The first Resident Evil Revelations was a slow burner, having been released initially for the Nintendo 3DS and then ported and remastered for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Its graphics were perhaps even a little underbaked even then, but the setting – a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean – was creepy and interesting enough to make it an essential chapter in the franchise.
Its sequel also follows a less traditional release path, with the game being released episodically from the end of February. It will also be the first non-remade Resident Evil game for Xbox One and PS4, which will also have individually released episodes like the versions for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. A PS Vita edition will also be released, as will disc versions for all formats containing all episodes and scheduled for 20 March.
Pocket-lint was invited to try out a large section of episode one, starring fan-favourite character Barry Burton as he begins his journey to find his missing daughter Moira on a seemingly deserted island that hides some disturbing secrets. And right from the off, at least in our hands-on preview, Barry is accompanied by a mysterious young girl, Natalia Korda, who has a talent or two that can help in the hunt.
Atmospherically, the game – which we played on Xbox One at the preview event – is spot on. Creepy and dark, with the right layer of suspense to give the campaign mode an old school Res Evil adventure feel. Indeed, there are many times Revelations 2 – from our play so far – feels like old school Resident Evil and that is a very good thing.
The control system is more modern day than yesteryear, being third-person shooter in aspect, but the switching between Burton and Korda for certain puzzles and the sheer gloominess of corridors apes sections of the mansion in the original game. As do the return of good, old fashioned shuffling zombies – although they won’t be the only foes you’ll face.
We played about 45 minutes worth of the first episode in total, which took us through a dank prison setting as we searched for Moira. And the plot started to unravel. Grim and grisly experiments were being undertaken on the island at some point, and you’ll soon find out more details.
We’ll refrain from revealing too much, to prevent major spoilers, but advise those who don’t want even the smallest thing to ruin any gameplay surprises to skip the next couple of paragraphs. Needless to say that there are some grade-A frights to be had.
One of Natalia’s main talents is the ability to see enemies before they physically reveal themselves. She will always alert you to their presence, even though you’ll more often than not hear them coming anyway. And if you are playing Natalia at the time, she can even point to the exact direction of the threat. You have to switch back to Burton to dispatch them most of the time, but it helps as a sort-of radar system.
The other significant thing we gleaned from our first hands-on was that the new enemy type in the game, the Revenants, are horrific and suitably scary. This is because they are undead beasts made of the body parts of random people and crudely sewn together. The bits are necessarily in the same place. Encountering one of these was enough to end our playtime with the preview build. And to give us nightmares.
We also got to play plenty of the game’s Raid mode. Barry Burton and Claire Redfield were both available to play as and we opted for the latter having played enough as Burton in the campaign.
Anybody who played Raid mode in the first Revelations will know roughly what to expect. Designed for players who fancy a bit of zombie blasting action without the fuss and nonsense of a storyline or puzzles can partake in increasingly harder missions where they must dispatch enough of the undead to progress through small arenas.
We played through a few of the missions, which varied in location (including a school, a courtyard and a grocery store) and they each offered different goals. Sometimes you only needed to bag a set number of zombies to unlock the main exit and grab the winner’s medallion, sometimes you had to unlock progressive gates first. Both were great fun.
Between missions you get to refresh your weapons, choose new loadouts from the guns you might have found during play and customise your character. We can see ourselves playing a lot of Raid mode when the full game arrives, that’s for sure.
Sadly, Raid mode will be offline only to begin with although Capcom has confirmed that an online option will be introduced once all the episodes have been released (or at the same time as the disc version hits stores).
From our play with Resident Evil Revelations 2 so far we’re confident that Capcom is on the right track with the series now, after the poorly received Resident Evil 6. We look forward to getting the full version in to have another crack at it.