Nothing defines the horror genre better than Resident Evil, one of the most important survival horror franchises with decades of experience in the industry. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is the latest entry in the Resident Evil series, and the first one to embrace the episodic structure. The game is divided between four episodes, each more terrifying than the previous one. However, only the first episode was released today, the other ones will be available throughout the month of March.
The first episode, entitled Penal Colony, is our rough introduction to the world shown in Revelations 2. The peace and calm from the beginning of each game is rapidly crumbled, and the nightmare starts in just a matter of minutes. The co-op (or single-player) adventure is split between two groups: Barry Burton’s daughter Moira and Claire Redfield — and on the other side Barry himself and a strange little girl Natalia.
The game is intelligently crafted, every character having a purpose and a set of unique abilities. Either in co-op or by yourself, you won’t be able to finish the episode without using each one of them to perform certain tasks. Claire is a gun nut, with a huge taste for blowing zombies up, Moira is a bit more reticent to fire weapons and she only uses a crowbar to either open doors or stun enemies, Barry is the one man army, and little Natalia has paranormal abilities and can spot enemies from across walls and rooms.
It’s not only about who can open doors, and who can shot zombies. It’s also about traps and figuring out how to solve puzzles in order to advance through the game. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 will throw all of the four main characters on a what seems to be deserted island, either in an ex-prison filled with zombies or in the dark and horrific forest.
There’s a plethora of enemies, each with its own weaknesses and strong points. Regular zombies can only be killed with head shots or melee attacks, while more powerful chainsaw wielding monsters can be defeated by finding a weak spot, which is randomly located on their body.
Running is rarely an option, as the corridors are narrow, and each room has its own enemies. You’re only chance of survival is to find the hidden supplies, and to try to use as little bullets as you can. If you play on the Casual difficulty, like I did on my first run through the game, you’ll find items quite easily — mostly hidden in breakable wooden boxes. Raising the difficulty will make enemies even more stronger, and items even harder to find.
Much like the gameplay, the story is solid and nicely tailored. The main plot line will keep your blood pumping, with secrets yet to be uncovered in the next episodes, or scattered throughout the game in the form of notes or page diaries. The ending of the first episode leaves you wanting more, and more.
To sum it up, Resident Evil: Revelations 2’s first episode is a strong start to the episodic series. There are some things that can and should be improved, such as the low variety of sceneries, but at its core, it’s certainly a game every horror enthusiast won’t want to miss. If the next episodes raise the bar, remains to be seen in March, when the next episode launches.
Score: 4 out of 5