The action is cranked up to 10 in the latest chapter of Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2. This episode has Claire and Moira find some friends while Barry and Natalia meet the mysterious Overseer.
Episode 2: Contemplation picks up with Claire and Moira stumbling into some familiar faces in an abandoned fishing village.
Turns out the other survivors are more of Claire’s colleagues from Terra Save, an awfully named organization that aids areas affected by bio-weapons. Bio-weapons meaning viruses that turn the population into horrible Hellraiser looking monsters of course.
The big improvement in this episode comes with the variety of monster encounters and excellent pacing. The Claire/Moira portion also felt less claustrophobic and more open, objective-wise.
The ladies have to help repair a helicopter by locating a battery and some fuel; they need to scour the village for parts while engaging some of the village’s previous inhabitants. The controls for Revelations 2 don’t do well in tight corridors so dealing with multiple infected in the open was a welcome change.
Another plus for the open spaces is that it allows players to set up some clever one-two combos against the infected. I often used Moira’s flashlight to momentarily stun them while Claire kicks and/or shoots the bad guy in the face and have Moira finish them off with her Crowbar.
When surrounded, Claire’s lovely new auto-shotgun will make short work of those nasty buggers as well. A sequence where the infected are storming you in a building will give you some RE 4 flashbacks even down to how they tear down the barricades.
The Barry/Natalia section flips the script and takes more of a sneaky approach to combat. Since the monsters they encounter are giant bullet sponges it’s smarter to try to sneak and score a stealth kill.
Barry’s ammo becomes more scarce in this episode than in the last chapter. As tempting as it is to use Barry’s Colt Python to one-shot some of these nuisances, you may want to save the ammo for the boss.
Natalia’s ability to see enemies behind her becomes a hell of a lot more useful now that she can highlight these invisible flying beetle things that distort your vision when are near. Natalia will shout directions to let you know how off or on the mark you are and her vision also helps setting up sneak attacks along with revealing the weak-spots.
Since the Barry/Natalia pair isn’t as fun to play as Claire/Moira in terms of combat, it’s good to see Natalia being used in a clever way. Though I could do with Moira’s constant cursing being taken down a notch; I feel like I’m starting to get my fill of foul-mouthed teenage sidekicks in videogames.
Both stories ended with great boss battles. Claire’s has this firebomb tossing freakshow that destroys all cover and leaves no place to hide, while Barry’s nemesis is a big jerk with an even bigger drill.
The latter requires some pinpoint accuracy to prevent being impaled as the former involves a lot of running and avoiding explosions. Episode Two is no cake walk which was the best part about it.
I was a little let down when the Overseer’s identity was revealed. I won’t spoil anything but it’s frustrating that there are some things in Resident Evil history that Capcom refuses to let die. That being said, however, the Overseer so far has been a pretty menacing villain. There’s still plenty of questions to be had and the build up to the final revelation seems on track.
Revelations 2 still remains visually unimpressive. The fishing village and the connecting areas simply aren’t anything special. The real problem in the visuals lie with the fact that we’ve already seen settings like this before in Resident Evil games done in beautiful detail.
Raid Mode is also back with two new characters, Gabe and Pedro, and a stage some Revelations fans will appreciate: the ship Queen Zenobia where Jill Valentine and the lesser Redfield, Chris saved the world from the T-abyss virus. Continuing as my level five Barry whose handgun fires freezing rounds is still a lot of fun as well.
It really does feel like Revelations 2 is starting to hit its stride as the stakes are ramped up. Episode 1 feels like a lot of table-setting with not much to do in comparison; however, Episode Two finds the right balance of combat, exploration and silly Resident Evil dialogue. Hopefully the next installment continues the upward trend.