This is uncharted territory, isn't it? We're used to waiting months for the second instalment in Telltale's episodic outings – Tales from the Borderlands, anyone? – but Capcom's already returned with a timely dose of the surprisingly solid Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Of course, the speed at which Episode Two: Contemplation has arrived is perhaps reason enough to be repulsed at the bizarre business model that the Japanese publisher has adopted for this release, but at least it's scoring plenty of headline space.
And we've been busy scoring plenty of headshots in the next two or so hour chapter of Claire, Moira, Barry, and Natalia's campaign. The previous episode ended on a humdinger of a cliff hanger, but this outing is arguably even more successful at making you groan when that 'To Be Continued' logo appears before the credits roll. Mechanics remain largely identical here – you're still working in pairs, using the different abilities of the respective duos to progress – but there are a few new weapons, enemies, and boss fights thrown in to keep things feeling fresh. Overall, it's a much tougher chapter than the inaugural romp.
This is especially true in the Claire and Moira portion of the instalment, where supplies are in desperately short, er, supply. We limped through most of the segment looking for a health regenerating herb, but our search came up short. You will, at least, happen upon a couple of fellow survivors, who spew more camp dialogue than the entirety of the core cast during their brief cameo. Gabe and Pedro – the dim-witted TerraSave duo – have also been added to the release's excellent Raid Mode, and they're packing a couple of nifty special moves to boot.
In contrast to the previous episode, though, it's the Barry and Natalia portion of the story that comes out on top this time, with the latter's second sense finally offering some real advantages as you're hounded by invisible enemies. Switching between heroes in order to 'see' these indiscernible antagonists is a fun little mechanic, and it adds a heightened sense of tension – especially seeing as you're more or less helpless when in control of the little girl. There's a pretty neat final boss fight here, too, which links the two portions of the plot together. Oh, and at one point, Mr. Burton throws a helicopter.
It's still got that silly sense of humour, then, but it's definitely a lot, lot more tense. Environments include an abandoned fishing village on a murky seafront, and a more urban area, boasting some multi-storey buildings. It's still not a particularly good looking game, and its framerate really struggles in open areas – a shame considering the limited visual prowess on display – but there's the odd room or vista that's clearly had some extra artistic attention paid to it. One such area comes right at the end of the episode, so we're hoping that the story picks right back up in the same place.
Capcom already laid out its stall with the previous instalment, so Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode Two: Contemplation can no longer be considered a pleasant surprise. This is another enjoyable romp, though, which sprinkles just enough new ideas into the experience to make it stand on its own. Most importantly, the action is much tenser this time around, and while it's still largely ridiculous, it will have you squirming at points.