Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Review – Unoptimized Horror (Vita)
Resident Evil has been a series with an identity crisis. What started out as a survival horror pioneer turned into an action game with Resident Evil 4. This change in genre led to some great games (and Resident Evil 6), but left some of the fan base longing for its horror roots. In an attempt to please both groups of fans, Capcom made Resident Evil: Revelations 2 a mixture of both. The good news is they managed to blend the genres pretty well, and it ended up pleasing most fans on PlayStation 4.
So, while Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is a known quantity by now, Sony has worked with Capcom in bringing the game to PlayStation Vita. It seems fitting to have Revelations 2 on a portable system considering the first Resident Evil: Revelations was originally a Nintendo 3DS game. However, with a console version already available, is there any reason to play a downgraded version on Vita?
Credit has to be given to Frima Studio for successfully porting Resident Evil: Revelations 2 onto PlayStation Vita. It is completely fully featured, all of the content that players loved on consoles has made it over to Sony’s handheld system in some shape or another. If you don’t own a PlayStation 3 or 4, then the Vita version is a perfectly fine alternative. It just isn’t the best way to play the game by a long shot.
Vita games are pretty notorious for having awful load times, but Resident Evil: Revelations 2 takes the cake. Get ready to wait for over a minute for cutscenes to load, then another minute after the cutscene ends to load into gameplay. It totally breaks up any pacing that the game has. It is understandable that it takes a while to load a game that was clearly not designed with the Vita in mind, but that doesn’t make it a fun experience for the player.
Once the game has finally finished loading, you’ll be able to play through all four of episodic chapters (and the two bonus episodes). The game’s control scheme generally works well on Vita. Players will use the touch screen to perform a variety of tasks. These include healing themselves, crouching, switching to alternative weapons, and turning on flashlights. These are all mapped to the corners of the touch screen, and it works surprisingly well. It also helps that you won’t have to use the actions too often, so your fingers will mostly stay on the Vita’s buttons.
The pseudo-cooperative gameplay from the original is back in full form. The A.I. for your partner still kind of sucks, but you can issue some simple commands to them. Players can also switch between each character with a press of the triangle button, which you’ll have to do to solve puzzles that require both characters. It isn’t the most seamless transition, but you’ll have to get used to it as there is no co-op for the campaign (despite it being designed for it).
The overall campaign tells a pretty fun (if kind of nonsensical) story over its 8-10 hours and can be played on several difficulty modes. It also features the return of my favorite Resident Evil character, so it definitely has a soft spot in my heart. Sadly, despite being a very handsome man, Barry Burton has never looked uglier.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 wasn’t exactly a looker on PlayStation 4, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Vita version is considerably uglier. Even with lowered expectations, it still manages to be impressively ugly in some spots. Even some of the cinematics look bad (as you can see above), somehow.
While players should be able to look past the technical limitations, it does affect the game. Some of the locations look laughably bad which kills any of the spooky atmosphere that was in the PlayStation 4 version. This isn’t much of a horror game to begin with, but the scariest thing you’ll find is the broken animation of some of the enemies.
Arguably the best part of Revelations 2 was the stellar Raid mode. Similar to the Mercenaries mode found in previous Resident Evil games, Raid mode offers up bite-sized missions. These are a perfect fit on PlayStation Vita, and pretty much the main reason to get this underwhelming version. It offers up online coop, and the action can be taken on the go.
If Resident Evil: Revelations 2 was a cross-buy title, then it would make all the sense in the world to download the PlayStation Vita version of the game if you already owned it on PS4 or PS3. Sadly, Capcom’s episodic based sequel is not cross-buy compatible, so you’ll have to pay full asking price for a port that suffers from some technical issues.
It is worth noting that the game did crash once while I was playing, but thankfully the game saves automatically so I didn’t lose much progress. I did, however, have to sit through a series of long loading screens to get back to where I was.
It is pretty amazing that Resident Evil: Revelations 2 even exists on PlayStation Vita. It translates the core game over to Sony’s portable system without any major gameplay issues. That said, it is a downgrade in every possible way. The atmosphere is diminished by poor graphics, controls are slightly clunkier, and it just makes the experience less special. It is impossible to recommend unless this is your only way to play Revelations 2, or you just really want to play Raid mode on the go.
Review code for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 provided by publisher. Reviewed on Vita. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here