It is no secret that I am not the world’s biggest Resident Evil fan, I have tried to play ALL of the previous instalments on the PS3 and never been able to find much joy or continuity out of any of them, so it was with a fair amount of apprehension I went into Revelations 2 not expecting to enjoy or even finish it. Fortunately for me, the game is engaging and visually stunning, topped off with a creep factor that I haven’t felt since the demo of P.T. A roster of characters span across the different episodes, an engaging story mixed with a eerie and jump scares was enough to keep me glued to the season and wanting to explore all of this mysterious island.
Episode 1 starts off with two main characters Claire Redfield and Moira Burton as they are kidnapped and taken to a mysterious island and left inside prison cells, which mysteriously unlock as the game begins. With two Microsoft Fitness band looking things around their wrists, the first half of the episode is spent working your way through the building to restore power and escape the facility. The beauty of this game lies in the controls, you can simultaneously manoeuvre each character around with one being the gun wielding muscle (Claire) and the other being a torch bearing, puzzle unlocking support (Moira) The fluidity of the changes are flawless and is what made this first episode (and rest of the season) enjoyable to play. In the second half of the episode Moira’s father Barry arrives at the island and is joined by mysterious and creepy Victorian looking girl Natalia.
The cut scenes are absolutely beautiful, truly next gen quality, however some of the actual gameplay scenes, particularly when it comes to the water looked a little rough, but for a game of this size and scale it really isn’t a big issue. What did stand out was the level of blood and gore that oozes from the decapitated mutants as their gushing limbs fall to the ground. It’s not all running and shooting off limbs though, a great use of the second character is puzzle solving, and it is not as easy as point and click. I enjoyed the break up of the hack and slash mixed with having to really think and figure out what to do to unlock the next area of the level. It was a fine mix between challenging and too easy and a welcome break from mutant killing, another thing this game got right is the ammo. With most games lately it feels like there is ammo galore, and this game you really have a limited stock and it is rather hard to find more without the guide of a torch wielding assistant to help find some hidden in book cases all over the island, that being said there is still not enough to run and gun your way through the areas.
I don’t want to spoil the story so I won’t say too much more about the elements of it, but I will say that is cleverly crafted, with enough insight to warrant players investing in characters and caring about what happens to them. It is very Game Of Thrones-esque in its story telling style as the first episode is a bit of a snoozer, but is full of back story, so when things really start ramping up in the later episodes, you understand the character’s motivation and build a connection. This is something that is so rare to find in gaming storytelling these days, and I guess most don’t have a season to spread it out over, but this is one particular area where the game shines.
The creators have been very clever with their music and sound effects choices, a lot of the game is played in silence with just your footsteps as the only sounds, and the best way to play this game is with headphones on and all the lights out, it will scare the living shit out of you. So many times I jumped and screamed as I stupidly ran into a room, only to have a mutant jump directly at me from the shadows, and then when I thought I was being clever and sneak into the room, thinking all was clear, in the dark corner where I thought was nothing, out jumps a monster and rips my arm off.
This game not only impressed me, it hooked me in and made me want to keep playing to find out what happens to these characters and discover the mystery of the island, while is may sound a little formulaic, there was a lot here that surprised me and I am so glad I invested my time into this experience. Straight away this game has shot up to the near top of my top games for 2015 list and with local co-op split screen gameplay, it delivered that old school feel that I was craving as well to play at home with a friend.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available now on PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, PS Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
*Please note all images are direct screenshots from my Playstation 4 system.
Review by Alaisdair Dewar