By Arik Yates / March 11th, 2014
|Title||Resident Evil: Revelations|
|Release Dates||May 21, 2013 (NA)
May 23, 2013 (AUS)
May 24, 2013 (EU)
|Genres||Third-person shooter, survival horror|
|Platforms||Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, Windows PC|
|Age Ratings||M (ESRB), 16 (PEGI), MA 15+ (OFLC)|
The original Resident Evil was the first game ever to practically scare the pants off of me. When looking back on the PS1 original, it’s shocking to think that we gamers used to be even remotely scared of such jaggy polygons, but boy, were they effective back then. I remember trotting into my brother’s room as a young boy and eagerly scooting towards the screen to watch a different form of game I had never witnessed. My brother was controlling Jill around one of the upper floors of the mansion when all of a sudden, a blasted hell dog flew through the glass window we had just passed. I cannot recall a time in my life when I had sprinted that fast; I didn’t want any more of that game.
Well, even though I may have been scared to death of Resident Evil at the time, I gained a newfound respect for what it was capable of doing. Because of that scare factor and its premise, I became a lifelong fan of the series. But as many of you know, the series has taken a more action-oriented approach to survival horror lately. Some fans loved it, some didn’t, but I, for one, still enjoyed everything it had to offer. But then, Resident Evil: Revelations came around, promising to bring things back down a notch to its survival-horror roots. Originally made for the 3DS, it’s now available on multiple consoles. Here’s the real question, though: did it accomplish everything it promised?
Resident Evil: Revelations takes place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5 in the year 2005. Chris Redfield has gone missing, but lucky for the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance), they have his last known position, which ends up being smack-dab in the middle of the Mediterranean on a cruise liner. What are the odds of that? Due to this dreadful event, Jill Valentine and newcomer Parker Luciani are tasked with finding Mr. Redfield with little info besides his supposed last known position.
As you can assume based on previous titles, this mission isn’t going to be a simple snatch-and-grab. But, by gosh, is it a fun-filled survival-horror thriller. Since the majority of the game (aside from a few flashback chapters) takes place out on the sea, the atmosphere is perfectly spooky and mysterious and is one of the best settings for the usual horror romp the Resident Evil titles are known for.
Unlike Resident Evil 5 and 6, Revelations never made me feel like I was in an all-out war. For instance, the enemies in 5 and 6 are bountiful and almost never stop coming towards you. It eventually gets to the point where it feels like a balls-to-the-wall action game. In Revelations, the enemy count is just enough to cause the moments to be suspenseful and, at times, hopeless. That is the classic Resident Evil feeling I’m talking about, where combat is more a means of survival than the main attraction.
Speaking of the usual tropes, this title in the franchise sports a slightly confusing story filled with “Revelations.” But even if some weren’t executed as clearly as they could have been, most gamers should be able to get the right idea about what exactly was revealed or explained by the next cutscene or story-progression segment. Something that also helped keep me up-to-date with what exactly had been going on in the story was the summary. This shows up every time you load up your save point upon starting the game. It’s presented in a very TV-show-esque fashion, which is a really nice touch and had me excited to jump into the next “episode.” I also felt the campaign didn’t overstay its welcome—it took me about 10 hours to complete. And with the option of a New Game+ and harder difficulties, Resident Evil: Revelations is sure to keep you busy for quite some time.
One thing about Resident Evil: Revelations that is absolutely mint is the gameplay. The combat implements the best mechanics from Resident Evil 4 and 5, and most of the annoying puzzles fans expect from the series have been diluted. Some may not be too happy about said dilution, but in my opinion, it helped the pacing of the game a lot, especially since the story is so based on “Revelations.” The last situation I would want to find myself in is one involving a highly annoying puzzle.
Anyway, the combat and everything is held together by some pretty solid controls on the Wii U GamePad. The game uses the usual third-person Resident Evil controls (left trigger aims, right trigger shoots), and the addition of the GamePad’s screen allows for some easy alternatives for switching weapons, looking at the map, rummaging around your inventory or going into options. In the options, you can also choose to play the game entirely on the GamePad’s screen and even change the controls to Resident Evil 4‘s tank-like controls. All these minuscule details really add to Revelations’ package and, to me, really shows that Capcom wanted to make a game that not only diehard fans would appreciate, but also the newcomers who are just getting their feet wet in the Resident Evil franchise.
However, there’s one thing about which I must warn you all. Somewhere during the port to consoles, stick movement became sluggish. It definitely doesn’t make the game unplayable, nor will some people even notice. If you really pay attention to the joysticks, though, you’ll notice they take more pressure than they should to get your character to turn. This problem really makes those intense up-close situations tougher to get critical headshots in. But once again, it doesn’t make the game unplayable, it just makes for an irritating experience every now and again.
Within Resident Evil: Revelations also lies a new Mercenaries-esque mode like the ones found in previous titles. The main difference is that this “Raid Mode” is no longer a timed monster-slaying fest, but, rather, actual missions filled with enemies of various levels. And, yes, I said levels. Raid Mode allows your character to level up, upgrade weapons and unlock characters and different skins for them. So, in simple turns, it practically turns Revelations into an RPG loot-hunting kind of game.
Each boss you slay in this mode, along with rare drops from certain enemies, give you bonus parts for weapons and extra consumables. It’s incredibly fun, whether you play by yourself or decide to hop online to play with strangers or friends. One of the downsides about playing online on the Wii U is that it can sometime take awhile to find a match, considering the game isn’t as popular as it was when it was first released. Thankfully, however, there are users aplenty on the Resident Evil: Revelations Miiverse page who are dying to play with other users. Getting some online co-op goodness shouldn’t be too hard.
The sound and graphics in Revelations are also quite nice. Both have been HD-upgraded from their handheld counterparts. Even if they aren’t of the highest caliber like other games found on last-gen consoles, they’re still quite nice and definitely achieve the desired result. The music and ambiance that creep into your ears will either cause chills to run down your spine or your toe to tap, and the scenery of the abandoned cruise liner or the elegant passenger quarters blend well. While I’m on the topic, I highly recommend playing this game on the GamePad’s screen with a pair of nice headphones (plugged in via the headphone jack on the GamePad) for a truly immersive and spooky experience.
Other than sound, graphics and a couple of bonus characters and weapons in Raid Mode, the console counterpart is exactly the same as it was on the 3DS, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Capcom has added just enough to warrant a purchase for console owners, especially with a price tag under $30 (USD) for physical copies and digital eShop copies.
So yes, Resident Evil: Revelations did, in fact, take gamers back to a familiar time, when survival and horror were a huge part of the series. Even the sometimes sluggish and annoying aiming controls brought back fond memories of past entries. I look at this game as a love letter to the series that takes newcomers and veterans alike in open arms and nestles gamers under the bosom of an overall excellent experience marred by only minuscule flaws.
Review copy supplied by author.
CapcomResident EvilResident Evil: Revelations