New York Comic Con 2014: Resident Evil Revelations 2 Impressions

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It’s always a thrill to get to demo an upcoming game. When the game is a new addition to a long-running series of games that can make the experience sweeter. My time with Resident Evil Revelations 2 was bittersweeter.

Capcom is making much of how Revelations 2 is returning the Resident Evil series to its roots. From what I experienced in the demo, this is only partially true and only partly good.

As the demo begins you are in a hallway in some dilapidated prison or asylum. It’s not clear which because you were out partying the night before and awoke here the next day like the victim in those urban legends except you have all of your organs. And a knife. And some strange woman with a flashlight, who you don’t know, is there too. You play as two characters, switching between them. No second-player co-op.

Down the hallway you go with Moira the flashlight lady following and lighting the way. You come to a dead end. Really dead. Complete with a security guard’s body hanging upside down, almost beyond your reach, and a clearly electronically locked door.

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It’s here we get a closed circuit camera point of view. Someone somewhere is watching. In classic thriller fashion, done first on stage in 1935 in Emlyn Williams’s play Night Must Fall, the audience knows more than the characters. In video games the effect becomes heightened because you are the audience and the character. And when that electronic door lock changes from red to green because the mystery person hit a switch somewhere unlocking it… that’s good stuff.

The demo at NYCC 14 was fun. My disappointment in the game’s mechanics comes from the idea that this was taking us back to the series’ roots yet only made it as far back as Resident Evil Zero. I enjoyed RE 0 because back in 2002 when it was released for the Nintendo GameCube it had a unique flavor. Switching characters to solve puzzles was fun and the story was fresh.

Twelve years later gaming, as well as film with the Saw series among others, has moved on. Resident Evil games should go back to their roots however they need to dig deeper thematically instead of recycling as many horror tropes as they can get their hands on.

Unfortunately the combat mechanics are very floaty. Missing a point blank shotgun blast is pretty bad. Needing to stand on an all too specific and small area to trigger a button push to climb a ladder to escape is not good, although the observers behind me were very excited to get to see the “You Are Dead” scrawled in blood. This same issue leads to time-wasted wandering as you try to simply exit a room but the door won’t open because you haven’t hit the mark. Hopefully these problems will be solved before launch sometime in early 2015.

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The character switching seems more problematic. It begins simply with the game prompting you to switch. One character is more for offense and the other for defense. One has a knife and then a handgun and then a shotgun while the other goes from flashlight to crowbar. The gun handling is obvious. The flashlight goes from obvious to why-are-you-making-me-do-this? The game insists you focus the light beam, which does nothing appreciably different, on supplies you spot in order to pick them up. Meaningless. But my greatest fear for the switching mechanic is the possible disorientation during combat. If I’m being cornered and I switch to the other character who is somewhere else in the room I’ll have to get my bearings and by then it might be too late.

Additionally, it now seems that Capcom will also borrow from Telltale Games by splitting the game into digital only episodes sold separately or as a Season Pass. After the entire series is done there will be a physical release on disc which will be chock full of extras. Individual episodes will be $5.99 with the Season Pass and the disc costing $24.99. No word on whether the Season Pass also gets the buyer the extras digitally.

Releasing in early 2015 gives the devs plenty of time to address loose controls and persnickety button cues. I’m just unsure whether the actual structure will be original enough. On the up-side, it only takes $5.99 to know for sure.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 will be released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.

Written by Keith Dunn-Fernández

Keith Dunn-Fernández

An actor/director and more lucratively an Administrative Assistant at a small paper company in NYC, Keith loves his games. And he loves to write. And he is a bit of a sarcasmo.

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