Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Xbox One Review
There is a destination but no way there
Gaming reviewSRP: £19.99At this point it's hard to classify what Resident Evil has become. Survival horror?, third person action? or (according to Capcom) "dramatic horror"? The series has changed and evolved so much in the past 19 years it now comes down to which point in the evolution of Resident Evil franchise you identify with. Do you long for the days past of the original survival horror exploration, yearn for the beginnings of the series' love affair with 3rd person action or simply enjoy the action packed thrill rides they deliver these days.
Resident Evil: Revelations was Capcom's best attempt at straddling all of the various expectations inherited from its tumultuous history, born on the 3DS and then ported to home consoles. It leaned towards the roots of survival horror whilst still flirting with all out action and managed to do so better than most of the numbered entries that came before it.
The series has changed and evolved so much in the past 14 years
Half price horror?Revelations 2 still bears many of the hallmarks of a handheld title, top of the billing is the price and the easily consumable episodic structure. The full season of episodes costs 19.99 but the episodes can be bought individually allowing you to test the waters with just episode one without committing to a full purchase. The downside to this value for money proposition is that in many ways it still looks like an up-scaled mobile title. The first Revelations begun its life on the 3DS and so the console versions were understandably under par, this sequel however seems to suffer from the same low-res textures and disappointing character models and continues the tactic of reusing well trodden environments. After the relative success of the original spin-off, a higher level of fidelity in the visuals would have been a welcome improvement.
Even though it does get repetitive, re-visiting the exact same locations in the short span of an episode, reusing environments isn't necessarily a bad thing, exploring the labyrinth-esque Queen Zenobia was reminiscent of exploring the original mansion all those years ago, and the "facility" Claire Redfield finds herself in continues to evoke those feelings. Together with Moira Burton they explore their mysterious surroundings; attempting to escape underneath the watchful gaze of the Kafka quoting "Overseer" who provides an eerie commentary on what appears to be a sadistic experiment.
Each episode follows two pairs of characters, the aforementioned Claire and Moira combo, and the rather more odd pairing of Barry Burton (Father of Moira) and Natalia Korda; a strange small child who encounters Barry during his search for his daughter and wouldn't be too out of place crawling out of a TV in The Ring.
The interaction between the characters is hit and miss, with Moira having some oddly expletive-ridden dialogue providing somewhat of a foil to Claire's "can do" attitude, meanwhile Natalia's general creepiness is offset by Barry reminding you of all the cheesy dialogue he used to have the last time you saw him.
A higher level of fidelity in the visuals would have been a welcome improvement.
Sneak or shoot?Claire and Barry provide the Resident Evil gameplay you have come to expect, handling the various pistols, shotguns and assault rifles to dispatch enemies that shuffle their way towards you throughout. Moira and Natalia are much more vulnerable as they don't equip weapons. Moira simply packs a torch which rather effectively blinds and stuns enemies and can be followed up by her melee attack, whilst Natalia has the ability to sense enemies and mark them for Barry or kill them herself with bricks she picks up around the environment.
This creates some interesting gameplay between the characters, in solo play you hop between the two, stunning enemies with Moira and then following up with Claire's arsenal of attacks, or in co-op you can sneak around marking and stealth killing enemies as Natalia, as your buddy mows them down as Barry. Both experiences work well with puzzles and encounters which rely on working together, with Natalia being able to access tight spaces to obtain items or open doors, or Moira opening a heavy gate with her crowbar while Claire fends off the horde.
The balance here is handled well, with combat and puzzles interspersed with an intriguing series of events that will easily pull you through each episode. Each section will take you a couple of hours, with the episodic presentation providing some nice natural breaks for those who enjoy shorter play sessions.
Combat and puzzles are interspersed with an intriguing series of events that will easily pull you through each episode
Keep coming backAfter the 4 episode arc, and the two bonus episodes, you can jump into the surprisingly addictive Raid mode. Here you take your character through a collection of increasingly challenging levels earning cash, XP and upgrades. It takes the combat and places you in high pressure situations where you have to manage groups of enemies effectively, whilst making use of the best weapons you currently have available.
As you level up you will unlock different areas including many environments you may recognise from previous games, through the levels you will pick up weapons and attachments which can be used to augment your load out in many different ways, from simple weapon enhancements to ammo with fire, electric and ice properties. You can spend cash on buying new weapons and use upgrade points on different skills for your character which can be equipped in one of their many slots. This system is actually in place throughout the campaign, however it forms a deeper part of the experience in Raid mode which keeps you coming back for more.
None of it is particularly new, but it all works together here to create the need to play just one more round, to unlock the next level, to get the next upgrade or to test out your new weapon. New daily missions offer much larger rewards, encouraging you to come back frequently, and bonuses for resting characters prompt you to level up several of the different characters from the series such as Leon, Albert Wesker and others which can be purchased and unlocked by completing the campaign
Although there is little replay incentive in the short campaign for anyone other than completionists, Raid mode provides a genuinely enjoyable reason to keep coming back to the combat. Capcom have walked the treacherous line of micro transactions well. They exist, but are in no way necessary, and simply just purchasing the first episode presents excellent value with a lot of gameplay on offer for a low introductory price.
It all works together here to create the need to play just one more round...
- Concise campaign
- Addictive Raid Mode
- Fantastic Value
- Budget presentation
- Could use more environments
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Xbox One ReviewOnce again the Revelations off-shoot continues to impress me; navigating the divide between old and new very well, combining some light stealth action with decent gameplay which is well paced throughout the short episodes.
It continues to take me back to the reasons I fell in love with the franchise in the first place, and to my surprise delivers on combat I enjoy coming back to. It's just a disappointment that they clearly consider this a side project not worth the AAA treatment provided to the numbered entries in the series, none of which in recent memory have been anywhere near this enjoyable.
Even without the spit and polish, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is an enjoyable package that presents excellent value for money and as such is an easy title to recommend.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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