Despite a rocky start, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has managed to not only justify the series’ transition to episodic-based releases, but more importantly, has proved it’s probably one of the better Resi games of recent memory. Wrapping things up is Episode 4: Metamorphosis, which manages to combine some of the best attributes of the past few chapters into one meaty, action-horror package, even if there’s a few glaring issues marring the overall experience. That said, it displays one of the strongest campaigns in the entire game, and left me with definitive hope for the future of the franchise after capping my last mutated bad guy.
Things kick off almost immediately after Episode 3’s conclusion, as Claire and Moira—without spoiling too much—head to confront an enemy that has been perennially taunting them throughout their journey. Metamorphosis is particularly dialogue heavy in this regard, with plenty of plot exposition to soak up, which acts as a welcome reprise following the nail-biting boss fight from the previous chapter. However, therein lies the problem. There’s little of any combat to be found here, with the main chunk of the chapter focusing on escaping rapidly-collapsing building. The most egregious shortcoming here is its length; it’ll take you barely 20 minutes to get through Claire’s mission. Previous chapters were on average about 60-70 minutes, so this has been dramatically cut short by comparison.
Unfortunately, and while I applauded Capcom earlier on the episodic nature of Revelations 2, this is inherent of its bite-sized approach to the game. Had this been a full-on boxed release from the start, the glaring length issue with this particular chunk of the campaign wouldn’t be noticeable; here, however, it’s conspicuous due to the need to split the series up into four episodes. It makes you wonder if Capcom could have cut Episode 3 a little shorter, thus removing any issues with gameplay length for Episode 4. As it stands, Metamorphosis’ first half ends far too abruptly.
Barry’s campaign fares much better. In fact, it’s more than double the length of Claire’s mission, and sees the bearded chap and companion Natalia exploring a number of areas, including a construction site and massive underground laboratory complex. Again, Capcom’s nailed the pacing, with equal time spent between methodically pushing through areas by solving puzzles and eliminating groups of zombie-like foes that stand to hamper your progress. The variation in environments is a real highlight, with the construction area soon giving way to an underground mansion setting and lab that evokes memories of the original Resident Evil. Oh, and it’s full obtuse puzzles too, which seem to be an intrinsic element of every dribbling, sociopath’s secret hideaway the series has to offer.
Some of these brain-aching riddles are pretty decent, with one involving both characters having to manipulate platforms to slowly inch across a massive scaffolding. Another is particularly tense, which sees Barry and Natalia having to navigate cavern filled with poisonous gas, with pockets of higher ground your only relief as you dash through the cavern, watching your screen slowly darken before death takes hold. Again, the partner dynamic works like a charm here, and the diversity in the environments you’ll explore ensures things never get stale; in fact, it’s probably the strongest campaign in the entire game in terms of the sheer variety of areas on offer.
Being the last chapter, there’s also some grueling enemy encounters, though the final boss is disappointingly weak by comparison to past encounters—at least initially. That said, it still doesn’t take away from the challenging battles that take place prior to the final engagement. In one area, you have to dispatch hordes of various infected before you can escape the area; the game throws pretty much every enemy type at you here, requiring plenty of strategy and judicious use of weapons and ammo if you’re to efficiently take down the waves of foes that attack. It’s a great basis for some co-op action, although when playing solo, Natalia’s AI ends up more of a burden as with previous chapters.
As mentioned, the environments are great, and are largely devoid of the dull, uninspired locations that you have previously traversed. The mansion setting is particularly vibrant and spooky at the same time, and is easily the most aesthetically pleasing location in the game. Regardless, there’s no escaping the various glitches that have hounded the game since Episode 1, it’s still abundantly clear this wasn’t a high-budget title from the lacklustre character models on display.
The sound remains top notch however, and the voice acting ranks as one of the better attempts in a recent Resi title—there’s a touching moment at the end of Claire’s campaign that is something of a rarity in the series as of late. Finally, Raid mode continues to be fleshed out with new characters and Gauntlets, resulting in one of the most content-packed mini-games the Resi series has offered to date. I’m already addicted to levelling up my character, facing increasingly-tough waves of enemies while getting my mitts on new weapons and perks.
There’s plenty of enemy variety too; I faced off against some notable foes from past games, including Executioner from Resident Evil 5 and some of Resi 6’s tougher foes. As soon as Capcom patches in online co-op for this beauty, you and your mates will never want to put it down. Annoyingly, while the game’s ‘Good’ ending is a winner, the bleak, woefully short ‘Bad’ conclusion will likely leave you feeling cheated, especially as the game doesn’t actually make it clear how to alter the endings or even that there’s two available in the first place. In fact, I only found out after chatting to a fellow gamer before diving back in myself. As it stands, it’s all to do with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it decision from Episode 3: Judgment. The ‘Good’ ending also chucks in a gripping second encounter with the game’s final boss, which caps things off nicely, and is far stronger than the one that preceeds it.
Overall, Episode 4: Metamorphosis is a worthy conclusion to Capcom’s first episodic Resi outing, delivering equal helpings of puzzles, tension-filled gunfights, and a healthy dollop of nostalgia to round things off. It’s not perfect, but you’ll be more than satisfied with the ending—assuming you get the ‘good’ one, that is—and will likely feel compelled to give things at least a second playthrough. Welcome back, Resident Evil.