After a hugely promising opening episode, I couldn't wait to get into stuck into the next one this week. It looks like the new series has some staying power as Capcom have delivered again with the episodic model looking like an increasingly natural fit for the series.
Again, the episode is split in two with the first half following Claire and Moira and the second continuing from where we last left Barry and Natalia. Claire and Moira come across another group of survivors and they team up to find some helicopter parts to make an escape attempt. Nothing's ever that easy, especially when a hoard of infected lay siege to your safe house. It'll be very familiar to Resident Evil 4 fans and is a fantastic scene as you defend multiple windows while the hoard attempt to smash through.
The skills menu where you can buy upgrades at the start, intermission or end of the episode is starting to come into better use now that you may have built up a few more points. Make a beeline for the one that allows Claire/Barry to fire their weapons while you're controlling Moira/Natalia. This is particularly effective for siege situations and the like. And best of all, any ammo they use, doesn't come out of your supplies, although they do cause less damage. Overall, though, this is a fantastic option and a clear improvement over the days of giving Sheva some spare bullets in Resi 5 and sighing as she unloaded them all into your back.
Other available skills on the menu include adding follow up attacks or charging melee strikes with the secondary characters. You can't buy more inventory space, but dedicated scourers might just find some useful items in-game if they break open enough barrels or pick the locks on a few crates.
Last time, Barry's chapter was a bit slim on the scares and was quite action heavy -that's what happens when you start with an assault rifle. Well forget all that this time as Barry's section provides some of the most unnerving scenes Resident Evil has ever had.
How about giant flying meatbag mosquitoes? Invisible ones. These creatures are invisible to Barry, but Natalia can use her 'sight' to vaguely pick out a floating aura. It's still very unclear though, which really ramps up the tension as you swap between the two characters to try and get an idea of where it is. It's a good thing the sound design helps out.
I'd advise sticking some headphones on for this part as even a basic stereo pair will allow you to hear the intense wing flutterings of the creature on your left or right. Be prepared to miss a lot as you fire blindly ahead, but Natalia gives you some help by saying aim more to the left or right and she'll become more scared the closer they get.
Playing in co-op should help you get a bead on them sooner and does take the tension down a little, so be sure to give it a go on your own too. The checkpoints are very reasonable so far (no manual ink ribbon saving here), so there hasn't been much to rattle you, but this is fantastically harrowing and should go down as one of the franchises finest moments.
Like last time, I'm not going to go into any further details about the story, but that momentum has certainly gathered pace and by the end of the episode I was gutted that was all I was getting for another week. The run time is about half an hour longer this week thanks to the more expansive outdoor environments, but I'm thinking 2-2.5 hours each week is a generous chunk to enjoy whether you play one half at a time or gorge on the whole thing in one sitting. More Raid levels added to the mix will keep you're shooting skills in shape while waiting for Episode 3 on Tuesday.
- Barry's stage is stomach-twistingly intense
- Excellent sound design
- Great Resi 4-inspired scene
- Is it Tuesday yet?
- Inventory management can be tough
- File size is already a bloated 11GB
The Short Version: In a few weeks, this episodic take on Resident Evil will be over and Tuesdays will have no longer have meaning. Episode 2 has some of the best moments I've experienced in the whole Resident Evil franchise. If Capcom can maintain this intensity and not give in to all out action (easy on the Assault rifle, Barry), they may be about to bring the series back to its prime.
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed) | PS3 | X360 | XO | PC