Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Episode 2: Contemplation PS4

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RE: Revelations 2. Capcom

I was relatively soft on the first episode of “Resident Evil: Revelations 2” (episodically known as “Penal Colony,” which means someone should probably look into more creative titles) because it was an introduction to a game about which I was remarkably excited and optimistic. Sure, it had some speedbumps—some gameplay issues and the sense that it was a title produced on a low budget—but it was fun, a return to the old-fashioned “Resident Evil” of the timeless “Resident Evil 4” instead of the bloated nonsense of “Resident Evil 6.” Now that I’ve played through “Contemplation,” the second episode, the pervading sense of disappointment is rising in my chest. This 90-120 minutes of gameplay is largely uninspired, and I’m getting the sense that the episodic nature of this game might actually hurt it in the long run. This is a fascinating experiment, to be certain—how will gamers respond to buying a title in chunks if one of those chunks is disappointing. The bland experience of “Contemplation” may not have ruffled anyone’s feathers if it was a mere valley in a complete game comprised of mostly peaks.

As is, it only leaves the gamer wanting more in the hope that it will turn this entire experience around.

The basic structure of “Contemplation” is the same as “Penal Colony” in that you’ll first play as Claire and Moira, followed by a six-months-later half of the episode in which you play Barry and Natalia. Claire and Moira start with a couple of new compadres, whom we meet running through the woods, escaping some infected. In a small village, we hear the all-seeing overseer reveal that all of us have been injected with something. Anyone who has played a “Resident Evil” game, or any game really, knows this isn’t going to end well. You’re given a few fetch quests—go find a battery and some fuel for the helicopter that, of course, doesn’t work—and then a basic wave assault takes place, in which you’re trapped in a house and enemies are coming in through the windows. Windows you can’t jump out of to escape. And here’s where “Contemplation” starts to verge on annoying. Even when your drill-carrying buddy goes predictably ​zomboid, you can’t jump out an open window. I understand that “RE” games have always had an element of unique restrictions on the gamer in that it’s as much about what you can’t do as what you can—however, this game takes it to old-fashioned extremes, feeling like a step back a generation in terms of gameplay on the PS4.

It doesn’t help either that the narrative and environments of “Contemplation” are dull and repetitive. A village, another prison-looking environment, something that might have been a hospital—there’s a section with blown-out cars where the notorious zombie dogs finally make their return but it’s the only visually interesting part of this game. The character design, from enemies to allies, is dull too.

And yet I’m willing to keep going, to press forward. The episode ends on an interesting note and the preview for the next chapter looks exciting. However, we’re in a position now to question whether or not the episodic nature of “Resident Evil: Revelations 2” wasn’t a mistake. Like a TV series that loses us, we may not tune in next week, especially when we have to pay to do so. Or maybe fans will realize that most games have their levels or chapters that don’t resonate as much as the rest of the game and forgive “Contemplation” for being boring and uninspired. Only time will tell if this is a delivery system that they’ll want to employ with “Resident Evil 7” or other future Capcom games or if it ends up being a trivial footnote about the time a major company tried something new and it backfired.