Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 28.11.2017

Review for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on Nintendo Switch

The Resident Evil: Revelations subseries was born on Nintendo 3DS, it gained recognition on the handheld, gained critical acclaim there, and (some undeniable technical consideration aside) it played best of all on home consoles in its Wii U incarnation up until today, and may probably still do thanks to an excellent use of the GamePad's touch screen for weapon shortcuts that gave Wii U players an edge over others. Nevertheless, the sequel never saw the light of day on any Nintendo console, not even on the successful 3DS to which it owed everything, while the PS Vita was given the honours of welcoming a version thereof, albeit quite stripped back. Fast forward to 2017, however, and with the Switch being the hottest console of the moment, Capcom's mood seems to have changed quite a bit, since we get both the remastered version of the first one, but most importantly, this port of the episode Nintendo gamers had been missing out on for so long. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 finally comes to a Nintendo system and it's time to check it out!

Claire Redfield, now part of the TerraSave organisation that rescues victims of terrorist bio attacks, was kidnapped along with her colleague Moira, Barry Burton's daughter, during a cocktail party held at their workplace, and finds themselves on an island, as lab rats for a sick experiment on humans with yet another variation of the old T-Virus in their veins. They will naturally fight for their survival against all manners of zombie creeps, but in parallel, six months later, Barry arrives on the island looking for his beloved daughter and is soon accompanied by Natalia, a mysterious young girl with the power to detect the B.O.W.s through walls.

Throughout the campaign, players will alternate between both duos as the story unfolds before their eyes. The campaign this time around is a far more interesting proposition indeed, over its predecessor. The episodic structure is still in place, but this time simply because of the format of its original release, as an episodic adventure. This did hamper the experience originally, as not being able to sit directly through it all felt awkward, but now that the game is a few years old and has seen its share of full physical releases, this problem is obviously no more since all four episodes, plus two DLC ones, are included.

It is a much more interesting plot this time, the characters have a bit more personality, and the overall atmosphere, actually closer in tone to the classic Resident Evil 4, is much more horrific and blends well the action of more recent titles with the horror themes of older titles in the franchise. At all times, the game presents the action happening to two main characters at the same time. A player playing alone has control of either of those, switchable on the fly by pressing the Y button, while the other is controlled by the not-too-incompetent AI, similar to what Capcom did with Resident Evil Zero, in fact. The definitive icing on the cake this time, though, is the possibility to play the solo adventure in split-screen co-op with a friend! Surrendering control of that second character to another human player sitting close by is a thoroughly pleasant experience, especially when discovering this game for the first time, putting two brains together to try and figure things out.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on Nintendo Switch

There is a bit of unfairness in how tasks are split in general, since when Claire Redfield and Moira Burton are the focus of attention, Claire is the one handling the guns, while Moira Burton, refusing to have anything to do with firearms, is limited to the flashlight and some crowbar action. When Barry Burton and Natalia are controlled, it could feel even worse, since Barry does all the fighting, while Natalia, who can detect enemies through walls, as well as their weak points, can only resort to picking up bricks and either bashing zombie skulls with them or hurling them at their faces. That would be dumbing things down a bit too far, however. The complementarity of the playable characters' abilities turns out to be extremely enjoyable, since, for example, Moira can use her flashlight to blind a zombified opponent to give Claire a clear shot, while Moira is also extremely efficient at crushing zombies' skulls while they are down.

Likewise, the player using Natalia can scout areas, and this gives the player controlling Barry a satisfying sense of advantage as he plans his attacks beforehand to make the most of his limited resources. Having to switch between the two on the fly for one single player managing both characters at the same time still works, of course, but doesn't quite do the experience justice enough.

The other quite substantial part of the content on offer here is, like in the first Resident Evil: Revelations, the RAID mode. It is vastly expanded upon from the previous game, to the point of being even a bit too overwhelming for its own good in certain aspects. It is not anymore just all about playing through stages, trying to kill all enemies herein to reach a medallion at the end that must be punched to complete the mission. There are now different objectives, such as defending a crystal, which enemies try to destroy. These bring some thoroughly enjoyable variety into the mix.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on Nintendo Switch

Furthermore, the stages themselves are not all taken from the campaign itself, as a lot of them are locations from Resident Evil 6 and a few of them are taken from Resident Evil: Revelations 1, which is a big advantage over its predecessor, since that means more actual content! Conversely, instead of multiple versions of each playable character with varying costumes, each is unique. RER2 has 15 characters to play as, including the DLC characters that are now part of the basic package on the Switch, since all DLC content made available in the past is bundled in.

Now, stages are arranged in "gauntlets," each containing multiple missions taking place in various locations. Ten gauntlets, including DLC, would amount to far more stages than what is available in its predecessor's RAID mode; however, some mission locations are repeats of one another, sometimes with a different objective or start and end points, and some of these are also no more than a large arena-like room and not so much actual "levels". A new gauntlet unlocks based on a certain amount of medallions earned on gauntlets already unlocked. Indeed, like its predecessor, each stage has its set of bonuses to aim for, this time in the form of medallions. One of those, the No Herb medallion, is awarded for not using any herbs, which means that taking damage is actually allowed this time, making obtaining the "Completion" medallion on each stage, and therefore completing RAID mode, a far more forgiving experience than before.

RAID mode is a lot deeper and more involving this time around as a whole. Where things get a bit too complicated for their own good, however, is that each character must be levelled up separately, making progression through this mode unnecessarily slow. Character progression also now includes levelling up character skills - some passive, like those already present in RER1 on different costumes, and others active - also separate for each character, which, in and of themselves, are good additions that make the experience deeper. There was, however, plenty of fun to be had already as it was with how RAID mode worked in the previous game without adding this in, which just lengthens the experience some more for the sake of making it longer.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on Nintendo Switch

Furthermore, the way weapons work is also quite different. Weapons found within stages can now no longer be equipped directly, but money must be spent to "evaluate" the weapon before it can be used. Likewise, money must also be spent to even take out custom parts equipped on weapons themselves, making experimenting with what's possible or not a lot harder to achieve for those going for great times or speedrunners. At the end of the day, in trying to make things deeper and more varied, adding to the length of the experience, the magic of the RAID mode from the previous game was sort of lost en route in trying to offer more playtime than challenge, but that still remains a solid experience to sample with another player. Unfortunately, like its predecessor on Switch released on the same day, the loss of voice chat - entirely to blame on Nintendo, of course - undermines the great sense of community that really ties the online mode of these games together, where players could otherwise exchange information directly from within the game.

It does do a few things surprisingly better than its predecessor, however, in that this sequel implements online leaderboards, which are sorely missed even in the latest version of RER1, both for the campaign stages, but also for RAID mode gauntlets. Furthermore, missions and events are this time around integrated directly into the game itself, which is also a great initiative and one that makes it even more regrettable that such an effort hasn't been made in the remastered version of Resident Evil: Revelations 1, no matter the console.

On a purely technical level, Capcom said before release that the game would run at 1080p, but not at 60fps... without saying either if it would run at 30fps locked instead, and it seems clear now why they didn't say so... The frame rate appears to target 60fps, but is completely unlocked, resulting in some more simple-looking locations running more smoothly than the more complex ones. With that being said, however, it was never a huge issue while playing the game, as the frame rate never really jumps abruptly from higher to slightly lower, but rather smoothly transitions between. In split-screen, the game appears to be targeting 30fps instead, and manages it most of the time.

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At any rate, split-screen co-op was an immersive and thoroughly enjoyable experience, but let it be known: it's best enjoyed on a very large screen, as the smaller windows can make it a bit harder to spot enemies or hidden objects in the scenery. Split-screen co-op is available in handheld mode, as well, where it runs just about as good as one would hope, which is a commendable effort on Capcom's part... However, the smaller screen nature makes it harder to enjoy for aforementioned reasons.

Furthermore, it was already announced before release that the game would support split Joy-Con co-op action, but that the control scheme would therefore be altered. That can be confirmed indeed, and it is not really recommended to truly enjoy the game. Not having a second joystick for camera movement means that character movement and camera movement cannot be performed at the same time. The character will strafe, but the camera will still face forward unless the SR button is held down and the joystick then rotated.

To be fair, it's a rather clumsy implementation, since the basic Nintendo 3DS didn't really have more buttons than a Joy-Con, yet the original RER on that handheld controlled well enough with so few buttons available and only one joystick, so there's not really any excuse for this. To close the subject, just let it be known that it was implemented, and that it can't be recommended. Playing co-op with two regular controllers, however, like a pair of Joy-Con and a Pro Controller, for instance, suffers no issues whatsoever!

Lastly, as far as controls are concerned, this one implements a similar motion control scheme for aiming as the Switch version of Resident Evil: Revelations, and the conclusion here is the same: it is accurate enough - as accurate as the likes of Splatoon 2 - but the lack of a button to re-centre the aiming makes it a bit harder to use for very long. The regular controls have no issues whatsoever, though, so that's what most people will and should prefer.

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It is therefore a rather positive result on a purely technical level for the Switch, but for one glaring issue: loading times. They are quite long, lasting typically a good full minute. This is much longer than on other current generation consoles onto which this title was released before, and this is in spite of other ports to the Switch generally comparing rather favourably in regards to loading times, making this even more of a mystery. It even happens every time the player dies in the campaign, which on first playthrough could well happen many times. It doesn't render the experience unbearable, thankfully... but it tends to break the rhythm of the adventure, unfortunately.

Once the game is finished loading, however, there are no other loading times until the player dies, or finishes the current episode, though, so at least loading times don't happen too often. Still, one can only hope that Capcom will look into this, since there doesn't seem to be any valid reason why this game, out of all of the ports to the Switch, should have loading times that last up to four times what they do on Xbox One.

As far as content is concerned, this Switch release is by and large just a port of the same game released both on last gen and current gen consoles a few years back, and not a complete remaster like the Switch version of RER1, which was developed alongside the remasters for PS4 and Xbox One released three months prior. It just adds the aforementioned motion controls, HD rumble, local co-op with two Switch consoles in RAID mode (though strangely not for the campaign - a missed opportunity, for sure!), and an extra new mini-game based on Capcom's own Ghosts n' Goblins, which turns out funny enough and more interesting by far than the mini-game added to Switch RER1.

Save for the loading times, then, which are hard to swallow, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on Nintendo Switch is a perfectly good version for the hardware it runs on, which finally offers an uncompromising portable version of a really good home console game, unlike the previously released PS Vita version.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is neither a better nor a worse game than its predecessor. It improves upon it on many levels, but also does take a few steps back in others, mostly in its RAID mode, which, while still a thoroughly enjoyable and recommendable experience, does not quite replicate the excellence of its big brother's by trying to appeal to a broader audience with a lower difficulty. The campaign here, however, is a lot more interesting this time around, and is an absolute highlight in split-screen co-op on the same console, offering a kind of local multiplayer experience the likes of which is not often enough seen on home consoles these days. Shame the campaign can't be enjoyed online for people who don't have a trusty Player-2 at hand's reach! Please, Capcom, though, fix these loading times, because it's hard to believe that with the game installed onto a SD card, the game couldn't load any faster than this.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

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

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