Note: Article may contain some spoilers from the previous episode.
In the previous episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2, Claire Redfield and Moira Burton find themselves trapped in an abandoned Russian penal colony. One where a sadistic Overseer is guiding the action, and all the inhabitants have been exposed to a mutagenic virus that triggers when the subject experiences too much fear. The duo join with other kidnapped members of Terra Save and find out that they've all been injected with the virus, meaning that a character who is an ally one minute will inevitably transform into some horrific boss monster when they freak out with fear, turning their wristband red.
I spent a lot of time griping about the ineffective companion AI in the previous episode, and little has changed in the new one. The best way to play Revelations 2 is cooperatively, or else you'll need to spend a lot of time switching back and forth between characters in an effort to try to keep them both alive. Priority goes to keeping Claire alive, since she appears to be the most important character.
If Moira gets knocked down, you have a chance to revive her. If Claire gets killed, it's game over. So, the solution is almost always to protect Claire at any cost. I learned this during an unfortunate scene where I thought Claire was safe on a rooftop, but she was attacked while I was using Moira to climb a ladder to meet up with her. The AI will hardly do anything to defend itself, which often causes frustrations to mount. It's a good thing the mutagen isn't tied to how annoyed the player gets.
The B Team
Each episode is divided into two parts. The first half features Claire and Moira as they make their way across the island, uncover its mysteries, and battle monsters while Moira drops annoying one-liners. The second half, which is a little spoilery, focuses on Barry Burton, who comes to the island in search of his daughter, Moira. Unlike Claire, who has to get by using whatever she picks up, Barry comes packing some heavy firepower and carries his own flashlight. However, his story takes place six months after Claire and Moira's, and he's retracing their path.
Joining him is a mysterious little girl who named Natalia, who looks like she's about 12 years old. That might sound a bit creepy, and it is to an extent, but you soon get over it. Plus, she ties the two stories together. Although she can throw bricks to stun monsters, along with some other non-lethal grenades, she's not much good in combat. Her greatest skill is in having a sixth sense, which she uses to detect monsters through walls. She can also see invisible monsters, which leads to some slightly awkward sequences where she'll point in a direction and tries to guide Barry's aim by telling him to aim left or right. Thankfully, this only happens a handful of times.
I ended up liking Barry's half of the game much more than I liked Claire's. Since Natalia isn't meant for combat, she usually just stays out of the way while I start shooting with one of Barry's ridiculously powerful guns. Barry also relies more heavily on stealth than Claire. Since the all-seeing Overseer has a habit of unleashing waves of monsters against her, Claire's story usually has her trapped somewhere and surrounded by monsters. She's always stuck being reactive. Barry's story has a more deliberate pace. With Natalia acting as spotter, and Barry's stealth kills, I ended up with plenty of ammunition to use on boss monsters.
However, it's worth saying that Revelations 2 is not necessarily a stealth game. The only way to remain hidden is to sneak up behind monsters, or by throwing a smoke grenade. There's no hiding in bushes or shadows for an ambush. Monsters also have some fantastic sight lines, and will spot you from a good distance away. Additionally, there are sequences where monsters automatically know where you are, and hiding ends being a waste of time.
For Every Action...
A feature that I learned to appreciate is how Claire's story can have subtle impacts on Barry's. Use Moira's crowbar to pry open a door, and that room might be accessible in Barry's timeline. Yet, other than gaining a few extra bullets or health, there's no really meaningful connection between the two chapters. It isn't as though Moira leaves messages for any other survivors that might be passing through, or reveals a shortcut between critical areas. Other than Natalia, some aged buildings, and a couple of corpses, there's very little connectivity between the two stories. Barry even ends up fighting different monsters than Claire.
After completing Episode 2, I'm still unconvinced that the episodic format benefits the game's storytelling in any meaningful way. It might actually hinder it, since players need to remember to check in every week for the latest episode. Your ammo and inventory carry over from one episode to the next, but that's certainly something that could be done in a non-episodic game. Without meaningful choices that impact each episode, it seems like a big waste of time to stretch out the game across four weeks.
I'm hoping the next episode might sway my opinion, but judging from what I've seen so far, I seriously doubt it.
Impressions are based on a PC download code provided by the publisher. The first episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available now for $5.99 per episode or $24.99 for the season pass. The game is rated M.
Steven Wong posted a new article, Resident Evil Revelations 2: Contemplation Impressions: No Rest for the Weary
I didn't think that this was TT meets Resident Evil. So I was also curious as to how the game benefited from its episodic nature. However, I cant say that I am disappointed in what I have played so far. In fact I like these bite sized entries a lot more than I ever did the full product for some reason. And Raid mode is a sweet dream. I love every bit of it. Also there are multiple was to play the game once you play it through. Besides the skill tree, you have invisible mode and all kinds of alternate modes to make the game harder or bizarre.
I have to say, coming from some one that really didn't like RE for quite some time. Except 6, I did like 6.
I like this game very much. Its made me forget completely about Evolve, although that wasn't that hard to begin with.