Pin back your decaying lugholes and listen for a second: there are two endings to Resident Evil: Revelations 2, and one will leave you feeling significantly more satisfied than the other. In what's perhaps a nod to survival horror games of old, there's a throwaway choice in an earlier episode that completely changes the complexion of the conclusion – it's just a shame that a large proportion of people are going to miss out on the better one.

It's even more baffling when you consider that the second ending includes an extended boss fight, which closes the book on this surprisingly good episodic escapade with a rousing helicopter-based battle. "You brought a sniper rifle and a chopper – and that's f***in' awesome," one major character exclaims, in a cutscene that hits all of the highs that the self-aware series has been hinting at in previous instalments. After years of taking itself too seriously, this is really refreshing stuff.

Episode Four: Metamorphosis isn't necessarily the best chapter in this Russian island romp, however, as it's let down by the blink-and-you'll-miss-it nature of Moira and Claire's segment compared to the drawn out antics of Barry and Natalia. Up until this point, Capcom's got the balance between characters just right, but a breakneck sprint through a collapsing facility is succeeded by a dreary waltz through a toxic corpse colony. Cough, cough.

With this representing the end of the tale, there are no new surprises from a gameplay perspective: the well executed asymmetrical structure remains very much intact, and continues to be enjoyable in both single player and co-op. With no fresh foes to fight, though, one particular sequence which pits you against every single enemy type so far does grate a little. We'll die happily if we never "see" another one of those darn invisible Glasps.

The thing is that this combat-heavy segment comes right before the final boss fight – it's almost like the developer knows that it's time to call things a day. And that's perhaps the best thing that you can say about this series as a whole: it finally seems to "get" what makes Resident Evil tick. No, the production values still aren't stellar – though a certain mansion area is a real highlight – but the balance between puzzles, combat, and camp storytelling is spot on. It's a genuine return to form.

The episode may "cheat" a little bit, dumping a bunch of important exposition in a handful of books and binders, but even this harks back to the franchise's roots – after all, you really had to rummage through the Spencer Mansion to uncover all of its darkest secrets. The fanservice, for those that want to absorb it, is pretty spectacular throughout – and even if you're not up to speed, you'll still enjoy the silly cinematics and theatrical set-pieces.

Being the last instalment, there are a ton of unlocks for you to nab, too, including alternate costumes, firearms, and artwork. These all come in addition to the now customary time attack and invisible campaign toggles, as well as new Raid content, which is so frighteningly feature complete these days that we're struggling to stay on top of it all. For a game with a budget price point, there's honestly much more here than your usual third-person romp.

Conclusion

One finale is better than the other, but Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is still a triumph as a whole. Episode Four: Metamorphosis' lop-sided nature means that it's individually weaker than its immediate predecessor, but when you consider its importance to the story, you'd mad to miss out. Just make sure that you get the good ending, sit back, and soak up the silliness.