Despite some obvious attempts to rejuvenate Resident Evil’s age-old formula last year, Capcom’s beloved survivor horror series seemed to leave devoted fans disgruntled and frustrated thanks to the release of Slant Six’s disastrous, Operation Raccoon City spin-off and the unfocused, more action-orientated entry, Resident Evil 6. With that said, it’s no surprise that the acclaimed publisher decided to re-release the magnificent, Nintendo 3DS exclusive, Resident Evil: Revelations on home entertainment systems in hopes of both reestablishing confidence in the franchise, and allowing those that missed the subtitled installment the first time around an opportunity to experience the horrifying adventure for themselves. However, with the current generation’s console cycle meeting its end, does Resident Evil: Revelations’ HD transformation shed enough of its portable roots to deliver a fulfilling, yet equally terrifying title?
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Like its handheld brethren, Resident Evil: Revelations’ narrative fills in the noticeable story gap between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5 by recounting the harrowing perils series originals Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine face while involved in a counter-terrorism organization called the BSAA. From the start, Jill and her new partner, Parker Luciani find themselves investigating the Queen Zenobia – an abandoned, creature-infested cruise liner potentially serving as a secret terrorist base – in search of missing teammates, Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat. However, in typical Resident Evil fashion, Revelations’ general premise only makes way for a convoluted plot filled to the brim with ridiculous twists, predictable backstabs, and string-pulling villains who, as it turns out, barely pose a threat compared to the ambush of poor, B-movie-esque dialogue that consistently floods the game’s absurdly-entertaining story.
…Resident Evil: Revelations’ narrative fills in the noticeable story gap between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5…
Thankfully, for those that can only tolerate cheesy voice acting and annoying side characters for a limited amount of time, the entire 10-hour terror-fest is divided into twelve episodes – filled with both cliffhanger endings and “previously on Resident Evil: Revelations…”-style episode updates – that help balance out any potential pacing issues the story may possess while keeping campaign progression fresh and simple to manage. As it turns out, it’s Capcom’s brilliant decision to keep the episodic-like structure seen in Revelations’ Nintendo 3DS counterpart that makes the story’s evident shortcomings and complicated plotline far easier to digest.
Survival Horror Returns
Leaving behind the hollywoodized set-pieces and action-packed gameplay that overwhelmed Resident Evil 6, Revelations serves, for the most part, as a throwback to traditional survivor horror and the desolate, frightening environments the genre itself inspires. You see, much like the nightmarish, T-virus-infected Spencer mansion from Resident Evil, the Queen Zenobia’s interior presents you with dark, claustrophobic corridors, key-specific doorways, and a sense of exploration that has gradually been diminished in the series’ latest entries. Ultimately, by granting nail-biting gamers the welcome opportunity to take in the eerie atmosphere and travel down the creepy, uninviting hallways of an abandoned cruise ship, Revelations receives the chance to be something Capcom’s adored franchise hasn’t been in a long time: terrifying.
…Revelations serves…as a throwback to traditional survivor horror and the desolate… environments the genre itself inspires.
Besides serving as a large dose of nostalgia to longtime fans, the Queen Zenobia also plays host to the series’ infectious T-Abyss virus, which, as it turns out, transforms lifeless bodies into grotesque, marine-life-inspired mutants. From slow-shambling ooze creatures to the deadly, significantly deformed Scagdead, each monster you encounter requires a unique strategy to eliminate them, especially when Revelations’ more behemoth enemies can easily (and rather frustratingly) one-hit kill you at a moment’s notice. With this said, scouring the infected ship for precious ammunition, health recovery items or even campaign-progressing keys becomes a continuous struggle for survival that keeps you constantly accommodating for every potentially life-threatening scenario.
While most of your nautical nightmare through the chilling, mystery-drenched Queen Zenobia is experienced through the perspective of Jill Valentine, Revelations does make an unneeded effort to switch between various characters and uninspired locales during the course of the campaign. Whether it’s traversing through a Hunter-infested office building as Parker during flashback moments or investigating the arctic-like Valkoinen Mökki Airport as BSAA operative Keith Lumley, these short, globe-spanning distractions play out more like forced filler levels than full-blown, story-progressing missions. While it could be argued that seeing Revelations’ plot unfold from the perspective of multiple characters adds a bit more depth to the bloated storyline, it’s hard to properly justify the addition of these uneventful sequences, especially when you have to leave behind Jill’s upgraded arsenal (which you’ve been building up for the entire duration of the game) every time you encounter them.
…Revelations does make an unneeded effort to switch between various characters and uninspired locales during the course of the campaign.
As much as we’d hate to admit it, even Resident Evil’s fearless heroine doesn’t necessarily exhibit a flawless campaign experience. Though arguably more fright-inducing than anything seen in Resident Evil 6, Jill’s chilling journey suffers from frequent backtracking moments and so-so underwater segments that help dilute Revelations’ potential replayability. It should also be noted that – due to the close-quarter restrictions inside the Queen Zenobia – action-packed boss battles can sometimes lead to cheap, frustrating deaths as you become cornered and mercilessly slaughtered by your grotesque adversary. Even with these slight annoyances, however, Jill’s campaign still manages to surpass the recent, more action-orientated offerings Capcom’s horror franchise has released lately.
Aside from the episodic campaign, Revelations also supports an addictive, arcade-like cooperative option called Raid mode that reuses familiar environments from the core experience, and randomizes both enemy distribution and spawn placements in an attempt to make each level feel fresh again. Each of these entertaining stages features new creature variations – ranging from super-fast, miniature ooze monsters to gargantuan Hunters – that display informative health bars and damage indicators during battle, which adds an admirable, RPG-like element to the blood-soaked proceedings. In return, this encourages you to experiment with the game’s plethora of weaponry, which can be obtained at a decent, rewarding pace thanks to in-game currency (received through completing stages and achieving excellent mission rankings) and an integrated, randomized loot system.
…Revelations also supports an… arcade-like cooperative option called Raid mode…
Even with a noticeable reliance on level grinding, Raid mode never disappointed us as we poured hours and hours into honing our marksman skills and completing perfect, S-worthy performances with our online buddies. With over twenty stages, multiple difficulty options and a wealth of playable characters to choose from, Revelations’ Raid mode has the potential to keep you engaged long after the campaign’s credits have rolled.
Whether you’re conquering the story-driven campaign as Jill Valentine or blasting apart bloodthirsty fiends via the arcade/RPG hybrid, Raid mode, Revelations’ transition to HD consoles works surprisingly well, but not flawlessly enough to conceal its apparent handheld origins.
…Revelations’ transition to HD consoles works surprisingly well, but not flawlessly enough to conceal its apparent handheld origins.
First and foremost, the transformation from a small-screened Nintendo 3DS to a higher-resolution television set does showcase some slight graphical blemishes – such as blurry wall textures and under-detailed enemy models – that may break complete immersion, though only for a short period of time. To make matters worse, character and enemy animations were choppy at times, which made Revelations’ somewhat clunky controls – particularly the ones utilized for aiming – a bit troublesome as we tried to anxiously line up headshots and outmaneuver the game’s blood-sucking monstrosities.
During our playtime, we also noticed that (despite how much we enjoyed slaughtering the series’ new, T-Aybss-infected creatures) Revelations’ enemy variety noticeably lacked the sort of depth past Resident Evil iterations have showcased. Far too often, it seemed like the same handful of mutated adversaries would slowly lumber towards us, ready to be viciously ripped apart by our incoming gunfire at a moment’s notice. Occasionally, these same-y ooze monsters would make way for new creature variants or even a tension-filled boss fight, but it was never enough to significantly alter the otherwise repetitive nature of Revelations’ gameplay.
Though it may not necessarily push technological boundaries or display a flawless gameplay experience, Resident Evil: Revelations’ HD transformation does allow non-3DS owners the opportunity to experience the series’ satisfying return to survival horror on their home consoles. While traces of its handheld origins may hinder Resident Evil: Revelations from exceeding expectations, Capcom’s impressive handling of this once Nintendo exclusive title may be just enough to regain the confidence of the series’ more skeptical fanbase.
BOG’s Resident Evil: Revelations Review Score
|7.3||Why so high?
Classic survival horror gameplay; episodic campaign structure; addictive Raid mode
|Why so low?
Somewhat dated graphics; slightly clunky controls; lack of enemy variety