Published on March 4th, 2015 | by Don Parsons1
Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 1 Review
Summary: A great twist to episodic content, and a return-to-form for a struggling franchise.
Resident Evil is one of those franchises that took a downward spiral. Resident Evil 4, while drastically different than the original trilogy, is considered the peak of the series by a lot of people, including myself. The fourth game blended action with a spooky setting and a mostly-good story. Sure, the story was not as good as the first Resident Evil games, but if we all knew how bad the narrative would have gotten afterwards, we might not have complained as much, right?
When Revelation came out a few years ago, it got quite a bit of fanfare. I played the console version and enjoyed it quite a bit. That was the drive behind me trying Resident Evil Revelations 2 Episode 1. Well, that, and the $5.99 admission.
Episodic content is all the rage these days. I love that I can try the first part of the game for $5 or so, and get an idea if I am going to continue playing it as episodes are released. In the case of Revelations 2 Ep. 1, $6 got me in the door for the first two hours of the story, and dozens of hours of Raid mode. The latter was honestly the biggest seller. But the beauty of Revelations 2 and how it handles episodic content is that I can spend $6 this week, and play through it with my limited game time and be greeted the following week with more content. If this were a Telltale game, I would have to wait months before a new episode to become available, which might last a few hours.
The narrative is two parts, one where I played as Claire and Moira and another where I played as Barry and Natalia. Each sections lasts roughly 45 minutes or so, a little longer if you really take time to explore the nooks and crannies. After a short opening, the game dumped me in as Claire trapped in a prison. Not just any prison, but a mildly horrific and certainly abandoned prison. Claire is friends with Moira and groups up with her almost instantly. The rest of their tenure together in this first episode is them trying to escape a facility where all sorts of testing and torture took place, and get to a radio tower.
Moira is Barry’s daughter, which explains why he comes in to try to save the day in act two. After landing ashore on this island, he is immediately greeted by a little girl, who seems innocent but I still question her intentions. Her character is actually the most intriguing to me, and the main plot point that is keeping me engaged. Barry and Natalia basically double back through everything the first two did, only quicker, and then adventure through some creepy woods that introduce a few new enemies.
One of the main things I love about this game is how each of the two characters playing have a strength. On the second act, I probably used Natalia more than Barry due to her ability to sense enemies through walls. So I spent most of the time creeping along as the little girl, only to switch to Barry to shoot enemies when I needed to. This was even more useful in the woods, because the enemies had weak points you had to shoot first to expose the area, and then again to finish them off. The game can be played split-screen, but switching back and forth is effortless so I never felt held back by what I could do by myself. Each act had a part where you were being swarmed by a small army, but nothing that couldn’t be handled with one person.
Of course, much like Resident Evil 4 and on, I earned BP to upgrade my characters in the campaign, and there were parts and weapons to be found. However, one downfall, possibly the only major downfall, was that I had no desire to play through the first chapter again. I did start it, but after spending six or so hours in Raid mode, I was content with that instead.
Something I feel should be pointed out, because I loathe quick-time events, and it’s why I never got past the opening of Resident Evil 6, is that there are no quick-time events. The whole first act, when a small scene would play, I would eagerly await a QTE to pop up and interupt every thing. I would refrain from taking a drink or snacking, but nothing came up. One of my biggest problems with the franchise has been resolved as of now.
After finishing up the story and while waiting for the next chapter, Raid mode is there to keep players entertained. Raid mode is essentially a “point A to point B, shoot everything in your path” mode. You can change your loadout, upgrade weapons, skills, and all the like. Most stages take 4-8 minutes, and there’s daily challenges to complete. Raid mode is far more action oriented than the campaign, which is rather slow and more story-telling focused. As of now, there is no online co-op, but that is supposed to be patched in.
Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 1 took me by surprise. No QTE’s, an interesting story, no long wait time before the next episode, and an add-on mode that satiates my need to shoot lots of zombies, all of which add up to a great time. If you are a fan of Resident Evil whom has been burned by the evolution of the franchise, this one is worth checking out. And you can do so for $5.99, and pick the rest up if you like it.
This review was written based on gameplay on the Xbox One console at the reviewers expense. For more on our review policies, read here.