Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Extra Episodes: The Struggle/Little Miss PS4 Review
(Warning: The following review contains spoilers for Resident Evil Revelations 2 Episode 4)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Capcom would add a few bits of DLC to compliment their latest Resident Evil release. Revelations 2 may have ended up a far better game than expected, but when it comes to additional story DLC content (billed as “Extra Episodes” here), there is always that wait-and-see approach on whether or not it’s worth paying the extra cash for what may amount to little or inconsequential content. In the case of the two DLC episodes included with Revelations 2, The Struggle and Little Miss are a bit more interesting due to their value proposition (both are included with the full season purchase of the game) as well as the mechanics they introduce.
The Struggle focuses on Moira Burton following her apparent demise during Claire’s campaign. If you had managed to achieve the true ending, you would know by now that Moira had mysteriously survived, living in the island for six months until her father Barry mounted a one-man search rescue. This episode reveals that Moira was saved by the solitary (and cranky) old man she and Claire met in episode 3; in order to pull her own weight, Moira must learn to hunt the nearest wildlife for food during the day while also fending off the rampaging undead at night.
The banter between Moira and the old man is cliché, but also endearing, as we continue to witness the growth in Moira’s character that culminates to her final appearance in the original game’s climax. More interesting, however, is the gameplay mechanic exclusive to The Struggle. Utilizing a token-like system that calls back the Arcade aspects of Capcom’s classic titles, players must store up on rations, which are collected by harvesting the bits and pieces of fallen wildlife. Once a certain amount of animal meat is collected, it fills up one ration bag, which is tallied on the screen. The importance of these rations is that they essentially serve as continues for whenever Moira falls in battle; choosing to retry after a failed portion means using up one ration bag. Should you run out of rations total, say goodbye to your save data.
This limited continue feature adds an extra layer of tension to the game, as well as the significantly fewer amount of bullets and items available. The idea is for players to plan ahead by scrounging up as many items and ammo as they can on one mission in the hopes of being properly geared up for the next (which typically requires the elimination of a specific number of enemies). While the game will save progress between chapters, failing to collect enough ammo prior to the zombie elimination missions might as well prompt players to restart the entire campaign.
It’s a challenging concept, but also an interesting one. The idea of making every bullet count brings Revelations 2 even closer to the hardcore difficulty of the original Resident Evil, and having to carefully pick off wildlife for the necessary materials evokes a bit of the recent Tomb Raider reboot (the fact that Moira’s costume in this episode is referred to as her “Survivor” outfit during the costume screen makes it an even clearer source of inspiration). Even though messing up on one mission could greatly impact the other, it still brings that “one more time” feel that makes for an interesting Arcade experience.
It’s unfortunate, then, that The Struggle is greatly impacted by one mission that requires players to engage in the single worst gameplay mechanic of Revelations 2: stealth. In the third mission, Moira must sneak around an abandoned village to gather supplies while avoiding the roaming undead. Should she get spotted, players have the option to make a break for the exit, which automatically sends them to the next combat-heavy mission. Obviously, this could also mean not having enough ammunition necessary. A better option would be to just restart the stealth mission at the cost of a ration, but that also means dealing with the poor sneaking mechanics made worse by the arbitrary sensing abilities of the enemies; sometimes they won’t see you at the corner of your eye, sometimes they will. There appears to be no real way to properly predict when they’ll suddenly decide to see you.
Which brings us to the second DLC episode, Little Miss. This one focuses on Natalia, the enigmatic little girl who serves as Barry’s partner. The story also takes place before Barry’s campaign, opting for a more psychological experience as Natalia’s company includes a talking representation of her stuffed bear Lottie as well as a darker, more sinister version of herself that also serves as her partner.
If the stealth aspect of Moira’s episode left you worried, then good news: Natalia’s episode focuses entirely on stealth missions. Fortunately the ration system is not a requirement for Little Miss, as the episode sticks to infinite retries and checkpoints instead. The fundamental difference here is that Natalia does not have access to her monster-sensing abilities in this episode; that power instead belongs to Dark Natalia, who can not only mark enemies but also pass by them completely undetected. The idea is to send Dark Natalia out first to scope out an area so that regular Natalia can plan the potentially safest path to the goal. Once again, the arbitrary nature of the enemies’ cone of vision keep this from being a smooth experience, and an entire episode devoted to stealth doesn’t make for a very fun experience either way.
Overall, both the DLC episodes make for interesting extras for anyone who bought the full season of Revelations 2. On their own, they offer a curious glance that may or may not pique your interest. The experimental nature of The Struggle would certainly be worth revisiting in a future RE game as well as the rest of Revelations 2, so once again we can only hope Capcom takes the good parts for future consideration while tightening up the mechanics that didn’t work, especially the stealth mechanics.