Resident Evil Revelations 2: The isle of wights

You can see the intention behind Resident Evil Revelations 2 by looking at the lead characters. Claire is a returning Resi favourite older and more capable than before, but still immediately recognisable. Then there’s moira. She reminds us that it’s okay to be scared. Well, that, and it’s acceptable to have a mouth dirtier than oscar the Grouch’s dustbin hidey-hole. Together  they represent the mix of familiar and frightening that typifies this sequel to the 2012 handheld shudder-’em-up.

So far, we don’t know much in terms of story. moira and Claire are abducted then dumped on a prison island. If this wasn't bad enough, the inmates are utterly revolting. They’re known as the afflicted: juddering, gnashing horrors that are faster than traditional Resi enemies, but still feel like part of the same (probably doomed) world. The first time that one of them jumps at you, you can’t help but think of the nightmarish, frog monkey hunter things from the original Resident Evil, although mercifully without the head-swiping instadeath.

The bangles
In case the whole abduction/imprisonment thing left you in any doubt, it’s definitely personal. both leading ladies are fitted with glowing bracelets that indicate how scared they are: green for ‘I'm splendidly well, thank you for asking’; orange for mildly terrified; red for so scared you're dead. They’re also used for gentle exposition. at one point, a sinister voice crackles through the bracelets, helpfully explaining how everything is fixed to get much, much worse. because worse than zombie borstal is a thing, apparently.

All this hints at some specific reason for the horror. Capcom has suggested that Revelations 2 is about people, not just monsters. Whereas the original was concerned with unspeakable things hiding in the darkness, this is about shadows in the hearts of men. It’s a flowery way of saying the game focuses on human relationships a welcome sidestep away from the steroid-inflated heroics of the main series. but what if you love guns more than feelings? You’re in luck. This has the familiar gunplay of Resi 4 complete with dashing cinematic spin-kicks but it’s layered with fear. Claire is more capable than ever, but she’s no soldier; the vulnerability that made her so compelling remains. moira is far more fragile. She won’t use firearms, so it’s up to Claire to protect her.

The intention throughout Revelations 2 is to foster a sense of mutual reliance. From what we’ve seen so far, this could come through courtesy of slo-mo jumping high fives or cowering together in the gloom. after the one note action of recent titles, we’ll happily take either option.

‘Remake’ sounds lazy, doesn’t it? It conjures up images of fresh textures, new box art and not much else. This is more than that. Instead of being a reskin of the 1996 original, this is an upgrade of the 2002 Gamecube game the best Resi you probably never played, full of flailing deaths, desperate saves and brow-furrowing inventory management. And even if you know Spencer Mansion like the back of your zombie-gnawed hand, you’ll still find surprises in this promising horror remix.

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