Resident Evil is one of those long-running video game franchises where you can very easily start wondering what the ratio of good to bad games in that franchise is. For every foot they put right, they seem to put another one wrong, and RE games are almost the poster children for the concept of hit or miss.
Almost every game has some sort of gimmick that either makes or breaks it. So what a pleasant surprise it was to find that Revelations 2 simply tries its best to be a strong entry without too much messing around with other bits, and for the most part, it succeeds.
The story of Resident Evil is also enormously convoluted at this stage, but Revelations breaks itself down into a fairly well contained narrative. You play as two sets of two people. The first is Claire Redfield and Moira Burton, daughter of her former partner Barry Burton. The story for them begins as they are both kidnapped and taken to a mysterious island. The second story strand picks up 6 months later, as Barry comes to the island in search of his daughter and teams up with a mysterious young girl named Natalia. The game goes back and forth between these two periods and groups, and so, a bit of backtracking occurs, but the concept is nice and you normally see areas from different points of view to keep it fresh. The game is also divided into 5 main chapters, as it was originally released episodically, but if you pick it up as the Complete Edition, as I did, you get all 5, plus two bonus chapters.
The main gameplay feature is that the entire game can be completed in co-op, or with AI control, but the fact is that one of your team (Claire or Barry) can use a gun and is skilled in combat, and the other is more stealthy but has no weapon (Moira or Natalia). You must balance the use of your two teammates and use their abilities as they are best suited to the situation, and it’s a good way of creating tension and that old feeling of “death being around any corner.”
Major gameplay mostly follows the refined RE:4 model: over the shoulder movement with raising and aiming the gun as needed. There’s a satisfying feeling when your weapon connects, and an upgrade system that can be modified with collectables for new additions to your move set or weapons.
The story of RE:R2 may not be fantastic, but it is serviceable. The episodic quality works well on a handheld device. The gameplay is confident in itself. There’s enough to make the experience fun. Most places I saw are selling this for less than an ordinary Triple A game, so maybe it doesn’t aspire to as much as other games, but that’s fine. This is a fine little entry in the Resident Evil franchise and does a lot to show that less may well be more.