And the story continues...
Episode 2 of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 was better, albeit marginally, if for no other reason than Capcom made the determination it couldn't get any worse. (Even though it could. I mean, we've all played Resident Evil 6, right? It could have gotten worse.)
The first thing to note about Episode 2 is that the difficulty ramps up, and while it doesn't seem like much at the beginning, about midway through Claire and Moira's mission, I was simply praying to the gaming gods for some mercy. There were a couple of times I had to face my own embarrassment of having to do a particular section over and over. During a specific chase scene, it took me ten failed attempts before I actually got it.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. As I said in the review for Episode One, Claire and Moira's mission kind of dragged on toward the end, but at least Episode 2 didn't bring back all the same mundane, simple puzzle mechanics. Of course, the key word here is “all” of it. Certain parts of their story still felt like chores and busywork and tons of crap-your-pants monsters, which brings up that recurring theme of disjointedness and staccato both episodes have seen so far.
When we last left our intrepid adventurers, Claire Redfield and Moira Burton were trying to escape the island, figure out why someone wanted them brought there, and who the voice on the PA system taunting them was. Meanwhile, "Father of the Year" Barry Burton and the young Natalia are still trying to help Barry save aforementioned Claire and Moira. It is largely filler, but it's well-paced, revealing parts of the story bits at a time instead of one big exposition dump.
Natalia, once again, is the star of the show, and even more so in Episode 2, as she now plays a vital role for Barry—she can locate monsters Barry cannot see. And trust me, they're out there, and you will need Natalia's point ability to locate them for Barry to do away with them. It's a great mechanic alone, but if you're playing via couch co-op, the challenge factor sails higher, as the one playing Natalia must direct Barry's movements while the monster won't show up on his half of the split screen.
Moira, however, is once again Sidekick du Jour, as her flashlight isn't as useful in this episode, and her responsibility largely turns into “Don't get killed” and “Where are you going, AI? Get back here.” Those playing couch co-op could use Moira as monster bait to line up the shot for Claire, but that could have some spectacularly bad results (hello, Zombie Chow!).
The main characteristic of Episode 2, appropriately subtitled “Contemplation”, is that a showcased effort of Resident Evil's survival horror-based roots can be noticeably seen in the game. Supplies are in even shorter supply in this episode, requiring the decision to turn down that hallway (you know, the one that leads to a dead end) to look for more ammo and herbs carries far more gravity than it really should. Combine that with genuinely challenging boss battles along the way, and each decision feels like it could be Claire's last. It's stressful, puts the player under pressure, and really adds to the tension and nervousness the earlier games in the series produced.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is really trying its damnedest to wipe away the memories of some of the less pleasurable Resident Evil games we've had to slog through in recent years. It's bringing back some of the old and combining it with the action sequences current gamers are accustomed to. As I mentioned in the first episode's review, it's disjointed and yet somehow manages to work.
Also, there's a major tease towards the end hinting at someone in Resident Evil's past. I can't say who, and I guess that makes me the major tease. Wouldn't be the first time I've been called that.
Code provided by publisher. Review based on Xbox One version. Also available on PlayStation 4, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.