Resident Evil: Revelations Review
Developer: Capcom / Publisher: Capcom / Played On: Xbox 360, Wii U / Price: $49.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language]
When 2012 saw no fewer than three new Resident Evil games, it’s of little surprise that Capcom would rerelease the one that’s generally considered the best of the three: Resident Evil: Revelations. It also happened to be on the 3DS, which gave Capcom another reason to rerelease it as an enhanced port for consoles. Somehow by preserving its original design intended for the 3DS, this home version feels like one of the more streamlined Resident Evils in recent memory. In contrast to the bloated and misguided Resident Evil 6, streamlined does not sound like a bad idea.
Resident Evil: Revelations is certainly canonical, though the self-contained nature of the narrative makes the game feel like a side story. Not that’s a bad thing; it is refreshing to have a game in the series finish what it starts, plot wise. Even the obligatory virus, the T-abyss virus, introduced in this game has not been mentioned in any other Resident Evil since.
The infected area this time around is the fictional floating city of Terragrigia, and a couple of the game’s chapters are set right before the city is obliterated in order to contain the outbreak. The majority of Revelations is set a year after the incident, where familiar and new agents are investigating a cruise ship set near the remains of Terragrigia. Revelations also introduces quite a few new friends and foes that are clearly primed for reappearances in future Resident Evil games. Jessica Sherawat is a curious standout partner, not only because she’s obnoxious, but also because how she turns out by game’s end.
The cruise ship, with its luxurious rooms and symbol-marked doors echo the level designs of the mansion in the original Resident Evil. Yes, you will be spending a good portion of Revelations backtracking as you fetch items and activate switches. This throwback design, with a satisfying amount of enemy encounters and added escape scenarios, is a much-needed change over the linear-intensive Resident Evil 6.
All this familiarity is comforting, though Revelations does take a couple chances with gameplay. There’s no dash, just a brisk fast walk speed, enough to get some distance from any minor boss if you need to collect yourself. There’s also no herb mixing, just green herbs, of which you can only carry five at time. This kind of simplicity works for the game, especially when one green herb brings your health back up to 100 percent.
Revelations also introduces the Genesis bioscanner, a gun-like device that analyzes nearby organisms as well as spots hidden items like ammo clips. It’s helpful in finding stealth bioweapons in the couple stages where they’re invisible. More importantly, the Genesis unlocks an herb after several successful scans. It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s hard to complain when it works to your benefit.
While the Genesis isn’t interesting enough to be a permanent fixture for future Resident Evil games, it does add another layer of tension to the many confining hallway shootouts in Revelations. Should you try to scan an incoming enemy at the risk of getting hurt, or focus on killing it and not scan it at all? Does the risk of getting hurt defeat the purpose of getting a health item? The tension comes from having to make these frequent judgment calls, where the most sensible response might be to simply run past a zombie.
The 3DS was able to handle a full-fledged Resident Evil game, but it wasn’t without some minor hand-cramping criticisms. The chance to replay it with console controllers is a welcome one and is well translated for the most part. It builds upon the off-center perspective introduced in Resident Evil 4, along with zoomed aiming, 180-degree turns, and knife attacks. Timing a dodge can be tricky, but it’s not as tough as getting a melee attack prompt to appear.
Beyond the seven to eight hour campaign, Capcom also ported over the addictive Raid Mode. It serves as an enhanced arcade mode similar to the non-story modes of Resident Evils 5 and 6. Many missions take only five minutes to clear, but there are a lot of points to earn, which then can be spent on items and weapon mods. An experience points system gives Raid a light RPG feel, which is also tied to some of the mode’s unlockables; this includes characters that weren’t playable in the campaign as well as costumes new to this home version of Revelations. Yet what really sells Raid mode is its co-op functionality, which makes up for the lack of campaign multiplayer.
Along with the console controls and bonus characters, the other draw to playing or replaying Revelations is to experience the game with increased visual fidelity over the original version. While the cutscenes do not have the big budget qualities of the cutscenes in Resident Evil 6, they are nonetheless clean and crisp, with a level of detail you could not get in the 3DS.
As a minor downside, some of the in-game visuals bring out Revelations’ made-for-3DS appearance, like a 2D sheet of beached fishes for instance. Having Revelations on the big screen also underscores the heavy use of gray in the zombie character designs, not to mention the limited running animations of the game’s hostile wolves.
For better or worse, you get the same experience on the Wii U version of Revelations that you get on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 version. The entire game can be played on the television, the gamepad, or both. The dual screen experience of playing on the TV with the gamepad is identical to how the 3DS version operated. That said, not having the gamepad as a dedicated Genesis scanner is a lost opportunity, especially considering its design similarities to Ubisoft’s ZombiU.
So much of what makes Resident Evil: Revelations work is how Capcom plays it safe with level designs and gameplay mechanics. That said, the new characters and the bio scanner help turn the game into something more than a well made by-the-numbers Resident Evil. While it’s not an optimized HD port of the 3DS version (to be so would require enhanced textures across the board), it still looks great and controls even better.
+ Solid HD remaster of the 3DS game
+ Throwback Resident Evil gameplay
— No remarkable enhancements
8 / 10