We now come to the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2, the first episodic game from publishing giant Capcom. The first episode, “Penal Colony,” started off the series on uneven footing, (read our episode 1 review here) with rocky pacing and annoying fetch quests. However, episode 2, “Contemplation,” is where Revelations 2 starts to come together.
The episode is still split between the two teams: Claire/Moira and Barry/Natalia. Claire once again takes center stage in the opening half, but thankfully, she and her weaponless partner aren’t stuck in a claustrophobic, monotonous prison the entire time. They’re reunited with a few other former employees of TerraSave, an enigmatic human rights organization dedicated to fighting bioterrorism. The ragtag crew hatches a plan to escape from the island of deadly viruses and its belligerent, mutated victims. But of course, the plan doesn’t pan out.
Episode two is more streamlined, trading the first episode’s copious amounts of backtracking for an action-based first half full of solid scares and numerous enemies. Simple puzzles take a back seat to gunshots and explosions, though you’ll still need to veer slightly off the main path to collect enough ammunition to stand a chance. Stockpile as much as you can while you play through Claire’s section, or you’ll be in for a genuinely rude awakening at the end. It’s here that Revelations 2 hints at the enormity of the situation the characters are caught up in -- without giving anything away, some old villains return, and TerraSave may not be the benevolent company it claims to be.
Claire’s section relies heavily on gore and scant supply drops to create tension; it’s not subtle, instead showing you exactly why you should be scared. Barry’s part, however, is much more concerned with creating an unnerving atmosphere. He’ll still take on gruesome enemies from time to time, but more often he’ll have to rely on Natalia to help him in combat -- there are now invisible enemies (which Barry, in typical Barry Burton fashion, quips about).
Barry can’t see them, but Natalia senses their presence and guides Barry’s aim. This is an excellent mechanic -- you can’t just shoot wildly when Natalia tells you an enemy is nearby, because you’ve got to conserve your bullets. Although the cloaked enemy advances slowly, its presence blurs the screen and produces a high-pitched shrill, making it even harder to hit. You’ve got to remain calm while waiting for instructions, reliant on a little girl to help you kill a monster.
It’s unnerving -- and that feeling continues straight to the conclusion of “Contemplation.” If the last five minutes of the episode are a sign of what’s to come, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is about to be a real thrill.