So I thought of doing a pithy “RE” title again, but this felt much more accurate for a review of Resident Evil Revelations 2. Yeah, yeah, I know this came out last year, but despite pre-ordering it, this was my first time playing it, and gosh darn it! It deserves a review! Due to life, I’ve just now gotten around to it. Hoo boy was I missing out! This may easily have become one of my favorite installments of the RE series! First place, of course, will always go to Code Veronica, as there will always be a place in my heart for the Ashfords. However, after some sketchy recent installments, this game has definitely taken Resident Evil back in the right direction and actually makes me feel excited for the series all over again!
I’m going to try to make this as non-spoilery as possible.
There is very little that I didn’t love about this game. The characters were (mostly) amazing, the atmosphere was everything I could have ever asked for from Resident Evil, it looked amazing, and the story was pretty darn great!
So you start off the game at a TerraSave party, of sorts. Do you guys remember TerraSave? If not, I wouldn’t be worried. I’m fairly certain it was only really explored in Resident Evil Degeneration, so if you missed that movie, you probably missed TerraSave. At any rate, party attendees include Claire Redfield, Moira Burton (yup! That’s Barry’s daughter), Neil Something-or-Other who is Claire’s boss (or is it her boyfriend? I mean, I shipped it, and Moira totally did, too), and a host of other people, some of which have names, but I didn’t really bother to remember them. Anyway, in true Claire fashion, shit starts blowing up and people get kidnapped. Also in true Claire fashion, she then wakes up on a zombie-infested island! It isn’t long before she finds Moira, and the two team up to escape prison! Except Moira’s only notable talents are holding a flashlight and using a crowbar…
Once you escape prison, you’re still basically fucked because why would you except anything else in this series? So while these ladies try to figure shit out, we swap over to good ol’ papa Barry. He’s come to this island to find his daughter!
Basically immediately, he finds a little girl! Just, ya know, not the right one. Enter Natalia, adorable cutie pie who quickly rocketed her way up to favorite character status. She kinda, sorta knows her way around this island, and she’s stubborn as hell, so she helps Barry find his way around. Also, she’s more helpful than Moira if you ask me.
So this is how you spend the game -first half of the episode, you play as Claire and Moira, second half you play as Barry and Natalia. At first, I was concerned that I would get bored of this set-up, but it actually works really well, especially once you learn the first big plot twist after the first episode.
So I bragged on the characters, and despite spending the past few paragraphs shitting on Moira, I actually to have a deep appreciation for all the main players in this game.
Claire is Claire, and you can’t really go wrong there. She’s a badass, but she’s also compassionate. She does seem to have lost her knack for talking to children though…
They also reuse a lot of aspects of Code Veronica with her, which I’m fine with for several reasons. First of all, I love Code Veronica, so any harkening back to it the series wants to do, I’m completely happy with. Second, this game actually paid tribute to a couple of previous games, so it worked out well. But let’s be real, from here on out, Claire should just stay away from men and all things involving islands.
Barry is still amazing! He’s flawed and determined and paternal. Basically, best team dad ever! Natalia is sweet, brave, and adorable. I also spent a lot of time being concerned about where her plot was going because I didn’t want my heart to be broken! Moira… Moira is complicated for me. There are certain aspects of her character that really grew on me, and at the end of the game, she’s pretty damn awesome! I just feel like maybe they tried too hard to make her a sort of badgirl character? Granted, I don’t actually know how old she’s supposed to be, so it could be that she’s really at that awkward, acting out age? I don’t know. Point remains that she did wind up growing on me, despite my wanting her to just shut up sometimes.
I think what is possibly one of my favorite aspects about this game is how it is completely driven by women. The men are basically totally periphery characters. Even Barry, despite being a player character, is following behind Moira and Claire, while deferring to Natalia’s guidance. The villain, known at first as the Overseer, is also a woman, and a fairly dynamic (if not totally batshit crazy) one, at that. I want so much more of this for the series! Resident Evil has a bad habit of letting men take the spotlight, while their female characters disappear into obscurity. I know we’ve had a couple of titles that feature prominent females, namely Jill (and to a far lesser extent, Claire), but I’ve never felt more female empowerment from the series than I did from this game. It wasn’t just badass chicks with guns blowing up zombies alongside the men, but it was also young women and girls who were not as combat oriented that drove the story along. If anything, I’d say it was those girls in particular that made this story as compelling as it was. Without Natalia and Moira, it would have but a far lesser game. So kudos to Capcom on this one. You did representation, and you did it phenomenally.
I also loved how much this this game paid tribute to previous games in the series. Quotes such as “I was almost a Claire sandwich” and “Whose the master of unlocking now?” gave me so much joy! There was even a level that was basically a replica of a place we’ve already been, and I had to pause the game for a moment and fangirl a little. I think coming off a replay of 1 straight into this made all that nostalgia even more apparent. The game even took the time to come up with it’s own one-liner gems. The jokes were appropriately awful, which is something I think is a staple to good Resident Evil.
It also felt like an actual survival horror game again! 5 and 6 were decidedly unscary, and while I know Revelations 1 managed to be on the freakier side, I also barely remember that game. This though? This made me feel like I was actually playing something creepy. The jump scares were fairly good (yeah, yeah, I screamed at the first zombie… and yeah, I screamed at more than that, too). It also gave me a lot of Silent Hill vibes, for more reasons than just “Have you seen a little girl?” and crowbars. There was a pretty good balance between sneaking and fighting, while still feeling like a Resident Evil game instead of some other series.
To top it all off, the game looks amazing! The graphics blew me out of the water sometimes! Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in actually playing that I didn’t think to grab many screenshots, especially when I was impressed. There’s one instance where you’re walking around in the rain, and it looks like there’s water actually running down the screen. It’s a fairly simple thing, but that was one of those moments where I just had to take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this all looked. Never mind playing as Natalia, which is a whole other kind of experience. Also, while not about the appearance, this game gets major props from me for actually utilizing the speaker on the PS4 controller! Whenever the Overseer’s voice came through it, that was such a neat experience. It gave the game a whole new depth.
This game continued to blow me away again and again. It seemed like almost every time I’d resigned myself to be discontented with any part of the main campaign, it immediately rectified it. I was all ready to have to complain about the final boss fight and who was (or wasn’t) involved, and boom! I suddenly had no more reason to complain. This is the game that could be the jumping off point for them to reinvent and reinvigorate the series, which was becoming a little stale.
A couple of final notes: This was obviously meant to be played co-op. Unfortunately, I had no one to play with. I’ve already enlisted a friend to play some co-op with me, since I feel that can only make the already great experience even better! However, it is my understanding that you can only do local co-op, which is something I feel Capcom dropped the ball on. Also, I have not finished the extra episodes, though I have dabbled in them. Fair warning, they are difficult! Not just because they are hard, but because of how Game Overs work in them. I may complete them, or I may not. It seems like they could provide some fun insight, but I don’t know if I find them worth the frustration. While the main campaign was amazing, these seem less so. I may just resort to YouTube.