I was a whisker away from refusing to ever play a Resident Evil title again.
Back in the mid 1990’s, as an impressionable student, I was lucky enough to take in the original Resident Evil on the Playstation. I loved the tension it brought, I loved the puzzles I struggled to solve and I loved the fact that my ammo was in such short supply, so much so that I’d care for each and every bullet like it was my son. Hell, I even loved being scared half witless by the demon dogs jumping through the window.
But from that point onwards, things in the Resident Evil series slacked off. RE2 and 3 passed me by with little more than a brief glance, both becoming instantly forgettable. Resi 4 briefly sparked a bit of enthusiasm once again but that was short lived and playthroughs of both 5 and 6 did nothing to help.
So when the remastered, reworked HD version of Resident Evil dropped through my metaphorical review letterbox, I was hoping that it would bring back many memories of a time when the franchise was great. Unfortunately it didn’t. In fact, it possibly ruined any lingering bit of love I had left for it. The original Resident Evil should have been left right back there in the 90’s.
And so it was with great hesitation that I went into review mode for Resident Evil Revelations 2 on Xbox One. Truth be told, I would have paid someone handsomely to take the review on in my place, but funds are tight and the world is coming out of the greatest economic breakdown in living memory. So I took it on, prepared for the worst.
But from the very first moment of firing up the story of Claire Redfield, Barry Burton, his daughter Moira and the disturbing young Natalia, my love of Resident Evil slowly emerged from the shadows and tapped me on the shoulder once more.
Visually things are rather superb with the cutscenes standing out as absolute highlights, but even when in actual gameplay, graphics are clear and crisp with the mutant Afflicted being brought to life quite literally. The control scheme is also much improved over any previous titles and whilst I would have preferred to be given a little time to mix and match any herbs or explosives bottles without being attacked whilst I did so, the tension it brings when you’re trying to hide in a corner passing items between characters is supremely high.
The combination of just the right amount of puzzles, just the right amount of tension and just the right amount of mutated hordes meant Revelations 2 was something that grabbed me, refusing to let go.
But I believe its the local co-op that has really pushed things on for me with Revelations 2. Whilst things work nicely in solo mode, there are times when the quick switching of characters becomes a little too fiddly for my liking. It’s easy enough to do when you’re trying to complete a puzzle section, but when there are numerous mutants attacking from all angles, the addition of a second pair of hands is more than welcome. The local co-op (both in the main campaign and across the brilliant Raid mode), works near on perfectly and with you being sat next to your companion on the sofa, brings an emotional, nervy, frantic and occasionally teary experience.
And that’s something I never thought I’d be saying about a Resident Evil game again!
I have to still admit to being at a loss to understand Capcom’s thoughts behind releasing the latest Resi tale initially as an episodic weekly download, but even the stop start nature behind the staggered release of each episode couldn’t wane my enthusiasm…and now all the episodes have released and the full retail version has shipped on disk, that stumble from episode to episode really isn’t too much of an issue.
Will I get involved in future Resident Evil tales if Capcom come calling?
Damn right I will.