Review: Resident Evil Revelations 2 Episode 1
That’s what hit me most in the opening moments of Revelations 2 Episode 1. For those of you who are unaware of the Revelations series, the first game was originally a 3DS exclusive title, which was later ported to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC thanks to its impressive sales. The game was such a success because of what it did differently to the more recent Resident Evil titles. It returned to the franchises horror roots. Tight, creepy corridors, grotesque creatures roaming the dimly lit halls of a cruise ship. It felt like the original game, but instead of a mansion it was on a boat. Even that boat was reminiscent of the horrific Spencer estate. Could this game be a rebirth for a franchise that’s lost its way?
Perhaps. With the release of Episode 1 for the much anticipated (by myself, anyway) sequel, Revelations 2, hopes are high for the series to get itself back on track. How does it fare you ask? Well….
As I said, nostalgia is what kick starts the feels of this particular title. Without spoiling too much, the game starts with an old face, Claire Redfield, working with her Terra Save buddies from the Degeneration movie. Terra Save are essentially the peaceful version of the BSAA established in R.E. 5. We’re quickly introduced to her co-workers, one of which is the lovely Moira Burton. She’s a fresh face at Terra Save, and only really knows Claire. Anyone familiar with the series knows Moira is the daughter of the famous Barry Burton from the original game.
However, things go awry when a terrorist cell of unknown name and origin arrive to spoil the party (jerks). Many of the Terra Save members are kidnapped, and taken to an undisclosed location. This is where the game starts. Again I say it. Nostalgia. Claire’s opening moments reveal her to be in a prison cell. She wakes up on the floor (Code: Veronica anyone?) and discovers a strange metallic bracelet on her wrist. The cell opens, and she proceeds down the dank, eerie corridors to discover Moira in the same situation.
The story goes from there, and throughout the first episode you’re questioning why they’ve been brought here. However, here’s where the game begins to slip up.
Firstly, the environments. They’re dull. The actual level design leaves a lot to be desired. The entire episode has areas that look the same as the last, with little or no variation between them. At first the prison setting seems interesting, but compared to Resident Evil 1’s mansion, 2’s massive city, or even the original Revelations cruise ship, this gets very stale, very quickly.
The controls aren’t anything special. Almost identical to Resident Evil 6, I had no major complaints there. Its easy enough to get around, and it never feels clunky or awkward. That is, until you have to switch characters. The game features a partner zapping system so you can switch control between Claire and Moira (and later between Barry and a young girl name Natalia, but we’ll get to that). This proves to be a somewhat frustrating mechanic, as Moira doesn’t use guns, only a crowbar she picks up later in the episode, and a flashlight for finding hidden objects and blinding enemies. Granted, the partner A.I. is actually fairly competent, meaning you won’t be pulling your hair out over an idiotic team mate (I’m looking at you Sheva!) But if you want to be clever and switch between the two during combat, that’s when the frustration hits. As I said, your partner isn’t an idiot, but they also won’t help bar the odd healing item. As a matter of fact, you actually have to purchase an upgrade to allow your main character (Claire or Barry) to use their guns when you aren’t controlling them. Meaning if you’re playing as Moira or Natalia, you are virtually defenceless, even wih your partner standing right next to you.
That brings me to another part of the gameplay. The upgrade system. Fairly straightforward, this. You earn points through each episode, which you exchange for upgrades, ’nuff said.
Now, what would a Resident Evil title be without the enemies, am I right? Yet again, the game falls short here, with bland, repetitive monsters that do little more than provide a mild nuisance throughout. There isn’t even a noteworthy boss encounter. Poor form Revelations 2. Poor form indeed.
Later in the episode we’re introduced to Barry and Natalia. The core gameplay here is the same, only Barry brought guns (it is Barry after all) and Natalia has the peculiar ability to “sense” enemies through walls. Barry comes to the mysterious prison, which we discover is on an isolated island, in order to rescue Moira and Claire. Here he meets Natalia, and the game is afoot. The second half of the episode brings a few secrets to light, even retreading environments from earlier from a different perspective. By the end, we’re left with some surprisingly tense moments in terms of story. Again, I won’t spoil anything, but the episode ends on a cliffhanger that actually made me want to keep playing.
Revelations 2 Episode 1 is an alright start to the weekly series. With 3 episodes left, I’m intrigued to see where it’s going. While the gameplay and enemies are a bit of a disappointment, there’s just enough for Resi fans to enjoy (especially with a couple of meta moments referring to the series history). The story is the driving force of the game, and if the later episodes follow the trend set here, then we’re in for some interesting twists and turns. Whether it’s worth investing in the season pass, will depend on how much you care about the story.
Look out for our continuing review in the coming days.