Capcom Co.’s Resident Evil Revelations 2 Episode 1 injects new terror to the franchise with functional new characters, ferocious enemies, and refined options to survive the horror.

In Episode 1, Claire Redfield and Moira Burton are abducted from a TerraSave company party. They are subsequently jailed and cuffed with bracelets that measure their fear.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 BClaire can be equipped with a fair arsenal, including a handgun and shotgun, both of which can be upgraded at a workbench with components found in the level. Moira is armed with a flashlight that can stun enemies and find items, and a crowbar to deploy a strong melee and finisher. Both characters can be used effectively to strategize in enemy fights, particularly when Claire is low on ammo and Moira stun the enemy to begin a chain melee.

New gameplay options are well-integrated, including an Evade button to dodge attacks, and a projectile sub-weapon that can be tossed quickly and accurately.

The second half features Barry Burton and Natalia Korda. Barry Burton arrives by boat to the detention facility where daughter Moira is held and finds young girl Natalia by the shore.

Barry is fully equipped with a handgun, magnum and assault rifle. Natalia holds an ability to detect enemies and find hard-to-see items. To defend she can pick up and toss nearby bricks or crawl inside small areas.

Natalia’s ability to detect enemies allows Barry to sneak and perform stealth attacks from behind. The teamwork tactic is well-executed and varied from the Claire / Moira dynamic.

New enemies, known as the Afflicted, are fast, nimble and require quick reflexes. Against Claire and Moira, enemies can run and pounce, but the accurate hit detection system allow users to pinpoint head shots to subdue any advance. Against Barry and Moira, enemies have weakpoints that must be uncovered before they can be disposed of.

After each scenario, users can use Skill Points earned from the chapter to unlock additional offensive and defensive techniques, including increased firepower, AI weapon usage, and increased health potency.

The controls are excellent in Revelations 2 and offer a refinement that allows veterans to quick access weapons, items, dodge or fire with ease at every turn.

The graphics engine is good at 60 frames-per-second. The PS4 SKU maintains a healthy frame rate in the Claire / Moira scenario, but dips to about 30-plus in the Barry / Natalia portion. Textures are sharp and environments are dingy and detailed.

Finally, Raid Mode, a shoot-and-loot action mode in which users battle through a horde of enemies and collect new weapons, is a welcome return to offer a side-component to the title.

Raid Mode characters in Episode 1 include Claire Redfield, Moira Burton, Barry Burton, Gina Foley, and Jill Valentine, each of which can be customized and leveled with added play. The online co-op option will launch when all four episodes are released in late Mar.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 Episode 1 is a solid first chapter in the four-part sequel. The two-player dynamic provides versatility to the franchise and the gameplay is retuned and refined to scary perfection.

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