Dumbrella: Resident Evil Revelations 2

The opening cinematic for Resident Evil Revelations 2 is below. Why am I posting an intro to a game that I’ll almost certainly never play? I think it’s because after watching it this morning, I moved from almost complete apathy to mild curiosity – I cannot imagine a single human being who would be the ideal target audience for this video. It suggests the game will contain all of the melodrama and convoluted corporate conspiracy nonsense that has accumulated on the series like barnacles on a hull, but will be entirely lacking in horror or humour. Unless you find the name ‘Barry’ particularly funny.

“What? The new virus?” Claire Redfield, zombie outbreak survivor and nemesis of the virus-manufacturing Umbrella Corporation is dubious about the possibility of anything going wrong. Terra Save seem like good eggs, after all, and there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that she’s going to end up kidnapped (again) taken to a spooky island facility (again) and forced to fight for her life (again). Of course, around thirty seconds later, that’s exactly what happens.

And then there’s “Hey! That Barry Burton’s girl?” New viruses and new takes on established characters. The only thing I remembered about Barry, from the first game, was his name. Barry. He’s a playable character this time around, as revealed in an earlier video, but we only get to hear his name in this clip. That’s all that really matters.

Perhaps the packaging of exposition into simple questions is a sign of tight scripting. As soon as Claire asks about the new virus we know that she’s an idiot and that everything that happens will be linked to the new virus. When the beardy man whose name I’ve forgotten asks about Barry Burton’s girl we know that she and Barry will play an important part in the plot, and that their relationship will be important in some way. We also know that she is a bit of a rebel because of her clothes.

Other parts of the intro raise questions that I can’t begin to answer. Why does the corporate video at the beginning show John McCain with a censor bar over his (presumably) very distinctive eyes? It doesn’t seem to be a clandestine filming effort because he’s at a press conference, with loads of microphones wired up in front of him. He’s making a public speech. Presumably the editor of the video decided to put that bar over his eyes to convince anyone watching the video that it’s the product of crackpot conspiracy theorists rather than a statement of fact. Good work!

The next scene reminded me of Hollyoaks. I don’t know why it’s Hollyoaks in particular that came to mind but I wish it hadn’t.

I did like the bit when Claire and Barry’s Girl do a synchronised slow motion dance, but I question the intelligence of the kidnappers. They clearly want to take Claire alive but they seem to be shooting almost directly at her through a window.

“No. There must be some kind of mistake.” So says Claire as she’s injected with sedatives What The New Virus and dragged away, which is the sort of thing you might say if someone called you up and thought you were Raccoon City teaching assistant Claire RADfield, but isn’t really an appropriate response to a military-scale infiltration and assault that is directly targeted at you.

Revelations 2 will be released episodically and episode one is due February 17th.

32 Comments

  1. Bremze says:

    The name Barry is indeed pretty funny.

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    Holy Christ I didn’t think it could possibly get any worse than the first game and I haven’t even finished watching the video but, but, but he just said “BECAUSE TEAR DOESN’T HAVE TO END WITH WRIST” and now I have a headache. :(

    And the thing about Resi 6 was as well as being fantastically silly it actually had some really great writing. Jake and Sherry’s banter was brilliant, easily the equal of or better than anything in Dragon Age: Inquisition – funny and smart and touching. There is absolutely no reason for this wretched spin-off to exist other than to placate hardcore fans who fear change. None.

    EDIT: Also I love the shot when they look like they’re reacting to flying glass by throwing up jazz hands.

    • subedii says:

      There is absolutely no reason for this wretched spin-off to exist other than to placate hardcore fans who fear change. None.

      OK seriously? I’ve seen you do this in several separate posts now whenever Resident Evil comes up.

      You really like RE6. Fine. Please stop throwing ad-hominems at people who prefer the other iterations. Disliking RE6 or preferring the other style of game does not mean they “fear change”, view things through “rose tinted” glasses, or any other of that crap.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        No, of course not. It’s not as if almost every article on Revelations 2 has been openly saying – writers and commenters both – “Oh, thank goodness, they’re going back to what Resident Evil was always supposed to be”.

        I tend to resort to melodrama, guilty as charged. That doesn’t mean I’m doing it for the hell of it/because my fanboy ire’s been roused or whatever. Capcom have even said openly this is the series for the old-school fans, and when the first game was nothing but mediocre level design, terrible combat, dreadful writing, a lack of any atmosphere beyond the most basic horror movie jump scares, where 6 did all those things so much better, can you blame me for getting ticked off when all those old-school fans fail to offer a single coherent reason for why things ought to switch back other than, essentially, “It just feels better that way”?

        • subedii says:

          I can understand the sentiment, but I don’t think things are “switching back” as such. This is literally a side-series from the main numbered iterations, and it’s being done for those fans.

          As for why one over the other, well to be honest, changes in style don’t always equate to improvements in such circumstances. And the style of the old games was a lot slower paced and more deliberate than the latter games. They were also more focussed on exploring and teasing out a set environment, as opposed to the more linear and more set-piece driven latter ones. This doesn’t say anything about one or the other in themselves, but I can see why some would prefer one over the other.

          I do actually enjoy playing them both, but for different reasons.

        • Philomelle says:

          I vastly prefer laughably bad over boredom-inducingly mediocre. Does that answer your question?

        • Emeraude says:

          I’m going to repeat once more something I’ve been saying a lot these past few years, what with all the reboots and re-imaging and whatnot, but what’s the point of a game franchise if one cannot use it as a framing device to assess the kind of games one is going to get out of it?

          I don’t really like RE4 to 6. I don’t really mind them existing, but coming at it from the angle of “when I buy a RE game I want to play a RE game*” they’re just annoying, being games that don’t push the right buttons for which the series was originally loved, while still trying to steal mind-share by abusing the branding.

          Doesn’t really make them likable in any way.

          The fact that they tend to be not particularly great either in their new target sub-genre doesn’t really make them endearing either.

          *: I mean, I can’t imagine *anyone* loved those games for the nonsensical campy narrative and script (though I understand it has its charm for some), those were just a mean to an end.

          • 2helix4u says:

            My girlfriend is a resident-evil super fan almost entirely because of the stupid scripts.

      • SpoonySeeker says:

        To be fair; he’s only mirroring an attitude parroted by mainstream reviewers (which includes RPS nowadays) who seemed to think that Resident Evil 6 being made meant that no other horror games would ever be created and it had single-handedly destroyed the genre by existing.

        The opposite opinion gets no coverage in spite of having 83% approval on Steam. It is a sublime co-op fighting game that gets trashed because it’s different from what the old fans played as kids.

        • Philomelle says:

          On the other hand, the issue with the Steam approval rating is that only allows for “yes” and “no”. The standard opinions about RE6 are “Yeah whatever.” and “I recommend it, provided it’s on sale for 10 dollars.”

    • Tukuturi says:

      I’m pretty sure the ad at the beginning is satire, and it’s pretty decent satire. The rest, I don’t know what’s going on there.

    • soundofvictory says:

      I heard that line as: “Because terr- doesn’t have to end with the -rist.” As in Terrorist.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Bingo. It’s pretty clearly meant as a Team America-style laugh line. The fact that every line in this trailer is almost as absurd on some level makes the ad read as unintentionally hilarious, but I think they were going for intentional comedy there.

        One thing puzzles me: why deliver the line as “Because terr- doesn’t have to end with -orist!” when you could say it as “Because ‘terra’ doesn’t have to end with ‘rist!'” Same joke, but it’s much easier for the narrator to deliver.

  3. subedii says:

    It suggests the game will contain all of the melodrama and convoluted corporate conspiracy nonsense that has accumulated on the series like barnacles on a hull, but will be entirely lacking in horror or humour. Unless you find the name ‘Barry’ particularly funny.

    The humour in the Resident Evil series has always been of the unintentional variety, in a similar vein to the B-grade “oh man I can’t believe he thinks he’ll be safe there” style of horror film. It becomes funny largely because it’s played so straight. I don’t think anyone at Capcom intended for the deadpan seriousness of the character lines (“Jill Sandwich?”, “Master of Unlocking?”) to be found funny, it just ends up that way because of how ridiculous everything is. I suspect the simple fact of Japanese-English translation is a big source of this.

    I mean I watch that opening video and it definitely seems to strike the “so bad but I can’t turn away” style that’s come to define the series. What’s funnier is that I’m not entirely sure that the devs ever intend for people to take it that way, it just happens naturally regardless of what they’re trying to do.

    Similar with the horror. RE’s never really been scary, at best they’ve been the gaming equivalent of B-Movie horror flicks. But that’s fine too, it works with the unintentional humour, the ridiculous characters, the stupid convoluted plot lines, and the way that everyone somehow still manages to take this all so seriously regardless.

    If I wanted to be genuinely scared, I’d definitely play something else. But I suppose RE’s always felt more about being that one empowered person in the film where everyone else is suffering the horror movie. The one person with the shotgun and at least some capability to use it whilst everyone else just gets eaten.

  4. Aysir says:

    Terrible intro – but more importantly – anyone else notice that Shinji ‘Resident Evil’ Mikami was credited for level design? I didn’t know he had anything to do with this game – he certainly hasn’t worked with Capcom for a while. Revelations was actually quite good – (in a anything-but-re6 kinda way) but this might actually be really good.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Revelations was actually quite good – (in a anything-but-re6 kinda way)

      And there’s the ammunition for my argument I was looking for, thanks.

  5. SigmaCAT says:

    The animation work makes me both queasy and cancerous at the same time

  6. devronius says:

    I swear the facial animation was much better in earlier games, or maybe I’m remembering through rose tinted glasses?

    • Synesthesia says:

      you will love my rubbery dead lips or do you somehow fear change?

    • Philomelle says:

      You aren’t. For some reason, Claire’s face in the trailer resembles neither her appearance in previous games nor the game’s promotional renders.

  7. Synesthesia says:

    It’s like 1998 all over again

  8. Philomelle says:

    When I heard about Capcom re-re-releasing Devil May Cry 4 about two weeks ago, I told to my friend that I believe the company has become the Japanese take on Interplay and Atari. They are essentially a bunch of people who happen to own a company named after a once powerful brand and all the franchises attached to said brand, but who don’t actually know how to do anything beyond begging people for money. Their solution to the problem is to leech off the brand by continuously regurgitating projects nobody in their company actually had any real involvement with, plus sometimes pushing out a mediocre-to-bad title in order to pretend that they aren’t actually living off past glories.

    I’m glad their latest efforts continue to reinforce that opinion.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I think that’s the way all of the Japanese third-parties that reigned supreme during the console boom have gone, to one degree or another. Certainly, those I would consider the “big three” (Capcom, Konami, Square Enix) all fit that narrative, and you could probably make a strong case for Namco Bandai as well.

      I think you’re being overly harsh on Capcom, though, and I’d say you were being overly harsh on the other companies if you were the one who’d brought them up. They’ve all produced and/or developed some genuinely excellent games in recent years; those are just overshadowed in people’s minds by the high-profile failures. And even the failures were reasonably polished and contained some interesting ideas, which is more than you can say for Haunted House: Cryptic Graves or… well, I would list something Interplay’s done recently, but I can’t think of anything.

  9. ffordesoon says:

    The sad thing is that the VO work is pretty good. They just, you know, aren’t speaking in a way any human would ever speak.

    I do like that the narration of the Terra-Save commercial sounds like it was written by the Tick, though. I’m like eighty percent sure that was intentional, too.

  10. nemryn says:

    We are the unflinching mop that sops up the evils of bioterrorism and chemical warfare

    what what what

    I guess they were going for ‘hokey corporate propaganda’ or something? Except somehow they ended up with parody hokey corporate propaganda.

    • ffordesoon says:

      You can never be sure with something this badly written, but I am fairly certain it was meant to be humorously overblown and ham-handed. I hesitate to call it a parody, as I can’t quite figure out what it’s a parody of. Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF seem questionable targets for satire, and I can’t imagine the faintly hideous “BP is really great, no, really, we promise” ads have made their way across the Pacific to the degree that Japanese writers would knowingly parody them.

      Maybe they’ve given up on trying to surprise players with the reveal that you’ve been working for the baddies the whole time shock horror, and now they’re playing the obvious evil of Terra-Save for laughs? And it’s, like, a weird form of dramatic irony?

      I dunno.

      • nemryn says:

        Agree that it’s intentionally ham-handed, but it’s almost too overblown, or something. It goes past ‘look how clueless these guys are’ and into farce. It wouldn’t be out of place in a Borderlands game, imo.

  11. SaintShion says:

    Resident Evil games re-use characters from their previous games with absolutely no character development from the previous games, as if they were Final Fantasy games with no relation to one another. I never understood why each one of them is so willfully ignorant of the others. You think after Raccoon City and the crazy island from Code: Veronica, she’d be more wary and scrappy. I expected her to grab Moira and make a run for it as they burst in with machine guns, find her crossbow and impale them in the face with bolts. But no, TerraSave can save random people of color from arm injuries, but has no defenses against corporate nightmares that create the viruses they fight on a daily basis.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Phasma Felis says:

    Japanese-to-English translations are invariably so toweringly incompetent that I feel kinda racist for noticing it, you know? Surely the Japanese people, as a group, can’t be biologically incapable of decent translations. Surely, says my brain, this must be the work of a few bad apples.

  13. Lambonius says:

    “Revelations 2 will be released episodically…”

    That last line about the game being episodic is a great punchline for this joke of a trailer.

  14. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    Are you suggesting the gun-wielding biker chick must be Redfield, and the teacher’s assistant must be Radfield? No. There must be some kind of mistake.

  15. bonbro says:

    Seriously? This big conspiracy with big corporation just getting old.