Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is an episodic survival horror adventure that’ll make you remember why you loved the series in the first place. It’s an adventure story built for two with cooperative gameplay providing both puzzles and tight gunplay. Revelations 2 is its own standalone tale though, so if you’ve not played its predecessor, don't worry.
This time around, the story is split between Claire Redfield and her employee Moira, who find themselves abducted and held hostage on an island that's the love child of Alcatraz and Saw’s Jigsaw. On the flipside of the story, we’ve got Moira’s father, who has one of the manliest names ever: Barry Burton. Barry’s attempting a rescue mission and by chance meets up with a young girl called Natalia who’s also been imprisoned on the island. It’s really refreshing to play a game with strong female protagonists and these ladies are anything but damsels in distress.
The narrative is structured like an episode of a TV show where your protagonists’ plight is slowly unravelled until it reaches its crescendo with a cliffhanger ending. This format does get a little worn towards the end, as you get to the point where you start to anticipate when something’s going to happen. Moving between the different characters provides each episode with great pacing as you explore areas with Claire and Moira, only to re-tread them with Barry and Natalia, but approaching them from a different angle. There are enough changes between the two sets of protagonists to keep things feeling fresh. Barry and Moira have the lion’s share of the puzzles, and whilst they aren't particularly hard there are a few which are a little infuriating.
The different duos also have different abilities; Moira rocks a kick-ass flashlight, which can blind enemies and make certain foes explode if you focus the beam on them for long enough. Natalia on the other hand can throw bricks with devastating accuracy and power but her killer perk is being able to sense enemies through walls and pick out their weak spots. This works really well if you're playing with a friend but it's also rewarding to play solo, scout out an area with Natalia and then switch back to Barry as you slowly move through the area disposing of enemies.
You can also experiment with different play styles as you move through the skill trees, which allow you to buy abilities such as short bursts of invisibility, increased damage when crouched, or our favourite, the ability for your AI partner to use unlimited ammo at a reduced damage rate when you swap to control Moira or Natalia. By mixing and matching these perks you can come up with some really cool strategies and it certainly provides an incentive to replay levels and level skills up. You'll also get the chance to upgrade your weapons, though, unfortunately, not from a shifty looking Merchant a la Resident Evil 4. Throughout the levels you’ll find locked chests containing gun mods which enable you to improve your damage, reduce reload time, give you burst fire and loads more.
All in all, each episode takes around two hours to complete, however once you've completed the story in full, you’ll probably start sinking a silly amount of time into the Raid mode, which is a little like Mercenaries from previous Resident Evil titles, but instead of aiming for perfect runs you'll be wanting to rank up, unlock new weapons, and skills – it's really addictive and great fun. For fans that were vexed by Resident Evil 5 and 6's farcical adventures, Revelations 2 takes a step back and re-evaluates what makes a good Resident Evil game. Revelations 2 has plenty of action and atmosphere, but it’s the emphasis on gunplay and tight mechanics that really make you feel like there’s a glimmer of hope for the series again.