Dark, decaying passageways. Limited resources and defenses. Terrorizing monsters hidden just out of view. These are the typical building blocks of a survival horror game. And it’s the kind of jump/scare stuff that’s been a part of the Resident Evil series of games for almost 20 years now.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 follows on the heels of the first Resident Evil: Revelations and takes place somewhere between the action of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. But it doesn’t really matter if you’re current on this undead canon or not. All you need to know is that in this digital world there’s a sinister force that desires to create slavering zombie-like Bio Organic Weapons out of living, breathing people so as to take control of … well, everything.
Only Three Good Gals … and a Guy
Of course, if there are terrorist baddies out and about, there must be some good guys to fight against them. In this case it comes down to Resident Evil stalwart Claire Redfield and a trio of others who step up and into the fray.
Claire, a proud gun-toting member of anti-bioterrorism group TerraSave, is mysteriously abducted and plopped down inside what appears to be some kind of island-bound, twisted mental asylum. The walls of this horror hospital are dripping with gore and rot, while chain-suspended torture devices swing and spin, and zombies lurch through the shadows looking for a fleshy meal.
It seems that Claire and other human captives have been adorned with special fear-sensing bracelets that will inject them with the deadly Bio Organic virus if they become too frightened. So not only does Claire have to fight off repulsive creatures, she has to battle her own emotions so as not to become a monster herself. Eventually she teams up with a foulmouthed teen named Moira Burton, and together they strive to fight their way through the hellish obstacles.
There’s another thread to this fraying tale, though. Six months after Claire and Moira face off with deadly entities in that putrid pit, another Resident Evil regular, Barry Burton, shows up looking for his missing daughter. With the help of a strange young girl named Natalia, Barry tries to uncover clues to Moira’s whereabouts, while kicking a lot of monster backside in his own singular fashion.
What that all boils down to, then, is an episodic unspooling (the game was originally released in piecemeal fashion) of scenes that jump forward and backward by six months as gamers inhabit these two different pairs of heroes. The shooting and shadow-creeping action can be played through in co-op mode or with a single player manning the controller. But in either case, you’re asked to take constant advantage of each character’s special set of skills.
As they traverse crumbling, trap-laden factories or puzzle-packed sewage plants, for instance, it becomes clear that Claire is quite good at handling a shotgun while Moira sticks to spotting hidden supplies with her flashlight and putting a crowbar into play. Barry shows his gifting when it comes to sneaking up on a monster and jamming a huge blade into its spine. And the sweet and innocent Natalia can slip in through small gaps and spot gruesome ghoulies lying in wait around the next bend.
A Lot More Butchery and Bloodlust
Depending on the game choices you make, there’s a little father-daughter reconciliation that gets thrown into the mix. But this is a pretty typical Resident Evil assemblage. Which means you can expect gallons of gurgling goop.
Nasty creatures are regularly slaughtered and dismembered with handguns, shotguns, knives, Molotov cocktails, bricks, bottles and fists. Targeted noggins turn to mush and are splattered with grisly and graphic HD clarity.
The dialogue packed with nasty profanity is no picnic either. F- and s-words, along with a full cavalcade of other harsh vulgarities are everywhere. And a lot of those coarse crudities are spouted by a teen girl—comments regularly used as “humorous” tension breakers delivered between intensely unpleasant battles.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 actually goes even beyond all that visual and verbal mess, however, when it comes to the character of Natalia. As the game progresses we come to feel quite protective of this seemingly innocent child. Then, depending on choices made, we are not only forced to watch her be battered and pummeled, but we see what amounts to evil incarnate eventually possess her.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.