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Xbox One Game Review
Starring veteran zombie slayers Claire Redfield and Barry Burton alongside newcomers to the Resident Evil series, Moira and Natalia, it’s a fight for survival on a remote island teeming with terrifying mutations. With three further episodes being released on a weekly basis the story and action will continue apace until the climactic season finale. For those who prefer to experience their survival horror in one sitting a ‘box set’ containing all the episodes on a shiny disc will be available from your favourite video game retailer...
It seems like an age ago now, but back in 1996 I remember buying the first Resident Evil game for the Playstation, and being seriously creeped out by it. As a treat for being a good boy, I also (rather foolishly and against my partner's wishes) let my young son sit in the dark with me as he took control and explored the old deserted mansion. He begged to play and even though he'd have terrible nightmares, he couldn't get enough of it. Over the years we've picked up each installment of the Resident Evil franchise, but sadly hardly any of them have come any where near close to capturing that original feeling.
So when the review codes for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 came through I wasn't expecting too much (especially as it was being released in 4-weekly episodes with a price tag of under £5 each episode). But, still, I thought: "What the Hell..." and decided to prepare as though I was in for a creepy surprise. I waited until nightfall and then switched off all the lights, lit a few candles and cranked up the surround sound...
First impressions were extremely impressive. The graphics looked good, the story seemed promising... and then we were into the game proper, which opens in what appears to be a disused prison / mental facility. It was dark and the noises coming out of the speakers were spot on, and certainly created the right atmosphere.
You start the game as Claire Redfield. You and co-worker, Moira, are taken against your will and you awake in a facility where those suffering from the symptoms of biological agents are being studied. It appears that the facility has been overrun by the monsters, which lie in wait for you. The only other possible human left, appears to be a disembodied voice that is piped through speakers in the facility. Calling herself the Overseer, this woman watches your every move via the buildings CCTV cameras. Your mission is to get out of the facility in one piece.
After you reach a certain part of the game, the narrative switches to tell the story of Barry Burton, who has come to the facility to rescue one person in particular (no spoilers here). Upon arriving outside the building he finds a little girl called Natalia Korda, wandering around lost. She appears to be one of the inmates, like Claire and Moira. Barry and Natalia must fight their way into the facility to rescue any survivors.
Large parts of Barry's story reuse the environments you've already explored as Claire. However, in several areas your path is blocked and so you'll branch off into new environments.
The game play is fairly straightforward. In each segment you have two characters which you can switch between. One of them brandishes firearms while the other uses a hand-to-hand combat weapon (Moira wields a crowbar, whilst Natalia can pick up and use bricks in the environment).
You spend a little while learning the controls, so we have a sort of tutorial that's built into the game as you creep around your environment in the early stages. And once you get into the game the monsters start coming thick and fast (depending on which skill level you set the game at).
The four episodes are being released one a week, or you can pick up a box set with additional content if you want to binge play. To be fair each episode isn't difficult. I split this over two nights, but I could have easily completed it in a single sitting. I spent most of my time marveling at the environment and trying to wring every bit of creepiness out of it as possible.
As a consequence I rung my son up (who is in his 20s now) and invited him over for a night of creepy nostalgia. The added bonus with the game is that instead of switching between the two characters you can have a second player take on their role (or you can also go online for co-op play).
And, when you've finished part one you might think there's not much replayability in it. And technically that's true (other than finding the hidden items that you must shoot, or trying to beat your friends scores), so Capcom have very kindly added a Raid mode which sees you tackling wave after wave of beasties as you walk through an environment collecting extras as you go.
What else can you get for £5 these days? This is like a gift from Capcom to the fans.