Capcom has genuinely been listening to fans of the Resident Evil series for years now, but it hasn’t been until Resident Evil Revelations 2 that this has become Startlingly apparent. The obvious additions like an ability to actually move strafing, crouching and so on have been around a few years now, the inclusion of cult favourite Barry Burton as a main character is a great nod to fans, and the constant, wilful silliness of the game and its references are testament to a game that’s been made with far more ofa self-referential spin than any other previous Resi title. Best of all, this fan service mostly works.

Following the story of Claire Redfield and Moira Burton Barry’s daughter who have been kidnapped and forced to try and survive on a remote island full of…well, nasty former people in one half, Revelations 2 also puts players in the shoes of Burton Snr and a mysterious young girl, Natalia ina six-month-later timeline covering many of the same areas. This is, in turn, split up between four separate episodes each can be bought independently of the others, but we see little reason why anyone would. But that’s neither here nor there.

This double-duo team dynamic is core to Revelations 2’s appeal Claire and Barry carry guns and are tough, to differing degrees, while Moira and Natalia don’t carry firearms just a crowbar and a brick, respectively. While this could easily degenerate into endlessly having to save your useless partner, each of the non-gun-wielding partners has their own skills that are absolutely necessary in order to survive this particular horror.
Moira carries with her a flashlight, capable of both discovering hidden items and when trained on the eyes of an enemy able to blind them, leaving them open for Claire to get in a free attack. Natalia’s brick, meanwhile, is a basic stun/smash lock item, with her main talent being pointing which becomes seriously useful as of the second episode and the ability, like in The Last of Us, to sense enemies before you are able to see them. Along similar lines, Moira’s crowbar is also the only thing that can open certain doors and item crates, while Natalia’s ‘small hands’ can open certain boxes Barry’s meaty man-hands cannot. Each partner is absolutely necessary far more than justa side attraction and something we’re surprised to be saying will be genuinely tempting for some people to play as in co-operative mode.

It’s all very well balanced, and unlike in other games where working as a team seems like an optional thing, in Revelations 2 it is absolutely necessary to make any progress. This is partly down to the symbiotic relationship between each duo, but also because thankfully Revelations 2 provides quite the challenge at times. It’s not on Resident Evil 4’s level of panic-inducement when it comes to the inevitable ‘tons of enemies swarming you’ events, but after your second or third outright failure in these sections you’ll begin to realise that you really do need to think, as well as pay attention to your item stocks. Yes, we once again have a Resident Evil that’s stingy with its supplies and once again it works in the game’s favour.

As you progress through Revelations 2’s episodes you will begin to feel a slight sense of trudgery, it has to be said. While many elements are refined and improved on Resis past, this is still a specific formula we’ve seen many times in the past and not just from this series. It’s in that respect that the peculiar episodic structure does actually help, as the game is forcefully broken up into chunks you can take on at your leisure. Still, it’s not a giant leap forward for the series, even if it does showoff some great progress from Capcom’s near two decade old franchise.

One area that can’t help but raise a smile for more than one reason is the story. While the overarching narrative is pretty straightforward, with the aforementioned differing timelines of each duo’s adventures adding a little of interest, this is the first time we’ve ever laughed at a Resident Evil game and felt like we were meant to. Callbacks aplenty, wilful silliness and even, would you believe it, jokes (Claire works for Terrasave “because ‘terr’ doesn’t always have to end with ‘orist’”). It feels like Capcom, rather than making schlocky, silly horror stories by accident has actually gone and done it by design this time. Though admittedly we don’t remember punching any boulders in Revelations 2.

We really can’t see fans of the series being let down in any real way by Revelations 2 it’s good fun, has some genuinely intense sequences, plays with its own history in a pleasing fashion and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Newcomers might be confused when it comes to certain series hallmarks and archaic design elements that those in the know take for granted, but it’s definitely one of the friendliest introductions to the series a non-Resi player could have. Even if it does, as said, get quite a bit more difficult as of the second episode.

But there is an overall feeling of ‘Okay, what’s next?’ when it’s over. Revelations 2 won’t stick with you for long, barring its extra minigames, and while it encourages speedruns and searching out hidden items, there isn’t much to draw most players back in once it’s finished. It’s absolutely on the right track and gives us great hopes for Resident Evil 7, but what we have here, right now, in Resident Evil Revelations 2, is merely a pretty decent game. Which, to be fair, is better than some might have expected.

There are bountiful extras to be found in Revelations 2 once you’re done with the main campaign. A lot of them cosmetic changes, weapons and so on are paid-for DLC, but those picking up the full season digitally do get a few extra missions and modes to muck about in. Easily the best extra is the RPG-like Raid mode the natural evolution of the much-loved Mercenaries mode from Resis past. It’s a solid extra on top of a solid game. One question we do have right now though: will all the content be included on-disc with the boxed release?