Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a return to the franchise’s roots – not so much in its delivery (episodic content), but in its core mechanics. Capcom appears to have done everything to capture the survival horror aspects of the original while not losing sight of modern day desires of a co-operative experience.
Let me start off that I have a lot of fond memories wrapped into the Resident Evil franchise. Playing Revelations 2 sparked many of those nostalgic experiences. It was as if the disappointments of the mechanics of Resident Evil 5 and 6 just washed away. The methodical, strategic pacing is back, bringing with it the purposeful suspense you come to expect. That is why I say it’s a return to form.
In the campaign, you are either playing as one of two teams (Claire and Moira or Barry and Natalia). On each team, the characters play one of two roles: guns and shooting (Claire, Barry) or exploration and secrets (Moira, Natalia). Each set of characters on the team play completely different. I applaud Capcom for taking this route as it isn’t set up to be 2 identical dudes blowing stuff up. These are actual characters with stories and motivations. I think this makes for a strong structured experience. Though I’ll admit that it may be tough for many people to swallow being the non-gun-toting explorer, I think it’s brilliant. It’s the part I would want to play. As a single-player experience, I appreciate I can direct the AI so it doesn’t do something stupid on its own when I leave it unattended.
The campaign was originally broken into 4 episodes, with each episode further split into 2 parts. Each section of an episode takes roughly an hour, so while I can understand what Capcom was attempting to do, I’m not sure this is the best delivery system. I mean, systematically, it works and the episodes are nicely and neatly separated, but I am just not sure that is what their audience craves.
Outside of the main campaign there is Raid Mode. So, in previous games, there were these separate modes (like Mercenaries) where you went through these small maps outside the parameters of the story and killed zombies (or not-zombies, afflicted, infected, however the lore is currently working in the universe today) or monsters for gold, trinkets, what-have-you. To me, it always felt tacked on and uninspired. That is how I felt about Raid Mode, going into it. Wow, was I wrong. Raid Mode in Revelations 2 is fully fleshed-out and realized with RPG and roguelite elements. You have a cast of characters that have specific skills you can optimize and level up, weapons that you collect, level up and customize, accessories to collect and level up and coins to spend in the mode. The levels themselves are solid and all environments are taken from previous Resident Evil games, which invokes those games in your mind while you play each level. Raid Mode is a fantastic addition to the game and it really has gotten its hooks into my consciousness.
That is not to say Resident Evil Revelations 2 is perfect. Far from it. With the return to “old school,” comes some of the frustrating mechanics and camera issues RE games have always had. Cheap attacks, frustrating boss battles, the camera in your ear are all a part of the Revelations 2 experience…and oh my goodness, the Load times. Thing is, sometimes the amount of enjoyment I’m getting outshines these problems.
Overall, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a nice return to the old school Resident Evil formula. Consider it your getaway from any bad taste RE 5 or 6 may have left in your mouth. Full warning, this game is aimed at fans of the franchise and survival horror. Those with a penchant for action-oriented or fast-paced faire may wish to steer clear.