Despite the fact Resident Evil: Revelations 2’s episodic nature was met with skepticism at first, Capcom has proven with Episode 3: Judgment that its bite-sized approach to Resi is actually working pretty well. Yes, it still feels like the game was conceived as one entity before being lopped into pieces, but it successfully manages to maintain a firm sense of intrigue by cultivating a compelling plotline filled with twists and turns, and most importantly, leaves you wanting more at the climax of each episode. Still, it’ll be interesting at this point to see how the whole thing plays out as one overall package come the physical release later this month.
Judgment is an emphatic change of pace, especially for Claire and Moira. Whereas last episode the duo were largely lumbered with legions of foes to slaughter and little else, Capcom has really improved things for Miss Redfield and her brash companion for this latest outing. Much of the action takes place in an industrial complex, which combines frantic shootouts with some of the best puzzles Revelations 2 has seen thus far. There’s far more emphasis placed on exploring the environment and soaking up the plot, methodically dispatching creatures that pop up while attempting to access locked-down areas of the facility.
In typical Resi fashion, this is done by solving obtuse puzzles, which makes a welcome break from the focus action-oriented antics in Claire’s previous episode. Again, teamwork comes into play here, not just in terms of combat, but also for solving puzzles, making for a satisfying gameplay dynamic that proves Resi can work effectively as a co-op game while maintaining a degree of tension. There’s also some brilliant boss encounters and some particularly challenging firefights as you struggle to eliminate groups of powerful enemies with your limited ammunition. The final boss is definitely a highlight and one of the better design enemies in the game. Sadly, if you’re playing solo, Moira’s AI is practically useless, leading to some frustrating sections as you’re trying to take down the mutated, muscle-bound freak.
As for Bazza and Natalia, Judgment delivers a gripping slice of quintessential Resi entertainment. And, unlike the past few episodes, Barry isn’t just merely retreading ground covered by his potty-mouthed daughter; he gets to explore new areas too, which makes his offering feel unique in its own right, rather than just a rehash of Claire’s scenario. Teamwork has never been more prominent for Barry, as he and Natalia navigate a sewer system while separated for a prolonged period; Bazza walks below, while Natalia is up on a catwalk above, and must open the way for her partner by hitting switches, all the while having Barry dispose of any nearby enemies. Judgment then pitches up tent in an old quarry, which acts like one gigantic puzzle. It’s one of the most compelling showcases of partner work in the series yet, and great for split-screen co-op with a mate.
If anything, Judgment is let down not by its individual components, but rather, the issues that plague the series as a whole. Again, washed out environments and poor visuals rear their head, as does several glitches where characters and enemies will clip through walls or doorways. Enemies thankfully come in a greater variety in comparison to earlier episodes—a trend started in Episode 2—and there’s no sense of Capcom artificially padding out each scenario by lobbing more mutated foes in your direction to keep you busy. Characters are also given more room to breathe, and there’s some significant plot developments that transpire, particularly towards the end of Claire’s scenario.
Throw in several staple elements to the Revelations 2 package, such as collectibles and the perennially-expanding Raid mode, and you have another solid entry in Capcom’s survival horror sequel that is leading up to a gripping conclusion with Episode 4: Metamorphosis.