A new Resident Evil adventure offers an entertaining co-operative experience
Game review: Resident Evil Revelations 2
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / PS Vita / PC
THE second Resident Evil game in a month following on from the latest reworking of the original instalment in the series, this is a sequel to 2013’s Revelations, itself a spin off franchise from the main branch of games. The much loved brand has been sullied of late with a few ill-advised deviations from the original tried and tested formula. Thankfully, Revelations 2 is one of the better examples of a Resident Evil game in recent years.
Its four episodes have been released week by week in a novel distribution model from Capcom’s which, rather than allowing months to go by in between chapters, helped build up the tension and expectations as its quickfire story emerged piece by piece. It is still possible to buy them individually, but now that the final episode has been released, traditionalists can snap them up together in the one retail disc.
A mix of old school Resident Evil and all out action, Revelations 2 does its own thing
A blend of old school, slow burning stealth section and all out action sequences which see bullets sprayed everywhere, the new Revelations borrows what it likes from the canon while doing its own thing. Set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and 6, some of its protagonists are familiar - Barry Burton, for example, or Claire Redfield - and the interweaving plotlines are gripping enough.
It is possible to switch between characters in single player although the AI is at times unpredictable. The best - in fact, the only - way to experience this new Resident Evil adventure, is with another player in co-operative mode. This is judged superbly. The various duos in the game have vastly contrasting skills and weaponry at their disposal, a set up that requires interdependence and close teamwork if both are to survive.
Strategy is key to survival and you need to work as a team to survive
Strategy is crucial in Revelations 2. A supposedly weaker player is often indispensable given the way they can scout out an area ahead or distract enemies, while their teammate watches their back, their finger resting on the trigger. Soon, it becomes clear that there is no disparity between the characters; to live, they need one another.
However, the co-operative play is offline only, which seems like a huge opportunity missed. Whether it was the rush of the development cycle or a desire to have both players sitting alongside each other in the same room, the reason for this omission is unclear, but hopefully an update will be available in due course at least giving players the option to team up with strangers.
Some elements are superfluous but overall this is a great value package
For a mid-budget price, the disc version provides fine value, with the quartet of episodes likely to eat up around 10 to 12 hours of your time. A few underwhelming bonus episodes are also thrown into the mix, but the real hook that makes Revelations 2 such a winner is Raid, a score attack style mode that asks you fend off swarms of enemies. It may seem like mindless fun, but play it for extended periods and you will realise that good tactics are key. From judging when to reload and choosing which target to kill first, every decision has an impact and it is hugely gratifying when you beat your own score after a particularly successful round.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
It ought to go without saying for a Resident Evil game, but unless you are playing at the lowest difficulty setting, ammunition can be scarce. Hold your fire where you can.
Gunning down enemies indiscriminately is a waste of time. Study each one beforehand and learn which of their weak spots you should target.
Use characters like Moira to explore your surroundings. There are item hidden away that can be put to good use.