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Resident Evil Revelations 2

Score: 95%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Adventure/ Action/ Survival Horror

Graphics & Sound:

Resident Evil Revelations 2 picks up somewhere after the events of RE5 and before the events of RE6. Although it may not be a full RE game, it feels like one in a lot of ways.

RE Revelations 2 pays homage to overall spirit of the Resident Evil series with several choice lines like "Who’s the master of unlocking now?" and "I was almost a Claire sandwich." More importantly, it’s a really well-written game. The dialogue ranges from the traditional cheesy puns of older Resident Evil games to natural conversational dialogue that pulls you into the character’s world. It happily throws in obvious puns like "This opens up a hole lot more options," (Barry referring to a drill he picks up), but they are delivered so well it feels fun rather than groan-inducing. And when it feels silly like Barry’s "She-Wesker" line or Moira’s "Was it good for you too?" line, it still feels intentionally over the top. Many of Moira’s more serious lines were my favorite as she copes with her stressful circumstances with equal parts foul-mouthed humor and emotional contemplation. As a side note that has nothing to do with anything here, this game has got to hold record for the number of times the word sluice is used.

Good writing means nothing without good voice actors, however. And luckily RE Revelations 2 has some very good talent in this department. Moira, Claire, and Barry’s distinct personalities all shine here. But Natalia is also voiced particularly well. I always find it especially impressive when people play children convincingly and with depth - not like a one-dimensional caricature of one. I’m even more impressed when actual children (Gabriella Pastore is the voice of Natalia) are hired to do the job.

The graphics in this game go back and forth between cutting corners and high detail. The monsters, character models, and other fine details are nicely done, but it’s obvious some corners were cut in some textures in grass and some rocks. It all works together though, and I can’t complain about the overall look it achieves.


Resident Evil Revelations 2 brings together a couple of Resident Evil favorite characters Barry and Claire Redfield (Chris Redfield’s sister). The game begins with a rather tongue-in-cheek ad for Terra Save, a kind of Peace Corps style group that was developed to help victims of bioterror incidents. And in the Resident Evil world, there’s a whole lot of that going on. Claire’s campaign starts with a kidnapping that occurs during one of Terra Save’s banquet events, while Barry’s starts with a search for his missing daughter. The two campaigns have them both exploring a mysterious island and a (yes, yet another!) new virus. As you weave in and out of the past and present in both campaigns, you discover Alex Wesker, a "new" villain who is related to Albert Wesker.

The particular flavor of virus in this game is one that seems to respond to the recipient’s fear. Many of the characters trapped on the island wear a bracelet that measures their fear level. Too much fear, and the virus takes over, mutating its host into a monster. While you’d think this would be a core game mechanic, it oddly seems to remain mostly in the background of the game except for key plot points.

The main RE games have been pulling monsters and environments here and there from the previous history of RE games. Revelations is no exception. Set between the events of RE5 and RE6, you’ll find a mix of elements from both games. You’ll find a blend of enemies such as the shuffling, rather slow zombies that go all the way back to the original and there are also the glob-like Uroboros enemies from RE5. Then, of course, there are a variety of settings that could have come from almost any of the games like rusted old factories, mysterious shanty towns on an island, and deserted parks and playgrounds. RE Revelations 2 sets itself apart, however, with the cold war era Russian vibe of many of its backdrops.

The writing needs to be mentioned again, because it’s particularly good for a game, let alone a RE game. You might go in expecting the B-movie, slightly cheesy, but fun and quotable dialogue from other RE games. All that stuff is still there, it’s just much more natural than previous games. There are several conversations that just feel like you’re sitting at a table next to two real people who are just getting things off their chest. The conversation between Barry and Natalia where he discusses how the rift between him and his estranged daughter formed comes to mind. A rare (and brief) moment where Claire talks about her brother is also a good example. And then the puns and one liners will come in full force in the next scene, bringing you back to the classic humor of the game. It’s that kind of attention to detail and variety that make Revelations 2 fun to play and even fun to watch.

You’d be forgiven if you have questions even after completing the 4 main and 2 bonus episodes of the game. Why did that character just commit suicide? Wait, Natalia is who? What the heck was this island for again? The thing is, there are still a lot of secret documents you’ll likely need to go back to find in order to completely fill out the story of this game. That’s not to say its not enjoyable on its first playthrough, but to fully get your head around what is happening, a second playthrough is likely in order.

You can’t mention this game without mentioning its connection to the works of Kafka. At least two Franz Kafka novels are referenced in the game either through quotes during load times or by text in the game’s documents: "In the Penal Colony" and "The Metamorphosis." Adequately analyzing this game’s relation to Kafka’s literature would take much more space than this review allows. The game may only be referencing the novels on a surface deep level, but if you try to take things further, there are some really intriguing themes here. Kafka’s work is known for (among other things) existentialism, unease, and a waking dream quality. Resident Evil Revelations 2 has all of those themes, especially when we get to the endings of the two timelines. Any game that makes you want to go back and read classic literature can’t be all that bad.

The game has several modes of play, but the main two are the Campaign and Raid Mode. Campaign is your story mode, but you can buy modifications that will allow you to go back and play in different ways. For example, one modification will allow you to play through the campaign again in a Time Attack Mode. You can earn more time by defeating enemies and destroying hourglasses (reminiscent of some modes of Mercenaries in RE5). Raid Mode is a set of challenges that force you to clear each stage in different ways as well. The main difference here is that you can find and improve a number of weapons, level your characters, and go online to play this mode in online Co-op mode. At the time of this review, online features were not enabled for the Xbox One, however, so I was unable to review them.

This leads to talking about one of the best things about this RE game: the co-op play. The best kinds of co-op are the ones where you can just barely survive on your own, but you thrive with each other. That’s what RE Revelations 2 serves up. When you use your complementary abilities together, you feel like you’re absolutely owning the world. Natalia is a perfect example of this. If you’re a good Natalia player, you can alert Barry, set up stealth kills for him, highlight weak points, and use bricks to help clean up enemies when things get rough. There are even invisible enemies that only Natalia can see, requiring a whole lot of teamwork to take down. Likewise, if you’re a good Moira and Claire team, you can stun enemies with Moira’s flashlight and then follow up between the two players to take them down. You can get through much of the game not wasting a single round this way. The downside to all this awesome co-op with your human friends (it is split screen couch co-op), is that you will be utterly spoiled for the CPU's lackluster performance as a support or main character. You'll find yourself switching between characters quite often to make the most of their abilities, which can be tedious.


At its normal difficulty, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is challenging for veterans of the series, but nothing that will have you repeating tough sequences more than a few times.

Alright, there are some sequences that you are guaranteed to repeat a few times. Mostly, these scenes involve those aforementioned invisible bugs. It wouldn’t be a RE game without at least one challenging, aggravating enemy, and in RE Revelations 2, it’s those damn bugs. There are only a few ways to reveal them, and they require the utmost cooperation between you and your partner - or just luck and a lot of ammo. Oh, and they have an instant kill attack, so that’s super fun too.

RE Revelations 2 does seem a bit more aggravating than previous games in that it not only gives you limited ammo, but enemies usually don’t drop it either. This is particularly tough during boss fights that require gunfire to complete them. In the end, you’ll probably have to run from or repeat many fights unless you’ve got some good teamwork going and you’ve conserved a lot of ammo by using combos or the environment properly.

Game Mechanics:

Resident Evil Revelations 2 piggybacks off the changes we’ve seen throughout the series. Of course, there’s the standard run-and-gun mechanics from RE6 instead of planted feet and tank controls we’ve seen in previous games. Everything functions well and feels solid, so a veteran of the series can get up and running in no time. One new detail is that the standard controls also place the knife attack on the same button as the gun trigger. You can end up wasting a few rounds as you get used to it, but I found it made a lot of sense and felt right after using it for a while. This being a Capcom game, you can also customize your controls with several different schemes, of course.

Overall, Revelations 2 hits a sweet spot with controls that are not nearly as aggravating as what we saw in RE6, but still not simplified to the point of feeling there’s nothing to learn. For example, the dodge is just a dodge, and there’s no weird "jump into crawling on your back" option (seriously, what was that about?) like we saw in RE6.

With 4 episodes that contain two levels each at about 1 hour and a half for each of those, there’s a good 12 - 15 hours of content in the main campaign. There are some extra episodes as well. There’s plenty more to do in the game’s other modes, so it’s a rather personal call on how much gameplay you’re getting for your money. The Raid Mode, for example, can keep you coming back multiple times just to beat your own records, much like the Mercenaries Mode did in RE5. With a character leveling system, upgradeable weapons, and challenging win conditions, there’s a lot to do in Raid Mode.

It would be remiss to not mention a few of the game’s drawbacks. The map stands out as something that seems challenging for no reason. When you obtain a map, you only get the small mini-map on your upper right. It’s even smaller in Co-op Split Screen Mode. Why you can’t pull it up and inspect the full map is a mystery, and it seems a little silly. We’ve had maps in games for quite a while now, so you’d think it would be a no-brainer to be able to pull it up full-screen.

But back to the good stuff, this game really does feel like a good bridge between the main RE games. While RE6 felt like it was missing some of the fun of RE5, RE Revelations 2 seems to add some of that back in. While there’s something about RE5 that felt like a sometimes cheesy but guilty pleasure of an action-packed movie, there’s something about RE6 that felt like a Michael Bay movie (tons of explosions and action, but not much substance). Revelations 2 feels like it’s meeting in the middle and points to Resident Evil getting its legs back for the next full game.

This is an episodic game, so in theory, you could buy it one episode at a time. You can think of each episode as a few "levels" of a regular full-fledged RE game.

Let’s be honest, there’s no way you’re going to just play an episode and be done with this game, especially if you’re an RE fan. You’ll also get a much better deal if you buy the whole thing at once anyway. Either way, dip your toe in if you have to, but Resident Evil Revelations 2 is worth jumping in.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox One Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Sony PlayStation4 Toukiden: Kiwami

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