I was taken aback by how much I was looking forward to the climactic chapter of Resident Evil Revelations 2. While the first two chapters offered little in the way of puzzles, plot or interesting locations, the third episode raised the bar in all these areas, while also calling on the charmingly absurd puzzle-solving spirit of older games in the series. Sadly, Episode 4 – Metamorphosis – doesn’t keep up the great momentum established by its predecessor, and goes back to being a one-dimensional – though still quite enjoyable – experience.
Racing the clock is the running theme throughout Episode 4; as Claire and Moira you need to escape a self-destructing lab, then later as Barry-Moira you fight and push mine carts through vast swathes of poisonous gas. I don’t have (too much of) a problem with race-the-clock gameplay, but whatever game uses it should have sound enough mechanics that I should only have myself to blame if I fail the stressful ordeal. With its stiff controls, Revelations 2 simply doesn’t lend itself to extended clock-racing sequences, and the intended diegetic stress is compounded – not in a good way – by awkward gameplay.
I’d laugh in frustration when, as Claire, I’d waste precious seconds trying to get into the exact right position to receive the on-screen cue to to climb down a ladder while surrounded by hellfire. I uttered an quietly enraged laugh-swear when Moira got in the way of Barry trying to push a mine cart out the way as his lungs filled with poisonous gas. It felt mechanically chaotic, and certainly much less entertaining than the eccentric puzzles of Episode 3.
You spend most of Episode 4 as Barry and Natalia, after Claire and Moira’s segment comes to an abrupt and impactful conclusion. I was happy to go along with this, as Barry-Natalia’s story is more directly related to the overarching narrative and hogs all emotional resonance in the game. But Episode 4 doesn’t build on the relationship in any meaningful way, leaving me feeling somewhat cold at the end – not helped by the fact that I got the ‘bad’ ending.
Speaking of the ending – which comes after an unspectacular boss fight with the game’s supervillain Alex Wesker – I was unaware until much later that there was actually an alternative (though given the how non-nuanced and hopeless my ending was, I should’ve guessed that there must also be a diametrically opposed ‘good’ ending). As it turns out, whether you get the good or bad ending rests on a single choice in the previous episode whose logical connection to the conclusion is tenuous at best.
I’m all for alternative endings and actions with narrative consequences, but such a mechanic should’ve been used more consistently throughout Revelations 2, rather than just in one instance which decides the outcome of the entire game. As it stands, the ‘consequential’ moment in episode 3 seems illogical, inconsistent, and a contrived nod to a system that should’ve been implemented with more rigour or not at all.
The idea of actions in one storyline in Revelations 2 affecting another is a good one, but isn’t explored nearly enough by Capcom. As far as I’m aware, apart from the little matter of the good/evil conclusion , the only other crossover between the two segments are the red pus lumps (essentially monster landmines) which you can destroy in Claire-Moira’s segment to clear the path for Barry-Natalia later.
Lukewarm though my feelings are towards the concluding chapter of Revelations 2, completing it provides you with a panoply of new challenges, outfits, levels and unlockables that most other games would reserve for opportunistic DLC packs. Reviewing a game episodically inevitably ends up focusing on how its main campaign develops, but there is plenty of longevity to be found in the arcadey Raid mode, Challenges, Survival Mode, or Natalia’s eerie dreamscape bonus missions.
Multiplayer (with the all-too-rare luxury of splitscreen) is making its way to all formats too, and Revelations 2 certainly has solid enough gameplay that you and a friend could spend hours co-opping away at it. If you’re after a solid story and care little for the many side-treats on offer (or are hoping that Rev 2 in any way returns to the series’ survival horror roots), then you won’t find much here, but completionists and local multiplayer fans would certainly get their money’s worth at a reasonable £20.
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