Capcom

'Resident Evil: Revelations 2' Preview: Survival Horror With An Episodic Twist

Get an early look at what horrors await in Capcom's latest game.

We don't know how Claire Redfield keeps getting herself into these terrible situations. No matter what, it always seems that she's waking up in some gross dungeon filled with all sorts of monstrous horrors. Of course, this is kinda of Capcom's thing with their survival horror series "Resident Evil."

No, "The Walking Dead" doesn't have a monopoly in the zombie market. What does this mean for gamers? Why, a new "Resident Evil" game from Capcom, of course! The new title is "Resident Evil: Revelations 2" and with it comes a new approach from its publisher.

Capcom has taken some of the feedback from the mixed feelings of the previous major title, "Resident Evil 6", and learned to fall back to its roots. Where "RE6" tried to be all things to all people, "Revelations 2" takes a step back and reevaluates what made the survival horror franchise great. Edging closer to the phenomenal "Resident Evil 4," Capcom has found some middle ground to bring in newcomers while appeasing longtime fans.

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What we played, in our half-hour demo, hearkens toward a classic "Resident Evil" feel. Limited inventory, stop and pop shooting, and hectic chases are all on the menu. The sights and sounds all call back to the previous great titles while adding a bit to make it feel fresh. The controls feel tight and responsive in a way that some horror games lack. Popping a head shot is relatively easy and there's a dodge move, for when things get too crazy. But don't be fooled, you can quickly be overwhelmed if you don't smartly manage your items. This is a survival game, after all. But all's not lost. Smart mechanics, such as being able to use healing items on the fly, keep you in the fight. And you can always fall back to your trusty knife... or just run away. Staying alive is paramount.

In what has become a standard feature in the newer "Resident Evil"s, Claire gets to share the terror with a partner. Newbie survivalist Moira Burton -- daughter of Barry from way back in the very first "Resident Evil" -- has been cast in the same predicament. While she doesn't have as much fortitude as Claire, she knows her way around a crowbar. Also, she plays the support character with an ability to hunt out helpful items using her flashlight. In a twist, a single player will have to manage both characters while flesh-eating undead munch at their heels. Capcom did mention that there will be a co-op feature so that you can a buddy can tackle zombies together.

Basically, Claire is the heavy. She keeps a calm demeanor while packing heat. She's been through hell before and she know how to kick ass. Moira, on the other hand, is a bit new to what's all happening. She knows the story about her father -- and the nasty history with the evil Umbrella Corporation -- but she's never been involved before. She works support and helps where she can. We suspect that at the end of it all, she'll be more than ready for her next adventure.

Storywise, Capcom is keeping tight-lipped. What we do know is that some mysterious force wants to play a game with Claire. We're not exactly sure who -- or more likely what -- is behind it all. At the demo's end, we were teased about what may lie ahead for our two heroes -- along with what's up with these weird bracelets they're wearing. Apparently, the bracelet's color indicates their fear level. We can only guess what this means because Capcom wouldn't reveal. Perhaps it'll influence the game by adapting to your play style?

One of the more interesting points about "Resident Evil: Revelations 2" is Capcom's commitment to pushing digital purchases. While those who wish to curate a physical collection will have the opportunity to buy a for-real disc, early adopters may purchase the entire game via download. Furthermore, "Revelations 2" will be episodic -- each week promoting a new chapter in horror -- or you can opt-in with a season pass, netting you the whole shebang. Each pricing tier will come with some perks but it's great to see a major publisher trying out new ways to hook people into a game. Each episode is $5.99, which is a pretty easy pill to swallow if you don't want to gamble on the full game.

So far, it looks as if Capcom is getting it right with "Resident Evil: Revelations 2." Returning to the mechanics what made "RE4" and "RE5" so much fun, while updating some of the game's feel might draw in tired fans and appeal to more action-oriented players. It is still rooted deeply in the survival horror that we all love, though, and the episodic distribution makes for an easy entrance for all players, fans and newcomers alike.

"Resident Evil: Revelations 2" is due out for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in Spring 2015.