I was a bit lukewarm with my general impressions of the first episode for Resident Evil Revelations 2, but I find myself warming up a bit more with the second installment of the game releasing this week. Jumping back into Claire?s episode immediately after the cliffhanger reveal in Barry?s at the end of episode 1 is a bit jarring, but outside of that just about every aspect of this episode feels like an improvement on the first. You get more exploration, a bit more stealth, better environments for both characters, and some fun, hectic action. You also get access to better weapons, and points spent on skills from the last episode help make minor improvements to the way all four characters play this time around.
The biggest standout here is Barry?s portion of the campaign. I previously remarked how much I disliked the forest section from episode 1, but thankfully nothing as bland and disappointing as that area exists here. Barry still runs through a number of sections previously explored by Claire in her portion of this chapter, but with the addition of Natalia you?re able to explore or access new areas. Also, now knowing that there?s a time jump between the two characters, it?s interesting to see how those environments have changed over time. There?s nothing drastic here in that regard, but there?s enough differences to be noticeable.
What felt most remarkable about Barry?s portion of the campaign was how well the grouping of Barry and Natalia works for this chapter. It was revealed in the last installment that Natalia could see enemies in a way that Barry can?t, shown to the player as a yellow or red haze when in control of Natalia. In the last episode that function wasn?t particularly useful, due to the split level nature of the prison and the multiple small rooms throughout, it was hard to get a bead on exactly where enemies were even with Natalia?s ability. In this episode, the structure design for interiors is a bit more straightforward, making Natalia?s ability easier to use. It also becomes integral, as invisible enemies are introduced here, forcing players to switch between Natalia and Barry quickly in order to pinpoint and kill foes.
I honestly found myself playing through Barry?s chapter more as Natalia, simply because she was so important from a gameplay perspective. This unfortunately highlights how less useful Moira has been thus far to Claire?s portion of the campaign, a character that I would only switch to when absolutely necessary. Hopefully the game balances Claire and Moira?s dynamic a bit more in later chapters, because at this point Barry and Natalia are by far the better duo.
Also, Claire and Moira?s section of the game suffers from one particular moment that involves a door switch and the need to run to the door before it shuts. With Barry and Natalia, you?re able to guild Natalia through an alternate path making this section a little less frustrating. But for Claire and Moira its all about timing, so your limited mobility while running, combined with hallway clutter and other objects, make this section far more frustrating than it needs to be. If my runtime for this episode felt longer than the first, it was entirely due to this one section of the game.
Still, despite some annoyances in design, this is certainly a stronger episode than the first. The additional raid content is also a plus, considering how much I?m already enjoying that mode. But even the story content is improved, right down to the actual story itself, enough so that I?m actively looking forward to playing more of Revelations 2. Is it an incredible improvement over the first episode? No, not quite. But it builds upon the mechanics of the first episode well enough, and slowly but surely it?s turning into a Resident Evil game I can actively enjoy.