In the league of memorable non-player characters, Barry Burton is right up there with Alyx Vance and Otacon. Thanks to his comically bad dialogue in the first Resident Evil 20 years ago, he's become a firm fan favourite and Revelations 2 marks the first time he's been a playable lead (I know he's been playable in spin-off titles like Mercernaries and Resident Evil Gaiden on the Gameboy). Barry is only half the story however, with series regular Claire Redfield making a welcome return as well.
It takes more than appealing central characters to make a good game though, and fortunately, there are a number of other things that make this the best in the series since Resident Evil 4. I don't think many would argue that it has lost its way in recent games, with too much emphasis on silly action set pieces instead of survival horror. These cut-scenes are kept to a bear minimum here with the bulk of the exposition being handled during gameplay or via the usual collectible files.
This is finally a Resident Evil game that gets co-op right too. Both the main protagonists are partnered with a character who doesn't wield a gun. Claire gets Barry's daughter Moira, who can use a torch to blind and incapacitate enemies, and Barry has the mysterious Natalia, a little girl who has the ability to sense when enemies are close by. By working as a team these combinations work extremely well and switching between the two in single player is essential.
The story unfolds in episodes, which were released weekly, with Claire's chapter followed by Barry's. By structuring it in this way, it remains interesting with key moments happening at the end of a chapter - let's not call them twists, as anyone who's played a Resident Evil game before will see them coming a mile off. Knowing exactly when the next episode was going to be available also made sure that I never got bored waiting.
Episode one does a great job of setting the scene before episode two ups the ante with more enemies, larger playing areas and a couple of boss fights. Actual puzzles make a welcome return in part three, nothing too taxing but a nice break from the shooting, and then episode four rounds thing off with a satisfying conclusion. Claire's campaign is easily the best of the two as there seems to be a little too much padding towards the end of Barry's as you are forced to carry heavy items slowly for long periods.
I especially liked how Barry's game changes based on how you play Claire's. Hitting switches and opening gates in one, will allow for more exploration in the other, and in one instance you can even severely shorten the following chapter by taking on a boss fight that the game encourages you to avoid. This makes multiple playthroughs, which are required to find all the collectibles and achievements, a pleasure.
Then there's Raid mode. This, like Mercenaries before it, is a score-based arcade mode where you choose a character, load-out and level in which to take on a hoard of enemies. Each level has five medals for you to try and win by completing objectives and it makes for a fantastically addictive alternative to the main story mode.
Capcom have produced a great package here that's well worth the £20 I paid for it as a download. Looking at what's available in the retail release there doesn't seem to be any reason why it costs £10 more so I would strongly suggest you buy the whole thing digitally. On its own, the campaign would be easy to recommend but the inclusion of Raid mode as well adds an extra point to the score.
9 / 10
Reviewed By Zoidberg on Friday 20th March 2015
About the Review
The story mode took roughly six hours on my first run, but with additional plays on higher difficulties and hunting for collectibles I've doubled that easily. Raid mode is something I will keep returning to for a long time to come.