I fell out of love with the Resident Evil series around half way through Resident Evil 5. I finished it, of course, I had to. If this was going to be my goodbye to the series then the least I could do was see it through to the end. The releases that have followed since have, for better or worse, flown under my radar, and my life went on as normal and that was that.
• Developer: Capcom
• Publisher: Capcom
• Previewed on: PlayStation 4
• Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
• Release Date: Q1 2015
That was until Halloween. I was asked to visit the Capcom UK offices in Hammersmith, London, to try out the up and coming Resident Evil: Revelations 2, and I couldn’t think of a better place to be on my favourite day of the year. I’ll admit I was a bit apprehensive, wondering if Capcom had managed to bring Resident Evil back to its former glory. To my pleasant surprise, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.
The demo, we were told, would last about 20 minutes and serve as a taster for the game to come, showing off mechanics, characters, and setting, without giving too much, if anything, away from the main story. Needless to say it took me considerably longer than it should have, but I enjoyed every fear filled moment.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 sees Claire Redfield making her welcome return to the series after quite a lengthy hiatus. Waking up alone in a prison cell, being watched by a nameless voyeur through a security camera, a theme that runs throughout the demo, and is apparently a running theme throughout the main game.
The cell door opens, and the demo begins. I stepped out of the cell and into what appears to be an old prison. The hallways drip atmosphere as lights flicker and strange noises could be heard off in the distance. Claire hears the voice of another girl, and it’s off to find Revelations 2‘s supporting female lead – A young woman named Moira Burton, the daughter of the original Alpha Team’s very own Barry.
I took an instant liking to Moira. Whereas Claire is the more collected of the two, Moira is more reactive to what’s going on; she swears (a lot), asks questions, and isn’t afraid to show her fear. However, she isn’t portrayed as a damsel in distress, instead acting as I imagine anyone would in the same situation, making her the most relatable, or at least ‘human’ character the series has seen.
This is from what we’ve seen in the demo at least, and I hope Capcom continue to develop her character in this positive way. It’s worth noting too that Moira doesn’t use guns, in fact she appears to be disgusted or even frightened by them, so it’s apparent that something happened to her in her past to make her this way, which will no doubt be revealed in the main game.
After Moira is released from her cell, doors begin to open clearing the way, and Claire and Moira begin to make their way through twisted, rusted corridors, reminiscent more of Silent Hill than Resident Evil. This is more apparent when making my way up a huge cylindrical room, a massive extractor fan rotating slowly above casting eerie shadows as bodied hang upside down from the ceiling on chains.
A woman’s scream gives indication to the next objective, and it’s onward to find the sauce of the distress, picking up a knife for Claire, and a flashlight for Moira along the way. The knife is used with R2, giving a quick slash that is used for opening boxes, breaking windows and attack the many enemies that come too close.
I carried on through corridors and I reached a huge shelving unit blocking the corridor, prompted to push the left stick up I began to move it out the way and promptly jumped out of my skin as the first enemy of the demo lunged at me, reaching through the twisted unit I was pushing, violently trying to grab Claire. Slashing it with the knife made it run off, and it was back to clearing the corridor.
Making my way through derelict and blood smeared corridors and rooms, desperately searching for a way out I come across the corpse of a man hanging upside down. As Claire reaches for the key on his belt he falls down to the room below, and after making my way down to him I search his lifeless body and find a pistol, but no keys. It’s here that Moira’s speciality is shown off.
Switching to Moira with triangle I was able to aim and shine her torch around the place. Whenever the torch is focused on an item that can’t usually be seen, it begins to shine, making it possible for Claire to see it and collect it once characters have been switched back. Shining the torch around, I find the key stuck on a pipe, switch back to Claire and shoot it down. As soon as the keys are picked up a door unlocks and enemies begin to pile into the room. This is where Revelations 2’s surprised me the most.
The combat is absolutely superb! Returning from the first Revelations is the ability to move and shoot, which is no surprise at all, but the feel of the combat caught me off guard. The aiming is so smooth and precise, the sensitivity has been set so perfectly for aiming with an analogue stick, and each and every shot felt sadistically satisfying.
The single button melee attack helps when Claire becomes overrun by enemies, as does the first aid spray/ green herbs which are also used with a single button, keeping the action tense and streamlining the experience like never before. The abundance of ammo, which I was told was only so plentiful for demo purposes, also helped the experience slightly. Even with so much ammunition on hand the combat encounters still felt as tense as anything I’d experienced in a modern Resident Evil game.
The tense feeling is helped in a huge way by the outstanding sound track. A sound that can only be described as ‘industrial’ with constant shrill noises that left me on edge long after the battles had ended. Again, more reminiscent of Silent Hill than its series predecessors, the music is definitely a step in the right direction to bring back an old school survival horror atmosphere in a more contemporary way.
Of course it wouldn’t be Resident Evil without the series staple ‘find a thing, put it in a hole’ puzzle. After blasting my way through the prison I came to a door with a mechanism which was, unfortunately for our heroines, missing a cog. Avoiding enemies and meat grinder like obstacles that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Saw movie, I came across the missing cog in a cellblock.
After the power is restored and all the cells have been accidently opened, I managed to acquire the missing Kog (their spelling, not mine) and insert it into its rightful place in door. I then had to wait a couple of minutes for the door to open, in which time hordes of enemies descended upon me accompanied by something that looked like a close relative of Resident Evil 5’s Executioner Majini.
After a tense battle, in which I dodge rolled straight into a meat grinder and promptly died, I tried again. I gunned down my enemies and made my way to freedom and the end of the demo. Here I was treated to a montage trailer for the main game that poses so many more questions and looks superb.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is shaping up to be something special. Everything seems so refined, and the numbered titles could do with taking a look in this direction and taking note. In a strange turn of events, Revelations 2 is going to be episodic, with a new episode releasing each week over several weeks until it’s finished, after which a complete version will be released.