Resident Evil Revelations hit the 3DS last year to much critical acclaim, returning the series back to its roots of traditional survival-horror. Developed and published by Capcom originally as a 3DS exclusive, and now as an HD version for the PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360, does the game receive the proper console transition treatment?
Taking place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, Jill is told that Chris and his partner, Jessica Sherawat, went missing on the Queen Zenobia, a cruise ship stranded in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Jill, along with her new partner, Parker Luciani, travel with a tugboat to find the Queen Zenobia nothing more than a ghost ship laying dead in the water. Upon boarding it, their comms become jammed to the outside and notice that crew members are infected, taking the forms of ooze-like creatures. Jill and Parker now must survive to uncover the mystery that lies within the ship and search for Chris. However, little do they realize that this was a trap to lure them in. In the meantime, Chris and Jessica are out searching for the base of Veltro, a terrorist organization responsible for the eradication of innocents in Terragrigia, known as the horrific “Terragrigia Panic.” The plot is very well put together and provides a great amount of curiosity as you play, keeping you hooked throughout the entire narrative. The only problem with the story is that it can become slightly convoluted at times along with the unnecessary inclusion of two new specific characters, Keith and Quint. They essentially provide the comic relief of the story but just feel forced and entirely out-of-place. A new feature, never before utilized in a Resident Evil title is the “Previously on…” that initiates upon the start of a new episode. This helps remind players who might’ve forgotten what they did in a TV style presentation, adding a deeper cinematic element.
Take what made Resident Evil scary in the originals with what worked post-RE4 and you’ve essentially nailed Resident Evil Revelations’ gameplay mechanics. This latest installment is a nice throwback to nailing what made Resident Evil the franchise it is today. Gone are the open areas and abundant ammo resources. The Queen Zenobia will be the main setting of the game for most of your playthrough and provides to be one of the best environments in the history of the franchise. The gameplay controls much like RE5’s controls methods, offering both Classic movement or Shooter movement (dual analog stick controls). However, some new elements were incorporated into the game while one in particular was brought back from Resident Evil 3 (fitting as Jill was the protagonist in that installment as well). The mechanic brought back from RE3 is the “dodge” mechanic and I’m sure many of you might be saying that dodging is already in the newer ones. Unlike RE4 and 5 where you can only dodge when prompted, in RE3 you were able to dodge any enemy when pressing buttons at the right time. RE Revelations brings this feature back and mastering it will prolong your survival. By pressing forward at the moment an enemy is about to attack, Jill will slip past the enemy allowing you to manage your way through tight corridors. If you press back and B (X on PS3, A on 360), Jill will do a 180 back roll so that you can immediately start running away from the enemy.
Upgrading your weapons returns in this installment but not the way you would expect. As opposed to earning money and spending it on permanent upgrades, you will access your weapon box and install custom parts to tailor the gun to your liking. Each weapon you come across will have slots to install new parts to make your gun more powerful, fire faster, have extended mags, increase it’s damage based on distance, etc. Essentially, the whole “custom parts” collecting nature gives the game a looting feel where you want to search hidden areas on the ship to find more parts to maximize your firearms. The other pro to this system is that even if you install a part on your gun, you can uninstall it and move it to another firearm. A nice bonus is that upon completing the game, you will unlock “New Game Plus” which allows you to carry over all your weapons and custom parts.
You will not play as Jill the whole time however. At times, you will control Chris, Parker and Keith which are more RE5 action-oriented. This works perfectly fine as it paces the game brilliantly by giving the player a brief moment of heavy action. However, the heavy action is still incredibly tense in Resident Evil fashion and will have you just barely making it out. Also, the context sensitive combat returns but are very limited in use. Previously, shooting an enemy once in the head to daze them or shooting their kneecaps would allow for you to initiate a combat move. Now in rare occasions, an enemy will be dazed and instead of simply pressing the action button, you can hold it to charge the attack, making it deal significantly more damage.
A great new feature in RE Revelations is the Genesis Supply Scanner that you’ll receive early on. This scanner will allow you to view the environment for any little items and believe me, you’ll rely on this a lot. As ammo is pretty scarce, this tool will help you find scattered bullets throughout the environment. The added element to survival is the fact that when you collect ammunition, you won’t always get your 5-10 bullet increments. Most of the time, you’ll only find two bullets at a time. Scanning enemies will fill up your scan rate and every time it reaches 100%, you will be awarded a green herb. This was a smart decision to incorporate so that if the player ever needed more health items and couldn’t find any, there was still a means to acquire herbs.
Another new element introduced is the ability to swim. Swimming is a hit or miss in gaming. Sometimes developers nail it. A lot of the time it becomes a chore. Luckily, Capcom has nailed it, making swimming hassle free. What awaits you in the water is a different story and you’ll only have pulse grenades that you can utilize to stun water creatures. Naturally, you don’t carry many of these and need to only use them in the most dire situations. The swimming elements worked brilliantly overall and further emphasized the survival horror element in this department.
Honestly, there were times where this game reminded me of the first Dead Space in terms of the setting and enemies. Capcom has decided to create entirely new monstrosities that await you on the Queen Zenobia and prove to be more dangerous than any zombie, Las Plagas or Majini that you’ve ever dealt with before. To instill fear into the player further, there are a decent amount of instant kill enemies that you’ll have to be on your toes confronting. Resident Evil titles have always had some pretty intense boss fights and this one is no exception. All the bosses will pose a serious threat and demand that you utilize your resources as best as you can. As far as the health system goes, there’s no health bar to speak of other than a bloody screen. The bloodier your screen gets, the worse your condition and once you character has their hand against their hip, you’ll know that you’re in “danger” status and need to heal up immediately.
Capcom went the extra length in providing a brand new game mode that could very well become the new staple in Resident Evil unlockables, Raid Mode. Raid Mode has you playing 20+ missions scattered from the game’s campaign either solo or with a partner online. Before commencing a mission, you will be able to choose a character to your liking (each with their own special attributes) as well as customize your weapon loadout. Once you commence a mission, you’ll notice that enemies have health bars with their level number hovering over their head. Well, let me put it this way. Raid mode is essentially the main campaign with a “Borderlands” style melded together. As you complete missions, you will level up and enemies will become more manageable for you to take down. The better rank you achieve in the mission, the better weapons and custom parts you are awarded. Partnering up with someone online will also unlock side-missions to complete, earning you more rewards. It’s an incredibly in-depth system and practically feels like a new game.
So what’s new for the HD version? Well, for starters, Raid Mode has received two new characters: Rachel and series favorite HUNK. Also, now you’ll be able to voice chat with your online partner for Raid Mode, which wasn’t allowed on the 3DS. Capcom has also added some new weapons, as well as new creatures that weren’t found in the original 3DS version. If you play the Wii U version of the game with the GamePad (you can also play with the Wii U Pro Controller for a more traditional experience), you can expect to get an identical experience to that of the 3DS version. This means there will be no HUD on the TV and your GamePad screen will contain the map, weapons with ammo amount, and items. Unlike the 3DS version, you can’t reload your weapons by tapping their respective icon on the GamePad screen. Some of the interactive touch-screen mini-games also return for use with the GamePad, but if you use the Wii U Pro, DualShock or 360 controller, these will be mapped on the TV with traditional buttons. Unfortunately, some of the 3DS specific touch-screen functionality such as scanning your fingerprint on the touch screen or welding doors open are now just automatic by simply pressing the context-sensitive button. Should you die in-game, the Wii U version will integrate with the Miiverse so that you can post a “Death Message” for others to read when they die in that same area. It’s a nice little bonus to see what other players are saying about the more difficult scenes in the game. Additionally, you can post “Creature Messages” for Raid Mode. This will give an enemy with your name on it a speech bubble above them so that you can read their thoughts. It may be a slightly goofy addition but it’s a fun little thing nonetheless. Another nice addition to this version is that you can save on multiple save files, as opposed to the 3DS version where you had to stick with your specific game file. This means you can save at multiple scenes that you may want to replay or felt you may need to return to if you managed your resources poorly. The one incredibly strange removal from the HD version compared to the 3DS version is the lack of a laser sight when aiming. Personally, I loved the laser sight that was introduced in the masterpiece known as Resident Evil 4, and seeing that replaced with a crosshair instead is a bit puzzling. Hopefully Capcom will patch this little feature back in.
Resident Evil Revelations was without a question, one of the best looking titles released for the 3DS in February of 2012. With the console versions, they took the impressive visuals and gave them an HD polish, giving them a nice clean look for the TV. What they’ve done is quite good, with some sharper textures in the environments and vivid underwater detail. Unfortunately, some of the textures remained untouched and when blown up on a TV, shows a little bit of ugliness at times. The character models all animate exactly as they did on the 3DS and have that extra coat of polish on them texture-wise. The game does run smoother when transitioning between areas of the Queen Zenobia. In the 3DS version, it used to stutter quite a good amount when loading an area, but that’s not to be found here at all thankfully. While the game looks and runs great on consoles, there’s no denying that it’s noticeable the game was built for the 3DS and not primarily for consoles. It’s a graphical masterpiece on the 3DS, but it does not have the same level of awe on consoles.
Resident Evil Revelations boasts some impressive audio. All the sound effects and voice overs are clean and crisp, with ambient noises sending chills down your spine. The strong, atmospheric soundtrack further adds to the game’s ambience, providing an audio experience that demands to be heard. Whether you’re exploring the hallways of the Queen Zenobia, tackling certain monstrosities or managing your way through intense situations, the soundtrack is perfectly suited throughout the entire experience. As for the overall voice acting, most of it is fine…except for Quint (a.k.a “Jackass”). He was just plain irritating to listen to as much as Steve was in Resident Evil Code: Veronica X. Aside from that complaint, crank up the audio for this game and enjoy the great audio design.
Overall Score: 17/20 = 8.5 out of 10
Resident Evil Revelations is the franchise’s return to true form. It’s once again scary to turn around the corridor, not knowing what monstrosity awaits. Capcom listened to the fans and replied triumphantly with this installment. The HD visuals are pretty well done, the audio is incredibly crisp, the gameplay is perfectly tuned and the story will have you wondering what lies next. Add Raid Mode on top of all that and you have an incredibly robust package that Capcom has offered. Resident Evil fans may have missed out on the 3DS version, but with it now being available on the PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360, there’s no excuse to miss out on this. If you already own the 3DS version, you may not have to buy a console version, unless you want to play it on the big screen. Regardless, Resident Evil Revelations should not be missed by any means.
+ Great visuals
+ Strong audio
+ It’s scary again!
+ Addictive Gameplay
+ Raid Mode is surprisingly deep and complex
– Quint (a.k.a. “Jackass”) is unnecessary
– Some voice acting is a bit off
– Story can be slightly convoluted at times
– Odd removal of laser sight aiming
– Visuals, while great, don’t have the “awe” on consoles as it does on the 3DS
Copy purchased by author for review purposes. Game was played through on the Wii U.