And so, with this fourth episode (aptly named Metamorphosis,) we’ve reached the end of Revelations 2, this low-budget episodic experiment set to bring Resident Evil back to its classic horror roots. Following the events of episode 3, Claire and Moira are dangerously close to finding the truth about the Overseer, the mysterious woman whose identity they don’t know even though we do. The game doesn’t screw around and quickly shows their confrontation, which turns out to be a bit anticlimactic. Claire’s chapter in this episode was pretty short and left a lot to be desired, feeling mostly like a (very) short prologue to Barry’s side of the ending than a fully realized chapter. This would be an unforgivable sin if Barry’s episode didn’t live up to the rest of the game, but thankfully his chapter is nothing short of excellent, providing one of the best climaxes in the whole series.
Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 4
In what is probably the chapter with the best variety of locations, on Barry’s side we’ll go through an abandoned dam, an underground lab (because of course we do,) some old mines filled with poison gas, and even a place that’s very close from what you’d expect from the 32-bit era of the series (with an amazing corresponding music track to boot.) On the story side, there’s not really much I can say without delving into spoiler territory, but I can say the home stretch of the game (the last 30 minutes approximately) is great. There are boss battles, of course, and while they’re nothing new or innovative (I’d actually say they’re pretty standard for the genre,) the story does a great job giving weight and significance to the events on the screen.
Just be advised: the game has two endings, a good one, and a bad one, and which one we get hinges on a choice we made back in episode 3. A lot of people seem to be unaware of this, and some reviews even blasted the game over the bad ending, and it’s a real pity since the good ending is a lot better in every single way.
On a gameplay level, this final episode didn’t bring any surprises other than maybe a small twist on the final boss battle, but it kept the quality and pacing of the previous episodes. Generally speaking, the game made a good job of keeping things escalating with each episode, both on the story and gameplay side. I never felt one of them tumbling; I never felt bored or noticed any bloat.
Also, I’d like to talk about the amazing job Michael McConnohie did as Barry. It’s not usual that a voice actor will pick up the mantle of a character and keep the essence of the character intact (just see Ali Hillis’ Claire in this game for the opposite case,) but Barry in this game feels like the same Barry everyone remembers from the 1996 game. The VA gave warmth and consistency to a character that hadn’t had an actual canon appearance in almost two decades. The game dialogue in general found a healthy balance between taking itself seriously just enough, and a lot of that endlessly quotable, classic Resident Evil cheese. But in Barry’s case it’s especially great because he sounds exactly like you’d expect Barry to sound even if you haven’t played a RE game since 1996. His one liners, his dad jokes, his references to the older games, all of them wonderfully acted. Hats off to Mr. McConnohie.
As a diehard fan of the series, Resident Evil Revelations 2 surprised me in all the right ways, to the point that even if I enjoyed the modern RE games I’d be really disappointed if they went for a balls-out action route again after they got so many things right in this spin off. It’s a shame that this is a small, episodic game, which clearly affected the technical and graphical side of things, because there’s so much that could’ve been done had the game had a bigger budget. After a decade of unsuccessfully trying to find the formula, Capcom finally found a perfect balance between horror and action that has something for fans of every era, and for a very fair price. At the time of this review I’ve played for over 60 hours and I haven’t even touched the two extra episodes, the new Raid Mode maps and the Code Red stages. Not bad. If you like Resident Evil, if you lost track of the series after the PS1 era, even if you hated the later action entries, you must give Revelations 2 a chance.