Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 27.03.2015

Review for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PlayStation 4

Resident Evil Revelations was one of the more anticipated games released on the 3DS in 2012. Capcom attempting to try to find a way to continue the franchise as both a survival-horror title and action series split Resident Evil into two franchises: the numbered games, which became the designated "action" entries (Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, and the "Revelations" that would supposedly be more rooted in survival-horror. Since the disastrous Resident Evil 6, Capcom has been re-evaluating the series and trying to find that sweet spot that Resident Evil 4 managed to get - that razor's edge of survival-horror and thrilling action. Since Resident Evil: Revelations was ported to the PS3 and Xbox 360 (and Wii U), the general consensus was that it was a much better game than Resident Evil 6 due to its emphasis on mood, atmosphere, and a more claustrophobic setting. The series' strong suit was always more horror concepts than the over-the-top action schlock that was clearly inspired by Hollywood movies. When Capcom decided Resident Evil Revelations 2 would continue the trend of aiming more towards the direction of survival-horror, it also made the dubious choice of an episodic release schedule. What is so curious about this choice is that each of the four episodes would be released weekly and in that short amount of time can easily suggest that all the episodes were ready to go but were being arbitrarily held back. Now that all episodes are released on a retail disc, and include some bonus episodes and all DLC, users can finally play the complete journey in all its glory. Cubed3 reviews the second revelation.

When Resident Evil Revelations 2 begins it is a somewhat rocky start, but it does even out nicely. It starts with a very slick looking CGI cut-scene that is on par with the two CG movies where the main characters are introduced. Anyone who is a fan of the series or has been playing the games since Resident Evil 2 will notice that Claire Redfield's model is looking very off: the bone structure of her face, eyes, and even her voice are all very different. While it is kind of understandable that the voice actress had to be recast, why her face looks so different is very confusing, especially since she looked fine in the Resident Evil Degeneration CGI movie and the Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles rail shooter, which wasn't too long ago. Even more distracting is that her personality seems to be completely altered as well. Claire was always someone who was nurturing, great with kids, kind of a smart-ass, and had a penchant for biker apparel. For all intents and purposes, Claire Redfield in Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a completely new character and has been re-imagined as a more clean-cut, professional, cool, and kind of a special ops type chick who now sucks with children.

Barry Burton, on the other hand, is pretty much exactly what people imagined he would be like if he was featured playable in a game: fatherly, humble, somewhat dorky and pretty macho. As far as Resident Evil games go, this does have some pretty strong characterisation in it and is written fairly well for the most part. Even if there are some real groaners here and there, it manages to keep in tone with the B-horror movie vibe that has been missing in the games for a while. Some of the new people included, like Moira Burton and Natalia, get fairly strong arcs in the course of the story. Moria, in particular, who starts off as an insufferable and irritating angsty teen, develops a fair bit of depth, especially during the bonus episode "The Struggle."

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PlayStation 4

When the first Resident Evil: Revelations came out, it had very pointless episode recaps that had no place in the game. In Resident Evil Revelations 2, these episode recaps make more sense seeing that the episodes were originally released every week, but in the retail copy the recaps are pointlessly shoe-horned in. While designed around the episodic structure, this does manage to do interesting things with the two campaigns that hearken back to the classics, namely Resident Evil 2. During Claire's scenario there are a few aspects that will impact on Barry's in surprisingly meaningful ways. A certain super enemy that shows up in Claire's game is optional to fight and actually defeating it will make it so Barry doesn't have to fight it, as well as making some areas accessible for him. There are other examples of this, too, in regards to some items and upgrades, but most surprisingly is how players can affect the game's ending during Claire's part. These are features that have been sorely missed in the franchise for a long time and many fans will be grateful for their inclusions. Other features that return, too, include the inventory space and item combining, which has been absent since the fourth release. Although it would be interesting to play each of the character's campaigns in a single play or play the scenarios in chronological order, sadly gamers can only work through the story in a specified way. Due to the current method it unfolds, replaying a lot of areas back to back occurs, which feels like a step down when compared to the separation of scenarios like in Resident Evil 2. It would have been interesting to have the option to play the game in chronological order.

The "horror" of this survival-horror is very lacking. Resident Evil Revelations 2 is one of the least scary of the Resident Evil bunch. This is possibly due to the effort to focus on character development rather than the situation. The focus of always having a partner around eliminates any sense of isolation and the way the episodes are broken up, events do not gel naturally and immersion is constantly being broken up by the TV-style recaps followed by the shunting forward thrust of the user switching characters. Other than the episode recaps, Resident Evil Revelations 2 does manage to treat users like idiots in other ways, too, that actually affect the gameplay. A major example of this is how the game has very obviously highlighted areas and the direction of where players have to go to progress, and the manner it is executed is insulting, to say the least. Brightly lit footprints that have no reason to exist guide gamers exactly where to go or sometimes there are very obvious and comical arrow sign posts that point in the direction of where to go. It isn't just limited to level design either - for a while now, the Resident Evil series has had very obnoxious button prompts that show up on-screen and there has yet to be an option to turn it off. Things like this don't have a place in an 18/M-rated survival-horror.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PlayStation 4

The method how the game saves progress is another point of contention. Auto-saving proves to show just how limiting it is for players who wish to experiment or try to play a certain way - especially here in a game that rewards for playing unconventionally. Smartly placed save-points were always the preferred and best way to play a survival-horror game since the whole genre is centered on taking risks with various actions. When automatically saving, all tension is swept away because now it is apparent if there is a safety net, knowing there is probably some threat up ahead. When there were save-points in the Resident Evil games, players had to weigh the risk of back-tracking or finding a shortcut to the known spot, which was an ingeniously simple, yet effective, design concept that truly befitted the genre.

On the visuals side, while it is most obviously not a true PS4 title, it does manage to run at a very fluid 60 frames per second, barring the very fleeting moments of dips in the forested areas. Displaying at a very crisp 1080p, everything looks stunning at times, but there are plenty of moments where there is very low poly geometry or very cheap looking texture work, oftentimes repeating themselves right next to each other. The graphical fidelity here never really rises above Resident Evil 5, but it makes up for it with excellent animation and some of the best enemy designs in the franchise since Resident Evil 4 - the very natural character animations, though, do sometimes affect the gameplay, making the controls feel a bit sluggish due to the motion-captured animations, and sometimes the enemy animations jump from poses with no transitions. This happens to the game's controls, too, like when players do a 180-degree quick-turn, the character will do the turn, but the camera will sometimes lag behind or not turn at all. There are a lot of poorly coded instances like this, actually, that do have a negative impact on the gameplay and this is most apparent in the broken stealth.

The buggy nature of the stealth becomes glaring in the bonus episode, "Little Miss," when enemies will spot the lead when they are moving behind cover, or sometimes not spot them at all when right in front of them, hugging their knees! Some enemies seem like they are always perpetually glitch-filled, like the appropriate bug enemies that always have trouble walking on a level's surfaces and tend to get stuck and convulse erratically. It should be mentioned that these are the first enemies that appear in Barry's campaign.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PlayStation 4

Glitches aside, Resident Evil Revelations 2 does play very well and is probably the best non-Mikami produced Resident Evil. This has a lot of control options in it that should please everyone. A control option for people who are used to Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 6 are here and accounted for, as well as the option to use laser-sights or cross-hairs. These options are some of the reasons why this is a solid enough recommendation, complemented by a decent campaign that actually feels like a real entry, with its more contained setting. What is disappointing, however, is just how easy the game is and how it is lacking in the gore department. This is by far the least gory Resident Evil yet, as punctuated by how critical hits do not make enemy heads explode in a wondrous fountain of skull and brain. As per usual in a Revelations title, players will be finding upgrades for their weapons in the form of parts that they can switch out at work benches that can suit whatever play-style they feel like adopting.

For those who purchased the episodes of Resident Evil Revelations 2 separately, the retail copy may not have too much extra to make it worthwhile buying. One of the two bonus episodes is interesting - "The Struggle" - where Moira gets a lot more depth added, as well as one of the minor characters who showed up during Claire's scenario. There is also a little twist on the gameplay, which involves hunting animals for extra retries, which is a creative concept. The other bonus episode - "Little Miss" - is sloppily constructed and is mostly just stealth gameplay forced into levels that never were designed around stealth. "Little Miss" does have some very entertaining cut-scenes, however, and does give a surreal storybook-like atmosphere to the old levels that does make things somewhat interesting.

Raid Mode makes its return and has a varied character selection. The retail copy of Resident Evil Revelations 2 includes fan favorites like Hunk and Albert Wesker from the start, and all DLC that were levels from past Resident Evil games. For the uninitiated, Raid Mode is centered on looting and character-building, involving a lot of leveling-up and unlockables. Speaking of which, there is a staggering amount of unlockable content, ranging from the classic method of unlocking the rocket launcher by beating the campaign in three hours or less to various costumes. There is probably enough content here to keep players busy for well over 30 hours. For $40 dollars, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a very fair price and does have very high replay value in its campaign and Raid Mode.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Resident Evil Revelations 2 may not be the true return to survival-horror Capcom promised, but it does have fun moments in it and players will get their money's worth from it. It is no surprise the more old-school design philosophies that do make it into the game are the more successful aspects of the game like the character-zapping, multiple endings or inventory management. While it plays solid enough, there are a few hiccups along the way like poorly coded AI, missing animation or some sluggish character controls. Episodic structure ultimately was pointless and the way it was handled ended up hurting the flow of the game by having players redo areas back to back with different characters. Thankfully the Raid Mode's risk and reward gameplay keeps things more fluent and the unbelievable amount of unlockables will definitely keep players interested. Resident Evil Revelations 2 is the ultimate guilty pleasure and its high replayability makes it a worthy recommendation on the PS4.

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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