At first glance it seems overly dramatic, but each time you load Resident Evil Revelations 2 it offers you a quote from influential Jewish author Franz Kafke. Kafke’s works though, some of which share their names with the episodes within Revelations 2, focus on terrifying quests, brutality and hideous transformation. Whilst it’s interesting that Capcom has seemingly taken seminal literature as a thematic influence, the parallels between Kafke’s work and Revelations 2 are clear, and perhaps ultimately indicate where the game is going to finish up in next week’s episode Metamorphosis.
This episode though, Judgment, shares its name with a novella focussed on the relationship between father and son, and in this edition you learn more about the history of regret between Barry Burton and his daughter Moira. Revelations 2 is thus far doing an excellent job of humanising three of its main characters, though Claire Redfield remains relatively stoic despite the events unfolding around her.
Barry and Natalia though have built a strong relationship, and there’s a touching section where Natalia injures her leg and Barry carries her whilst he talks more about where he went wrong with Moira. He’s an incredibly likeable character, flawed, looking for redemption, and his search for his daughter, and his promise to protect Natalia, is a quest you’ll want him to complete.
This latest episode is the longest yet, clocking in at over three hours, though its length may vary depending on how long you take with the puzzles which make a resurgence in this outing. These logic problems aren’t the toughest the Resident Evil series has ever thrown at you, and on the whole I was able to move through them at a relatively brisk pace, but they mark an oddly pleasant change of pace for the game.
The pace has settled down into the high-octane action-orientated Claire and Moira portion, followed by a more considered and deliberately co-operative section with Barry and Natalia. That’s not to say that Claire and Moira don’t slow down or that Barry and Natalia don’t have more fraught moments but overall the two distinct styles sit well with the characters and with their abilites.
Your continuing journey through two time periods throws up a steady supply of background to the horrific island you’re on, with the Russian-speaking populace having left various diary entries about the place for you to read. It’s clear that the island enjoyed a period of growth and prosperity, but as that declined they were seemingly saved by a mysterious woman whose plans for the facilities, and its populace, proved to have fatal consequences.
The journey this time isn’t without a few technical problems, though at least one of them makes the game easier, and far less intimidating. In one section of Claire’s campaign a battle which should be manic and fraught is robbed of any drama by the large enemy becoming stuck on the scenery, allowing you to plug its head full of lead until it expires. Claire and Moira’s section also throws a harsh light on the character AI when you’re playing singleplayer, with your computer controlled partner blocking your way on narrow walkways as you try to run away from the advancing hordes.
Equally though, a couple of good design choices become clearer in this episode, such as the Overseer’s bracelet communications being transmitted by the Dualshock 4’s in-built speaker. Barry’s campaign also finally offers a few visual highlights, with the appearance of the island’s mine having plenty of impact as you work your way across its decaying constructs. Claire and Moira’s sections meanwhile remain stuck inside in the dank, blood-soaked corridors of various buildings, which sadly are hugely uninteresting, though they’re not without drama.
Though this episode is the longest yet, it’s certainly not the hardest, despite one epic boss battle. There are liberal amounts of green herbs this time out, and if your aim is relatively good you shouldn’t have any problem with ammo either. This is normal mode though, and I can imagine that playing the game on hard would offer a decidedly different experience.
If the main campaign is a touch easy, there’s extra longevity to be had with the continuing expansion of the Raid mode, whose dance-music soundtracked challenges may lack the atmosphere of the single-player game, but more than make up for it with addictive score-chasing and character progression. It’s a totally different experience that strengthens the whole package immeasurably.
Judgment continues the strong work that the first two episodes started, though it meanders a touch too much, and the increased number of puzzles tend more to hinder rather than genuinely challenge. The character progression of Barry and Natalia is excellent, and it’s their sections that stand out the most. The conclusion of their story is what every player will be hankering for when the credits roll, and they don’t have long to wait.
Version tested: PS4