Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the PlayStation 4. There may be differences between versions.
At the end of Penal Colony, the first episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2, I was left wanting more. This is probably the best thing you can say about an episodic game. Well, maybe besides “the next episode is here.” In a bit of a weird move each episode for Revelations 2 is coming out only one week after the last. Yet if they keep being this high quality then that’s not such a bad thing.
Picking up where Penal Colony left off, Contemplation has Claire and Moira run into a few other members of Terra Save, and has Barry and Natalie continue the search for Moira, or possibly her body. The Overseer continues to be a creepy villain, becoming more and more Jigsaw-like as the game goes on. It’s clear she has something planned for Claire, Moria, and the rest of Terra Save and I can’t wait to see what. Sadly, Barry and Natalie’s arc sorta stalls here as all they really accomplish is getting from point A to point B. They get to witness the end-episode plot twist again (which is good enough to once again make me want to come back for more) but the best story moments are with Claire and Moira this time. That said, the writing is still kind of cheesy and quite a few of the side character’s voice acting is, well… bad. There must be a curse with the Burton family as whenever either Barry or Moria spoke it just felt like they were about to say something stupid.
Not much has changed in the gameplay department and that’s okay too. Claire and Barry will still be doing the majority of the shooting and protecting, while Moira and Natalie provide support. Claire and Moira are joined by a third character occasionally, but they mostly just provide minimal support and you can’t play as them. They do, at least, pick up the ability to craft items. Barry picks up a drill that allows him to break down weak walls to access new areas, but he only gets to use it a grand total of once in the episode so I have no clue if it’ll matter later. Natalie is given some more use this time around: Her ‘radar’ ability does a much better job of allowing Barry to sneak around and stealth kill enemies, and more importantly it allows her to spot an invisible enemy that only she can see. If you want Barry to have any hope of killing these guys then you need to listen to her as she calls out which way to aim your gun and when to shoot. It’s creative and almost scary at times, not knowing how close this thing is outside of Natalie’s screams of “it’s getting closer!” Especially when you know it’ll end you in one hit.
There’s more though, as Revelation 2’s scenarios are getting rapidly more intense. The first couple of boss fights appear in this episode, one of the few things that I felt was missing from the first one. The first boss in particular is easily the highlight of Contemplation. Smashing in on what appeared to be a stealth segment, this giant monster is constantly charging at and throwing fireballs at Claire and Moira. In a section where ammo already felt like a rarity that couldn’t be spent, this boss is an extremely intense moment in an already fantastic chapter. Barry and Natalie, on the other hand, find themselves locked in a small room with a drill wielding psychopath and need to use precision aim to destroy various weak spots on its body. Other great scenes include various stealth segments, a bar defense that is entertainingly reminiscent of Resident Evil 4’s cabin assault scene, and a tense chase scene that follows that bar defense. On the other hand, Contemplation’s simple ‘puzzles’ are clearly just there to waste time and drag the episode on longer. Would it be considered irony that Contemplation’s puzzles require no contemplation?
After I finish the story’s 2 hour run time I was happy to see that Countdown and Invisible modes are back once again, there to help extend the life of the episode. You can also always go back and try to find the various collectables, earn some medals by completing challenges, or earn more points to spend on skills to learn. Raid mode doesn’t have any major changes to how it plays, but two new characters have been added to it. Each of them have new skills for you to utilize and see if you’re interested in using. It’s still a meaty package for a pretty cheap price.
Contemplation shows that Resident Evil Revelations 2 is on the fast train for success. I’m excited to see what happens next, but until then the game is still providing thrills and action. With this I finally feel prepared to say it: this is the best Resident Evil has been since 4, and while I’m not sure if it’ll pass it in greatness it sure holds some chance to match it.