The original Resident Evil: Revelations first appeared on Nintendo 3DS a little over 3 years ago. Set between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5 it was an impressive title for the handheld. So much so that it eventually made the jump to PC and console as an upgraded HD edition.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has left the handhelds this time and targets PC, Xbox One and PS4 as the main platforms with Xbox 360 and PS3 versions also available. This time events are set between Resident Evil 5 and 6.
Another change is that Capcom are experimenting with different release options. Initially the game is being released episodically. Each of the four main episodes are available digitally and players only have to wait a week between episodes. Typically episodic games wait at least several weeks between episodes so this makes a nice change.
Being released so close together means that the whole game must actually be already complete. By releasing a week apart it gives players time to focus on the current episode. It also lets you spread the cost of the game and is a safer way to see if you like it before spending the full amount. Once the final episode releases gamers will be able to purchase a complete edition digitally or opt for the boxed retail release.
The first episode is called Penal Colony and is split into two chapters. The first focuses on Claire Redfield and Moira Burton while the second stars Moira’s Dad Barry Burton and a young girl called Natalia Korda. The game can be played solo or co-operatively with a second player. When playing solo you can switch between characters and the AI takes over the second player.
Often in co-op games each player gets to control a similar character but Revelations 2 gives each player two quite different characters to control. In the first chapter Claire Redfield is the firearms expert and has a knife for melee attacks. Moira stays clear of guns and instead gets control of a torch which can temporarily blind enemies and a crowbar that can be used to bludgeon them to death.
The different styles of play work well together with Moira taking a more supporting role where she can light the way, distract enemies and finish them off. She can also use her torch to identify items of interest around the environment. Items sparkle but can only be collected once they have been lit with the torch. Players spend the majority of time together but are also forced to split up.
Barry and Natalia play similarly with Barry able to use firearms and Natalia pointing out items of interest. Not much is revealed about the mysterious Natalia in this episode but it’s clear that she is special and that she possesses certain special abilities. One of these is the ability to sense enemies before you can actually see them. She can also point out weak spots on certain nasties and crawl through small spaces.
The game works well enough when played solo but it can be a bit fiddly swapping characters during the tougher parts. During combat swapping can be particularly troublesome and the AI doesn’t help you out a great deal until you start upgrading skills. When played with a friend things improve dramatically and the co-op elements work incredibly well. The game is definitely most rewarding when working together.
In addition to the co-op campaign Revelations 2 also comes with Raid mode which you can play solo or team up with another player in co-op. There are over 50 missions to tackle just in Episode 1 and each puts you in a location filled with enemies. It’s your job to survive the mission by meeting its objectives. You also get rewarded medallions based on certain conditions such as not healing for the whole mission or killing all the enemies.
Raid mode takes a few attempts before it really gets interesting. This is because you unlock new items, upgrades and skills the more you play. Once you have a selection of decent weapons then it becomes a lot more fun. After you’ve completed the campaign it will be Raid mode that will keep you coming back to the game. The Raid content included with the first episode is bigger than what came with the original Revelations and upcoming expansions will triple the content.
Overall Penal Colony is an impressive start for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 and left us excited and eager to play the next chapter. At a cost of just £5 there is an incredible amount of value here. It’s essential for fans of Resident Evil but sure to please anyone who enjoys action or horror games.