NOTE: This is the second in a series of four informal pieces which will detail my experiences with each individual episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2. Following this, a full more “traditional” review will be posted at the end of March to coincide with the game’s retail release. As such, no score will be assigned to the game until all episodes are available to the public.
Another week, another Revelations 2 episode and boy was it a doozy. Once again, we follow two separate (yet totally related) stories of both Claire and Barry. Both are still where we last left them. Barry had just discovered that there might be more to his daughters’ disappearance than he initially thought thanks to a creepy vision from Natalia. Claire escaped from the prison with Moira and signalled for help only to discover she was further from home than she thought.
This episode opens with Claire and Moira meeting up with two other members of TerraSave who were abducted from the same party Claire and Moira were at. They’re trying to repair a helicopter to get off the island, but need to collect the appropriate materials to get it running again. Claire, of course, offers to help, but it’s obviously not that simple. Barry, on the other hand, must retrace the steps of Moira when she met up with Natalia on the island previously. As you’d probably be able to guess, this episode shows us exactly how Claire, Moira and Natalia met on the island and shows the subsequent search for Moira by Barry in the second half of the episode.
Claire’s scenario opens with something pretty refreshing – yet another open area to just explore and let yourself get lost in the game’s atmosphere. It’s a seaside town, some areas are dilapidated and others are all locked up but most are accessible. The episode has you searching for parts to assist the other members of TerraSave in repairing the helicopter (and the only way off the prison compound).
It’s rather well paced – this exploratory phase of Claire’s scenario prepares you for an intense moment in the game that manages to mix the best bits of the village and cabin encounters from Resident Evil 4. Following that, you’re treated too some brief exposition as Claire and Moira meet up with Natalia for the first time and explore the city near the prison compound from the first episode. All in all, it’s a pretty well put together scenario for Claire and once again the way the story is drip-fed to you through files and dialogue leaves you wanting more.
I’ve got a feeling that Barry is really going to be playing catch-up for the entirety of the Revelations 2 campaign, given his penchant for revisiting areas Claire and Moira have already been through. It’s during Barry’s part of the chapter that most players will begin to understand how much time has passed between Claire and Moira’s adventures and Barry’s. But while Barry largely retreads Claire’s steps in his part of this episode, he and Natalia manage to find their own way through these areas leading to some nice variety. Most areas Claire found to be locked off will be explored in Barry’s scenario, which is a nice touch. It’s similar to Ada’s Separate Ways campaign from Resident Evil 4, if you will.
This episode introduces a few new enemies, most of which are unfortunately quite frustrating to deal with. One throws rubbish at you that blinds your character. Another launches fireballs and is tall and incredibly well built. Another is completely invisible and must be aimed at blindly. It is frightening on paper, but it’s mostly frustrating. Exclusive to Barry’s scenario, these annoying enemies create a weird distortion effect and can’t be seen. The only way that you can see them is by switching between Natalia or just watching where she points.
It’s a nice idea on paper but the execution is flakey since Natalia isn’t as responsive as she should be. To make matters worse, the game plays a hazy effect whenever controlling Barry and one of these insects is near. I’ll be honest – it’s a creepy idea – but games like The Evil Within did invisible enemies in a much fairer and better capacity. But it’s truly at this point that I was thankful that I managed to upgrade my evasion skills between scenarios.
Which is something I haven’t yet properly talked about. Revelations 2 lets players upgrade skills after each scenario (or even after each death) using points earned during the game. These can bolster the moves of your support characters, or even make them fight back more aggressively whenever you’re not controlling them. Others increase the potency of your healing herbs or the effectiveness of your evade skill. Evading is easily one of the most useful techniques in Revelations 2, as it lets you avoid almost any attack if timed correctly. Upgrade it completely and you’ll be able to evade cancel, that is, interrupt whatever your character is doing to evade for a faster response.
From a presentation standpoint, the second episode of Revelations 2 doesn’t do much to improve upon itself from the first one. You’ll explore a dilapidated coastal town, an abandoned metropolis and some buildings here and there. Once again they’re not anything particularly impressive but they’re just right in terms of lighting to look reasonable. Towards the end of this episode in particular, things start to get a bit more interesting from a presentation standpoint but we’ll have to wait until next week to see if it pays off.
And what a long wait it’ll be! This episode ended on an absolutely vicious cliff-hanger that sheds more light on who the Overseer might be, and why they’re doing what they’re doing to Moira and Claire. I won’t say anymore because the reveal is truly jaw dropping, especially for long-time fans of the series who’ve been paying attention, but it’s definitely not an episode that should be missed.
We’re excited to see where the development of this cliff-hanger takes the series next week, in Episode 3!