Resident Evil Revelations 2 (PS4) Review

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is a bit of a different beast than its predecessor. It was made from the ground up for consoles this time but still lacks that top-tier polish due to originally being a download only episodic budget release. It does however live up to the “Revelations” tagline this time as it picks up on a plot thread from RE5 that would’ve otherwise gone unresolved… Let’s take a closer look!

Background:

Giant axe-wielding B.O.W. in a metal mask? Pfft. Whatever…

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 was originally released digital only through four “Episodes” (thus keeping the original Revelation’s “Previously On…” segments) across a month like a mini TV series… that’s a game. Episode 1 was released February 24th / 25th 2015, Episode 2 March 3rd / 4th, Episode 3 March 10th / 11th and Episode 4 March 17th / 18th, all for the PS3, PS4, XBOX 360, XBONE One and PC.

A physical version was then released for the same bunch of consoles on March 18th in the US and 20th everywhere else. This is how I brought the game (I’m a sucker for having actual things on my shelf) but in the end the disc holds very little and really just downloads the digital episodes. This version was later ported to the Playstation Vita in August / September that year and finally a Nintendo Switch port arrived on November 28th 2017.

Gameplay:

So… what are the odds these things will suddenly breakout of the glass tubes?

The core gameplay remains mostly unchanged from Revelations 1 and the RE games that (in timeline) surround it. So Third Person action / horror with light puzzle elements and few key fetching quests. There are some additions that seem to be heavily inspired by PS3 classic “The Last of Us”, like one character has the ability to see the monsters through walls as blurry shapes and both lead playable characters in Claire and Barry can crouch and sneak behind enemies and then stealth insta-kill them. There is even a crafting system on benches you can find along the way, though beyond makeshift molotovs and smoke bombs you just add generic upgrades like “More Damage” and “Faster Reload” to each gun, and it doesn’t alter the look of the weapons at all. I also have to mention that combining herbs just gives you more green herbs to use rather than a mixed herb item… this still confuses me greatly.

The game is split in two, Claire is paired with Barry’s daughter Moira while Barry is paired with a lost girl named Natalia, and while Claire and Barry control like normal Resi protagonists, collecting and swapping between different guns and ammo and the odd melee strike to a stunned enemy, the two other characters control completely differently. Moira refuses to use guns and so she can only do a slow melee strike with a crowbar, but she does have a flashlight that can not only stun enemies if shined in their face for long enough but can also highlight hidden items (much like the Genesis Scanner from the original Rev.), while Natalia can, as already mentioned, see the monsters through walls and can point out items in the same way Moira’s flashlight works, but she can just about manage to toss a brick at an opponent, so she’s more helpless than her older counterpart. Enemies you kill and switches you press as Claire and Moira will effect things in Barry and Natalia’s half of the story, which is fun.

In single player you can switch between the two at the press of a button, RE0 style, which is helpful given the AI isn’t the smartest. You can also play online with another person if that’s your bag. During play you can pick up jewels RE4-style (a lot of different styles going on here…) that give you “Battle Points”, which unlike the first Rev game actually serve a purpose in the main campaign as there is an upgradable skill tree with nodes that give you more damage or more health recovered via items and that kind of thing, unlocked via BP. So despite being a “side story” it has some unique gameplay mechanics and overall is really fun to play, even if each episode will only take you a couple of hours each. Thankfully this is where the return of “Raid Mode” comes in, as once again you can play through countless missions and unlock weapons and characters to play as you go. This time the levels aren’t just based on the locations seen in Rev 2, instead they span the whole history of the RE franchise.

Graphics and Sound:

Barry and Natalia take in the beautiful sunrise… and try not to look at the rusty falling-apart mine full of horrors in front of them.

The graphics are fine, the models look good and while some of the environment can be a bit… bland and undetailed I’m willing to let them off the hook given it was a digital only game that was most likely developed for the previous gen first and the ported to the PS4 & XBONE at the same time.

Sound is good, with some basic spooky music cues and strings for creepier moments and some energetic music for bigger more action-heavy moments. The voice acting is good, and I think this was the first RE game with used the work “Fuck”, and it uses it a lot! Not necessarily a good thing, but a more realistic one, anyway given the situations…

Story:

Before triumphantly walking towards his fate here Barry actually got out his magnum and said “Don’t worry, I’ve got THIS!” just like the original RE… *wipes a tear from his eye* it was so perfect…ly bad.

Claire Redfield has been working with TerraSave for some time and is happy to welcome her brother’s friend’s daughter Moira Burton to the fold. Moira has a deep dislike for guns and indeed her father after an incident when she was younger involving Barry’s unlocked gun cabinet and her younger sister. Mysterious masked men assault the TerraSave party they’re attending and kidnap them all, leading to Claire and Moira wake up on a mysterious Island where an old facility is housed that saw Russian people experimented on using a virus that mutates people at the moment they feel true fear. Claire and Moira have tags on their wrists which change colour the closer they get to deadly fear that also works as a two-way radio so “The Overseer” can taunt and torment them. They make it to a radio tower and call for help before meeting up with other TerraSave prisoners and try to escape unsuccessfully. They head to the main tower at the centre of the island to confront the Overseer…

Barry gets Moira’s message and arrives at the island by boat, almost immediately meeting a little girl named Natalia who can sense the mutations roaming the island. The two reach the same radio tower and Barry discovers the message was sent six months ago. Natalia remembers Moira and guides Barry to the last place she saw her, what are now remains of the main tower at the centre of the island. It’s here that Barry discovers the Overseer is none other than Alex Wesker, Albert’s sister we read about in RE5 but I guess Capcom had no real intention to follow up on, at least not in the mainline numbered series. Claire and Moira meet up with Neil from TerraSave who turns out to be in on the whole deal, then gets transformed, then gets killed (by Moira over-coming her fear of guns, if you want the good ending anyway…) We then see that Claire and Moira confronted Alex but she shot herself in the head before they could do anything, though if you read the documents on the way there you find out she planned and succeeded in transplanting her consciousness into Natalia via a special type of virus. The base self-destructs as all RE locations tend to do and although Claire makes it out, Moira is left trapped under rubble…

Back in the present Barry and Natalia are attacked by a weird mutated hunchbacked woman who turns out to be Alex Wesker, her body mutating moments after the gunshot wound to the head, but it’s driven her crazy. She now sees Natalia as a threat, a future her that will make her, the original, obsolete. After a bit of a chase around and some Oroboros creatures from RE5 we get the final confrontation, where Moira is revealed to be alive and had survived in the wilderness for six months, and eventually Claire appears in a helicopter to save the day via some well placed rocket blasts. Everyone goes home happy, then in the post-credits scene set during RE6 we see Natalia has awoken her Alex Wesker personality… The script is full of plenty of Barry cheesy lines and callbacks, so even if the story was pants the game would still have worked for me!

Downloadable Content:

“If you don’t like guns you’re on crowbar duty.” “Fine…” *struggles to pull a wooden plank off the door that Claire could technically help with*

I mean technically the whole game is DLC if you think about it, but there were some bonus scenarios and extra Raid Mode content added later. The two scenarios are “Little Miss”, which features Natalia in between the Claire/Moira and Barry parts of the story, and “The Struggle”, which is set during the same time frame but focuses on Moira surviving rather than Natalia.

Thoughts Now:

These creatures are invisible until you shoot them. A fun trick!

Although it was released a whopping six years ago (?!) it was still released close enough that a “then and now” seems a bit pointless. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is a fun game, with decent controls, some good gameplay tweaks and a fun enough story. The Raid Mode is good for a laugh as well and kept me invested long past the admittedly quite short main campaign. Honestly better than RE6 that in-game-timeline-wise comes after it, and up there with the best of the third person action RE games.

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