Resident Evil Revelations 2. Episode One: Penal Colony

By Kirill Ilukhin

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Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4. PlayStation Vita

 

«Why does it always feel like I’m trapped inside a horror movie?»

© Chris Redfield, Resident Evil 5

After Capcom released a new issue of Resident Evil: Remake (also known as HD Remaster) on Steam and new consoles in January it was quite difficult to tear me away from it. But now February was suddenly upon us, and I had to switch off the classic horror for a new part of RE. The mood was optimistic. Firstly, the first part of Revelations in the new (relative to the classic series) gameplay still had all the necessary elements of the oldest parts of Resident Evil. Secondly, Revelations 2 has been immediately released on large platforms which have a lot more opportunities and internal capacity than portable, where the first Revelations started its career. Third, Claire Redfield and Barry Burton are back in the series, immensely pleasing all those who missed them since the days of the classic trilogy. Alright, down with talk, let’s play!

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The first thing that surprised me most in this game – is its “episodic” character. Of course even the first Revelations was divided into episodes, as if you were watching the show on TV. But the last time the whole game was given to you all at once, just pausing it sometimes. This game is split into four episodes with a week-long gap and I didn’t realise immediately why this was done. Small studios break games down into episodes to pre-sell the game and receive funds for further development. Big studios like Telltale Games make games nonlinear and saturated and each episode of the “series” takes a long time to make because of this. But why break Revelations 2 into episodes that come out once a week? I could understand if the authors wanted to take into account the wishes of players and realize these desires by the next episode, but they couldn’t have got anything done in a week. The situation is a little simpler here, and also funnier to boot. Revelations 2 was divided into weekly episodes just to prevent you from finishing playing the game in a single evening. The completion of the first released episode took me exactly one hour.

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And this is the official length, because if you take longer, you won’t receive an award and a high final rating. 30 minutes for Claire, 30 minutes for Barry, and if you slow down, the result is pretty shameful. Connect the dots: the duration of the entire Revelations 2 will be around four hours. You can prolong your fun by looking for secrets, but will it be really fun or an attempt to delay the inevitable? Personally, I prefer to play it once and forget, because in addition to the

Let’s start from afar, with graphics. I omit now the lack of smoothing for the majority of objects, because it is the standard price you pay for the PC version, which was the one I had to work with, and no screenshot will demonstrate half the misery that awaited me in the game. Let’s talk about graphics in general. Imagine the visual solution of the first Revelations and divide them by two. Remove honestly beautiful shadows, weather effects, good animation and basically all good level design, and you get Revelations 2. Here, even the texture of spilled blood on the floor is more like raspberry jam, and rust … well, you understand what rust might look like with bad graphics. Who did the authors want to frighten with that? Or is instilling fear in the hearts of players is no longer the base idea of ​​the entire Revelations sub-series? I’m not saying that the first part was terrifying, but the atmosphere was maintained at the proper level, and we have to thank graphics component partly for this effect. The second part did not work out that way. There are too many bad jobs to refer to what is happening in any earnestness and have at least some desire to explore the locations. For example, a huge amount of space has been made using the old-fashioned method of copy / paste, and the authors, it seems, did not hesitate to use it.

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Fine, fans survived the old textures in RE: Remake and even enjoyed it. Let’s look at another aspect: the gameplay. Still, the gameplay, even without graphics, atmosphere or story could save a sinking ship. But it’s necessary for it to be really catchy, fresh, exciting and … ah, it is pointless to enumerate all of this, because the first episode of Revelations 2 doesn’t have a single of these characteristics. Nothing but shooting and performing the most primitive tasks here.

Of course, to shake the process up, the authors took a very bold step by adding a very non-trivial co-op. But just a few days before the release, Capcom, with a wave of the hand, have removed all references to the co-op on the Steam store page. And so it was with the release – the entire multiplayer was removed from the PC-version, and now this co-op has to be played without a network. That is, the player must control two characters: Claire Redfield runs with Barry’s daughter, Moira, and Barry himself with a girl he found along the way called Natalia. The main characters tend to know how to shoot, and sidekicks play the roles of assistants (stunning enemies, helping in their discovery, as well as looking for hidden objects). To fully complete the storyline you need to constantly switch between the main and side characters. That is, if Claire sees that an object is “flickering” in the closet, she will not be able to take it. You have to switch characters and play as Moira to highlight it for it to become available. Do I need to explain how silly that looks? Had it been a fully-fledged co-operative game, then I would not have had issues: one player shoots, the second stands back and provides the bullets, creating the effect of coordinated teamwork. But the PC game is only for single-playing and there’s no pleasure in working with a partner, who has only one or two functions. Instead of a co-op the authors have not forgotten to make a lot of crappy paid DLC “skins”, the sum of which will be more expensive than the first episode. Revelations 2 creators’ priorities are visible with the naked eye…

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It could have all been saved by the atmosphere of the first Revelations or even by the plot, but alas. First, hampered by a lack of a proper graphics and sound component, and second, a too short duration. The plot of just the first episode is good in itself, in the end you really want to know what happens next, but if you analyse all the events that have taken place with the heroes, the text with this description would not be enough to even fill a napkin on one side . Claire and Moira are kidnapped from a party and are locked in an old Russian prison on the island. Then they get miraculously released and the two friends run to the radio tower to send a message for help. After this, Barry comes to the island, and follows the route through these same premises and ends his journey on the same tower. End of episode. You can count on the one hand all the events that happen to the characters along the way, and not all of them are even worthy of mention.

Alas, to somehow manage to enjoy the game, we have to wait at least for the second episode and then, maybe, we’ll have hope that the story and the game itself will gain steam and show anything of any importance. So far, apart from successfully “borrowed” monster design I haven’t found any positive aspects to the game. Maybe I should have looked a little longer, but it was unbearably boring, though it didn’t take much time.

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I now think that if not for mentioning the legendary Japanese horror series in the title, no-one would have simply noticed Revelations 2. Too little, too bad, too much like a sample of young developers than a work of a huge corporation with a very big experience in the production of games. But if the game really had been from an independent studio, then expectations would have been less.

What next? We shall see, thankfully the pauses between episodes are very short.


Summary

 

The Good!

The plot, short but intriguing

Return of old, almost forgotten heroes

A huge number of secrets and levelling increase replayability

The Bad!

Transience. The game can be completed in an hour.

The graphics look worse than the first part of Revelations

The absence of an atmosphere of fear, of a co-op and very crooked porting

Review relevant for PC version of the game


kirillKirill Ilukhin. Born in 1985 in a land with snowy summers and flooding winters. Games addict from the age of 13, actively voicing opinions about them since 17.

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