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The man eats danger for breakfast and craps it out by dinner

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    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 2: Contemplation

    Rating: 4.0 – Great

    The man eats danger for breakfast and craps it out by dinner

    Capcom’s episodic Resident Evil experiment continues with the second episode, entitled "Contemplation". This episode has a focus on boss encounters, alternate story paths, and new items, and more interesting story developments than the first episode.

    New characters are introduced in this episode. Usually Capcom has a problem of introducing way too many new characters in each Resident Evil game, but the new characters here are handled in a way that makes them feel like an organic part of the story as opposed to just made up for the sake of filling out the roster. Mainly, the new characters are Pedro and Gabe, two TerraSave members that have also been captured and brought to the island just like Claire and Moira.

    Their personalities are distinct, ridiculous, corny, and kind of annoying, but that is at least true to the spirit of Resident Evil. What’s more interesting about Pedro and Gabe are their gameplay implications. Pedro has a drill that is necessary for getting through certain areas of the game, so he has to be led to the right spots in order for players to continue. There are also segments where you have to protect Pedro from enemies while he’s trying to drill. Gabe is more of a quest-giver NPC and your interactions with him involve collecting items so that the story may progress.

    I figured that most of the groundwork was laid in the first episode and we wouldn’t see many new items or weapons, but I was definitely wrong about that. One new weapon is called the decoy bottle, and it is used to attract enemies to its scent, and then it explodes. Another new sub-weapon is exclusive to Natalia for use, and it works as a smoke screen to blind enemies. In addition, there are new firearms for Barry and Claire to collect as well.

    There are new enemy types introduced in this second episode to go along with the new toys at your disposal. Small, strange creatures that are like a combination of a zombie dog and a zombie pig show up as well as large enemies that are ranged in nature, with the ability to fire their arms at you like a missile. Sploders are a new enemy type that shows up here as well, and they work in a predictable manner; they bloat up to an immense size and then explode, sending their bile everywhere.

    The bile from the Sploders and the residue from the arm missiles can blind your characters. When this gunk is on the screen, there are two options. You can just wait for it to go away, or you can use a disinfectant. I found that attempting to use the disinfectant (a new item, by the way) took too much time as the game does not pause when you open the inventory screen. It was much more convenient when playing solo (I played through the episode in both solo and co-op) to just have Natalia or Moira carry the disinfectant so that they could use it without getting attacked the entire time.

    Another new enemy type comes in the form of the Glasps. These things are humanoid insects that flutter around and are invisible. They tip you off when they are close because the screen becomes distorted from their presence. Natalia is the only one that can actually determine where they’re located, so it becomes a fun cooperative challenge to have Natalia point out the creature to Barry and have Barry line up his shot properly to take it down.

    I honestly did not expect all of these new enemies to be introduced in this episode. Another pleasant surprise was the addition of boss battles. There’s a possibility of three different boss fights that can occur in this episode, and each one is a unique challenge. Speaking of challenge, this episode is also significantly more challenging than the first episode, with more enemies, less ammo, and very tough boss fights.

    One of the mainstays for episodic games is the element of choice. This was missing in the first episode of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, but it appears in this episode. Depending on player choice, different events can occur and one boss fight can be skipped entirely. This choice is somewhat hidden within the game and there’s no hint to it as well, so it’s like stumbling upon a cool little secret. The consequences of this choice are resolved by the end of the episode regardless though, so it’s a little disappointing not seeing choice span across all four episodes, or influence the events and characters in subsequent episodes of the game.

    The second episode of Revelations 2 takes place right after the end of the first episode. The cliffhanger from the previous episode is swept under the rug and it’s pretty annoying, as the previous cliffhanger was just a bait and switch, nothing more. The cliffhanger from this episode is delivered much better and there’s no way that it can be a bait and switch due to story reasons that I can’t get into without running the risk of spoiling the events for those that have yet to play this episode.

    The game is still not the most impressive game from a visual standpoint, but I did not expect the graphics to improve between episodes. The dialogue is still hilarious and written very well to match the tone of Resident Evil. Corny jokes and puns abound. The voice acting work is pretty decent still as well, and the music still does its job.

    Something I don’t like about this game, and I think I forgot to mention this in my review for the first episode, is how unlocking content works. Not only do you have to meet the requirements to unlock the content, but after that, you still have to purchase the content using BP, the game’s currency. It’s pretty deflating to see, "Oh, I’ve unlocked a new mode!" only to discover that you don’t have enough BP to purchase the mode. This seems like an unnecessary barrier that restricts players from accessing the new content that they worked to unlock.

    And again, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the mixed bag of co-op that Capcom has brought to the table here. The second player and first player have very different objectives and abilities, which makes for a unique and fun co-op experience. However, the lack of the second player to unlock ANY content or even any achievements or trophies dramatically damages the co-op experience. I am extremely disappointed in Capcom as they were very close to pulling off the co-op damn near perfectly.

    The second episode of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has kept the series going on a strong note. The story is becoming even more interesting, with a major cliffhanger at the end of this episode that had me shocked, especially as a big fan of the franchise. The bevy of new and creative enemies as well as new weapons and items made this episode feel like a significant addition from a gameplay standpoint, and the increased challenge was also welcome. I can’t wait to see where Capcom takes this crazy adventure in the third episode, but if the first two episodes are any indication, I am likely to enjoy the ride.

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