Title: Resident Evil Revelations 2
Developer: Frima, Sony Computer Entertainment
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 2.9 GB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes
The horror genre has been spreading out, over the years through many franchises. If you think of horror, different generations will think of different games. Silent Hill. F.E.A.R. Corpse Party. The list goes on. As the genre grows, so does the list of franchises that use it. However, some of these franchises go through and change things. Some of them may have started survival horror and then gone to other genres, like Konami’s test of Dungeon RPG gameplay with Silent Hill: Book of Memories, while retaining the horror setting.
Resident Evil is the big one that is known to have changed its gameplay. Ever since the transition from the earlier games to Resident Evil 4, this series has mainly been surrounded by shooting gameplay, turning more into a third-person shooter than a strict survival horror franchise. Some people like this, while other fans do not. Regardless, it is happening even now in the “Revelations” series of games.
Speaking of the Resident Evil Revelations titles, this brings us to today’s review. Resident Evil hasn’t graced the handheld world since Revelations and Mercenaries 3D on the Nintendo 3DS. However, the series has made its first official outing on the PlayStation Vita today. Without further delay, here is my much-anticipated review of Resident Evil: Revelations 2!
Set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, Claire Redfield is now the leader of an anti-bio terror group known as Terra Save. In the middle of a meeting and welcome of Moira Burton, daughter of Barry Burton, into the company, the building is raided. Both Claire and Moira wake some time later trapped on an island with a mysterious woman known only as “The Overseer” manipulating them through various areas full of bio-weapons.
The story of Revelations 2 takes place in 2 timelines with 2 campaigns. In each episode, you play as Claire and Moira as they explore the island. Then, you take over with Barry Burton and his companion, Natalia, as they search the island 6 months later, in the hopes of finding the missing Claire and Moira. This works well as the campaigns complement each other, having one bring up certain questions, and the other providing answers.
Overall, the story of Revelations 2 isn’t going to impress the fans of the series. While the finale is great, much of the story will just make series fans shake their heads at Capcom for the plot they’ve woven together, particularly around the game’s villain, the Overseer. The bright side of things is that they have thrown in a lot of reference and nostalgia for fans, especially a lot of nods and dialogue references to some of the famous parts of the first Resident Evil. Although these and the finale are great, much of the story isn’t going to captivate you.
Like previous games of the series, Revelations 2 is a third person shooter with puzzle elements and presented in a horror setting. As you go through each campaign episode, you’ll be exploring lots of areas in search of key items to get past areas, while gunning down zombies and other infected monsters along the way. At its heart, it is a third person shooter mostly similar to Resident Evil 4 and 5.
This is the first Resident Evil title that is set in various Episodes, rather than one continuous journey. This is very similar to how episodes worked in games like The Walking Dead from Telltale Games. In each episode, you’ll be going through Claire’s campaign, then Barry’s campaign. After this, you can spend points you earned (based on performance in that campaign) to unlock new skills and proceed to the next campaign or episode.
Each campaign puts you in command of two characters at a time. Claire’s campaign features her and Moira, while Barry’s campaign consists of him and Natalia. Each character has their own strengths that must be used to navigate certain areas and solve certain puzzles. For example, Claire and Barry can use firearms, whereas Moira and Natalia can use Crowbars and bricks, as well as accessing certain areas that the other characters cannot. Solving each puzzling area is a feat of combining both characters’ skills together.
The big difference between this system and RE4 and 5 is that you can switch characters by the click of a button, not having to rely on AI to do what you need them to do. If you want to leave Claire by a door that only opens for a moment, you can just switch to Moira and give her the command. Then, when the door opens, you can quickly swap back to Claire and hold the door open for Moira to catch up and pass through.
Speaking of AI, which is another aspect of the game that is good and bad at the same time. Your non-controlled character will run on AI and they have certain things they can do. Moira can blind enemies and allow Claire to do a follow-up attack to knock an enemy down. She can do this at any time, but it’s not always what she does. There may be some sequences where she’ll just run and stand around idiot. This isn’t a very big problem in the Casual difficulty, but it can be crucial in the harder difficulties.
As far as the difficulty goes, Revelations 2 can be difficult, but there’s a trick to fighting every enemy in the game. As long as you learn those tricks quickly, like where a weak point is, the game doesn’t prove to be overly challenging. If you don’t play shooters a lot or haven’t played a Resident Evil game in some time, you may have trouble in some areas, but it’s certainly doable.
Aside from Campaign Mode’s 4 main chapters and 2 DLC chapters, you also have Raid Mode at your disposal. This mode has you using a customized character, based on story characters from this game with custom weapon load-outs and going on missions to take down as many enemies as possible until you reach the end of the stage.
This mode is unique because it has a lot of RPG elements to it. As you play missions, your character will gain Experience and can Level Up. Each time they level up, their damage output will increase and the damage they take will decrease. Enemies also appear at various levels, so this mode is kind of a cross between a third-person shooter and an Action RPG. After a mission, you also earn gold that can be used to purchase ammo and weapons. Another thing to note is that the Vita version of the game fully supports online co-op play within Raid Mode.
One thing to make a big note of is DLC. Revelations 2 on PS3 and PS4 had a lot of DLC to it. All of that DLC is bundled into the PS Vita version and it is available the moment you boot the game. This is the DLC story additions as well as the DLC for Raid Mode, like using Albert Wesker and HUNK. While the normal content unlocked by completing the game won’t be automatically unlocked, all of the DLC content will be.
The story of Revelations 2 should take you about 9-10 hours to clear your first time through, though a speed run can take as little as 3 hours (and is needed to unlock the Infinite Rocket Launcher). Adding the many missions of Raid Mode to this, you can expect the game to take up at least 12-15 hours of your time, and even longer if you wish to replay the Campaign for all of the unlockable weapons, costumes, and replaying stages in the intense Invisible and Countdown modes.
One of the biggest questions I had thrown at me once I received my copy of this game is about the control scheme. The first thing I’ll say is that the game uses the front touch screen, but does not use the rear touch screen. The front touch screen is used for crouching, using herbs on the fly, toggling the flashlight for Barry and Moira, and enabling the use of sub-weapons like bottles. Also, Start pauses the game and Select brings up your inventory. Then come the face button controls. There are also optional gyroscope options for aiming.
Moving your character is done with the Left Analog Stick and the camera is moved with the Right Analog Stick. The D-Pad is used for AI commands as well as switching weapons. The L trigger is used to aim and R is used to fire or slashing with a knife/crowbar when L isn’t held down. X can be used for quick turns and running. Square is used for interacting or picking up objects/items. Triangle is used for AI commands. Finally, Circle is used for firing sub-weapons.
The control scheme isn’t hard to learn, and everything is explained really well as you play the game. However, PlayStation TV users may have a bit of an awkward time with the touch controls. The features the touchscreen uses aren’t extended to any the extra buttons on the controller, so you have to use the makeshift touch controls for that. It’s not very hard to do with a Dual Shock 4, but it would be very difficult with a Dual Shock 3.
Since patch 1.02 has come out, PSTV controls have been added. You now use L1 to toggle the flashlight. You use L2 + R1 to equip sub-weapons. You use L3 for crouching, and you use R3 for using herbs, removing the touch screen requirements.
The visual presentation of the game isn’t bad, but also isn’t great. First of all, the CG scenes are taken straight from the console release, so they look phenomenal. The in-game engine is a little different. It doesn’t look bad, but you can tell they had to downgrade a bit to make it work on the Vita. I would directly compare the visuals to around the visuals of the PS2 version of Resident Evil 4.
There are two issues with presentation that you should note. The first is the load times. Each time you enter a major loading sequence, you should be prepared for quite a wait. Each major loading sequence or loading a saved game will take at least 30 seconds, usually more.
The other issues is the frame-rate. The majority of the game plays fine, which is a huge relief for those worries about the game’s performance. There are frame dips, though. Sometimes the frames jump when you go into a room or when your character is at critical health. For the most part, the frames may drop a little during some sequences, but they mostly stay pretty solid. There was only one area of the game (the crane sequence in Episode 4) where the frames dropped to an ugly and frustrating level.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 on the Vita and PSTV is the same game as on PS3 and PS4, content for content. On the downside, the story is nothing that will astound series fans and there are a couple issues with the presentation and performance in certain areas. Anyone who can look past this will see a fine port of Revelations 2 and a great way to have modern Resident Evil gameplay on the go.