This year has been a great one for Capcom's Resident Evil series so far. In January, we got Resident Evil HD Remaster, a fresh edition of the beloved original game. February saw the first episode of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 released, with further episodes appearing all the way into March. Two fine games in three months, and not a single blunder like the abysmal Resident Evil 6 in sight.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 contains two distinct game modes: the episodic campaign and the mission-based Raid Mode. When the Xbox One version launched, it featured split-screen multiplayer in both modes and the promise of online multiplayer for Raid Mode in a future update. Other platforms got the online Raid Mode update at the end of March, but Xbox One had to wait a while.
At last, the online Raid Mode update has come to Xbox One. Since Raid Mode is like its own separate game (that you get just by buying the first episode of Revelations 2), we're providing this detailed Raid Mode review with video!
Welcome to Raid Mode
Raid Mode is a feature introduced in the first Resident Evil Revelations game for 3DS, Xbox 360, and other platforms. Think of it like the multiplayer mode in Dragon Age: Inquisition – totally separate from the main game. But Resident Evil Revelations 2's Raid Mode is actually much more robust than Inquisition's multiplayer, and a few unlocks do at least carry over from the campaign here.
Between Raid missions, players will visit a hub area called the Vestibule. You start out there as the Cipher, a hologram. In Revelations 2's fiction, someone called the Overseer has developed an AI known as the Red Queen Alpha. This AI tests you, the player, by forcing you to complete various virtual scenarios. Call it a cute setup for why characters from all sorts of Resident Evil games can team up and play levels together.
Characters and customization
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is an episodic game. While Raid Mode and all of its non-premium stages are included with the first episode, certain characters can't be used without buying subsequent episodes or the Season Pass.
Anyone who purchases at least the first episode of Revelations 2 gets to use two characters by default: Claire and Barry, returning characters from Resident Evil 2 and 1, respectively. Moira and Gina (both new characters) can be unlocked by completing Episode 1 of the game's campaign. Jill Valentine (heroine of the first Resident Evil) unlocks when you earn 10 Completion Medallions in Raid Mode.
You get a total of five characters to use even if you don't buy more episodes. A further nine characters can be unlocked by completing further episodes and/or earning additional Medallions, including returning characters Leon, Chris, Alex Wesker, and Hunk; and five new characters. Hunk can also be bought as DLC, and Albert Wesker is only available as a paid download.
Each character starts with a unique combination of active and passive skills. Active skills can be activated at will and used again after a cooldown timer expires. For example, Hunk can become invisible for several seconds, whereas Barry throws firebombs. Two of Jill's passive skills enhance her evasion abilities.
As you complete missions with a character, he or she will level up. Each level up rewards the character with Skill Points that can be spent to upgrade skills, increasing their effectiveness. Reaching level milestones can unlock extra weapon and skill slots and well as new skills. Building up a character and customizing him or her with your choice of skills is a big part of Raid Mode's appeal.
Other customizations can be unlocked as you meet certain conditions, including alternate outfits and gestures. A character can have up to six gestures which you perform by holding the gesture button (Y on Xbox controllers) and then tapping another button.
The gestures get really elaborate and silly. You can dance the robot, do karate poses, and much more. Some characters can even deal melee damage with gestures. Nothing like defeating zombies with your killer dance moves!
Having chosen your Resident Evil all-star of choice, you'll then head out on missions either alone or with a friend. Revelations 2 divides Raid Mode missions into three categories:
- Main Missions: See below.
- Daily Missions: Two randomly designated missions per day. Completing these gets you free mid-mission revives – a pretty good way to keep players coming back daily.
- Event Missions: Limited time missions with special rewards. Recently, the community got to team up against a giant monster approaching from the ocean. After finally killing the monster, everyone who participated got prizes.
Main Missions come in three difficulty categories, with each difficulty offering at least eight Gauntlets (batches) of missions. Most involve killing a set number of enemies, but some mix things up by adding a time limit, a goal to reach, or a target to defend.
The Raid Mode missions take place in environments borrowed from the campaign and even previous games like Resident Evil 6. They don't tend to be too visually exciting, but the "greatest hits" aspect still adds some appeal. Think of it as picking your favorite character and revisit scenes from past games, action-style.
Most missions contain three chests to find. These net you records that can be identified between missions. Records get you random weapons and weapon upgrade parts. You can use them, sell the extras, and (eventually) combine the parts to make better ones.
Missions also have optional goals that can be completed to earn Medallions: kill all enemies, don't use herbs, and clear at or below the recommended level. Do all of these things to get Completion Medallions that contribute to various unlockables.
Raid Mode supports two-player co-op both locally and online. Four players would have been even better, but at least we don't have to go it alone if we don't want to!
Split-screen is kind of shoddy because Capcom insists on limiting each player's window to a small portion of the screen, just as with Resident Evil 5 and 6. The second player can't use his or her own save file or earn Achievements, either. Thankfully, the newly added online co-op doesn't suffer any of those limitations!
To play online after downloading the latest update, start Raid Mode and head to the blue door. There you can invite a partner or seek one through matchmaking. The matchmaking continues searching for a partner while you navigate the hub room and menus. But you can't begin a mission on your own while matchmaking searches, unfortunately. Alternately, select Quick Match from the mission select to join an open lobby.
Find someone to play with and he or she will enter your room. Each of you gets to select a character and perform any normal hub actions like buying items and equipping them. After the host selects a mission, the guest has to ready up before the game can begin.
Playing with a friend is easily the best way to enjoy Raid Mode. With no story to worry about, both players can simply run through levels blasting enemies and hunting for items together. It makes things much easier than going solo, but you can always select a lower level character or a harder mission to keep the challenge up.
The one downside to Raid Mode co-op: players can't revive each other. Blame Capcom's decision to limit revives to limited use items.
As I mentioned, you can' just continue as much as you want in Raid Mode. Run out of life crystals and you're forced to restart a level. Not usually a big deal because levels are short and you can earn free revives from Daily Missions. But if you want, you can buy 25 life crystals for $4. Given the optional nature of life crystals and the cheap price, I don't find them too offensive.
Capcom also sells a few proper DLC items that players might want. Albert Wesker, longtime series villain, costs $2.49 to play with. The 'Throwback Map Pack' costs $4.99 and includes a total of 12 new missions that take place in three additional Resident Evil 6 environments and one from the first Revelations.
The choice of environments is pretty lame – why not levels from Resident Evil 1-5? On the plus side, if the host owns the Throwback Pack or Wesker, players who don't own the DLC can still play along.
The recent update that added online co-op to Raid Mode unfortunately failed to bring new Achievements – a real missed opportunity. Revelations 2 on Xbox One currently has 43 Achievements worth a total of 1,960 Gamerscore. Of those, a scant three are tied to Raid Mode. The hardest one involves clearing a Gauntlet – the first six main missions. It should take less than an hour.
Ostensibly, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a traditional Resident Evil game divided up into four episodes (plus two bonus ones). It works pretty well in that capacity, though you have to put up with another of the always stupid storylines that continue to mar the series. Jez wasn't especially impressed in his original Revelations 2 review, though I cut the game some slack due to its budget nature.
In fact, I love Revelations 2. I love it not for the campaign but for the addictive Raid Mode. Running through dozens of bite sized levels without any horrid story content to bog the experience down is extremely fun. The recent addition of online co-op makes things even better.
Raid Mode has some annoying loading times at startup and between missions, and I wish it offered environments from Resident Evil 1-5, not just Revelations 1, 2, and RE6. But with a great selection of characters and tons of fun stuff to do, Revelations 2's Raid Mode is easily worth the price of admission for series fans.
You get five characters and the first 18 Raid Mode missions with three versions each (so 54 missions in total) by simply buying the first episode of Revelations 2. That's a lot of content for only six bucks! And this week, the first episode is on sale on Xbox consoles for $3.59… A great deal even if you don't plan to get the other episodes.