Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Review – Barry Serious

“Who’s the master of unlocking now?”

Posted By | On 11th, Apr. 2015 Under Article, Reviews | Follow This Author @will_borger


Resident Evil is in kind of a weird place these days. Its last numbered entry, Resident Evil 6, tried to wear all of Resident Evil’s many hats at once to please everyone, and ended up pleasing no one as a result. RE6 is widely considered one of the worst, if not the worst, game in the series to date, despite the fact that it sold extremely well. Meanwhile, Resident Evil: Revelations, a little appetizer of a release that snuck onto the 3DS and was later remastered for the consoles, earned praise for bringing the series back to its roots.

Ironically, this is a series that has been at its best when it reinvents itself – see: Resident Evil 4, the REmake, Resident Evil 5 – but failure is too expensive in the triple-A space these days, especially if the franchise in question is your golden goose, and Resident Evil is Capcom’s goose, have no doubt of that. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is the result of the current state of Resident Evil and Capcom in general – afraid to deviate too far from the norm due to the abject fear of fanbase alienation and fiscal failure, but still trying to figure out what the hell the norm is, and unsure of what it needs to be (and do) as a result.

resident evil revelations 2 ps4

"Revelations 2 is at its best when it’s throwing everything at you at once, requiring a quick switch between characters or some serious teamwork with your co-op partner.

Revelations 2 is an episodic game that drops you into two interlocking timelines, each which its own set of unique characters and mechanics. In the first, you’ll control series mainstay Claire Redfield, who now works for Terra Save, an organization dedicated to combating bio-terrorism around the globe. She and Moira Burton, daughter of everyone’s favorite creator of the Jill sandwich, Barry Burton, are attending a Terra Save function when they are kidnapped by masked assailants. When they awaken, they find themselves on an island infested by the “Afflicted” and run by the “Overseer,” a mysterious woman who watches them via cameras and tells them that the newly acquired bracelets on their wrists monitor their fear. Naturally, they have to escape, which is where you come in.

The second timeline follows Barry as he tracks Claire and Moira across the island sometime later, which means you’ll often play these levels twice, just in different ways. Barry is assisted by Natalia, an enigmatic little girl with special abilities. Natalia and Moira aren’t just there for story purposes, either. Barry and Claire may be the gun-toting badasses of the group, but their partners can still contribute in important ways. Moira has a crowbar that can be used to attack enemies and pry open doors and also has access to a flashlight, which blind enemies and find hidden items. Natalia, meanwhile, can point out items and enemy weakpoints, locate enemies behind walls, and crawl into tight spaces.

You’ll need to utilize all of these abilities, in combination with Claire and Barry’s skillset, if you want to progress. Happily, Revelations 2 is at its best when it’s throwing everything at you at once, requiring a quick switch between characters or some serious teamwork with your co-op partner. One particularly intense sequence sees you rapidly switching between Barry and Natalia to combat invisible enemies. Natalia can see them, but has no way of attacking them, while Barry can’t see them at all. It’s a frantic section, requiring quick switching, a good memory, and the ability to listen to Natalia’s instructions while playing Barry.

resident evil revelations 2 ps4

"Most of the time, Revelations 2 is standard issue Resident Evil. You’ll spend much of your time shooting as Claire or Barry, only switching back to Natalia or Moira when the level requires it or you want to go item hunting.

Another particularly great section occurs in the third episode, where Claire and Moira must work against the clock to escape from a burning building. You’ll have to switch between the characters and use each one to clear a path for the other to advance. The wrinkle is that Moira’s croswbar isn’t particularly effective in most combat situations, which means you’ll need to either dodge past the enemies you’ll encounter or switch to Claire and fill them full of holes.

How you handle situations as Moira and Claire also determines how things will play out later on with Barry and Natalia. Killing certain enemies leaves traps behind that you’ll have to look out for next time, and how you handle parts of the environment as Claire and Moira may come back to bite (or help) you later on as Natalia. It’s one of the few things, along with the segmented timelines, that justifies Revelations 2’s nature as an episodic game.

Unfortunately, most of these sections are canned, so what you do doesn’t really matter, which removes a large chunk of the mechanic’s satisfaction. In addition, the best sections that require you to use both characters are few and far between. Most of the time, Revelations 2 is standard issue Resident Evil. You’ll spend much of your time shooting as Claire or Barry, only switching back to Natalia or Moira when the level requires it or you want to go item hunting. They simply don’t have the skillset to be entertaining for long periods of time, which probably puts a damper on the game’s co-op mode, though I wasn’t able to test that personally, as Revelations 2’s co-op is split-screen only.

resident_evil_revelations_2_episode 2

"Put another way, you’ve played this game before. You gone through these corridors, fought these enemies, collected these items, solved these puzzles. It’s all still fun, it’s just… samey.

It’s not that big of a deal if you’re playing alone, however, as Barry and Claire are quite fun to play, and their sections play quite differently. You’ll have to scavenge for everything as Claire, and you start out with a fairly paltry assortment of weapons that gets significantly better over time. It makes sense: she was kidnapped, after all. Barry, on the other hand, knows what he’s getting into, and comes packing a small arsenal, which means that his sections are the more action-packed of the two, and usually not nearly as long. This offers a nice change of pace and makes the first and second halves of each episode pretty different, and what you prefer will largely come down to how you like to play.

Alas, even with this variety built-in, much of Revelations 2 is familiar – perhaps too familiar. Put another way, you’ve played this game before. You gone through these corridors, fought these enemies, collected these items, solved these puzzles. It’s all still fun, it’s just… samey. And that can grate on you after a while. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great segments – those listed above, as well as the boss fight at the end of Claire’s half of episode 3 are particular standouts – but the highs only serve to make the lows feel that much deeper, and you’ll wonder why the rest of the game just doesn’t have the panache of those sections.

This is likely due to Revelations 2’s status as a budget title, which is visually obvious almost immediately. That’s not to say that Revelations 2 is an ugly game, because it’s not. It is, however, one that’s clearly visually constrained. Thankfully, the sound design is still very well done, though I wish weapons had a little more pop to them.

Resident Evil Revelations 2

" There’s also Raid mode, which is playable either solo or in co-op, and tasks you with clearing out a huge number of enemies, without healing yourself, and scores you based on how well you did. The reward? More weapons, upgrades, and characters, of course.

What the game lacks in production values, it makes up for in humor. Resident Evil still probably takes itself too seriously for its own good, but the Terra Save commercial at the beginning of the first episode makes it clear that it hasn’t forgotten its roots as a ridiculous game based on nonsense. “We are the unflinching mop that sops up the evils of bio-terrorism and chemical warfare,” it declares, before proudly signing off with “Because ‘terr-‘ doesn’t have to end in ‘-rist!’” If that doesn’t give you some idea of what kind of humor Revelations 2 is going for (and doesn’t make you chuckle just a little bit), then I don’t know what to do for you. Hell, Barry even references his now-infamous “master of unlocking by yelling “Who’s the master of unlocking now?” after he “unlocks” a padlocked gate with a crane.

The campaign isn’t the only thing Revelations 2 offers, either. There’s also Raid mode, which is playable either solo or in co-op, and tasks you with clearing out a huge number of enemies, without healing yourself, and scores you based on how well you did. The reward? More weapons, upgrades, and characters, of course. There’s a heck of a lot to do and unlock here – over 150 missions in all – and it’s all varied enough, from battle arenas to boss rushes, to stay entertaining long after the main game has worn out its welcome.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 suffers from a few too many little issues and the feeling of “I’ve been here before” to be a truly great game, but it is a very, very good one. Capcom’s clearly still trying to iron out the kinks of what works and what doesn’t in modern day Resident Evil, but they’re on the right track. Resident Evil: Revelations 2, with all of its issues and budget visual design, is proof of that. Capcom’s golden goose may not be completely back on track yet, but it’s clearly got an idea of where it wants to go. And more importantly, it’s got Barry Burton back to unlock any gates that get in the way.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.

THE GOOD

Raid mode. The sections that require you to use both characters in intense circumstances. Core action is solid. What you do as Claire impacts what you play as Barry.

THE BAD

Support characters don’t have the skillset to make playing them enjoyable for long periods. Budget visual design. A lot of these sections feel a little too familiar. Still takes itself too seriously.

Final Verdict

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 suffers from a few too many little issues and the feeling of “I’ve been here before” to be a truly great game, but it is a very, very good one. Capcom’s clearly still trying to iron out the kinks of what works and what doesn’t in modern day Resident Evil, but they’re on the right track. Resident Evil: Revelations 2, with all of its issues and budget visual design, is proof of that. Capcom’s golden goose may not be completely back on track yet, but it’s clearly got an idea of where it wants to go. And more importantly, it’s got Barry Burton back to unlock any gates that get in the way.

A copy of this game was provided by developer/publisher for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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