A decidedly slow pace and a strong focus on puzzles might not have been the best design choices, making Revelations 2 an entertaining but unremarkable Resident Evil game.
Resident Evil: Revelations didn’t reinvent the franchise in any meaningful way, but it did reinvigorate it. Revelations 2 uses the same episodic structure and presents a completely new plot with returning and new characters, but a decidedly slow pace and a strong focus on puzzles might not have been the best design choices, making this an entertaining but unremarkable Resident Evil game.
In Resident Evil: Revelations 2, you assume the role of several characters. Claire Redfield and her workmate and best friend Moira are chatting in a cocktail party at work when they are kidnapped by an elite force. They wake up in an island with bracelets on their wrists and Bio Organic Weapons attacking them. At the same time, Barry (“You were almost a Jill Sandwich”, Barry) is trying to desperately find his daughter Moira when he runs into a mysterious little girl called Natalia who can sense BOWs.
As in previous Resident Evil: Revelations, there are two set of characters, but this time around, you can control all of them. First, there’s Claire Redfield who can use a number of weapons and her friend Moira can blind enemies with her flashlight, as well as open chests. Second, there’s Barry who can also use powerful weapons and he’s joined by a mysterious girl called Natalia who can sense invisible enemies and point their weaknesses, crawl in small places and open locked chests and boxes. Although I enjoyed the return of fan-favorite characters like Claire and Barry, the new ones feel one-dimensional and plain, especially Moire. She always has this bad attitude and keeps swearing in ways that look forced and lazy. As you can imagine, part of the game involves switching characters to make use of their special abilities and solve the light puzzles that punctuate your adventure.
Since you can only control one character at a time, the other one is controlled by the AI and it can behave erratically at times, wasting previous healing items or ammunition. An important part of the game is figuring out how to complete the task at hand with limited resources, so when the artificial intelligence carelessly wastes them, refuses to attack enemies or follow you, frustration ensues. Resources are limited and while I never ran into moments where I didn’t have any ammunition or healing items, they were definitely scarce. This makes those moments extra tense and contributes to building a tense atmosphere.
Like in the previous Revelations, weapon modifications make a return, allowing you to improve their basic statistics. There are also throwable items like molotov cocktails, grenades, smoke bombs and so on. For the first time, you have access to a skill tree where you can spend battle points to improve the abilities of the different characters. Although I spent some time thinking about the best way to spend my hard-earned BPs, the inclusion of a skill tree feels forced and inconsequential. In other words, it’s great to have some abilities, but I never felt like they had impact on the game. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that while the evasion mechanic might be far from perfect, but has improved substantially from the first game.
Apart from the single-player, there’s a raid mode which makes a return from the first Revelations. In this mission-based mode, you can customize the loadout and look of your character and try to defeat waves of undead as fast as you can. As you progress, you unlock medallions, in-game achievements, weapons and so on. It’s worth mentioning that both the campaign and Raid Mode are playable via split-screen, so if you have somebody to play locally, you can choose this option. Additionally, there’s online coop for Raid Mode (all the online components were added later as part of a title update,) but there was no one playing online when I tried it.
Once you complete the main campaign, there are two bonus episodes where you play as secondary characters Moira and Natalia and these chapters explain what happened to them. Although these episodes shed some light into these characters, they are extremely simplistic in terms of structure: missions usually involve defeating x number of zombies, kill animals or simply use stealth. Overall, these missions are incredibly uninspired and other than playing to see what happened to these characters, there’s no reason to check them out.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 tries to recapture the essence and glory of classic Resident Evil games while providing something fresh and sadly, the game doesn’t achieve that. The main problem with Revelations 2 is that the episodic structure ultimately hurts the experience, since some episodes are considerably weaker than others and on top of that, there’s backtracking, a weak story and some overused enemies. Given how much enjoyed the campaign from the first Revelations, I wasn’t expecting raid and coop mode to be the most enjoyable parts of the game, but that’s certainly the case. So if you have somebody to play with locally or online, Revelations 2 offers some entertaining moments, even if the single-player campaign isn’t as memorable as you’d want.