NOT SO EVIL
Episodic games are a tricky thing to review. On one hand, you are only reviewing a portion of a game that will likely not reflect the game as a whole. The other hand is that it is entirely possible for the first episode and the subsequent episodes to feel the same. However, some episodic games, most notably The Walking Dead: Season One, take the criticism they might get and fix it in the next episode that would be released months after the last. Because of the long breaks between episodes, it’s likely that the overall package will be better for it. However with Resident Evil Revelations 2, which each episode will release weekly, it’ll be hard to see if Capcom will fix any issues the first episode has.
Resident Evil Revelations 2: Penal Colony isn’t terrible, but it’s not particularly great. The episode splits into two narratives with one narrative following Claire Redfield, and the other following Barry Burton. Keeping with the partner gameplay aspect since Resident Evil 5, both Claire and Barry will have a partner. Claire has Moira Burton, the daughter of Barry Burton, and she feels like a blank slate. There was nothing Moira did in Episode One that screams “great character.” All she does is say no to guns, complain about Barry, and curse where cursing isn’t warranted. It feels like Capcom wanted to try to make an Ellie-like character from The Last of Us, but doesn’t know what made Ellie a great character to begin with. She can use a flashlight to blind enemies like Alan Wake and find hidden resources like ammo. Meanwhile, Barry’s young partner, Natalia, isn’t much better, but unlike Moira, Natalia seems that she has a interesting story waiting to be uncovered. Like Moira, she can point out resources, but she differs that she can also faintly see through walls. You can and should switch characters often as the partner AI isn’t really smart.
For a first episode, nothing of note happens. This is merely a set up for the rest of the game, but the bad thing is that nothing major happens that would make you want to wait for the next episode. It abruptly ends as soon as it begins while taking me about 80 minutes to finish both stories. Most of that time is spent shooting up monsters as you try to take care both of yourself and your partner. This wouldn’t be so bad if the gameplay wasn’t predictable. The second you see a large area, you can see that a major battle is about to happen and there is this one section in the Claire’s side that is a bit too hard for its own good. Worst yet, if you die and respawn, you’ll start off the same health you had when you first entered the checkpoint.
If there is a silver lining in all this, it is that there are upgrades that can be carried over from playthrough to playthrough. Not only that, but there are unlockables, action figures, and plenty of replay value. To try to get everything, you would need to play through Episode One several times. There are even two extra modes for the episode for extra challenge.
Another highlight for Resident Evil Revelations 2 is Raid Mode. Raid mode allows you to choose a character to play as, and then forces you to shoot through an area, killing as many monsters as you can before being allowed to move on. The Raid Mode is worth playing, but it remains to be seen if it’s something to spend hours on. So far, I’m liking Raid Mode more than the main game itself. But beware: there are microtransactions, but they are completely optional.
The Verdict: 6.5 out of 10
Unlike last month’s excellent Resident Evil HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2: Penal Colony feels like a stalemate with the franchise. It doesn’t know if it wants to be action or survival horror while not being good at either of them. Barry had the better half of the story during the first episode, but that is not really saying much. There is still next week’s episode and hopefully it will get better because as of now, there is nothing special about Resident Evil Revelations 2.
Jesse Webster is a Senior Writer at MONG and bought by me and played on PlayStation 4. You can find him on Twitter.