Resident Evil: Revelations
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
A PS3 digital copy of the game was supplied to us
Resident Evil: Revelations was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 to positive reviews. Now that the game has received a second HD release on home consoles, the question remains whether or not Revelations can stand tall among home console games. Starring Jill Valentine once again as she investigates the Queen Zenobia, a mysteriously abandoned cruise ship, Revelations promises to mix together the modern action-packed gameplay of newer games with the horror elements of the Resident Evil games of old.
The technical aspects of the HD port turned out fine. When I reviewed the HD version of Resident Evil: Code Veronica in 2011, I was underwhelmed by the graphical overhaul, so I was somewhat worried that Revelations might have the same problem. However as it turns out, Revelations has been upgraded graphically much better and looks fine for a home console release. That’s not to say it couldn’t be better, both Resident Evil 5 and 6 are better graphically in my opinion, but taking into account that this was a 3DS release originally, I was expecting much worse. To showcase how much effort was put into the HD release, the downloadable version takes up an impressive 12 gigabytes on the PS3’s HDD.
Other technical details are good as well. I haven’t encountered any bugs or glitches during my playthrough and the game’s framerate was also perfect. However the load between the ship’s areas is too long for a console game. The player has to stand in front of the doors for a good 15-20 seconds before they open. Regular doors that don’t function as loading screens for big areas are fine but have a different problem altogether. If the partner character goes through them, you have to wait for it to close and reopen them again to enter. Also, enemies can’t go through them, which wouldn’t be a problem by itself it the developers hadn’t made a certain monster who at one point in the game chases you between rooms. It looks extremely silly when the same monster that was just behind Jill is suddenly right in front of her when she enters a new room. These issues are minor and stem from the 3DS’ less powerful hardware, but they make the HD version feel like a handheld game sometimes despite all the updates. Even RE4 didn’t have these problems. These are the type of minor details that can take you out of the game’s atmosphere.
With Revelations, Capcom tried to bring back some of the survival horror to the series and mix it together with the modern gameplay style of the series. As much as I’d like to be cynical and say that this is the same thing they said with every Resident Evil game after Resident Evil 4, Revelations actually manages to balance the two gameplay styles to a certain degree. To be clear, Revelations still focuses a lot on combat. It’s definitely more of a survival horror game than Resident Evil 5 or 6 but you still spend most of your time shooting enemies than anything else. There’s a lot more exploration to be had however and there are a few key items to be found, enough to make the game more interesting. In fact, Revelations is the most fun I’ve had with a Resident Evil title since Resident Evil 4.
However, as much as the game succeeds in mixing together horror with action, there are a number of conflicting aspects in the game design. Some of the enemy designs also feel generic and uninspired, while certain characters’ personality and/or design also ruin the atmosphere sometimes, most notably Jessica, whose wetsuit has one leg sleeve just for sex appeal, and Quint and Keith, who are comic relief characters who should’ve been more serious. On the other hand, the enemies actually feel like savage monsters, which is an improvement over recent games in the series. Gone are the intelligent gun wielding enemies of Resident Evil 6, replaced with unpredictable enemies that actually feel like monsters.
It’s a common misunderstanding that survival horror needs limited item capacity. What survival horror actually needs is for the player to have complete control of all available resources and make their own decisions on what to use and when to use it. This is what old Resident Evil games did really well: the player had limited inventory space but was never forced to abandon any resources. As long as the player had a free items slot in the inventory or made room by putting down resources in the item box, you could carry as many things as you needed. Revelations however limits the number of healing items and weapons you can carry with you, and also how much ammo you can carry for the weapons. While additional ammo case upgrades can be found (and kept in New Game+ mode), this game mechanic simply goes against the idea of survival horror style resource management. Instead of players depending on their own judgement and creating tension by making decisions, the game tries to create tension „artificially” so to speak, by putting restrictions on the player’s ammo and health item capacity. In the end, this adds nothing to the game, and instead of creating tension, it’s just frustrating when the player has to leave resources behind because he can’t carry ten more bullets or one more healing item. Weapons have the same problem essentially. Only three weapons can be carried at a time which doesn’t add anything to the game, it just forces the player to do more busywork in an otherwise enjoyable game. This could have been easily fixed just by letting the player carry all the weapons and switching out the three weapons on hand in the pause menu. Instead the game uses weapon boxes where weapons can be switched out and upgraded, which works well enough, but it just makes the game more complicated without adding anything worthwhile.
Revelations, even with all the minor problems, manages to be a very good game. I personally had more fun with it than I had with Resident Evil 5 and 6. The game’s story also manages to be entertaining all the way through, despite how obvious certain plot twists are. However it is extremely disappointing that the HD version does not have split screen co-op gameplay in any form. I can understand that the 3DS couldn’t handle it, however this is a home console release, full price no less! For the 60$ price tag, I expect more than just a simple conversion. This is a huge missed opportunity. Even in the campaign mode the player always has a partner with them and Raid Mode offers online co-op. Considering these factors, it’s disappointing to realize that you can’t just sit down with a friend and play the game together on one system. I can begrudgingly accept the campaign not having any kind of co-op but Raid Mode should have been updated with split screen co-op for added fun. Raid Mode itself is fun and well thought-out, it’s one of the most entertaining minigames I’ve seen in the series so far. In fact, as Raid Mode actually lets you play through almost all stages of the campaign, it’s less of a minigame and more of a completely separate gameplay mode with plenty of characters and unlockables, ensuring a lot of replay value.
The Final Word
Resident Evil Revelations proves to be a step in the right direction for the series, managing to combine the gameplay of new Resident Evil games with the atmosphere of the older ones. With the exception of some missteps and missed opportunities, Revelations is one of the better games to have come out of the franchise in recent years. The HD port is the definitive version of the game and if you’re looking for a good horror title, do not miss out on it.
- MonsterVine Rating: 4 out of 5 – Good