One day I’ll have to stop saying it but Resident Evil 6 was a mess. Both in the way it looked, from a clumsy and convoluted HUD to the way Leon always looked like he'd just climbed out of a barrel of oil, it holds a special place in my heart as one of the most disappointing/hated titles ever. I mean that. EVER!
Anyway, my emotional scars aside, Resident Evil Revelations went a long way to fixing things for me and after getting hands on with the sequel to this classic effort, I was certain Revelations 2 would do the same. After completing Episode 1, fully I might add, I’m happy to say I was right!
Somehow looking fresh while changing little visually, Revelations 2 toes the line between familiar and brand spanking new, thanks in part to the clever way your co-op partner is dealt with.
I’ll admit that I’ve never been a huge lover of Capcoms recent obsession with a joined at the hip partner, but this time around they've definitely mastered the art of divide and conquer, offering up unique partners as opposed to lame brained, gun holsters on legs! (I’m looking at you Shiva, just take the damn ammo ok! Please!)
Adding a dash of comedy to the affair, Claire Redfield is partnered with big Barry Burtons daughter Moira who happens to hate guns but doesn't mind holding the torch and is a force with a Crowbar! She loves to stream off some of the best swearing I’ve heard in a game for a while! ’S**t on a stick’ and ‘F**k that place very much’ being amongst my favourites!
Big Barry Burton (seriously, that should be his new name from now on) isn't flying solo this time though, as he's taken to adding little girls to his team and he hasn't made a bad choice in Natalia. Sure, she looks small but she's damn handy with a brick and doesn't mind crawling into tight spaces (Easy!) when the moment calls for it.
They may sound like a burden on paper but by giving you the option to switch between characters as you work out the best person for each situation really makes you appreciate both survivors, as opposed to simply sticking with the main character and praying to god that your never ending escort mission will end. This adds another edge in co-op also, forcing you to really communicate with each other as you’ll have to watch each others backs and be ready for anything!
Revelations 2 is set smack bang in the middle of the events seen in Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, giving Capcom free reign with the series long running lore and considering the decades it spans, theres a lot to play with.
Episode 1 focuses on an abandoned island that is home to a ridiculous prison thats recently come on the market and comes complete with more vicious traps than tom hardys neck. Oh, and there are these jailed, jumping zombies that populate the many rooms available. Throw in a woods that is thicker and scary than anything the Evil Dead could throw at you, and you’re set for a night of s*****g your pants!
That in itself is the biggest thing i love about Revelations 2. Its scary!
No joke, or exaggeration, the game finally has some tension again along with jump scares and a new terror in the form of the Revenant. A group of disgusting abominations, created from the remains of others who can only be killed with fire!
Rain enough bullets into their disgusting forms and you may well expose a swollen weak spot that can take them down in a single shot. Don't get excited though, these are areas that happen to be damn hard to aim at when you’re in a hurry!
Its a claustrophobic experience, with tight corridors and dark rooms galore, as you wander the island in search of answers.
It’s not all about looking backwards though, as the team behind the Revelations series are keen to add some new ideas and experiences.
The most glaring addition is in the form of a light stealth mode, something which I was dubious about experiencing but came out extremely happy with how well it worked. With Natalia able to see through walls, you can switch between her and Barry to sneak up on the odd biter, letting Barry get the drop on them with a swift knife to the back of the head. Sure, its not the greatest stealth mechanic you’ll ever see, but it works and you really don't feel at any stage like you have to play this way, so if you want to pull out Barry’s magnum and pop heads go for it!
Considering how scarce ammo can be though, its nice to have the option to go quiet from time to time.
Gameplay aside, the team have also done a great job of building some of the creepiest and generally grim surroundings I've seen in some time. The prison, filled with torture chambers and mechanical death traps on wheels, is truly dark and something not even my nightmares could imagine. Thats not to mention dark forests, infested with evil and barely lit, with only the sound of distant generators to guide you.
Sound is also on point, with every inch of space letting out groans of age and horror as the world outside bears down on its walls. Every creak, bang and scratch will have you on edge as you try to decode it and decide if a threat is all set to bear down upon you! With atmosphere building up to monumental levels, you’ll be biting your nails and praying for it to end!
While this is an episodic experience, Capcom have thrown in Raid mode to keep you busy as you wait for the next slice of horror. Much like in the first Revelations, Raid mode lets you pick your favourite character and go toe to toe with waves of Zombies, ranging from your basic shufflers up to lurking behemoths who’ll take more than a few bullets to put down!
As you fight off hordes of the un-dead, you’ll be able to crack open chests in order to unlock new weapons and equipment to upgrade your arsenal, which is more important than you may think if you fancy going for those high scores and achievements.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Episode One kicks things of with a bang and leaves you drooling for more! This is most certainly a perfect slice of original survival horror, with some truly terrifying moments.
Sure, its not built on the same scale as I can only imagine Resident Evil 7 will be, but it’s a welcome return to old roots! Lets hope the Revelations team get to work closely with whoever creates the next numbered entry eh?