Platform(s): 3DS, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Wii-U
Well, well. I think this game surprised the heck out of anybody who was discontent with “Resident Evil 5” and still managed to retain the action/suspense of “4”. “Resident Evil: Revelations” first debuted on the handheld Nintendo 3DS as what was at heart yet another cash grab by the Evil Overlord Capcom, but as feedback started to pile in, turns out this game was a welcome revisiting of the survival aspect which in turn was a REVELATION to jaded “RE” gamers of old… yeah, that was too easy, sorry.
Set before “RE 5”, “Revelations” reunites us with Jill Valentine who is now a member of the newly formed NGO the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) and she is investigating the disappearance of her colleagues Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat on the Queen Zenobia, a curiously abandoned luxury cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. By her side is Parker Luciani, and together they discover just why there is no living soul on board… and did I mention this takes place in the middle of a storm?
I confess, when this first came out, I honestly had no intention of rushing out there to buy a 3DS just to play it because I wasn’t sure whether or not it was worth the coin. Although I wasn’t one of those folks who despised “5”, I found it lacking and I figured, what would “Revelations” seriously have to offer. When the ‘net announced the game would be ported to console this year (2013), I still wasn’t certain because as with quite a few games that have received the port treatment, it would have surely been full of bugs. And then, reviews came in, saying that it was the “RE” we’ve all been waiting for, that it was a “triumphant” return to a franchise that had lost its way and the old and the new have found a happy medium. “Okay” I thought, “so far, so good” and then I downloaded the demo (free demos are one of the best things ever!) and pretty much that day I made a reservation at the local EB because this was one cruise I wanted to take.
Although “Revelations” has no zombies so to speak (cry about it, purists), the Ooze in this game are worthy alternatives because like zombies, the force that drives them is the need for sustenance, in this case, your blood. Ooze resembles drowned, slimy corpses who are constantly looking to sate their instinctive thirst that have the frustrating ability to pop up seemingly out of nowhere from the floor, out of air ducts, anywhere there is the slightest area of space. What I like about this game is that how it remains focused on the fantasy of the series while still having something to say about the contemporary threat of bioterrorism. Just like “4”, “Revelations” does not have Umbrella as the antagonist, no, the main villain/s in this game are rogue terrorists or power-hungry creatures who get their hands on the deadly t-Abyss Virus (an off-shot of the T Virus that is based on deep-sea research) who decide they want to send a message to the world about just how unsafe and unstable the world truly is. As a result of this Yeatsean beast’s advance, the world of “RE” has once again expanded into a wider-scale universe and I for one welcome it. The tale of Raccoon City has been told time and again, so it’s only a logical progression that the world is threatened on a global scale. After all, just how much of the Earth is covered with water?
For a port, this game on console is actually a lot better than what you may think. For one, although you are saddled with a partner, the story mode is completely solo- you are practically all on your own. As such, the controls are at heart quite simple and easy to remember, which really does come in handy when you find yourself ambushed by the deadly denizens of the Zenobia. And for those of you who say “No big, I can just blow them away because I have the ammo for it.”. Let me tell you something- when you play this for the first time, ammunition is actually quite sparse and the only time you get yourself a stockpile is before a boss battle, and even then, you have to keep your eye on your supplies. Although a skilled player will find considerable comfort in their stocks the more they play, bullets are never given out of good charity- you have to EARN it. This game rewards studiousness and conservation because it hearkens back to the old days. You can’t always go in guns blazing here, in fact, it is almost discouraged, especially when you play on Infernal mode, because let me tell you something, the mode can be unforgiving if you are not sensible. Another feature I adore, and I’m quite certain others will agree, is that finally, you get to move and shoot. Yes! While shooting an enemy, you have the ability to back up or advance as you see fit, in addition to the glorious 180 turn and longer range of movement. “Revelations” also sees the introduction to the dodge mechanic- when an enemy goes in for the kill, Jill (or any playable character) can dodge the attack which gives them the time to run away or launch a counter-attack against a pugnacious adversary. Another helpful feature is when you stun an enemy, you can make your character run in and do a context-sensitive melee attack that will take more damage off an enemy every time you do it.
As you can no doubt see, the graphics in this game were naturally influenced by the dim corridors, dark rooms and imposing atmosphere of Remake, 2, 3 and 4, and since you are on a ship, just imagine how claustrophobic the Queen Zenobia is with barely functioning power in the bowels of the ship and the eerie emptiness of state rooms and public areas. The Queen Zenobia is a virtual ghost ship filled with nightmares. The nightmares that you find are not just Ooze, oh no, we have ourselves a numerous amount of freakish foes wandering around in search of their prey. The highest compliment I can give to a disturbing creature is to ask myself “What are you? What were you?” and I found myself asking myself that all the while giggling in frightened delight as they pursued me relentlessly. I also must state that the boss battles in this game (and sub-bosses) are among some of the best in the series so far. Yeah, despite the fact “Revelations” started life as a hand-held, this is a good-looking, great sounding, entertaining game. “Revelations” also boasts an impressive musical score that is chilling yet also very beautiful and appropriate for the type of sensation the game goes for. One track can be incredibly relentless and menacing, the enemy that is hunting you down, eager for your flesh, the next one can be an operatic and moody piece that reminds you of a choir of fallen angels. It’s such a gorgeous arrangement, I highly recommend you check them out on YouTube and download them. In addition to a highly memorable campaign, “Revelations” presents us with Raid mode, in which you select a character, modify weaponry and it’s perks so you can go through various stages and eliminate enemies of multiple variants and numbers as possible. Depending on how many enemies you kill and how much damage you take, you are graded in accordance to your performance during the round. This is a superb feature because you not only get to team up with a friend but it’s competitive and improves your skills. Raid mode also rewards the player with XP in order to further a character’s strength so they may proceed to higher levels of difficulty- well worth checking out, especially if you and your buddy want to let off some steam.
The problems I have with this game is based off my own experience playing it like a madwoman, so don’t take what I’m about to say as cemented fact. Apart from the fact the game rewards prudence and endurance, I find the dodging mechanism isn’t quite as good as it should be- you have a small window of time to avoid an attack, but not every enemy can be dodged within the same timeframe and you really, really have to fine tune your performance. It’s hardly impossible, but it can be quite frustrating, especially if you are running low on resources or you are trying to achieve a low damage score on Raid mode. There are several enemies that can be a cause of this, but it mainly comes down to the player honing their skills rather than the game itself… okay, maybe it’s a little bit of the game’s fault, but a poor plumber blames their tools, right? BTW, why is HUNK always a challenge to unlock?!
I’m not going to complain about the story because this is “Resident Evil” for crying out loud- logic is defied, hilariously corny dialogue is spouted and you are gonna roll your eyes at the clichés that are tossed your way, but in my eyes, that is what helps the game succeed. When you think about it, was “RE” ever truly meant to be taken absolutely seriously? If that were the case, it would be more along the lines of say “Silent Hill” or “The Walking Dead” or even “The Last of Us”, but it isn’t. I genuinely believe the glorious stupidity of “RE” is what has kept it going for all this time and why it has garnered so many fans ever since 1996. However, what I will complain about is that several times in the game, you leave Jill’s scenario and find yourself playing as Chris “The Biceps” Redfield as well as several others. That’s the problem I had with “Nemesis”- I just wasn’t as invested in the character’s quest as I was in Jill’s. When I play the game, I play it for Jill’s particular adventure, and I find myself almost rushing through the other chapter. For once I would love to see a game that featured just one particular character and see things entirely from their perspective. I understand this device was utilized to further the plot progression, but still, I didn’t like being torn away from my homegirl to play a sausage wielder for a few short chapters. Oh, and I couldn’t help but add more whine to my cheese, so I have to piss on about how utterly useless the AI partners in this game are. Although thankfully they are invincible, every bullet they shoot is completely non-consequential and most of the time they just stand around and shoot aimlessly without bringing any foe down. I know, I know, this is a port game, but since the developers took the time to overhaul the game for the console, couldn’t they have made the AI a little more productive in times of crisis? Bah.
“Resident Evil: Revelations” is a breath of fresh, necrotic, slightly damp air and a far better step in the right direction than the sixth installment, and for all of it’s pitfalls and the obvious distaste others may feel for it, it remains one of the better exports of “RE” out there. This series is not dead yet, it just needs another gust of wind in its sails, and this was the right craft to do it.
Fun Factor: 7.5 – Although the story mode is strictly single player, “Revelations” guarantees you will waste more than a few hours of your precious time on replays AND Raid mode. Raid mode will become your daddy.
Graphics: 7.5 – Alright, so despite the fact this didn’t start as a console, the visuals do suffer in such a way in terms of several cases of frame rate and pixelation. Certainly not enough to deplete your enjoyment, but when playing Raid with a friend and if there is lag, it can be an inconvenience to say the least.
Sound: 10 – As with “4” the music here is truly unbelievable. I could actually hear this soundtrack in what could technically considered a better game. Bra-vo!
Control: 8 – Moving and shooting, yay, yay, YAY! Although there is nothing truly dynamic or mint about character movement and combat performance, it’s very basic yet fluent.
Lasting Appeal: 9 – A note to Capcom- thank you very much for “Revelations”- you have restored balance into your creation. I hope this has been a lesson to you.