A Not So Final Metamorphosis
Capcom has me believing again. I’m not saying that Resident Evil Revelations 2 is an amazing or perfect game by any standards But this game could definitely serve as a watershed moment for the RE series overall. It’s structured digital episodic release as well as general game direction could certainly be seen as a step in the right direction for the franchise.
With the hardcopy and final digital episode release, Capcom concludes their newest foray into the well-known zombie universe. With such a different release style, this was definitely a test-bed for Capcom to test new ideas. Revelations 2 incorporates a lot of new ideas from more recent titles while bringing back quite a few design elements from older ones. While this entry may not break a lot of new ground, the blend of old and new is definitely a new feel for the franchise.
With it’s conclusion, the fourth episode brings the twisting plot of Revelations 2 to a nice close. Episode four sees Claire make her escape from the episode and her separation from Moira after a massive twist in her half. Despite the overall length of the episode, Claire’s section is disappointingly short but very enlightening in terms of story. In traditional Resident Evil fashion, you’re presented with several choices through the endgame that determine the ending. These choices are fairly obvious but I won’t spoil the fun for you. There is far less of a stress on co-op within the last episodes as earlier ones. This kind of didn’t surprise me going into this episode as they would have to answer all the questions on the story and build up to a boss fight all within the chunk of the last episode. Not to mention previous entries in the series the puzzles become far less stressed in the home stretch towards the end of the game.
The story really dovetails into Barry’s story at the end, as he’s the one that faces the true boss of the island. His final section of the game is very action oriented and a far cry from the previous sections involving the ability to sneak. Yet he gets to explore the most interesting section by far of the island; an underground mansion and secret lab buried below the mines. The sudden juxtaposition of another look-alike Spencer mansion was definitely a trip for me as a series fan. Not only does the sudden familiar feel of the previous games come back, but these enclosed environments really drive the old school feel as you become bottlenecked in hallways with zombies and monsters chasing you.
Co-op really takes a back seat in this episode, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It allows the game to neatly address the end of the story and deliver you face to face with the villain at the end. Despite the repeated lack of imagination in puzzles and environmental layout for the duration of the game, the last segments of this game really shine. Not to say that they’re inspired or even that well designed or complicated, but they definitely stand above the rest of the game as memorable.
At the close of the story, the title is firmly tied into the overall Resident Evil universe and rightly so. Not only does it dive into the why of RE6, but it directly leads into that game, insofar as much as Claire and Barry can despite not being in that title. And it may not be as layered and dependent on intrigue as much as the prior Revelation title or even other Resident Evil titles, but it feels very much at home.
Shuffling on over to raid mode (heh heh, see what I did there?) the final release of the title opens up the last two characters there. Alex Wesker and Evgeny join the raid mode cast. With that, the total becomes 15 characters to work your way through the ridiculous amount of missions. Just to go over it again, Raid mode is essentially an evolution of the Mercenaries mode from prior games infused with RPG elements, minor character customization and a massive destress on time. Each mission is essentially a chunk of a level from Revelations, Revelations 2, RE5 or RE6 with enemies spawning in your path that you need to defeat to proceed towards the goal and finish the mission. Your ability is marked by your ability to achieve certain targets while completing each mission, such as not healing or defeating EVERY enemy. That all being said, this mode is SUPER addictive. As you level your characters and find better weapons and you can more easily level enemies faster, you unlock harder missions and so forth. It feels much like an arcade game, as aiming skill and dodging effectively become a massive part of survival in the harder missions. Weapon loadout doesn’t make so much of a difference as knowing when to run, or dodge around an enemy and attempt to stagger them etc. Despite being a total departure from the survival horror roots of the series, this sheer action and skill based mode is intensely gratifying as you amass more and more completions and rank up your characters and skills. Needless to say, this is where I’ve spent the bulk of my time, and honestly, I’d pay the full $40 on multiple platforms just to have this mode from the sheer amount of fun I’ve had in it. My main man HUNK is level 100 and has been for quite some time, and I’m just now working on getting other characters there so I can 100% everything and be prepared for the online events and online co-op launching April 1st.
Speaking of online events, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is supported over at Resident Evil.net, and you can take a look at completion statistics, set an icon for yourself in Raid mode and even unlock some parts to send over to your game. It’s essentially a platform to take a look at how much of the game you’ve actually finished and be able to connect with other players and compare stats etc.
Bringing in another point, this game is both a nightmare and a godsend for completionists like myself. There are so many collectibles and challenges just in the main campaign that I don’t even want to list them all here. On top of alternate costume unlocks and opening up skills for yourself, you can also open up Countdown and Invisible mode for every episode. These are exactly what they sound like. Countdown is a timed rush to complete the episode, with a perpetual timer at the top of the screen reminding you how long you have left until you get a game over. Strewn through the episode are extra time breakables, much like the Mercenaries ones from prior titles. You can also earn some extra small time chunks by defeating enemies so it also becomes a question of how good you are at dodging around or headshotting enemies to make quick work of them. Invisible mode makes all the enemies invisible. And we’re not talking some bogus wavery, can basically see them invisible. No. Completely and utterly invisible. This is the true test of co-op, because the partner characters Natalia and Moira can see or point out the enemies still for Claire and Barry. Do yourself a favor if you want to play this game with a friend and unlock this and play it with them. On top of all this, Raid mode has literally thousands of medallions to collect by beating missions perfectly and dozens of challenges and achievements. Replayability is cranked up to 11 on this game.
Overall, I wouldn’t consider this the most impressive Resident Evil game, but it definitely feels like a step in the right direction, even if it is a faltering half step. A strange breed of old and new styles as well as a lack of imaginative design definitely drags the game down, but it’s a blast to play solo and co-op. If Capcom keeps experimenting we may well see a worthy revival of the series and what it made popular. Revelations seems to be a worthy testbed for those attempts.
Final Verdict: 4 / 5
Available on: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC (Reviewed) ; Publisher: Capcom ; Developer: Capcom ; Players: 2 ; Released: March 17, 2015 ; ESRB: M ; MSRP: $39.99 (boxed) $5.99 (per episode) $24.99 (Season Pass)