Capcom has released scores of “Resident Evil” games. Although the exact number of titles is up for debate (Capcom itself has claimed 75 in the past), the premise always comes down to one simple concept: kill zombies.
That remains the goal in the company’s latest offering, “Resident Evil Revelations 2,” shown to journalists ahead of New York Comic Con. You start the game as Claire Redfield, one of the most iconic Resident Evil protagonists, accompanied by Moira Burton (daughter of the original Resident Evil’s Barry Burton).
The first thing you should realize about "Revelations 2" is that it’s not a mainline "Resident Evil" game. The producer of the game, Michiteru Okabe, said it takes place “between ['Resident Evil'] 5 and 6.” This isn’t Resident Evil 7, and it’s important to have that perspective for one simple reason:
It’s not presented the same way. "Revelations 2" will see initial release in episodic installments, once a week. Gamers can purchase a season pass up front and have automatic access to every episode as it is released, but they can also buy the whole experience at once after all episodes are out. There will be four episodes, at $5.99 each, bringing the total investment to about $24 (the season pass, for some reason, is $25). Main "Resident Evil" titles retail for $60.
It’s too early to tell how well this episodic presentation will work, but we can still comment on the gameplay mechanics themselves. Here’s the good news: The terror is back.
Unlike recent installments, you’re not given a massive weapons arsenal. "Revelations 2" harkens back to "Resident Evil" games of old, where you’re lucky to find a firearm, let alone sufficient ammunition for it. Enemies don’t mysteriously drop five bullets or come at you in droves (in the main story, anyway). Instead, they’ll pop out one or two at a time, often forcing you into a corner and inciting old-fashioned panic.
Between encounters, "Revelations 2" builds tension and suspense -- again, like old "Resident Evil" games. The atmosphere is creepy, but the excellent musical scores get under your skin and keep you on the lookout for zombies.
When you do encounter one (assuming you have a loaded firearm at your disposal) you’ll notice that the shooting experience is kind of clumsy. This isn’t a bad thing, as it suits a survival horror game like this -- you’re not a super soldier mowing through hordes of faceless enemies, you’re a relatively normal person. Claire’s movements aren’t totally robotic (like Leon Kennedy's in "Resident Evil 4," for comparison), and it’s not hard to get your bearings after a few encounters, but she can’t wipe out a room of zombies with five bullets and a toy gun.
The press demonstration was around 30 minutes long, and according to Okabe, was only the beginning of the first episode. It’s promising so far, especially at a price point of $5.99 per episode. Whether the episodic formula will be a success remains to be seen, but there’s enough content here to warrant interest for now. The first episode will be available in early 2015.