Resident Evil: Revelations 2 sets you down the same path at two different points in time, playing as iconic characters Barry Burton and Claire Redfield. In the first episode, Claire is stuck on an island that's under the control of a devious overseer, who subjected her and her companion, Barry's daughter Moira, to a veritable gauntlet of violent and deformed monstrosities as they tried to make their escape. Barry arrived six months later, hoping to rescue his daughter, and when he landed ashore, he befriended a mysterious girl named Natalia who can see enemies through walls, making her a very useful companion indeed. Even though you ran through the same locations twice, once as each party, different weapons, enemy types and companion abilities were enough to stave off repetitiveness, even if the latter wasn't always used creatively at all times.
Episode One ended with a compelling cliffhanger that introduced a pivotal plot point, and while it's not surprising that it doesn't come full circle by the time Episode 2 ends, it would have been nice to have a little more narrative to chew on as you near the halfway mark in the overall story. In total, there's very little new information revealed until Episode 2's own cliffhanger, which reinvigorates your interest in the events at hand, but also leaves you in the dark, with unanswered questions luring you back for Episode Three.
At least the action picks up some of the slack. Claire and Moira kick off the latest episode in a rundown village, where they encounter a pair of other people from TerraSave, Claire and Moira's employer. Unfortunately, the new characters you meet offer more poorly-written and -acted dialogue, much like Moira did in Episode One, but at least she's less abrasive this time around. With their help, you attempt to eradicate the once-active logging village of its afflicted vermin, an act that ends with you in a cabin as enemies burst through windows on every side. It's one of two peaks during Claire and Moira's chapter that gets your adrenaline flowing.
After escaping the village, you emerge in a rundown city, with derelict busses and violent dogs patrolling rusty playgrounds. In the middle, a tower stands tall. It juts from the city's foundation, dominating the skyline, and on top, a pulsing, ominous red light beckons you to enter. The number of stories between the ground level and the top inspires fear; you're a long way from the top, and it can only get worse as you close in on the den of your manipulator.
Revelations' puzzles, if you can really call them that, are standard fare. The challenge is often survival during the act of resolving the roadblock, rather than the process of coming up with the solution.
As you move through its halls, puzzles with switches and doors stand in your way, per usual, but after Episode One, you know the drill at this point. Revelations' puzzles, if you can really call them that, are standard fare. The challenge is often survival during the act of resolving the roadblock, rather than the process of coming up with the solution.
This is most evident when playing as Barry and Natalia, when the game introduces invisible monsters that only Natalia can see. They appear to her as orange or red clouds, depending on how close they are, but Barry sees nothing except screen-wide waves of luminance and color that disrupt his, and your, vision. Simply skirting past these enemies isn't an option; you die the moment you make physical contact with one. To overcome them, you have to use Natalia to figure out the general location of the enemy, and you have to switch to Barry to kill them, which is easier said than done when you're firing blind. The interplay of their two skills is valuable here, but it also comes across as forced, standing between you and the rest of the game.
Natalia and Barry must separate in order to make it past a door that stays open for a limited amount of time, for instance, with one person manning the switch while the other physically prevents the door from closing. You initially clear the area while fighting side by side, going through the motions of looking through Natalia's eyes and then Barry's to take down invisible monsters. Once the coast is clear, you both go your separate ways for a moment, but you ultimately need to reunite when another invisible monster appears between Barry and Natalia. Natalia can't sneak past it or defeat it; she can only see it. Barry must come to the rescue, but with each character on a different side of the monster, you practically have to triangulate its position as you fire blindly. The fact that it's invisible and will always kill you in one hit makes the experience frustrating, as you have to redo the previous steps of killing the other invisible monsters and fixing the door before you get to try that part again.
Where Barry and Natalia stole the show during the last episode, the best moments of Episode Two come from Claire's side of the story, because Barry and Natalia don't really accomplish a lot this time around. Other than the aforementioned cabin scene, the boss that Claire and Moira fight after entering the tower is one of episode two's other highlights. He's a large, cannon-wielding foe, and he's also got a team watching his back. Go big or go home: this battle is easiest won by fighting fire with fire. Fire bombs and other expendables may or may not have been useful to you in tense situations before, but you better pray that you have enough left here, because without them, it's going to be a long and arduous fight. Part of what makes this exciting is that you are probably fighting on your last legs, ammo-wise, but the boss itself is also smarter and more threatening than other enemies you've fought so far, and you have to be proactive rather than reactive to come out on top. It's a great conclusion to Claire's time in the spotlight, but it leaves a lot for Barry's story to live up to.
Sadly, it doesn't, and it's disappointing to see that, once again, only one half of this week's episode is praise-worthy. Claire and Moira face tense situations, and when you come upon a new environment, you're seeing it for the first time, but once you take control of Barry, you're essentially going through the motions in the same environments that Claire did until you encounter the invisible enemies, which are more frustrating than anything else. The concept of an invisible enemy is interesting, but the fact that it also kills you in one hit makes its purpose so transparent that you loathe it, rather than appreciate the opportunity it presents. Were it not for Claire's chapter, it wouldn't be hard to sit out the rest of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, but the memory of the good times, and the latest cliffhanger, ultimately stick with you when the credits roll.