Resident Evil Revelations 2 Aims for Portion Control

Resident Evil Revelations 2 Aims for Portion Control

Capcom's venture into episodic content could make their overblown flagship series more digestible than its been in years.

Since 2012's Resident Evil 6—an entertaining-if-tedious trainwreck of colossal proportions—I've had one question on my mind: What can Capcom possibly do next with the series?

I mean, can the stakes get any higher? Is there any history left to explore? After pushing myself through a boss fight that involved firing endless rounds into a reanimated dinosaur from a helicopter, I had to remind myself that Resident Evil entered this world as a haunted house simulator.

Resident Evil wouldn't be Resident Evil without gears, cranks, and cogs.

Of course, the series will sell bazillions regardless of what choices Capcom makes, but the upcoming Revelations 2 almost seems like a response to 6's sheer enormity. Instead of stretching out to the 40-hour mark, this newest Resident Evil comes in the form of four weekly, 2-3 hour $5.99 episodes, with a $24.99 complete version (featuring some unannounced extras) due after the last installment releases.

And this time around, the24-ish, cliffhanger-laden style established by the first Revelations makes a lot more sense: Where the shifting perspectives were originally meant to break up the play into manageable, 3DS-friendly chunks, here, Capcom's approach feels much more in line with Telltale's The Walking Dead. Hopefully, you'll want to invest another six dollars to see how the always-absurd Resident Evil narrative will twist next, even the events aren't bound to make much sense in the context of the series' impossible timeline.

If you've played the first Revelations, the sequel won't surprise you much with how it plays. The action is more in line with Resident Evil 5 than the overly technical (but not necessarily intuitive) RE6: light exploration, with short bursts of combat throughout. It's frictionless, but still fun, even if you'll rarely encounter a lack of resources. The biggest difference between this Revelations and the last one comes in the form of a (couch) co-op-friendly dual character mode—and this time, you can switch between them at will instead of being saddled with playing one role. And, unlike previous team-ups in Resident Evil, each character doesn't offer a mostly similar experience (at least, not in this episode): Claire Redfield plays like your standard RE protagonist, but newcomer Moira Burton—daughter of RE1's Barry Burton and yet another Ellen Page clone of the gaming world—isn't quite as resilient, and sticks to melee combat with a crowbar instead of using guns.

Moira's main ability, though, can be found in her ability to use a flashlight, which figures into most of the puzzles I encountered in my brief hands-on session. If you use Moira to shine her beam on the tiny glints of light dotted throughout the environments, it'll reveal ammo, herbs, and other helpful items both characters can take advantage of. This flashlight also comes in handy for finding more essential resources, too: An early puzzle had me aiming my flashlight beam at hanging corpses so Claire could shoot them down and find the key to a locked door.

For this guy, hammertime is all the time. His life is very empty.

If you're expecting anything groundbreaking from Revelations 2, you might be a little disappointed, since it strives to be more of the "RE-lite" type of game as this spin-off's debut. And even though I'm a raging Resident Evil 4 fanatic, this game's modest aspirations don't bother me at all. After the seven-course banquet known as Resident Evil 6, a breezier and more digestible Resident Evil experience is definitely welcome until the inevitable RE7 comes into being.

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