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Resident Evil Revelations 2 is set between Resident Evil 5 and 6 and was released by Capcom in an episodic format starting February 24th of this year before releasing as a full physical copy on March 18th. This review is for the retail version, which is important to keep in mind because I know that the physical copy has some stuff that the vanilla digital version doesn’t.
Revelations starts off with Claire Redfield and Moira Burton, who are at a party for the biohazard prevention agency known as Terra Save when they are kidnapped by masked dudes in helicopters. They wake up in a sort of prison slash experimental facility that is on an island somewhere near Russia. When they try to escape they realize that the weird bracelets attached to their arms not only act as a tracker for the mysterious person known as the Overseer, but it also relays their conversations and bio signs.
They escape the facility long enough to run to a nearby radio tower and send out a distress call, which is received by Terra Save months later. 6 months, actually. Barry Burton then sets out to rescue his little girl and arrives at the island in time to meet Natalia, who is a mysterious little girl with the supernatural ability to see the infected through walls and across great distances.
The series alternates between both of the pairs’ stories.
For the first time in a long time, I got to play a video game where the characters felt real. They didn’t feel like video game characters, they felt like people that were scared and angry. While this partially had to do with the excellent voice acting – seriously the girl that voiced Natalia deserves one hell of an award –most of it had to do with the script writing. So props for that!
This also was the first Resident Evil game I could think of that wasn’t chock-full of plot conveniences. I’m not saying it doesn’t have them because, well, that would be a damn lie, but they were very few and far in between. The only one that even was in your face was in the very beginning when the door you needed to get through opened after you interacted with the dead body.
I’m also glad that Capcom went back to using journals to tell the background story instead of having the bad guys explain everything for you. I don’t know about you guys but it just feels a lot more personal to the individuals involved in the story to hear their stories from their perspectives. I know a lot more about what went on before our heroes arrived in this game than I do about a lot of the other new ones.
Another big plus was the option of multiple endings, something I didn’t know about until I started writing this review. The option to change the story doesn’t even actually make itself known, you just had to guess and take the plunge. The endings, though, were totally different so I really suggest going back to get both if you play this – I mean, they weren’t even close to being the same. It was great.
One thing I don’t get is how the virus affected the victims. Some of the natives would be like normal zombies where they ran at you and chomped down on your shoulder while others were fast-paced mutated guys that beat the crap out of you with a giant wrench. Even after reading all of the notes and diaries left behind I still don’t really understand this.
Also, how did Natalia know that Moira had died? She wasn’t there and she never even spoke to the girls once she was taken away from them after the helicopter crash. Alex brought up Moira’s death later, which made me wonder why Alex didn’t know that Moira had actually lived. The bracelets transmitted their conversations and life signs, meaning Alex should have known that Moira was still alive. But she kept telling Barry that his daughter was dead. This was a huge gaping plot hole that never was filled.
There is one thing I want to say, and that is holy SHIT Natalia’s bonus mission is dark. Not only was Lottie talking about drowning herself or discussing how many dead bodies there were along the way, but those lines weren’t even in the original Japanese version! They were added for the dub! Damn, Capcom.
This was the hardest area for me to put on a scale because I wasn’t sure if the pros outweighed the cons. I mean, I thought it was great that you don’t have to purchase weapons or healing items. That was something that really annoyed the shit out of me when I was playing past Resident Evil games because I shouldn’t have to buy a better gun for the story. Instead, you now find them as the game progresses as well as the weapon upgrades. You can customize your guns and weapon loadouts for no charge at the workbenches.
Instead, you get battle points for defeating enemies or doing various challenges such as finding 6 hidden items as Natalia or performing four sneak attacks. Those battle points are used to upgrade your skills – you can reduce the amount of time it takes to use a green herb, improve Natalia’s vision, make Moira’s crowbar more effective, increase your knife attack power and so on. Because of this there are certain moves you need to unlock before you can use them such as using a follow up attack on a stunned enemy, but the moves are so high up on the list that you can quickly unlock them.
In terms of unlocks you can get just by beating the game or performing special challenges, the game fools you! It tells you that you unlocked it, but all that means is that you unlocked the ability to buy it with your battle points. Sort of like how you had to buy alternate costumes and lenses with your spirit points in Fatal Frame. It was bullshit.
Back to the skill tree, though, I appreciated how you can unlock the ability for Claire and Barry to use their guns when they’re in AI mode. This doesn’t deplete the ammo reserves, so that made the feature that much better.
In terms of the usefulness of the AIs in general… Well, I think we can all say that Moira was pretty much a useless kid that just dragged Claire down. She never healed me and she sucked in combat even with the upgrades. For the most part she would just stand there. Natalia, however, was a total badass and she was easily my favorite character in the game. I mean this was a 9 year old little girl that would pick up bricks and throw them at enemies’ faces to stun them, and she could perform a follow up with a nearby brick! She was so cool! As for Claire and Barry, they aimed well and weren’t constantly getting in the way but that could have been said for all of them.
What I really hated about the game though was how it pushed you to play as the companion. With Claire, you needed Moira to focus her flashlight on the little glinting hidden items so you could “See,” them and pick them up. But AI Moira doesn’t do that! So if you wanted to pick up a hidden item you had to switch over to Moira, and it wasn’t like Moira had any usefulness beyond that so you immediately switched back.
When you’re playing as Barry, though, you can’t even see the glint! I am not joking. If you want to even see the hidden items you need to play as Natalia so she can see them and point them out. Natalia also can see the monsters from behind walls and such so you would typically play with her anyways when you could just for convenience purposes, but it’s just a semantic thing with me. It was annoying as hell to have to play as the companion that doesn’t use real weapons.
That’s kind of another thing I want to comment on. Split screen is really, really terrible. It tries to put the game in a cool cinematic view, I guess, by putting the screens off to the sides of each other but all that does is make the screen a lot smaller. And if you’re playing as Natalia or Moira then you kind of got shafted because you can’t really do anything other than run around and collect items. Natalia can at least stun enemies with her bricks if you aim it right, but Moira just kind of swings around her crowbar and aiming isn’t even a concept that crossed her mind. So you have Player 1 running around kicking monster butt while Player 2 just kinda carries their stuff.
I’m also not a huge fan of how it zips you into another room or to where the other player is if someone opens a door or presses, “A,” at the parts where one character lifts the other character up. Resident Evil 5 and 6 definitely had it down right when you just got an alert on your screen saying your companion was waiting for you and by just forcing you to go to wherever your companion is could make you miss out on some items.
In terms of gameplay after the main campaign, there are 2 bonus missions and raid mode. Little Miss, the bonus mission about Natalia, is just one giant stealth mission. That sounds really unappealing at first but the story that goes along with it is really good and the overall gameplay actually isn’t bad. My only complaint is how you can’t run and hide from enemies when they see you. Once they see you, Natalia will freeze and then it’s a game over. That’s really annoying. But I liked the back and forth banter between Natalia and Dark Natalia, and I liked how the game sort of showed you the differences between her normal self and her plot-twisty self that I’m not going to tell you about because spoiling a game is something only douchebags do.
The other bonus mission I’m not going to go too in depth about because, again, spoilers, but I liked the direction it took. I enjoyed how it shows you the survival aspect of living on the island. Another plus was how you needed to get as many supplies as you could because they were few and far in between, and you had to make that shit last. What I really hated though was the stupid stealth mission it forced on you in the third chapter. That bugged the crap out of me, because there was no reason you should have to hide from enemies if you can just shoot them and take them out.
Speaking of bugs, the toolbox doesn’t spawn in raid mode. I don’t know why but no matter how I try to reload raid mode, but the toolbox refuses to show up where the game says it should. Area keys bug out, too. Sometimes I’ll defeat all of the enemies but the area key won’t spawn so I can’t get out, or the final enemy will drop an area key to literally nothing.
Oh, yeah, Raid Mode is like mercenaries but you aren’t on a timer and there are some enemies that have different effects like being extra strong or really fast. There are unlocks in the mode such as weapon customizations and extra playable characters, but you have to actually buy EVERYTHING. In the game you get gold that is dropped by enemies, and you have to buy the next mission, better guns, gun upgrades… It’s essentially the total opposite of the main campaign.
Raid mode was kind of a mess.
I know if sounds like I’m complaining about a lot, but this was actually a really fun game to play that has a ton of replay value. It’s also really long and not annoyingly short like a lot of games tend to be these days. I think, in total, it took me about eleven hours to get through the main campaign without touching the bonus missions. I just started playing a week ago and I’m already on my second playthrough, which happens to be co-op with my husband. Who doesn’t really understand the concept of co-op.
I don’t like ultra realistic graphics. They weird me out. Thankfully, Revelations 2 doesn’t have that. The best game to compare it to is the Resident Evil 4 HD remake crossed with Resident Evil 6. There’s a smooth realism to the characters that doesn’t try to push the boundaries of next gen systems but isn’t blocky and awkward.
However, there were noticeable frame rate drops during cutscenes. In at least half of the cinematics it felt kind of sluggish and choppy for a couple seconds or the entire scene. I’ve heard the same thing from a couple other people so I know it’s not just my system, which is disappointing. Capcom has the budget to make high quality scenes at 60 frames a second and while I’m not entirely on board with the 60 frames a second 1080p games because I don’t even see much a difference, I’m saying that they should be able to make a cutscene smooth at this resolution.
Also, this isn’t so much an issue with game production as it is my own personal thoughts on something. Why the hell has Umbrella not been able to create B.O.W.s that don’t look like an amalgamation of slime and blobs. If you pay attention, the original T and G viruses made more effective weapons than anything that has come from the series since. Why? Why is it that 20 years have passed since the Tyrant and Hunters were introduced but the BOWs have only devolved?
All in all, this was a very fun game for me to play. There were problems and I’m not going to pretend like some of them didn’t get under my skin, especially the bit where the game tries to force you to play as the companion. But in a general sense I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent playing; the story was good, the gameplay was rewarding and there’s enough replay value to where I could see myself playing through this two or three more times within the forseeable future. My husband and I are cheevo hunters so we at least need to play through this on professional.
Aaaanyways those are my thoughts on Resident Evil Revelations 2. Have you played it? Are you going to play it? Maybe you haven’t touched a Resident Evil game in your life. Let me know in the comments below. Otherwise, happy unbirthday and I will see you guys later. Bye!