NEW YORK — When’s the last time a video game truly, deeply scared you? Capcom's upcoming Resident Evil: Revelations 2 wants to be the next game on that chilling list.
Set between Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 will release episodically in early 2015 for the PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, and PC for $6 per episode. After all four episodes come out, a complete version will collect each part into a single playable game, either as a $24 digital download or a $40 retail disc with bonus content.
At New York Comic Con, I played a demo of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 that had previously been shown only at the Tokyo Game Show in September. The demo covers a portion close to the game’s beginning, soon after main characters Claire Redfield and Moira Burton awaken in a horrible prison.
I started the demo as Claire, a character that will be familiar to longtime fans of the Resident Evil series. Claire starts the demo with a knife, and soon finds a pistol. Enemies on which to use these weapons don’t appear for several minutes, but after that, an enormous, bloody, zombie-like human lurks around almost every corner.
The game is a third-person shooter, which means the camera’s perspective is just over the player character’s shoulder. When Claire’s gun is raised, a targeting reticule will also appear on screen to target enemies. Headshots are by far the most effective; otherwise it’ll take several shots to fell a single enemy, and bullets are rare. Claire’s knife attacks hardly seemed to slow enemies down.
Moira, as she explains in a piece of dialogue, doesn’t like guns. But she does have a flashlight, which she can use to find useful items littered around the prison. Later in the demo, Moira picks up a crowbar, which she can use both to pry open barricaded doors and to bludgeon enemies.
During the course of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, players will have to switch between Claire and Moira. Or, two players can play local co-op, one as each character. It seems like Claire will be the main fighting character, and Moira the main puzzle-solving character.
Capcom representatives told me that Resident Evil: Revelations 2 aims to return to the Resident Evil series’ roots as horror games first and foremost, and action games second.
The game’s narrow corridors and dark, filthy-looking environments are certainly chilling, and — I’ll admit — I screamed when the first zombie appeared. But the fact that players aren’t alone in the prison — Moira and Claire continually talk to each other as I progressed through the blood-spattered halls — made the demo seem a bit less scary than some of the other horror games I’ve played.
But the interplay between Moira and Claire was also my favorite part of the demo, and appears to be a core part of the narrative of Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Of course, it's far too soon to give the final word on the game, but for both Resident Evil fans and newcomers to the series alike, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 seems like a game to watch.
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Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can follow Jill on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.