Proving there is still life in this zombie slaying franchise
Resident Evil Revelations 2 follows the side-stories of popular characters from Capcom's famous zombie series. The second of these spin-off titles is notable for two reasons, it brings back two of the franchises less followed cast members and it is broken into digestible chunks that are to be released weekly.
Fight for your freedom
For me, the most interesting aspect of RE Revelations 2 is that it brings back Barry Burton. A major player in the first game, this member of the S.T.A.R.S police unit disappeared from the subsequent titles (bar a brief appearance in the largely forgotten Game Boy game Resident Evil Gaiden). Now he has returned to try to find his daughter on a creepy monster infested island.
He is not alone however, as there are a total of four playable characters in all. Occupying one side of the story are Barry and a mysterious young girl named Natalia. The other half of the tale takes place 6 months prior to these events, and follows Clare Redfield (RE2 and RE: Code Veronica) and Barry’s daughter Moira.
Continuing the more action focused format that the franchise shifted to during RE4, Revelations 2 is quite a linear experience. Each pair of characters move from one horrifying environment to the next, with a focus on dispatching any undead that cross their path with tight over the shoulder shooting.
You start with Clare and Moira as they awake in a dismal, dilapidated prison. It is an oppressive, intimidating environment for them to fight through as they try to escape and discover the truth behind the facility in which they are trapped with shambling half dead creatures. Once free they send an SOS that attracts Barry, who arrives prepared to fight but not to meet Natalia.
There is a definite difference in tone between the two halves of the story. Despite visiting roughly the same areas, the time that has elapsed between the cry for help and Barry’s arrival have seen the undead begin to decompose and become skeletal - a subtle effect that reveals elements of the story before they are explicitly revealed and stops the backtracking just feeling like filler.
Coming on a rescue mission, Barry is also better equipped. While Clare and Moira must scavenge for everything - some of which can only be discovered by frustratingly scouring the landscape with Moira's flashlight - the protective father arrives with three guns and a supply of ammo. This makes the game even more action focused – with little or no pretense of resource scarcity as Barry shanks and shoots all in his path.
The episodic nature of the game is fantastic. While after the last part is out you will be able to play through every part in a single go, the weekly schedule for those who get in at the start is perfectly paced. Unlike most episodic series that rely on a monthly drip feed, the speed of Revelations 2’s releases means you still have the tension of the last part fresh in your mind. More than this, however, this timetable ensures you cannot over gorge on a game that could easily become repetitive. True, the trade-off is that there is no time for the developers to address any arising issues, but it is a great way to portion up the content.
Good, but no Revelation
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a smaller game than many recent installments in the franchise, but it is well-paced and comes close to the earlier games’ claustrophobic feel and tone. Certainly fans get more from this package, with its constant references to earlier titles, but even as a standalone game this offers a good dose of moody, zombie-killing action.