Resident Evil Revelations 2 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC
[Warning: This review contains minor spoilers for Episode 1: Penal Colony]
With a title like Contemplation, you’d think that this week’s episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 would be less about the action and be paced a little slower. You would be wrong.
Contemplation picks up right where we left our heroes off in the first episode; Claire and Moira make their way to the Wossek, as per the Overseer’s suggestion, while Barry and Natalia continue their search for Moira as they follow her tracks. The episode lulls you into a false sense of security quickly enough as Claire and Moira are reunited with a few of their TerraSave colleagues who had been kidnapped along with them.
Claire and Moira find themselves in a house with their colleagues and even share a laugh or two as the jukebox comes to life and starts playing music, reassuring them that they’re safe with each other. Of course, this moment of relief soon comes to an abrupt end as they realize that the Wossek is infested with the Afflicted as well. Tasked with finding two key items to jumpstart a damaged helicopter, Claire and Moira have to scavenge the Wossek while fending off the Afflicted.
I found the ‘town’ vibe of the Wossek in the early stage of Contemplation very reminiscent of Resident Evil 4 as I combed through little shacks and abandoned houses. We even get a taste of our first chainsaw-wielding (a drill in this case) maniac when our heroines find themselves trapped in a house as the Afflicted attempt to force their way in.
If you paid close attention to your surroundings in the previous episode, Penal Colony, you might have stumbled across a memo that gave you a little more information about the strange bracelets the prisoners were all wearing. Once the light on your bracelet starts flashing red, a virus will take effect and you’ll enter the mutation stage.
The Overseer openly reveals this information to the cast in this episode and it serves as a nice setup to the overarching mystery: Have the TerraSave members been brought here just to play the roles of experimental subjects? What new virus are we dealing with this time? And just who is behind this whole experiment?
We do get a hint to the answer for that last question when we play as Barry and Natalia, and the hint suggests that this incident may be closely related to one of the series’ most popular characters.
Moira also gets some character development as we see a softer, caring side to her when we run into a more vulnerable character in the game. Though I do have to say it’s a little odd that Claire seems incapable of comforting a child in this episode, considering her relationship with young Sherry Birkin during the events of Resident Evil 2.
Once again though, the second half of the episode with Barry and Natalia steals the show. While I did enjoy blasting my way through the Afflicted with two spunky women, I appreciated the option of adopting a much more tactical approach with Barry and Natalia. If you thought Natalia’s abilities weren’t very useful in the first episode, you’ll be glad to know that she becomes indispensable in Contemplation.
The enemy types get a lot more varied in this episode as you’ll encounter exploding enemies and invisible flying spiders. Well, they look like spiders to me, at least. Barry can’t see these spiders and he’ll have to rely on Natalia literally pointing him in the right direction to shoot.
The co-op elements in this second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 are a lot more pronounced as players will be facing off against a handful of bosses and interesting enemy types. While Moira and Natalia are significantly weaker than Claire and Barry, you’ll find that they can be helpful as well in serving as bait to draw the monster away from the real firepower.
Resources and ammo are still painfully scarce in this episode and there were countless instances where I’d fired off my last shot only to see more enemies rushing at me through a door. Contemplation reminds you that sometimes the only way to survive is by fleeing. Survival becomes a real challenge on higher difficulties, and Capcom ramps up the horror factor in this episode as well.
However, it soon becomes clear that it’s impossible to play through most of the game as either Moira or Natalia when on single-player mode. The AI is painfully incompetent even after you’ve purchased the skill that allows Claire and Barry to fire their weapons while AI-controlled. Resident Evil Revelations 2 often forces you back into the strong, brawny roles of Claire and Barry as that’s usually the only way you can effectively fight your way past the enemies. It’s a pity as Natalia is my favorite character at the moment, and it’s certainly a lot more interesting to play a Resident Evil game as a young girl who can’t even hold a gun.
With that said, Contemplation certainly doesn’t let up in terms of action and horror. The increased variety in enemy types and game mechanics is certainly welcome, and with the story picking up too, it will be exciting to see how the mystery unfolds.