Experiencing Handheld Horror With Resident Evil: Revelations 2 On Vita

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is arguably the best game in Capcom’s premier franchise since 2005’s iconic Resident Evil 4. Arriving in an episodic manner on home consoles, the game has now fittingly made the jump to handheld – the original home of the Revelations timeline.

Gathering up the four main episodes as well as both of the pre-order bonuses, you’re guaranteed the full experience on a handheld, though it’s safe to say that some corners have had to be cut in order to squeeze the title onto Sony’s portable.

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The opening Kafka quotations immediately set the tone for your visit to the island, and while it may be a stretch to compare the handheld format to a book, there’s certainly an involving story to engross yourself in. Split across two separate timelines set on the same island, you first control series’ favourite Claire Redfield and Moira Burton as they attempt to escape from the mysterious island, while in the second timeline you control Moira’s father Barry and a little girl named Natalia, as he searches for his daughter.

The dual timelines and protagonists make for an involving adventure which relies on switching between the members of your team in order to solve puzzles and dispatch the hideous denizens of the island, all the while unravelling the secret’s of the despicable Overseer.

Loading times are overly long, but your patience is rewarded by a relatively clean, if uninspiring, port of the game. Though it’s quite distinctly been pared back from it’s new generation brethren it retains enough detail to remain worthwhile. The dirty penal colony that Claire Redfield finds herself in doesn’t look quite as loathsome, and neither do details such as the massed bloody bodies suspended from the roof, while splashes of letterbox red blood cheapen the effect, but it’s still fundamentally the same game.

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What isn’t the same however is the frame rate. From the outset it struggles to maintain a steady pace, and very often becomes choppy when the action becomes more hectic or if you’re in an open environment. It isn’t unplayable by any means, but equally, if you’ve played the PS4 version of the game you’re likely to write the Vita port off as a bad job.

What it loses out in visual fidelity, Revelations 2 at least manages to retain in both its jump scares and its disturbing atmosphere, despite the smaller screen size and less expansive set up. The game does gain a few platform-specific features, such as mapping some controls to the touchscreen and gyroscopic aiming, but in the case of the latter, even with the sensitivity dialled all the way up it still doesn’t offer anywhere near the precision you want. The Vita’s analog sticks have never been the most accurate tools, but here they really struggle, so that even with aim assist and gyroscopic aiming turned on, combat doesn’t have any of the surety you find in the home version.

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Raid mode returns, and at a base level is just as enjoyable as before, thankfully keeping the online co-op option that the story mode lacks, with an ad hoc option due to arrive via an update, but yet to appear. However, the frame rate issues raise their head here as well, and with the emphasis on gunning as many assailants down in as quick a time as possible, the combination of the choppy update and the woolly aiming neuters what should be the game’s crowning moment. The bite-sized mission structure makes it absolutely perfect for on the go, but sadly it’s far from the best rendition, with players much better off sticking with the home console versions.

While it could be argued that bringing Revelations 2 to the PS Vita and retaining the core experience is something of an achievement, realistically it is hard to recommend to anyone that owns anything other than Sony’s portable. Vita owners can still enjoy the schlocky campaign and Raid Mode is a perfect fit, but the technical limitations may prove too frustrating for all but the most committed.

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7 Comments

  1. Any idea if this will get a physical release on Vita?

    I certainly don’t like that numbers identifying the amount of damage you’ve inflected jump out from the enemies, and the silly health bars and level status of enemies – this is supposed to be survival horror – the first rule of which is surely to make it as immersive as possible – it’s not an RPG!!

    I’m always keen to buying something for the Vita, but in this case I’d probably opt for the PS4 version.

    • There’s been no announcement of a physical version for the west and from what I understand there won’t be one over here.
      However you can get a physical copy from Asia (not the Japan) which has an English language option from Play Asia.

      • Oh right, many thanks. Could be tempted, although PS4 may still be the best way to go.

    • Ah! I managed to include two shots from the Raid mode – those bars and damage icons don’t appear in the campaign :)

      • Oh phew, that’s a relief, thanks for clarifying ;)

  2. I can live with a dodgy frame rate, probably grab this.

  3. Ordered from Asia, stunned this hasn’t been given a cart release over here. Presume it’s all part of the low level support plan. I’d much rather play this in bed, the train, the loo…

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