Title: Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Platform: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
MSRP: $24.99 Season Pass
This game is just what I wanted from Resident Evil. I’ve never been too big of a fan of the old tank control games with pre-rendered backgrounds – this may be blasphemous to those who worship the original RE1 and hate the newer games – and Resident Evil 4 is one of my top ten games of all time. While I agree that RE5 and especially RE6 took the series a little bit too far in the action direction, they were still fun games that I enjoyed playing. But RE: Revelations 2, dare I say it…this one comes close to taking over RE4 as my favorite Resident Evil (but not quite).
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is an episodic game, meaning that the release schedule is spread out in four separate episodes that can be purchased in successive weeks. On the one hand, I like this style, as it allows players to try out the first episode for a cheap price and decide if they want to play the game. On the other hand, as someone who knew they wanted to play the game, I found it a little frustrating to have to wait a week for each new episode. Regardless whether you like it or not, it’s a value game, as each episode was priced a a lean $6.
As for the game itself, it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m still getting used to owning a PS4, and games like this just continue to amaze me. Maybe there are things here and there that aren’t perfect (Claire’s facial features appear a little blocky to me), but overall it looks fantastic. The gameplay is rendered with a silky smooth frame rate that really makes you feel like you’re part of the game. The story maintains an interesting arch that had me genuinely interested in seeing where it would go, and the presentation and cohesion flow well.
It has the perfect mix of other qualities that I enjoy in a RE game. It has survival components, as ammo is scarce at times, and the eerie opening atmosphere gives way to occasional jump scares in just the right proportion. Some people roll their eyes at jump scares, but I feel they’re great so long as they’re not overused. There are some action scenes, and you do need to come out guns blazing occasionally, but never anything too excessive. It’s just enough for me to sink my teeth in without losing the illusion of the environment.
The core gameplay mechanics work very well. Switching between weapons is fast and fluid, and I never felt like quirky controls caused me to fail. The game is linear and doesn’t have a large variety of enemies, but that’s ok because they only appear in limited bursts so that they don’t get old. That being said, I would have appreciated a deeper variety of monsters to work with. The game places you behind series favorites’ Claire Redfield and Barry Burton in equal proportions – half of each episode are spent behind each character. Additionally, Claire works alongside Moira, Barry’s daughter, and Barry works alongside Natalia, a strange little girl you find early on when you arrive on the island, and you can switch between Claire/Moira and Barry/Natalia for each of their respective segments. For the most part you’ll play as Claire and Barry, as the other two characters are borderline useless. However, they do have a few helpful qualities (Moira can shine her flashlight in enemy eyes and blind them, and Natalia can stun enemies by throwing a brick at them; both enemies can point at objects and help you find otherwise undiscoverable items), which is just enough to make it occasionally valuable to play as them. I appreciate the system of having one main character in charge of run and gun, and the other being fairly helpless but still utilized at various times.
There are some significant issues, however. I’m not sure why, but it seems like poor voice acting is mandatory in RE games. Like, really, really bad VA. Not to mention that they voice actors aren’t being given much to work with, as the writing is atrocious. Are they trying to keep things cheesy in this way? Is that something they were going for? Maybe; I’ve heard some people remark that it’s a charm of the series, and that it’s utilized in that way to continue the tradition. Personally, I really don’t understand how they could spend so much time making a beautiful, fun, and engaging game without spending a few extra minutes writing some decent narrative. It’s really bad and takes me out of the game.
There are expected occasional hiccups where you’re just supposed to suspend your disbelief, but nothing too egregious. However, this also takes me out of the illusion a bit, as it’s ridiculous to think that Barry’s just going to drag this creepy weird little girl around while he goes and fights monsters (not that the rest isn’t ridiculous as well, but, well, less ridiculous at least). And again, the voice acting between the two is just so, so terrible: As they’re getting attacked, Barry mutters “Time to bust out the beer and nachos.” Really?
But those are really my only problems with this game. In addition to the excellent main campaign, the game offers a fun “Raid” mode which is basically a setting where you need to kill X (usually around 30) numbers of enemies in a given area, which gives those looking for an action game a chance to flex their muscles and let loose. It’s an excellent addition that provides a variety of customization options and daily missions that will keep me coming back for a long time.
I really enjoyed this game. It might fall short of RE4’s quality, but that’s a pretty high bar to set, especially considering this is a budget title. Frankly, I’m shocked at the value of all that you get for the price, especially including the replayability of Raid mode. I would have liked the campaign to be a little longer, and for the voice acting/story to be a bit more polished, but those are minor gripes in the overall scheme of things. RE:R2 is everything I want from a RE game…horrendous writing and voice acting aside.