the first left off, outside of the radio tower after you’ve sent out a cry for help. As you work your way forward, the mysterious Overseer that seems to pin the whole plot together continues to mock you and raise more questions. Encountering some new faces seems to run the same course as in other Resident Evil games as they are either turned or killed before you. The pacing for her section seems to have improved a lot over the first episode as you actually encounter a boss and a pretty open space for you to play around in and explore. Although the first section of her half basically boils down to a fetch quest, you may find yourself poring over every nook and cranny of the village before proceeding. Those well hidden goodies are files definitely make it worth taking the extra time to track them down. Just as things start to get heated in her half of the episode, you’re cut to an abrupt end at the foot of the tower with so many questions hanging in the air.
During Barry’s section the pacing actually slows down a little and allows you to approach each encounter using stealth or firepower. The game still allows you to walk into an area and just start blasting enemies in an effort to speed through them, but having that option to sneak around and take my time to clear an area quietly was a nice turn from the running and gunning that dominated the prison and forest areas of the last episode. A new enemy type is also introduced that demands that you take advantage of the partner AI. Invisible monsters that only Natalia can detect become one of the biggest threats as opposed to the mannequin-like Revenants that stalk you for the bulk of Barry’s story. These foes can either be seen directly as her, or you can wait for her to point them out as the AI. As this occurs, if you miss or aim down sights, she will even shout out directions if your aim is off so you can correct and eliminate the monster. Hearing “aim right” and such surprised me and I’m glad that they introduced some form of communication so you don’t become frustrated by throwing too much ammunition away trying to peg them. Barry’s continues on through a few shared areas from Claire’s section and even reveals the name of the virus being used and introduces a foe mentioned only in passing in older titles. As the cliffhanger ends and the preview rolls, you’ll have even more questions than answers, and I hope this trend continues as we roll towards the last episode in two weeks.
Over in raid mode the new episode has unlocked a few things worthy of mention. More gauntlets are open that further tie into older titles as well as some new faces show up for playable characters. Two story characters become playable but the big surprise is that Leon is back for raid mode sporting his Resident Evil 6 look. He may not looks as detailed as 6 had a much more detailed engine, but I would think that no surprise as the graphics in the rest of the game. The new environments in each gauntlet level continue to be fun and should bring some memorable moments from playing through each locale as you run through them. Despite the story in general taking off, this is where I tend to spend the bulk of my time as this mode shines more and more as it gradually unlocks through the episodic release of the game.
All in all, I’d have to say episode two is definitely kicking things up a notch for the game. The added content on top of that definitely either the season pass of the second episode a definite pickup if you’ve already got the first. Not to mention the price point for the whole thing is definitely a win for any Resident Evil fan lking to enjoy a new game. Not only does it touch roots with things that have made the series a part of pop video game culture it also caters to it’s fans. Revelations is definitely a step in the right direction overall even if it is more towards the action horror genre than survival horror.
Final Verdict: 4 / 5
Available on: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC (Reviewed) ; Publisher: Capcom ; Developer: Capcom ; Players: 2 ; Released: February 24, 2015 ; ESRB: M ; MSRP: $39.99 (boxed) $5.99 (per episode) $24.99 (Season Pass)