Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Hands-On – NYCC 2014

Resident-Evil-Revelations-2-05

Capcom has a reliable presence at New York Comic Con every year, and this time around was no different. For 2014, Capcom brought a playable demo of the sequel to the highly-acclaimed Resident Evil: Revelations, allowing visitors to get a glimpse at the franchise’s first leap to next-gen. The demo features series veteran Claire Redfield and newcomer Moira Burton as they try to survive an abandoned medical facility.

It has to be said that with the jump to next-gen platforms, we should expect a bump to the visuals, and the most immediate thing you’ll notice is that RE:Rev2 runs at a smooth and consistent 60 FPS, a jarringly eye-pleasing change that’s long overdue. Models have been improved as well, showing many more minute details than before. Even though it’s obvious Capcom used Resident Evil 4/5’s assets as the baseline, you’ll notice improvements such as Claire’s jacket fluttering around in response to her movements. Enemies are also much more lifelike, wincing in pain depending on where you shoot them. The enemies featured in the demo are also surprisingly agile, and their movements are animated very well, whether they’re lunging and leaping at you, or taking a swing with a crude bladed weapon.

The demo was playable with DualShock 4 controllers, and if it was any indication, RE:Rev2 will control beautifully. Capcom have stated that the Revelations series is meant to evoke a more old-school feel, and while I feel this style has been achieved, the controls are still quite well-tuned. Aiming and firing is very easy and precise, aside from a sudden leap in sensitivity as you move the stick away from its center position. However, this only took a few minutes to get used to, and by the time enemies started getting thrown at me, I was pulling off headshots like a trained professional. Your character can sprint and dodge as well, though I find the confined spaces presented in the demo left very few opportunities to dash around. Dodging, however, is a welcome mechanic, and is achieved by simply pressing the O button with a direction. This mechanic alone has saved my skin multiple times, and while you could argue it makes the game too easy, it’d definitely be a staple of those who decide to play RE:Rev2 on the harder difficulty.

What I had originally heard of RE:Rev2 was that Claire would play like traditional RE characters have in the past, but her new partner, Moira, was relegated to simply holding a flashlight to help her see. While the beginning of the demo confirmed those fears, it just as quickly reversed them by introducing some new mechanics unique to her. Players can switch between characters using the Triangle button, and some parts of the game will even mandate this. While it’s true that Moira will generally follow you around, shining light on the path ahead of you (and what you’re aiming at), she can also uncover hidden items for you to pick up, as well as use a crowbar to open boarded-up doors. She can even use this blunt instrument to stun enemies from behind, and finish them off when they’re down. Given the report that RE:Rev2 will support 2-player co-op, it’s nice to know that number 2 will have more to do than just pointing a flashlight around.

What little was described of the story implies that Claire and Moira are abducted while attending a party together, being hauled away to an abandoned medical facility, and fitted with bracelets that change in appearance according to their amount of fear. Interestingly, it seems Claire’s vast amount of experience keeps her bracelet glowing green, while Moira’s, being a relative newcomer to the series, is constantly yellow. A conversation between the two indicates Claire may have more of a hard edge at this point in the story as well, describing a found pistol as being “more reliable than any person”. And while Moira apparently can’t do firearms, due to some incident that has yet to be expounded upon, she has no problem tearing into zombies and mutants with the crowbar she finds early on. The entire time, the two are being monitored by an unknown enemy (the same one who placed the bracelets on their wrists), and are taunted fairly late in the demo that what they’ve experienced is nothing compared to what’s to come – a clever nod by Capcom not only to Claire and Moira’s upcoming hardships, but what the player can expect once the full game is released. And indeed, the enemies they have to fight early on are a new breed for Resident Evil, resembling something out of “The Hills Have Eyes” with their bloated appendages and visible stitchmarks, implying extensive surgical experimentation. These aren’t slow zombies, either – they’re capable of short sprints like previous enemies, but can also take sudden leaps at you with their carried weapons. They’re even clever enough to attack you while you’re climbing a ladder, hitting you just in time to knock you off and put you in an even more intense situation where your life is really on the line.

Overall, I was pretty impressed by what I got to experience with the live demo. I really enjoyed the more old-school feel to the original Revelations, and what Capcom has added to it with Rev2 makes it a joy to play. Aiming and shooting feel great, dodging is a welcome improvement (compared to its random and somewhat inconsistent performance in previous titles), and the new enemies are cool and horrifying. The demo also did a great job of whetting my appetite for the full game – I want to know who the mastermind is, where these new enemies came from, and how Claire’s character development has led her to her more hard-edged attitude she appears to have. The only downside I can really comment on is the unnecessary amount of swearing in the dialog. I’m fine with dropping f-bombs when it’s appropriate, but the dialog kind of runs wild with it a little bit. When characters mix in curse words with their normal speech, using the same monotone expression, it really decreases the efficiency of its use.

That one minor gripe aside, I think we have a lot to look forward to early next year when Resident Evil: Revelations 2 comes out.