Preview: Resident Evil Revelations 2

rev2demo

At NYCC 2014 a couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to go hands on with a slice of the first episode (of four) of Resident Evil Revelations 2. Here are my thoughts on my time spent with the game along with why I think it’s shaping up to be a promising entry that will not only cater to fans of the series’ modern style, but also longtime fans yearning for classic survival horror.

Right from the very beginning, we’re pit in a situation that will seem very familiar to fans, especially those who’ve played CODE: Veronica. Claire finds herself in a prison cell, with no recollection of how she got there. This happened during a welcome party TerraSave was throwing for their newest recruit, Moira Burton. Yes, I said Burton.

You quickly meet up with Barry’s daughter and get her out of the cell she’s also found herself in. What’s interesting is that both ladies have a particular wristband on. While it didn’t affect the gameplay found in this demo build, the wristbands actually measure the character’s level of fear, as confirmed by the voice of the woman that’s placed Claire and Moira in this horrifying scenario stuck in an isolated island in the middle of God knows where.

flashlight

After some exploration, you come across a handgun found on a (you guessed it) dead body. This brings up an interesting exchange of dialogue where we learn that Moira refuses to use a firearm due to a tragic event that happened in her past. During my interview with the game’s producer, I was told that this would be a major plot point in the game, and that the Burton family will also be a crucial pillar of the story. But that doesn’t mean Moira will be unarmed. She gets to use a nifty crowbar and a flashlight!

Moira is essentially a better version of Revelations’ genesis scanner, albeit personified. After being granted the ability to seamlessly swap between characters, you’ll get to try out Moira’s abilities. With her flashlight she’s able to shine light on places in the environment that hide ammunition and health supplies, as well as other items that you’ll need. This then lets Claire pick them up once you swap back to her. I love this method of cooperative play and it even makes co-op a thing single players can enjoy. The flashlight could also be used on the enemies (which we’ll get to in a bit) by temporarily blinding them, leaving them open to shots from Claire. Oh, and that crowbar allows you to pull off some awesome finishers on downed foes, too.

At first, I wasn’t that intrigued by the enemies judging by screenshots. I honestly saw them as pretty boring, especially when compared to some of the memorable baddies we’ve been graced with in the series. The Afflicted have been detailed as being non-infected people that have basically been driven insane. Seems fairly typical, right? Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they injected me with a level of fear I really wasn’t expecting. They behave like crimson heads in a way, and are pretty damn relentless. During my demo playthrough I found myself on the receiving end of some significant damage at their hands. They were faster than I was expecting when in close proximity, and they could take quite a few bullets before being offed for good. Being swarmed by them won’t be a pleasant scenario by any means, and that’s pretty much how you’re introduced to them. It was an exhilarating moment that allowed me to really put the game’s mechanics to the test.

bloody

Shooting works how it has since Resident Evil 4, though with Resident Evil 6’s enhancements. You could move and shoot, and Claire has a heightened level of mobility that feels really good, making the combat feel a little faster but still satisfying. You could still slash away at foes with your knife (though I wouldn’t recommend it) and you could perform a powerful kick up close after stunning them. Something that makes its debut in the series with this game is stealth mechanics, specifically the ability to crouch. This opens up a new avenue for gameplay, one that’s inspired by recent horror titles that encourage stealth over gunplay,  but I’ll admit that I…failed horribly trying to use stealth on the enemies in the demo. I tried!

Now on to the big question on everyone’s mind: is the game actually focused on survival horror? The answer to that is a resounding “yes” based on what I played. While the game does flirt with the series’ action focused entries in regards to mechanics, Revelations 2 does show that the developers have made it a mission to bring back that horror feel. The prison you go through oozes with a dreadful atmosphere. And while we’ve already been in a prison setting before, I really love how much more gruesome and uninviting this one looks. It certainly has a Saw-like vibe to it, which can also be applied to the sadistic game Claire and Moira have found themselves in thanks to an unknown female villain. It’s like the perfect slasher film set up! The enemies also ensure that you’ll always be kept on edge, especially when they come jumping at you from out of nowhere. Their design is also pretty unsettling, which is always a plus and a definite step up from the Ooze.

The negatives I have to point out are minimal. As expected from the game’s cross-gen nature (and lower price point), the visuals aren’t really anything special. They’re not bad by any means, but it’s not the next step up in visual fidelity that we’ve been accustomed to seeing with each major Resident Evil release. Another thing that irked me was that enemies don’t bleed out when dead. A blood puddle under the body would usually confirm an enemy’s death, but in Revelations 2 that isn’t the case. Maybe this is something that just wasn’t present in the build I played, but I would really love that visual confirmation of death to remain. And while I had no problem with it at all, I can see some people getting a little annoyed by Moira’s method of expressing herself. She has quite a colorful and creative vocabulary! One last thing worth noting is the new voice actress for Claire. Judging from her limited dialogue in the demo, I actually liked the beloved heroine’s new voice and didn’t really mind the change.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 is shaping up to be the game fans have been asking for. From what I played, I can already tell you that it’ll wash away the bad taste Resident Evil 6 left in the mouths of many. It’s amazing to see Claire back and it’s even better that her return happens to be in a title that also brings back the series’ horror elements.

               
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COMMENTS

  • Guilherme Teruya

    I played a short demo earlier this month and it’s very cool indeed (though I could enjoy RE6, but this is definitely better). I’m curious about the rest of the cast now.

  • Andy

    Well that’s really cool that the game is turning out alright. It’s just a shame that it’s being split into chucks and it’s going to be cheap since it’s a smaller game and a lot smaller than the first Revelations because that was $50 when it first came out on the 3DS. More like it’s a budget game.

  • Carl Johnson

    I’ll reserve judgement until the final release, but I’m not going to get my hopes too high. I think the last decade has shown us that catering to both the horror and action styles can’t be done without shaving down both genres.

  • 蛍火

    Stealth mecanics? Heh. I have a bad feeling about this, I just hope it won’t turn into “be spotted, die, retry from checkpoint until you suceed”, I still have a bitter taste of the escape sequences in 6.

  • Megan Schneider

    I think the game that brought evil back is The Evil Within lol

    • Cheshire TrollCat

      Preach it!

  • RockStar1001

    I get the feeling this game will be just like its predecessor. The so called “horror” feeling won’t be done all that great and will be dropped by the middle to make way for more action paced moments.

    I’m just getting medrocre vibes from this game right now.

  • Jeremy Kaminski

    The latest videos I’ve seen shows they have improved on the totally robotic character movement, the dialogue seems to be less cheesy compared to the usual found in the franchise as well. It’s hard to make judgement on the graphics because the stills look incredible but most of the gameplay is cam recording of a television. Ultimately I still don’t really like what I am seeing, I really want this game to be good but the episodic structure just completely ruins that for me, the last 3 review videos I watched the reviewer even said that the episodes pull you out of the immersion.

  • Cheshire TrollCat

    Am I the only one who wants RE to stay dead and not claw its persistent ass back from the grave like a civilian doped up on the c-virus?

    • Jeremy Kaminski

      Honestly, I would pay $60 per game if they were to remake every RE title up until Code Veronica from the ground up for current gen consoles, I’m talking every single piece of the game graphically redone but keep the dialogue, story and locations exactly the same. Maybe get some a-list actors to do a good job with the script as well. Maybe if they did this and the series remake did well then they would start making sequels that are worthy of the title Resident Evil. This is just my opinion to anyone looking to flame.

      • Cheshire TrollCat

        Not flaming i just am not invested in the series. No nostalgia for me and i feel that is what keeps this series and other stuff (cough nintendo cough) alive. Since my childhood did not involve gaming i feel i can look at a series or game more objectively. I would much rather Dark Corners of the Earth or The Suffering to make a comeback than RE or SH.

        • ariessiren

          if your not invested trollcat why do you feel the need to comment on games that dont interest you? because your a troll.

          • Cheshire TrollCat

            I’m just seeing if I am the only one who feels like that. Apparently I am.

  • Eileen Kelly

    Gutted Alyson Court isn’t returning to voice Claire. Very disappointing news.

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