Resident Evil: Revelations 2 takes a step in the right direction following Resident Evil 6, but is it enough?
Resident Evil 6 was pretty terrible. The series had been slowly moving away from survival horror since Resident Evil 3, and by the time 6 rolled around, it had essentially turned into a cover shooter. Resident Evil: Revelations, which started life as a 3DS exclusive tried to bring the series back to its survival horror roots, and managed to do surprisingly well. It eventually led to Capcom porting it to consoles. Fans praised the game's decision to make the series actually frightening again, and it looks like the sequel will continue that trend.
At this year's Tokyo Game Show, I got to try out an Xbox One build of Resident Evil: Revelations 2. This time around, it's skipping the 3DS right from the get-go, and coming to every home console except the Wii U. The demo was nice and long, and let me get a pretty good feel of what to expect from the game, and I can assuredly say it is a step in the right direction after Resident Evil 6. But is that enough?
In the demo, I took control of Claire Redfield, the heroine of Resident Evil 2, and teamed up with new character Moira Burton, the daughter of Resident Evil veteran Barry Burton. Just like in Resident Evil 5, the two-player mechanic looks like it will be integral to the game, and it appears that the entire game will be playable in co-op.
Claire wakes up in your bog-standard "creepy run-down prison" and has to fight her way through all the creatures that go bump in the night to discover a way home. Despite being a setting we have seen dozens of time before, Revelations 2 does a fantastic job of building atmosphere. There were quite a few times when I was genuinely frightened, as the game did a fantastic job of using the darkness to keep you on your toes. In fact, Moira's main role is to be on "flashlight duty", shining her torch around to discover hidden items and light the way.
When the zombies did eventually pop out, at first, I wasn't too phased. By themselves, they are quite easy to dispatch, with a shot to the head, and a strong melee follow-up. However, the game wasn't going to let me go so easily, and it wouldn't be long before it started throwing multiple baddies at me. It worked really well, and it made the decision to fight-or-flight a much more weighty one.
Ammo seems to be a bit harder to come by, and your melee weapon isn't the unstoppable killing machine it was in prior games, so when you choose to fight, it's actually quite tough. Bringing back the ammo urgency is probably the most welcome move in the game, as Resident Evil kind of stops being scary if you know you can just mow down everyone and everything you come across.
I'm really interested to see how Moria will work in co-op. In singleplayer, you can switch to her with the press of a button, and while she refuses to use guns, she can blind enemies with her flashlight, and then wallop them with a crowbar. I wonder if it will be enough to keep player two interested, or if they will eventually allow her to use guns.
Unfortunately, Revelations 2 is not a very pretty game. It may have something to do with it being developed in tandem for next-gen and last-gen consoles, but I really couldn't see it taking advantage of the Xbox One's hardware. To put it bluntly, it still looked like an Xbox 360 title.
Despite this, I still really enjoyed the demo. It was fun and scary at the same time, and if the full game can keep up the pace, It will definitely be enough to get me interested in Resident Evil again.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is due out in 2015, and will be released in an episodic format.