Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Vacation Isle

Barry Burton is back in all his low-budget glory, with more greys than ever. The identity of this game is subject to a bit of confusion, which makes it a great game to write about. What is it? Let’s backtrack to the original game first. Resident Evil Revelations started as a spinoff title on the 3DS, with the idea of making a traditional Resident Evil game on a handheld. It kept the 3D gameplay style of RE4 and RE5, and introduced a brand new story on a spooky cruise ship. It was very exciting at the time and an impressive accomplishment on a handheld. It was so successful they made a digital-only episodic sequel for home consoles. It’s a semi-sequel to Revelations that also ties into the main series. It started with just one episode, then they slowly added three more until it was finished. Now, after every episode of Revelations 2 has been released, it’s available as a full package on Nintendo Switch and finally feels like a normal game.

You wot m8? Innit Resident Evil or not?

Yes. It’s an awesome and legit Resident Evil game.

Claire Redfield is finally in an environment where she can breathe fresh air. Ah yes, you can feel the ocean breeze skimming across the grass and bouncing off the flat rock textures. The image quality of this game caters to one of my obscure graphical fetishes; basic 3DS-era geometry with the most crisp image quality imaginable. It’s so simple but so perfect. Every object is so well-defined you don’t even need high quality textures. This game is a delight to absorb. It’s an evolution of the 3DS engine which has merged with the console RE6 engine, now updated to 1080p. It doesn’t have as much detail and effects as the mainline games built for newer consoles, but it’s honestly refreshing to see a game that is so crisp. Not to say it’s lacking in terms of effects, since there’s some quality lighting and the environments do have a big scope. I just had to describe the image quality because it hits you hard when you first start playing.

The controls have an unusual strength that I don’t experience much in console shooters. The analog stick aiming is actually… good! It’s very easy to get headshots with the Pro Controller sticks and it’s hard to explain why. Good thing I’m a writer and can explain things. The sensitivity is quite low in a certain deadzone, but when you pull out of aiming you can still move the cursor quickly. So you have the best of both worlds, precise slow aiming when an enemy is in your line of sight, and an easy way to snap back to another enemy. The cursor moves very elegantly as well. It doesn’t have that “stiff” feeling, perhaps because it’s traveling so slow.

The enemies themselves are corpses infected with a brand new virus that has been developed on this island. Enemies can take a lot of hits, even in Casual mode. They are designed with HP bars in mind so they have kinda stiff reactions in single player as a result, and they can take a lot of shots. You can still stagger them, use a knife and hit weak spots. The gunplay doesn’t do anything new but it’s solid and enjoyable. That sounds like a mild compliment but I don’t enjoy a lot of shooting in games. This was a nice surprise.

Barry is here looking for his daughter… no, that’s not her. This is a girl who was already on the island, she’s a bit mysterious. I’m not gonna spoil the story but I will talk about the partner system. If you’re playing as Claire, your partner is Barry’s daughter Moira. If you’re playing as Barry, your partner is Natalia. Natalia has this psychic ability to spot invisible enemies, and Moira controls the flashlight and crowbar with Claire. Nothing too in-depth but it does allow for some fun puzzles and a couple of small gameplay twists. The best thing about this is how simple it is to switch character, just press the X button and it switches instantly.

I would say that it’s nice to see a new side of Barry, but this is the exact same Barry really. He’ll never change and that’s why we love him. His new cheesy lines are quite charming and there’s some good references to his previous role in the very first Resident Evil. In Revelations 2, he takes on a typical dumb dad role with the introduction of his daughter. Moira is an edgy teen who changes the tone drastically from the plain, proper, adult cheese that Resident Evil has been defined by. I think it’s a successful addition and enjoyed the dialogue contrast. It’s like grabbing a teen from a Netflix drama and putting her into an 80s mystery movie. I hadn’t thought about it until it happened, but this is the first game in the Resident Evil series that features the F word. That’s right, Franz Kakfa.

“Not everyone can see the truth, but anyone can be the truth” – Franz Kafka

These quotes fill the loading screens, with small references in the plot as well. I hadn’t heard of him before, so it led me to do some research that I found pretty fascinating. He was born in the 1880s and lived for 40 years, writing novels. None of these ever became popular and he became a lawyer to make ends meet. After he died from tuberculosis he said in his will that he didn’t want his unfinished works published, but his friend ignored it and published them. Then after his death, he became one of the most famous writers of that generation, going on to inspire people to this day. Now, finally he’s reached his career peak by appearing in a videogame. Imagine going back in time and telling him that. A vinkywhatsit? Resident lodging? This has nothing to do with the game but I just personally find him fascinating, not just because of his circumstances but his writing style is similar to what I try to do. He wrote about harsh, depressing scenarios written with a flavour of fantasy and hope. Making small things feel spectacular is a talent.

On the topic of writing, this game includes another one of my favourite things in gaming, documents! There’s some juicy lore to digest in these, with some documents spanning multiple pages. There’s even more here than you would find in a mainline RE game which surprised me. It’s all optional but it’s great. You slowly learn about what’s been happening on this island through journals and reports from locals and workers.

Whoa, slow down dude. No more fruit for you. The bathroom is down the hall on the left.

Outside the main campaign, there’s a couple of other modes you can play. Two of them are little side-stories with gameplay twists on the campaign, but the biggest extra is Raid Mode. This is bigger in scope than the main campaign if you really get deep into it. You can level up multiple characters all the way to 100, and take on missions in different environments that aren’t in the main game. Some environments from Resident Evil 6 and the first Revelations return, looking very crisp and presentable in this game engine. All you really do is kill every enemy, but the gameplay loop is extremely satisfying and the solid controls give this mode quite an addictive feeling. You could seriously put hundreds of hours into this. There are different medals to earn in each mission, weapons to constantly upgrade, daily online missions, and online co-op.

As usual there’s always a part of the review where I have to talk about negatives. Well let’s see…. the gun sounds are too loud? It’s true. It just overwhelms every other sound by a large margin, and makes me grimace while firing the machine gun in particular. It’s accurate I suppose, I’m not gonna deny that guns are loud. If anything it made me realise that most games must have the gun sounds turned down to not overwhelm the player. Another negative is that gyro controls and HD rumble do not work with the Pro Controller. You have to use the Joy-Cons for these options for some reason, despite the Pro Controller having both. Revelations 1 had this problem as well, maybe Capcom just don’t know about the Pro Controller’s features? At least you can use Joy-Cons (in grip or separate) if you really want them. The little “unlocking” mini-game is harder with the Pro Controller without rumble, but it doesn’t take too long to guess the right spot.

Home sweet home. That’s what this game feels like really, it’s just a classic Resident Evil to play in your torn up chair surrounded by flies. It’s great if you just want a new numbered game after 4, 5 and 6. I wouldn’t say it’s the best in the series, but I think it deserves the title Resident Evil 7 more than 7 does, just like the original Revelations should have been Resident Evil 6. Just kidding… it’s nice they are bringing new styles of gameplay into the Resident Evil universe. We’re actually incredibly lucky to have so many games in this series that are good. It’s nice to have our brains and eat them too.

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