Playing Resident Evil: Revelations 2 in its current episodic state really is like coming back to your favourite TV show each week. The quick recaps that preface each instalment do a good job highlighting all the important stuff, while at the same time, achieving a level of excitement for the next. Episode 3: Judgment doesn’t quite live up to the excellence of Episode 2, nor does it truly offer a satisfying scenario for last week’s cliffhanger, but it still remains a creepy and enjoyable romp.
Gameplay-wise, Episode 3 doesn’t veer off too much from the beaten path. Claire and Moira’s chapter is especially good here, with a number of well-executed enemy encounters that will surely have you emptying your magazines quicker than you’d like. Barry and Natalia’s section is somewhat disappointing coming off the ending of Episode 2, but it opens with a surprisingly touching monologue between the two characters. Much of the dialogue throughout Revelations 2 has been far from stellar — with this episode including some of the most ridiculous lines yet — but we couldn’t help coming away from this exchange feeling moved. A little characterization goes a long way, and it definitely made us care a bit more about the outcome of this story.
There’s a much stronger emphasis on puzzle solving this time around compared to the previous episodes. It’s a nice change of pace too, and they’re balanced quite well between sections of intense shootouts. In a particularly memorable section, Claire and Moira must retrieve an artifact from a platform that will unlock another section of the map. Upon stepping on the platform, they are suddenly faced with a dozen guns (with lasers!) pointed in their direction. One wrong step will set the guns off unless you can follow the correct path towards your objective. It isn’t a remotely difficult puzzle to solve, but we appreciate the callbacks to similar puzzles from past Resident Evil games.
What seems to be a trend in each episode, Episode 3: Judgment also throws in a mixture of fresh new boss battles. They seem to be getting bigger in scale, too, with one specifically set in a large arena that will have you running up and down stairs to evade your attacker. We wish there was a little more variety in taking down these fearless monsters, though. In many cases, they mostly revolve around blasting away at glowing, bulbous weak spots. We’re hoping Capcom is merely holding out, ready to present a final boss encounter that will surely make it all worthwhile.
What definitely caught us off guard was the return of a certain enemy from the previous episode. His entrance sort of happens organically, and we nearly gasped at the sight of him as we remembered our last encounter that ended with us seeing the blasted game over screen far too many times than we care to admit. We recovered though, and took it down rather comfortably, only consuming a single green herb in the process. Surprises like this are always welcome in horror games, forcing the player into uneasy situations and overcoming the impossible.
As we’ve mentioned in our past two reviews, Barry and Natalia’s section lets players choose to take on enemies using either stealth or to go in guns blazing. Up to this point, we’ve always chosen to take the former approach but, for whatever reason, the stealth elements felt a bit off in Episode 3. We weren’t sure if we were simply doing it wrong, but every time we crept behind a monster to finish them off, they would immediately turn around, which would often result in dear old Barry taking a hard slap and falling to the ground. While not a huge deal breaker, it did sour our experience a tad bit.
Possibly most disappointing about Revelations 2 so far are its uninteresting and lifeless environments. Episode 3 doesn’t do much to convince you otherwise either, even though Episode 2 ended in a pretty cool place. Claire and Moira explore an abandoned factory and Barry and Natalia trek through a rank sewer. As you can already imagine, both aren’t all that appealing. It doesn’t help that Revelations 2 isn’t the prettiest game, even going as far as looking like a portable game remastered for consoles.
As penultimate episodes go, Episode 3: Judgment does a rock solid job of keeping players engaged in its story as it leads into the game's final chapter. We’re now eagerly anticipating the finale, but we’re also a little bit apprehensive about where things will go next. Like all good serialized story-telling, that means the creators are at least doing a great job keeping us invested.