Resident Evil Revelations 2 is formulaic and I’m okay with that

By Matt Martin, Wednesday, 25 February 2015 11:48 GMT

There’s something comforting about the lack of ambition and plain old gameplay in Resident Evil Revelations 2, says Matt Martin.


“It’s locked from the other side.”

Of course it is. What did I expect? I’ve been here before. So many times. Not just in Resident Evil but a million other games.

It’s so familiar as to become second nature and for some reason I’m quite glad of that. Resident Evil Revelations 2 doesn’t really require a lot of thought. You can steam through the first chapter in less than two hours. I’m not sure if I like it because it reminds me of days gone by or just because today I don’t feel like I need a challenge. I just want comfort.

The presentation says it’s a budget game along with the price, which at least seems honest in a world where triple-A games are charging full whack for less than six hours of gameplay.

There are nuances that make this a better Resident Evil game than most. Movement doesn’t feel sluggish and combined with a dedicated dodge button it’s the most nimble title in the series by far. Co-op is welcome too, but even playing through as a single-player switching characters livens things up without it becoming a chore.

But as surely as upgrading from a knife to a pistol to a shotgun, Revelations 2’s gameplay is completely formulaic. There are notes left around with massive clues about how to operate upcoming traps. There’s a machine which needs a missing cog that can only be reached by powering a generator. The generator is behind a locked door. On the way you can find a workbench to upgrade your weapons. You can bet your ass that the final chapter will put you under pressure with a siren and a ticking countdown.

Moira, Claire, Barry and Natalia are your guides through this prison but it’s a well-worn path that you’ve traipsed down so many times before.

There’s also the kind of video game logic that memes are made of. Moira Burton (yes, Barry’s daughter) can’t pick shiny items up until she’s highlighted them with her torch. How do you know where to shine the torch? The items shine in the dark already.

Playing through Revelations 2 I began to understand why Shinji Mikami tried something different with The Evil Within last year. But this old action horror template is too comfortable to redesign completely. Where The Evil Within is much better looking and far more repulsive, Revelations 2 is less fiddly, its enemies less obtuse. Neither game innovates significantly, instead offering a different take on a template that hasn’t really moved on since the late 1990s.

In addition to the two playable missions here there’s also Raid, a co-op mode that isn’t yet supported online. That may grow into something interesting, but for the time being it’s fairly redundant unless you want to play locally.

resident evil revelations barry 2

There doesn’t seem to be any real logic as to why Revelations 2 is split into multiple chapters. I’d like to think Capcom realised it’s releasing a very average game with little innovation for the fans who just want something familiar. At £5 per chapter it seems reasonable, as there’s no obligation to buy the following episodes if you’re not struck by its limited charms. The presentation says it’s a budget game along with the price, which at least seems honest in a world where triple-A games are charging full whack for less than six hours of gameplay.

And yet… I enjoyed Revelations 2, in part because I knew it was only short and I could rocket through it in an evening and still have time to cook tea. Taking zombies down with a headshot never gets old. Barry’s cheesy dialogue has a certain charm. The creepy child clearly holds secrets and will probably turn out to be the real villain. It’s predictable.

It’s Resident Evil and it’s exactly what you expect it to be.

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