Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (Switch) Review
When I first played Revelations 2, I was forced to wait for each episode. While the first game was split into episodes for dramatic effect, the second game was literally split into parts that would be released to fans slowly. The result was an experience that honestly didn’t feel like it should’ve been separated at all. Now, with Resident Evil Revelations 2 hitting the Switch, the whole game is playable from beginning to end. And despite a pretty different approach when compared to the first game, Revelations 2 ultimately feels like the better game with a better understanding of what Resident Evil is.
Revelations 2 splits its story between two major characters from past Resident Evil games. Claire Redfield and Moira Burton are trapped on a strange island by a mysterious woman referring to herself only as “the overseer”. Barry Burton, the father of Moira, heads to the island to save them both, but not before meeting up with a strange girl named Natalia who accompanies him along the way. Because of course?
While the first Revelations game devolved into science fiction nonsense, Revelations 2 attempts to bring things back with a story more rooted in the biological and to a certain extent even the supernatural. I’ll admit the franchise is becoming more and more schlockier as time goes by, and a subsequent guilty pleasure for most fans. The story is intriguing, the setting is well realised and the villain is interesting if not a little bit wasted.
For the most part, Revelations 2 attempts to balance between the slower, more exploration based segments of older games with the showier, action-based setpieces of the more recent ones. The attempt to balance both of the styles are mostly successful, but the game is far from perfectly paced. Still, it’s nice that the designers were willing to let players just explore an area at their own pace without forcing combat or throwing droves of enemies at Claire or Barry.
While the original game was split into episodes, Revelations 2 on the Switch comes complete as a package and is honestly better for it. The game was clearly designed from the ground up to be played at your own pace rather in week apart episodes. In each episode, you’ll play as Claire and Moira before switching and seeing what Barry and Natalia are up to. As a result, you’ll visit most areas twice, but the context and story changes up the situation enough that it doesn’t feel cynically repetitive.
The combat is bound to be a little bit more polarising amongst players. Throwing away most of the extra bells and whistles Resident Evil 6 introduced, Revelations 2 plays like a mix of games, borrowing liberally from games like Alan Wake and Gears of War. Characters can move while aiming and shooting, sprint in any direction at any time and even evade with the press of a button. It’s a system that’s simpler than Resident Evil 6 (which was too convoluted for its own good) but still freer than Resident Evil 4 and 5.
Revelations 2 does things a little bit differently – it still forces a coop partner on you but they are wildly different to your primary character. Moira follows Claire during her story and hates guns. Instead, she uses a crowbar to dole out melee damage to enemies or a flashlight to blind enemies to open them up to Claire’s more powerful attacks. She’s really useful and especially overpowered in the hands of a human player. As an AI accomplice though, she is fairly useless, though thankfully has regenerating health to feel less like a babysitting job.
When playing as Barry, you’ll be accompanied by Natalia, a creepy little girl with a sixth sense of sorts. She acts like more of a passive support character than Moira, pointing out hidden objects in the game world and throwing bricks to distract enemies. She can also listen out for enemies through walls, similar to the “Listen” mode in The Last of Us. As you’d expect, it opens up some stealth opportunities in Barry’s levels but I found myself playing as Barry for the most part.
While nowhere near as strong as the previous games in the franchise, Revelations 2 does feature some puzzles that break up the more action-ey setpieces from time to time. They rarely amount to anything more than finding some items and returning them to a central location, but they feel a little bit more involved than the original Revelations.
When you’re finished with the main campaign, which takes roughly eight or so hours to complete, a wealth of new content is still there to play through and keep players busy. There are two experimental episodes called Little Miss and The Struggle, which both give some more background to the overall story of Revelations 2. These episodes do things a little bit different to the main ones but honestly aren’t all that important if they’re not your thing.
The meatier inclusion is the Raid Mode, which is similar to the original Revelations mode of the same name. In it, you’ll pick a character, run a gauntlet of enemies and locations pulled from a mix of many previous Resident Evil games and unlock custom loadouts and abilities. Abilities improve the functionality of your weapons, your health, or even let you deal damage or make enemies fight amongst themselves just by taunting. There’s a wealth of stuff to unlock here and while it can get grind-y at times, it’ll easily extend the life of the game for most players.
From a visuals perspective, Revelations 2 really does wear its budget on its sleeve. As mentioned previously, you’ll visit many areas more than once and many of those areas will feel quite “closed in” though there are some exceptions. As a whole, the game looks marginally worse than Revelations but the grittier, rougher look kind of meshes well with the creepier more claustrophobic aesthetic the game is going for. The game shrinks down pretty nicely on the Switch’s screen too.
While Resident Evil Revelations 2 borrows sparingly from its contemporaries, it is better than it’s budget would have you believe it to be. The story is just the right amount of schlock with a smaller yet more focused cast. The tension is actually present in a moody well realised setting. The overall game feel lends itself to a much more enjoyable experience when compared to its predecessor too. Add in a comprehensive (yet slightly grindy) Raid Mode and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Rating: 4 / 5
+ Balances Both Styles of Resident Evil
+ Smooth, Intuitive Gunplay
+ More Focused Storyline
- Story Is Still Nonsense
- Raid Mode Can Be A Grind
- Visually Rough At Times