This article was originally published at Another-Castle.com
Resident Evil: Revelations
Platform: PC, PS3, 360, 3DS, Wii U (reviewed)
I could open this review by talking about the mixed responses that last year’s Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6 recieved, but the truth is that, scrolling through a website like Metacritic, many Resident Evil titles in the series’ history have shared an uneven response. It’s a lineage of games that’s featured plenty of bad titles over the years, with its main titles usually the lone bearers of overwhelming critical acclaim (though even a game like Resident Evil 4 has its detractors). So what about Revelations? It was released on the 3DS last year and was certainly the most well received of last year’s Resident Evil titles. With it now available on all major consoles including the Wii U, there’s been no better time to pick its brains.
The first thing that needs to be made clear here is that Revelations is not nearly as pretty as the last few console Resident Evil releases, though it should go without saying. The game was designed for a handheld that is far less powerful — the animations aren’t as smooth as they should be, many textures lack detail and the characters facial movements will also look odd to anyone who has played Resident Evil 5 or 6. There are also some other strange quirks like doors shutting automatically and having to be re-opened, even when you are right behind the character you’re following. And that’s without mentioning some of the long load times which bog down the opening of other doors. Regardless of its technical flaws, though, Revelations looks far from bad, and a lot better than many early-life cycle games released on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
If you’re looking for any actual revelations in the overwritten and incoherent mess that is the Resident Evil canon in this game, then you better look elsewhere. If anything, Revelations actually confused me even more. But though plot is just as silly as any other in the series, to my mind, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I loved every minute of the story on display here and didn’t mind being confused one bit. The dialogue in Revelations rivals the original for sheer corniness, made better by the question of whether all of it’s tongue-in-cheek or not. The characters that you know here are much the same and the new ones are as clichéd as can be. Particular favourites are two supporting characters Jessica and Rachael who both wear outrageous clothing and drive some of the more interesting parts of the game’s narrative. Chris and Jill are as Chris and Jill-y as ever, although I was a bit surprised to see that Jill now has a new voice actor. There are also a few extra characters including a couple of perverted nerds that seem to grab and shake you any time you start to take the game seriously.
Despite the silliness of the plot, actual in-game scares are present, as are some creepy new monsters. Revelations plays much the way Resident Evil 4 and 5 do but with some notable changes. Similar in style to Alan Wake, the game plays out over episodes, each with at least two scenarios and a “Previously on Resident Evil: Revelations” recap placed at the beginning of each episode. The vast majority of the game is spent in control of Jill Valentine but there are several scenarios where you play as other characters related to the main events. When you aren’t playing as Jill, the game plays more like an action title, but when in control of her ammo is scarce and the enemies are numerous. The enemy headcount is never overwhelming, but you’ll certainly find that a careful approach will be far more lucrative here than it has been in more recent games in the series. I even often found myself running from enemies with an empty gun.
Control wise, Revelations allows players to move and shoot at the same time, change weapons on the fly, and there’s even a secondary weapon button for grenades and other area of effect weapons. There is a dodge mechanic as well but I found this unintuitive and only ever pulled it off by accident, though I was always thankful when I did. With the aforementioned scarcity of ammo, these enhancements don’t turn the game into an action title — they just ensure that you are never fighting the controls instead of the enemies. The only significant issue I found when playing the Wii U version was there seems to be a deadzone in the analogue stick when aiming. This was mostly a minor problem and something I got used to, but there was one section towards the end where I found it to be a large problem. This may be patched later but it was frustrating at times not to have the level of accuracy provided by a properly mapped analogue stick. The Wii U version does have some unique enhancements that complement the game though: You can of course, use remote play but the integration of the Miiverse on the game over screen is the most interesting feature. Each time you die a series of messages appear from other people who died in the same spot, which actually eliminated the frustration I otherwise would have felt in such a situation. You too can add your own message for other players, and assuming you didn’t die somewhere nobody else did, it was always amusing (and sometimes helpful) seeing what others had to say.
If less story, more action and loot is what you’re after then the game’s Raid Mode is the place to be. Raid Mode has a similar arcade feel to the Mercenaries mode from other series titles, but this time around it\’s not time-based and includes a standard progression system as well as a whole series of rewards. The weapons in this mode are tied to your level, so the higher your level, the better the gun. There are also many weapon upgrades and character skins to be earned and unlocked, as well as a bevy of stages (all based on the single player) and multiple difficulty levels to play around with. It is very much a mode in which the player gets out what they put in, and though it can be played alone, it is best enjoyed online with a friend. Unfortunately, there\’s no local co-op or split-screen option.
ResidentEvil.net is also integrated in all ported versions of Revelations, allowing you to share progress, make friends and even unlock extra weapons for Raid Mode. There seem to be no micro-transactions or any other such features associated with it, so the worst that can be said is that it is a gimmick; a gimmick that doesn’t affect the game if you ignore it completely, but one that allows you to check progress, interact with other players and get some new items.
If you already played or own the 3DS version, there isn’t really any solid basis to recommend buying Revelations again, past being able to play it on a larger screen. But for those that haven’t played it and have even a passing interest in the Resident Evil series, it’s a definite recommendation. The price is right, and Raid mode gives the game some serious legs long after finishing the satisfyingly corny story mode.