Resident Evil Revelations 2 Review
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a downloadable title being released over four weeks, so Iíve only completed three of the gameís four episodes. If, somehow, the gameís final act ends up being so monumentally fantastic that it renders this review void, Iíll be sure to update accordingly.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is the umpteenth installment of The Only Franchise Making Capcom Money Anymore ô. As such, the teat of this cow has been milked well past the natural story conclusion of RE5, in which the series that began as a horror mystery ended with the main antagonist getting super powers and making his last stand in a volcano. After that, youíd think all protagonists involved would want to do something quieter like stacking pants at the mall. But alas, Capcom needs money, so everyone got jobs working for various anti-bioterror groups around the world. Goddamnit, does anyone else remember when this fucking series was about small-town cops carefully creeping through spooky mansions and zombie-infested police stations?
Anyway, this game was irritating to judge. Most games fall pretty cleanly on a spectrum of fun or shittiness (the ďfun-shitĒ spectrum, if you will). More to the point, most games reveal which end they tend toward pretty early on and stick with it until the end. Revelations 2 doesnít quite do that. For every legitimately fun idea the game has, thereís a counterbalance that demonstrates just why this thing was a $25 experiment instead of a typical $60 retail product.
Iíll start with the less than stellar parts, because Revelations 2 does the same: Episode one is the least enjoyable of the three episodes released so far, and unless next weekís finale takes a massive shit in the bed, I think itís safe to say the first installment of this game is the weakest. A lot of that has to do with the disappointment inherent to learning what Revelations 2 has in store for the player.
Setting: The Resident Evil series has had some fantastic settings. The first gameís mansion is one of the greatest settings in gaming history. Everything about that house is interesting, and it constantly threw new discoveries at you, up to and including a giant underground research lab beneath the grounds. Even the first Revelations game was partially placed in a fun locale (infected on a cruise ship). Revelations 2 does away with that in favor of generic drab buildings and outdoor areas – three episodes in, thereís been nothing striking or memorable about any of the environments whatsoever.
Level Design: The other thing that Resident Evil has always had on its side is the way its settings incorporate great level design. This is especially apparent in the first few games, before the series began to transition toward an action-based focus. Before the shift, Resident Evilís structure relied mostly on survival while searching for various keys and doodads to solve puzzles required to advance. This meant a tighter design, as developers had to constantly be aware of the playerís next objective and all the paths he or she could take to reach it. Revelations 2 does have a few puzzles — some of them are even good! — but theyíre hiccups in what seems to be a never-ending cycle of moving forward in boring boxy areas and popping enemies.
Barry Burtonís Goddamn Daughter: This information isnít a spoiler, because the game throws it at you in the opening cutscene. One of Revelations 2ís playable characters is Moira Burton, the daughter of Barry Burton. Barry was the bearded badass first introduced in Resident Evil 1. His weapon of choice was a giant goddamn magnum, which he used to blow away the gameís very first zombie as it chased you from the dining room hallway. Given the scarcity of magnum ammo the game provides once the player gets ahold of the gun, you or I would never spare a magnum bullet on a vanilla zombie, let alone the three Barry uses.
Three magnum shots, one zombie. That’s a†man.
Some might say Barryís wasteful. I say thatís bullshit: The player might spend half the game plinking tiny bullets into zombies, praying they donít get back up or bite at the ankle when passed. Barry doesnít have time for that preschool nonsense: In the Book of Barry Burton, overkill is the only way to kill.
That legacy of radness didnít pass down to Barryís daughter, unfortunately. Moira sucks. Goddamn, Capcom, if I wanted to hang out with an obnoxious teenage girl, Iíd go to the mall and wait to get arrested. From the very first scene, Moira grates. She refuses to use guns, and sheís always complaining, dropping Actual Lines Of Resident Evil Revelations 2 Dialogue like ďWhat in a moist barrel of fucks is going on?Ē and ďGo jump on a dildo.Ē Terrible dialogue in a Resident Evil game is nothing new, to be sure. Indeed, Revelations 2 falls flat on its face in a few blatant callback attempts (ďJill sandwichesĒ are mentioned). Still, Moira Burton reaches new levels of awful.
Graphics: Not only are the settings bland, but so are the graphics. Revelations 2 is a cross-gen title, so youíre looking at an upscaled version of a PS3/360 game to begin with. But this thing is ugly, even by those standards. When the price of this latest Resident Evil got cut down to less than half the usual retail for new games, it appears as if the production budget went right along with it. Favorite moment? Hiding in foliage textures with no depth whatsoever — they look to be cut out of a single sheet of paper.
Microtransactions: The gameís alternate raid mode is pretty great (see below). Itís also flooded with free-to-play style microtransactions, because god fucking forbid a game just ship for a given price and be done with it.
No Tofu: While weíre on the topic, if youíre going to include microtransactions in raid mode, including alternate characters and costumes, why the HELL wouldnít you include Tofu, the best Resident Evil character of all time? No love for Tofu. ūüôĀ
Who cries for Tofu? ūüôĀ
Raid Mode: The hidden silver lining in Revelations 2 is a sort of zombie blasting RPG in which youíre constantly finding new loot, unlocking new characters and abilities, and upgrading weapons. If you like Destiny/Borderlands style shooting & looting, raid mode just about makes up for the slog of a campaign. (For Revelations 3, they should just come up with a story framework for raid mode and be done with it.)
Setup: As awful and bloated as the story to Resident Evil has gotten since (at least) the fifth game, Revelations 2 doesnít have a bad premise. Itís an adequate excuse to make less frequently seen favorites into playable characters. Too bad itís executed with the skill of a TV series thatís gone on several seasons too long.
Mechanics: The shooting isnít bad, and the character switching adds a layer of tactical thinking (or coop fun with a second player) to whatís an otherwise straightforward game of blast-the-zombie. The game design just doesnít make the most of any of it.
Episodic Structure: I actually like the release schedule for Revelations 2. Playing this game in short bursts makes it seem a bit better than it would if I had all ~8-10 hours of it laid out in front of me at once.
It Isnít Resident Evil 6: I can confirm that Resident Evil Revelations 2 is not Resident Evil 6, so despite whatever problems this game has, it could definitely be worse.
Itís an alright distraction that is priced well enough for what it is. If youíre still a mark for Resident Evil despite Capcomís continued insistence on turning every franchise they own to hot garbage, $25 isnít a bad price of entry. (Alternatively, if you can, I recommend renting the physical version next week.) Just be aware youíre absolutely getting the direct to DVD spinoff of the series, not its next major installment.
Day One, Buy Cheap, Rent or Pass?: Rent (physical version only)
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC