Resident Evil is a hard series to love at this point. After the masterpiece that was RE 4 there was nowhere for Capcom to go but down and down they went in epic fashion. RE 5 was a solid game but it dialed up the action and co-op elements so far that it hardly seemed like a horror game at all, and the less said about the complete clusterfuck disaster that was RE 6 the better.
Surprisingly great though, was Resident Evil Revelations. Beginning life as an almost unbelievably technologically advanced and critically acclaimed early 3DS Game, it was then ported to literally every other system and highly regarded there as well. So back to the well Capcom went, and since various arcane digital distribution methods seem to be the lifesaver that Japanese companies think is going to rescue them from ineffectuality, it’s no surprise that they decided to try something different with the release of the new Resident Evil.
Moira Burton. Not quite Poochie or Jar Jar, but close.
Spread out across 4 weeks, each “episode” uploaded consisted of 2 proper levels, one featuring returning RE2/Code Veronica protagonist Claire Redfield and another that puts you in the boots of fan favorite RE stalwart Barry Burton (he of “Barry, where’s Barry?” fame), taking place 6 months later and basically covering the same ground.And herein lies my main issue with the game, the Barry missions tend to be boring as fuck. Even though being accompanied by his enemy detecting psychic Newt from Aliens Natalia spices things up a little, you’re essentially, immediately replaying the last level over again. Backtracking has always been a staple of the RE experience but this is Devil May Cry 4 levels of ridiculous.
Natalia has to point out giant invisible bugs that can instantly kill Barry in what has to be the single most annoying sequence of any game I’ve played in a long time.
That pacing issue really sticks out like a sore thumb because aside from that what he have here is a competently made little slice of modern RE. The graphics and gameplay are great, the character models may look a little last gen at times but the environments are rock solid, and the pus-y, slimy effects on the enemies (especially the ones that explode into a fountain of corrosive goo) are wonderfully disgusting. Gameplay builds from the first Revelations game, melding the old school RE experience with more modern third person shooters. Sadly gone is the Metroid Prime-style enemy and environment scanning but they’ve added somewhat analogous abilities to your partners.Speaking of Partners, Claire is joined by Barry’s daughter Moira and Barry by the previously mentioned Natalia. You can switch between partners on the fly by tapping the Y button. Not quite RE Zero’s Partner Zapping, but close. You’re sometimes required to switch to solve certain puzzles but it mostly felt like a hassle to have transition from my main gun toting badass character to their relatively defenseless partner just to point (or point a flashlight) at something the AI could’ve easily handled itself and streamlined the overall experience. Also clunky and half assed are the mild crafting elements that seem shoehorned into the game. Why bother crafting tourniquets or medicated wipes when the series’ trusty green and red herbs are still here to instantly cure any ailment?
Best New Character: Giant Exploding Pus Monster.
And in the end, that seems to be a microcosm of the entire experience. Is “clunky” now as much a part of RE as various Redfields and Weskers and crashed helicopters and slimy monsters? Konami seemed to be on the right track to truly modernize Japanese survival horror with their upcoming “Silent Hills” but recent shake ups at that company might mean that game will never be released. Even though it’s dirt cheap ($5 per episode, $25 for the season pass with extras) and there’s some modicum of fun to be had here, I sadly can’t recommend Resident Evil Revelations 2. If the previously teased Resident Evil 7 ever sees the light of day, hopefully Capcom can get back to basics in a way that doesn’t just involve mindless backtracking and references to “Jill Sandwiches”.