The aim of my Blogging From A to Z Challenge is to find the origins of online games, some relatively modern and some with ancient roots. Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling. A perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper.
[Visit here for links to other A to Z participants.]
Game: Resident Evil: Revelations 2, known in Japan as Biohazard Revelations 2, is an episodic survival horror video game. It is the tenth major instalment in the Resident Evil franchise (22nd overall). The game is a follow up to Resident Evil: Revelations and Resident Evil 5.
Release Date: February 25, 2015 Episode 1 and then weekly
Genre/gameplay mechanics: Survival Horror; mystery; puzzles; Single-player, Cooperative; four-episode structure; stealth elements; ability to switch from main to ‘sidekicks’; bonus Raid mode – a comeback from the first Revelations with new changes, more missions and characters.
Setting: a facility on Sushestvovanie Island, where the “Afflicted” are in wait. It is unknown where exactly the island is located, as it is not listed on any maps. However, the island was previously affiliated with the Soviet Union, harbours many inhabitants of Russian descent, and the main language was Russian, placing it somewhere close to Russia, Latvia, Estonia or Kaliningrad Oblast.
Storytelling: The main storyline of the Resident Evil games primarily concerns a group of individuals who battle against the Umbrella Corporation as well as characters in relation to them who have developed the T-virus which, among other things, can transform humans into zombies as well as mutate other creatures into horrifying monsters. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 references previous instalments and is set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. Developed storyline with decision-based alternative endings. Two storylines: (i) Claire Redfield is one main protagonist and Barry Burton‘s daughter, Moira, plays her ‘sidekick’. (ii) Barry is the other playable protagonist and he is assisted by Natalia Korda, a little girl with supernatural abilities.
Releases + Expansions – 11 major instalments – 24 releases overall:
First release Resident Evil March 22, 1996
Latest release Resident Evil 7: Biohazard January 24, 2017
Formats: PS3, PS4, Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
- 1989 – The development of first Resident Evil, originally titled Biohazard, and the first game dubbed ‘survival horror’, began in 1993 when Tokuro Fujiwaraconceived it as a remake of his earlier 1989 Capcom horror game Sweet Home, borrowing gameplay mechanics and the mansion setting. Based on the 1989 Japanese horror film of the same name, and supervised by the film’s director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the Sweet Home game used the same setting, storyline and scariness.
- The German novelist and story writer, Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924), was a major inspiration behind the Revelations 2 game story, and the idea came from the scenario writer, Dai Satō. Since the first Revelations used passages from Dante Alighieri, the team felt that would be a common element from the Revelations series. Also, that would give a deep meaning for the quotes and themes approach, like “The Transformation” to the story of the game. Scattered notes and books quote or echo Kafka. His work typically features isolated protagonists faced by bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible social-bureaucratic powers.
- The title of the four episodes of the game are allusions to his work,
- Episode 1, called Penal Colony, is based on a short story by the name: In the Penal Colony, (October 1914), set on an island with an elaborate torture and execution device.
- Episode 2, named Contemplation – Contemplation (short story collection), (1904-1912). Some of these stories echo with events in the game.
- Episode 3, called Judgement – The Judgment(1912) – in which some read complex views concerning the notion of judgement itself.
- Episode 4, called Metamorphosis – The Metamorphosis, (1915) in which the main character find himself transformed into a giant insect, much as some game characters are transformed into something else.
Adaptations set in the Resident Evil universe:
- FILMS – The six Resident Evil films follow Alice(Milla Jovovich), a character created for the films, who battles the Umbrella Corporation, whose bioweapons have triggered a zombie apocalypse. Characters from the games also appear, including Jill Valentine, Carlos Olivera, Claire Redfield, Albert Wesker, Chris Redfield, and Barry Burton. These have been the most successful movie adaptations of any video-games.
- ANIMATED FILMS – there have been four made.
- NOVELS – seven written by D. Perry; five novelizations of live-action films; three other novels, two in Japanese.
- COMICS – four comics and two manga.
Recommendation: On release, the reviews were mixed to positive, there was praise about the setting, story, characters and the co-op gameplay, but the graphics and some technical issues were largely criticized. For example, IGN writer, Lucy O’Brien, said the game “kept me hooked right up until its finale”. She felt the game’s “horror does not frighten” and criticized the graphics details and overused enemies. Her review praised the elements of action-adventure, the co-op gameplay, the implement of some traditional puzzles and spoke well about the bonus Raid mode.
As at the end of December 2017, the title reached a combined 2.3 million units sold, surpassing its predecessor and becoming the 24th best seller of the company.
3.75 Stars: I admit that I have only played Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – and then only Episode One – so starring the game fairly is impossible. The setting was scary but not in the nightmarish sense that Hellblade was. It’s clear that ‘survival horror’ is not my genre – even if there are challenges that spark my determination. I’m best with a sword, which may be why Moira with a crowbar survived so well. Fun but not immersive.
- Setting: 4*
- Storyline: 4*
- Gameplay: 3.75*
- Entertainment: 3.5*
- Genesis: 3.5*
Alternative ‘R’ thoughts:
R is also for Ready Player One, both Ernest Cline’s 2011 book and the 2018 Spielberg film based on it. A worldwide virtual reality game that can’t be ignored and yet I must – I’ve yet to read the book, or see the movie, plus the game is probably…still in development. I do love all the cultural references in the movie trailers and in the book’s outlines, so I suspect the origins might be fascinating and I will succumb.
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