|System: PS4*, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC|
|Release: March 3, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2: Contemplation is not only an excuse to gratuitously overuse the colon, but also the second installment in Capcom’s new episodic Resident Evil Revelations 2 series, which launched last week. Since Episode 2 uses the same game engine as Episode 1, there isn’t a whole lot of difference in the way the game plays here. However, there is a massive difference in its tone and pacing. Not only that, but now that we have seen two episodes hit the market, this game serves as a fantastic example of how episodic gameplay can be applied to more than just cinematic Telltale style experiences. While Episode 2 isn’t the most mind-blowing game on its own, I have a feeling that the whole experience of Resident Evil Revelations 2 will amount to more than the sum of its parts.
Let’s start by going over what is the same as it was in Episode 1. The characters and their roles are the same, so don’t go expecting Moira to be picking up an SMG any time soon. The controls are the same, so you don’t have to go relearning the game again. Most of the weapons are the same and most of the enemies are the same, so unfortunately outside bosses you won’t meet with many new challenges. The co-op operates the same, the Raid Mode is pretty much the same except for some new areas and characters, and overall you are really just getting a continuation of the first episode. On the upside you’ll be familiar with it and you can jump in with very little lead in time. On the downside, if you were looking for a fresh gameplay experience, you won’t find it here.
As I said before, one of the big differences here is the tone and pacing. Many reviewers had a problem with how easy the first episode was, with most enemies going down in a few shots and ammo pickups being abundant. I’d like to say that Capcom listened to us and changed this for Episode 2, but frankly it’s only been a week and I know the game was done before Episode 1 even came out. Let’s just call this a case of happy serendipity.
Either way, ammo is much more sparse in Episode 2, and this small change impacts the game in dramatic ways. Even though the enemies don’t really change, facing them is completely different when you realize you might run out of bullets soon. Enemies are also more plentiful this time around, so you very quickly start feeling the pressure of ammo scarcity. While the game never really steps over the line into horror territory, you definitely feel the “survival” part a little bit more. You’ll be aiming for headshots more often and running away when you can. While this can feel frustrating if you had already gotten used to the ease of the first episode, it can definitely draw you into the game in ways Episode 1 couldn’t.
The boss fights are some of the high points of Episode 2. On one hand, you are seeing a lot of the same things you saw in other Resident Evil games, from giant zombies with bags on their heads to mutated creatures and everything in between. But Episode 2 puts a bit of a remix-style spin on a lot of these encounters, which helps to make them feel unique. You have probably seen trailers of the game or gameplay videos with Claire taking on a giant hulking zombie with a torch and what appears to be a lava cannon, and yes, it’s about as ludicrous to fight as it is to describe. Bosses are actually difficult and you’ll find yourself dying over and over again, challenged in ways that normal enemies don’t even begin to challenge you. It gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you overcome them, but once again can be frustrating if you are used to the pace of Episode 1.