Resident Evil Revelations 2’s Mini-Game is Surprisingly Deep and Stupidly Addicting
Capcom’s latest foray into its series of bio-organic terrors and the hard-faced people that shoot said terrors in the face is probably the most experimental Resident Evil yet.
I could spend more time tuggin’ on your ear about how diverse the skill system is in the campaign or how refreshing it is to finally — finally — see the game’s writing actually try its hand at earnest, believable characterization, but I think I may just wait until the full four episodes release into the wild so as to analyze the whole offering.
In the meantime, there’s Raid Mode. And the internet’s favorite gaming junkets are just starting to catch on to how fucking good it actually is. Despite sticking their ass up at Revelations 2’s inaugural episode, Kotaku’s been plugging in hour after hour in the bonus mode, calling it a “hidden RPG“ within the game. One of Destructoid’s writers has been going at the mode daily. Why? Because it’s incredibly replayable and legitimately addicting.
Raid Mode’s origin can be traced all the way back to Resident Evil’s Battle Game, a Sega Saturn exclusive mini-game that pit heroes from the core game in a time attack trial against the Spencer Estate’s ornery fauna. The concept was expanded in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis through The Mercenaries — basically the same idea but with a helluva catchier name.
For most of Resident Evil’s
action phase modern era, Mercenaries became the series’ de facto Horde Mode. And there wasn’t much more to the mode than that. Characters were tethered to the same weapons, enemy patterns didn’t switch up and, once you ran through every map, the only replayability to be had was going after the illustrious S-Rank. Resident Evil Revelations’ Raid Mode switched it up. Instead of fighting waves of monsters in a closed arena, you fended against enemies while making your way through sections of the game’s main campaign. A leveling system was put into place and, best of all, you gained money to buy more and better guns. It was rudimentary stuff but it put flesh on the bones of a decently fun post-game distraction.
Revelations 2, on the other hand, blows the concept up. Let me get it out and firstly say the combat in this sequel is superb. Well, superb by Resident Evil standards. While the added mobility of RE6 was… appreciable, some of the mechanics just didn’t gel (sliding and diving and rolling around on the floor decidedly has no place in a self-respecting horror game). Controls are tighter here and more grounded. RER2 scales back the melee to contextual knockdowns and insta-kills require precise shooting to initiate. Once again, it’s very unlike RE6 which saw you pile driving, neck-breaking, and straight up tossing zombies around like rotten rag dolls.
Leveling returns but it means more this time around than a simple number. Base stats, like damage output, increase with your level. You gain skill points that can be spent on useful abilities for your character — things like extra Herb storage, increased weapon proficiency, and resilience. Your roster — campaign mains like Claire, Barry, Moira, and even some surprises like Revelations 1’s Jill — level independently and own their own share of specific abilities and skills. RPG-lite is the right way to think of it.
Like its predecessor, you’re mowing down walking atrocities while moving from A to B in maps ripped from both the campaign and, oddly, Resident Evil 6 (to be completely fair, this game uses RE6’s environments way better than that game’s Mercenaries mode ever did). You’ll fight the Afflicted, zombies, and all sorts of ghoulies from the story, plus some cameo creatures from previous entries like the Executioner and sonavubitchin’ Hunters. They have health bars and stat levels of their own to contend with. Some of them will throw you for a loop, either through bubble shields that nullify your attacks or harnessing elemental modifiers like electricity and fire. Trust me — don’t fucking melee a baddie that looks like they’re made of lava.
The score rank nonsense is replaced with earning medallions: One for level completion, one for taking the challenge on at a certain level (say you’re a lvl. 20 but the map is set to 10; the medallion unlocks when you lower your level, and sacrifice its benefits, to take on the map), one for not using a single herb, and one for dropping every single enemy on a map. If you’re able to score those four medallions in one run, the fifth and final medallion unlocks. Money and experience points are rewarded the more medallions you net.
Here’s where it gets goddamned addicting. Often in your kill runs, you’ll come across loot chests. Yes, loot chests. The hidden RPG comment is starting to make sense, right? While you can buy yourself great guns and perks to make those guns greater from the in-game store, the absolute white whale weapons can be found within these chests. The equipment is masked behind records, and I mean literal albums, and the contents of those vinyls can only be revealed by turning them into a jukebox within the playable “lounge area” that serves as your central hub during Raid Mode. Yeah, burning coin is how you reveal these goods, but you can also sell them before you know what they are, guaranteeing you a certain amount of walking around change if you don’t want to take the gamble on low tier items.
Better yet, there’s even Daily Challenges — Destiny, anyone? — to undertake that offer a massive amount of XP and coinage. One challenge will be character specific, giving them a boost, and another can be tackled using anyone you choose. But since they can only be played once in the day, you have to be selective about who it is you want to receive such a huge push in their stat building. Can you believe I’m talking about a Resident Evil game? I can’t. Raid Mode is like an onion of character and item management, and you peel those layers by killing zombies. It’s fucking great.
For fans who’ve been craving a heavier emphasis on survival horror to return to the series, I’m not sure this experimental mode will push them one way or the other — the very nature of the mode relies on action. At the very least, it demands a different kind of survivalist mentality in the short five to ten minutes bursts of gameplay each map provides. There are no ammo drops and you’ll lose a completion bonus for healing yourself. It forces you to be careful and discipline your shots. It’s more survival than horror but its tense, fun, and completely worth your time.