Resident Evil Revelations 2 Review
Editors Note: Check out a counterpoint here.
“You don't even know what to be afraid of yet.” Actually we do, disembodied voice of Resident Evil Revelations 2.
There will be monsters with rebarb inexplicably piercing their bones, copious infected born of corporate negligence, and an aesthetic which thrives on rust soaked by blood. Although, rarely is any of this actually cause for fear.
Revelations 2 is gleefully self-aware of its frequent infamy. Barry Burton's “master of unlocking” line is not spared. Neither are the childish expletives. Much (most?) of the dialog in this third-person horror/shooter is presented as if written by a prepubescent child. One minor character is defined by his penchant for saying “balls.” A lot.
The whole thing is an antiseptic to logic, reliant on the passe and predictable rather than series invigoration. It is identifiably a sequel, one which appears a touch tired too. Revelations 2 brings in a small girl, Natalia, as a central plot device, a cheap and even dishonest means of genre tension. Such empathy is instinctual; Revelations does not need to work for it. Short of adding a puppy, it's hard to be this manipulative and escape without ire.
Formulaic would be a considerate descriptor.
Revelations 2 softens through a sloppy, ill-conceived narrative. Any additions this late in the Resident Evil timeline are second (third/fourth/fifth even) cut fan service, but even though he is cast as the central schlock line reader, Barry Burton blossoms as a struggling father. While utterly conflicting with the bulk of Revelations' free-wheeling nonsense, his bond with impromptu surrogate daughter Natalia is an anchor.
Claire Redfield's half of the episodic storytelling (little more than a sales tactic if well adhered to the nature of television production) is a cataclysmic waste. Her fourth act involvement is miniature and in a rush to conclude. At least she shoots well. The frantically paced online Raid mode at least adds some sizable arcade energy to balance out – and an intolerable amount of DLC.
The virus must have infected the shark which would have jumped over the series.
What's left is filler, but satisfying filler. Go here, shoot this, solve that, eat herbs. Do so while shimmying on ledges, boosting a partner, opening doors (so many doors), and turning valves to stop leaks. Formulaic would be a considerate descriptor. The see-saw character control (there are always two) is menial in effect. Revelations 2 is yearning for girth, yet the status of a charismatic B-level production limits any exploratory gameplay functions while assisting in forcing the campiness. However, camp is not created. It happens. No one told Capcom. They defiantly do not seem to care, so bravo.
Fish Jumping the Fridge Nuke
This feeds back into a horror fable about rogue viruses so exhausted and stretched it should have been taken out of service sometime around 1998. The virus must have infected the shark which would have jumped over the series. It would be more interesting at this junction if the STARS team returned to the original mansion to play a live version of Clue. (It was Barry with the candlestick.)
Storytelling fails on an already unsteady grounding.
Claire's half opens with the establishment of Terra Save – a briefly genuine and shrewd parody of for-profit security – before the entire concept is discarded. Terra Save is just an aimless narrative function. Storytelling fails on an already unsteady grounding. It's covered by stretches of atmosphere as Claire is captured and shoved into a dungeon, surrounded by grimy and enjoyably imperfect textures.
From there, it plays out comparable to Saw, loosely anyhow. There's an island. Characters are trapped. They're watched from afar on flickering CRTs. Wristbands, which cannot be removed, take note of fear levels (to no gameplay function), which upon reaching critical levels, inject the Uroborus virus.
Burton's side pulls up the rear six months after with little of the twisted reality show following his moves.
Everything Feels Stale and Dead
In the undercurrent is a sign of something interesting. Isolated and dead, the isle of Zabytij has historical consequence, if limited to scattered journals conveniently left on tables. Critical information must be discovered. There is a sympathetic Russian angle to Revelations 2 wherein workers were brought over to Zabytij en masse, promised riches, and then lured into death camps for viral research.
Considering current entertainment media's penchant for slapping Russians in stock villain roles, their existence here as zombies accurately represents their overused, shambling form. Russians/zombies. They're equally overplayed. So is Resident Evil, but at least it seems to know it.