‘Judgment’ revels in twists and turns — and riddles
Plenty of judgment is cast from on high in the third episode of “Resident Evil: Revelations 2” as our protagonist pairings continue in their lovely-yet-convoluted adventures on an island full of monsters and mysteries.
“Judgment,” the penultimate episode in the four-part series, revels in the outlandish but surprisingly addictive machinations the franchise is known for, and it continues the breakneck pace that “Episode 2” established. Tons of scary nonsense abounds, but we’ve more or less moved past the survival horror elements of the first episode and dived shotgun first into horror action. The tradeoff, and it’s one I’m totally OK with, is that we get much closer to figuring out what’s actually happening here; there’s plenty you can extrapolate out once you get to the episode’s conclusion, but it ends — once again — with a cliffhanger.
As with the previous two episodes, you spend about half your time (it can be a little skewed depending on how difficult certain sections proved to be for you) with each set of characters. In the first half of “Judgment,” you control Claire Redfield and Moira Burton, who continue to descend deeper in the mystery of their kidnapping and the one responsible for it (the Kafka-quoting Overseer). Their adventure through this nightmare world involves Prometheus, a slaughter house and the Russian language. Sounds like an intriguing time, no?
The other pair, Barry Burton (Moira’s father) and Natalia Korda, take over after Claire and Moira have their fun. This pair — one a bear of a man with enough weaponry to form a small militia, the other a little girl with supernatural powers — are trying to find Moira (and Claire, I guess, by extension), but every time they get closer, something else seems to get in their way.
The episode’s highlight, bar none, is easy to see being set up: abundant health items (still the ever-present green herbs), scores of ammo for every weapon you own, major plot dumps — oh, and a massive boss arena in which Claire and Moira get to run around. Who (or what?) you’ll be up against will go unsaid here, but regardless of the craziness that directly precedes the first of two boss fights in the game, it’s an amazing fight with an interesting and difficult boss.
As for the second boss fight, fought by Barry and Natalia, it’s not nearly as complex. However, these two also partake in some clever level puzzles involving multiple stages (both horizontally and vertically) and enemies trying to block your path. It requires both of their strengths — Barry’s brute and Natalia’s enemy “sense” — to be able to complete it, and it’s quite rewarding once you manage to get through it all. The boss isn’t too inspired, but it’s plenty dangerous regardless of its creativity.
And it bears repeating: I’ve become so used to Telltale Games’ version of episodic games — with episodes no longer than two hours, and most of them much shorter — that the three-plus-hour runtime of “Judgment” just makes me smile (when I’m not running for my life, that is). There’s nothing wrong with wanting more content for your hard-earned money, right?
While going into too much more detail about the plot would ruin everything, it’s pretty safe to say that “Judgment” spends a great deal of time character building. A little odd, I acknowledge, considering we’re more than halfway through the game, but they work well here. Barry has a surprisingly tender moment with Natalia, reminding us that he is an actual father, while Moira has a chance to overcome a major fear. Even Claire has a moment of humanity, though it does come off a bit stilted. (But if I’m being honest, that’s just Claire’s personality.)
In the end, “Judgment,” the third episode of “Resident Evil: Revelations 2,” may not be exactly be logical, but you shouldn’t expect that with a “Resident Evil” game. Instead, you’re going to get a pulpy, outrageous plot that flies at you at breakneck speed. The episode breaks three hours, but it doesn’t fill padded or over-long, doling out the action and scares in right mix at the right times (one or two spots notwithstanding). In effect, a great line near the start — “And on a scale from bullshit to believable?” — basically sums what happens here. I’m not sure where “Judgment” lands on that scale, but I’m having too much fun to care.
Four “Guns always solve the problem, Moira” stars out of five.