Capcom is following through with their plan to release an episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 a week, and what a week it is. Even though there are apparent issues with enemy variety, the episodic experience started off strong, introducing a tense atmosphere and enjoyable gameplay mechanics. With two of the series’ favorite characters at the helm, Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, there’s surely little that can go wrong. For a spin-off title in Capcom’s biggest franchise, Resident Evil Revelations 2 has all the potential to help setup and make groundbreaking changes that could be implemented into the next mainline title.
The balance between the two campaigns continues to widen as there’s a heavy focus on action with Claire, while Barry takes the more methodical approach, conserving ammunition with stealth. Stealth is even more prominent this time around for our well-equipped hero as there are sections that feel specifically design to be snuck through. Of course, there’s always the option to go guns blazing, but you will need to conserve his ammunition for the boss fight at the end, especially considering his set of enemies take at the very least three rounds to take down, and far more if you don’t hit the right weak point. Natalia is the only one who learns a new trait this time around and ensures that gameplay is changed up nicely. Claire’s campaign is more of the same with crowds of infected rushing towards her and Moira, but with Barry, there are invisible enemies Natalia can only see, making things far more interesting. Little Natalia will point in the direction where the monster is, giving you instructions where to aim and when to shoot. It’s a nice little variance to combat that feels very well deserved as these floating mists of red will instantly kill anyone that gets close enough.
The biggest new addition in Claire’s campaign is, not only new faces to add to the light cast, but far more open environments to maneuver through. In the first episode, it was almost entirely closed off corridors that forced the two heroines into battle. Contemplation starts off strong as the opening area feels like it was directly pulled from the first major encounter of Resident Evil 4 where the chainsaw man chases Leon around the village. Here, Claire will need to search a desolate village on this remote, seemingly Russian island, and eventually avoid as much combat as possible. That’s not to say there aren’t linear pathways, as shortly after this it goes right back into that, but at least there’s more here than just straightforward progression. It feels more balanced this time around, allowing for more space to stretch your legs in.
Both campaigns also include a boss fight that was absent from the first episode, each with an interesting twist. Claire gets a giant creature with a cannon that can shoot fireballs, while Barry is tagged with a ground drill wielding maniac. It’s a little more in line with where the Resident Evil series was going versus the genetically enhanced animal bosses from the original games. There’s actual strategy and pace to Barry’s boss, having Natalia direct the magnum wielding veteran to shoot specific spots on its body, whereas Claire is just swarmed with enemies as she peppers the giant’s health down. Both fights are enjoyable in their own ways, even though it ensures ammunition will be depleted for the beginning of the next episode. The second boss fight is a little more interesting only because of how much room is given. Barry is situated on an apartment floor where the boss will continuously chase him down through hallways and rooms. Getting through the many doors and ensuring you don’t get corned can be tense, especially considering a hulk of a man rushing towards you with a massive spiraling drill can be a frightening situation, even though it won’t deliver a game over screen with a single hit on normal.
Story-wise, there really isn’t much here to speak of, with even less character development on Claire’s part. Natalia is an intriguing element to the story as she’s clearly out of place in this rather dire scenario. Her origins are teased ever so slightly in the first half of the episode, and even more so directly at the end. She is central to the plot, but only being roughly halfway through the main campaign, there’s still a lot to develop. Oddly enough, the most underdeveloped character in Revelations 2 seems like Claire as, while we know her from Resident Evil 2, her personality feels shallow and unemotional. It might have something to do with being paired up with the vocal and foulmouthed Moira, as her personality is slowly expanded upon, giving us a little more information about her friendlier side. There’s still two episodes to go to fully grow these characters, but episode 2 doesn’t do a great job portraying them, not to mention adding forgettable and somewhat disposable humans on the side.
There are certain elements to Contemplation that have been improved from the first episode, namely the more open environments and the new enemy types, but there are still apparent flaws to the story and combat scenarios. Claire’s campaign once again trails behind Barry’s, including a more direct conflict structure with no real puzzle solving elements to be found. Barry, on the other hand, relies heavily on stealth to get by, which adds an enjoyable layer of strategy before entering an area. Unfortunately, even though the core gameplay mechanics are entertaining, the story is moving at a snail’s pace at this point. There’s also a good number of reused areas between the two stories, although Capcom was able to branch them out to create just different enough paths. Resident Evil Revelations 2: Contemplation is a satisfying installment in the four-episode series, ending with a cliffhanger that will leave you excited for what’s next, but there needs to be better balance between the two campaigns.