Review: Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 3: Judgment

The episodic format is beginning to turn into an enjoyable release structure for Resident Evil Revelations 2, having two-hour segments release every week. It certainly helps that last week we saw a nail-biting cliffhanger that involved one of the series’ most iconic villains, at least in some fashion. While other developers have tried releasing games episodically before, Capcom is able to perfectly capitalize on it, maintaining the attention and excitement of fans for over the course of a month, rather than having an unknown release dates and people losing interest. With only one more episode to come after this, Resident Evil Revelations 2: Judgment has a lot riding on it to compel us to come back for the finale.

While Barry and Natalia have had the far more gripping scenarios in the last two episodes, it’s finally time for Claire and Moira to shine. This is easily their best installment, including not only a full on boss battle at the end, but puzzles that need to be overcome. Resident Evil was originally designed around the idea of trapping players in massive areas, such as police stations and mansions, and forcing them to figure out the various interconnected puzzles to progress. That’s exactly what we have here. While there’s still a fair amount of fighting, the focus is now more on finding nontraditional keys to unlock doors. This includes time specific puzzles, finding the right pathway to an item, and a couple more. The puzzles aren’t all that thought provoking, but they’re a nice deviation from what we’ve had thus far. In addition, while it was lightly touched upon in the second episode, there are far more interactions in the environment that will affect Barry’s world. These open up new areas where items can be found, but more importantly, a new weapon can be obtained. It’s an interesting way to branch the world, but I do wish it was expanded upon a little more as these are simply optional and inconsequential choices. This is also a surprisingly lengthy chapter, having Claire and Moira traverse far more environments than we’ve become used to.

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Like any drama, there’s a twist in the story, but it isn’t all that exciting because it involves someone who seems to have a far larger background than what’s displayed. This all leads into a boss fight with a hulking monster that, similar to Barry’s campaign, requires you to hit a specific weak point at a given time. Funny enough, this boss actually glitched on our first playthrough, jumping into a wall and killing itself at the beginning of the fight. The second time we weren’t as lucky as this battle can diminish your hard earned ammo supply if you don’t know what you’re doing. Taking advantage of the environment is key to beating the boss, a large deviation from what Claire and Moira are used to: a head-on direct fight. It’s an palm sweating one-on-one (plus Moira) battle that’s well deserved in Claire’s campaign as throwing more enemies at you isn’t always the best way to convey a closing scenario. The monster itself isn’t all the original and feels ripped right out of Resident Evil 6, but it’s better than anything we’ve faced in Revelations 2.

Barry’s story starts off quite slow, almost with a concern that you will have to babysit little Natalia. This is disappointing considering the bombshell that was dropped at the end of episode two. Fortunately, at least from a story standpoint, it’s a fantastic opening, giving us a deeper understanding why Moira and Barry’s relationship is so damaged, not to mention why she can’t stand the sight of guns. Unfortunately, from the gameplay side of things, it’s a bit of a letdown. Natalia is forced to separate from her guardian angel as she’s tasked with using her surprisingly strong arms to open massive sleuth doors. This is disappointing because, not only will you have to continuously switch between the two on a frequent basis, but Natalia’s gameplay is turned into simply mashing “X” for far too long. The entire section kills the flow Judgment had with Claire’s previous chapter, not to mention the compelling first and second episodes of Barry’s.

Fortunately, after exiting the sewage system, things get far better as the two stumble upon a small mining facility overrun with familiar and not-so-familiar enemies. The new mutated creature is a mini-boss that plagues Barry and Natalia for most of their visit through the desolate facility, and it’s remarkably unique. It’s required to shoot its core to kill it, but it has a giant arm in front that blocks bullets, and what I can only describe are organs or vines coming off its side that protect its weak point. These loosely hanging threads need to be shoot or burn off before getting at the core, and even then, the monster doesn’t make it easy for you to hit. While the boss in the last episode was an enjoyable change of pace, this ended up being a far more entertaining fight, making us work for our kill. There’s also a little bit of puzzle solving here, too, but similar to the previous chapter, it’s a pretty straightforward process. Overall, Barry’s section may start off a tad on the tedious side, but it ends very well.

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Closing Comments:

Resident Evil Revelations 2: Judgment is, at least thus far, the best episode Capcom has offered. While Barry’s campaign starts off a little mundane, breaking Natalia off to do tedious button mashing tasks, the rest of the episode makes up for it. This is Claire and Moira’s most enjoyable adventure yet, focusing on puzzle oriented scenarios while throwing in combat when necessary. This is what Resident Evil is all about; not a barrage of infected crazed men foaming at the mouth, but solving puzzles in an interconnected network of locked rooms. We also get to see a little more of the effects the heroines have on Barry’s campaign, opening up new areas for him to access. We’re on the final stretch for Resident Evil Revelations 2, and Judgment does an astonishing job setting up the finale.