Resident Evil: Revelations [Review]
February 15, 2012
The Resident Evil series has come a long way since the first game was released in 1996. The very first Resident Evil games defined the survivor horror genre; setting the standard for what they were supposed to be like and how they were supposed to challenge gamers. The series started to pull away from the idea of survival horror starting with Resident Evil 4. Although it was a great game and regarded by a lot of fans to be their favorite in the series, it changed everything fans of the older games had known about the series; pulling it more towards the action-adventure genre.
Resident Evil 5 was especially action oriented, and would probably be my least favorite in the series. My favorite title in the series is Resident Evil 2, a classic example of the survivor horror games that have grown to become my favorite type of game. In recent years, fans like myself were disappointed at these new Resident Evil games and waited anxiously for a return to the formula that had set the bar for other survivor horror series’ such as Silent Hill, Dino Crisis, and Parasite Eve.
Quite a few years after the more traditional Resident Evil games, we now have Resident Evil: Revelations; a game that succeeds and struggles all at the same time. This game is set between the events of Resident Evil 4 & 5, and allows the option to play as different characters; each providing different points of view. The game begins on a seemingly abandoned ship, the Queen Zenobia, with the player controlling Jill Valentine who is accompanied by her partner Parker. The whole reason you’re aboard this ship is to find Chris Redfield and his partner Jessica who are suspected to have been captured by “II Veltro”; a bio-terrorist organization.
The first thing that can be noted about Revelations is the impressive graphics. This is the best looking 3DS game out there, and topping what they did in this game is going to be very difficult. Besides frame rate issues when there is animated puzzle sequences or many enemies at the same time, there isn’t much else to complain about here. The 3D effects are mostly great, with the exception of slight problems which will be brought up later.
The ship that Jill and Parker must explore immediately feels creepy and haunting. The jarring sound work that Resident Evil games are known for is definitely present here. Wind and waves batter the ship, and there are creaking and banging noises randomly throughout each corridor. Listening to the noise will freak you out, and sometimes it will almost seem as if someone is groaning somewhere nearby. Many times this is indeed the case. If you want to really be immersed in this game, I would recommend wearing headphones while playing.
The ship turns out to not just be a standard ship, but a mansion on water. There are many different rooms to trek and backtrack through as you attempt to search for Chris and make it out alive. The ship is also modestly sprinkled with puzzles; most of which involve players finding a specific type of key or a crest. Not surprisingly, this lavish and intricate ship was built by George Trevor; the madman responsible for the design of the Spencer mansion. There were enough puzzles to satisfy fans of the first games, but not too many as to overwhelm fans of later games.
The other missions have you play as Chris Redfield with his partner Jessica. These missions by comparison were dull and forgettable. The first mission, for example, was a linear trek through a snowy mountain and mine shaft. Chris and Jessica encounter zombie dogs, and at one point they appear in waves as Chris is waiting for Jessica to get her “sweet ass” down the mountain to help. Don’t look at me like that folks; those were her words, not mine.
Yes, the dialogue for the companion characters is incredible cheesy. I had to ask someone else who was in the room if she had really said that to believe it. Capcom, there are some things that us fans of the classic games do not want back in the game. To be specific, the awful dialogue brought to you in remembrance of classic phrases such as, “you were almost a Jill sandwich.” These other missions are dull by comparison mostly because they split up the missions in the ship, which are creepy and intense. It’s hard to stay immersed in the puzzling and dark maze of a ship if you get pulled away from it to listen to Chris’ partner whine about how cold it is.
There are a few weapons available when the game starts; the staple being the handgun. Handgun bullets are the most common to find around each room probably because each character has one. Other obtainable weapons include a rifle and shotgun. These are found as your progress through the area. Jill starts with a handgun and knife, Parker (who you do get a chance to play) has a machine gun, and Chris has a handgun. Aside from obtaining the weapons themselves, upgrades for the weapons (such as those to enhance firepower) can be obtained by acquiring weapon kits that are scattered around. Upgrades can be added and removed from weapons however many times you want, but this customization can only be done at a weapons box which are located around the area.
Besides firepower, hand grenades and B.O.W. decoys are also available for each player. Hand grenades are self-explanatory: you throw them and they explode. B.O.W. decoys are a little more complicated. When you throw them they emit a “unique sound that lures in surrounding enemies and then explodes; taking out everything in the vicinity,” as explained in the Genesis in-game manual; also given to you.These seemed to be borrowed from the Left 4 Dead games, but were of great use the rare times you got a hold of them. Unfortunately, using them on slow enemies was useless because the timer on them was very short.
Aside from weaponry, there is another crucial tool used in the game. The Genesis scanner is a relatively sensitive bio-scanner, and while there are necessary points in the game where it needs to be used, it can be used liberally in each room.The Genesis uses a kind of radiation to scan its targets, and the main use of this item is scanning organic materials. Using the Genesis to scan enemies when dead (well, more dead than they were before) will yield you a certain percentage. Scanning enemies until the percentage reaches 100% will award players with a health recovery item. The Genesis is also able to scan for weapons and ammunition. When aiming the Genesis there will be a glowing yellow dot in the corner of the screen to let players know that there is an item nearby.
Enemies range from slow, zombie like creatures to fast agile creatures such as the hunter. Unfortunately the series discarded the zombie proper in lieu of the disintegrating Ooze-infected creatures. Consequently, this means their liquid based nature allows them to literally fall out of anything that could hold something.Cabinets, vents, bathrooms, and other hidden places are not necessarily safe, even if they appear that way at first.
Resident Evil: Revelations succeeds in bringing back the franchise to its roots in survival horror, but breaks that up with cheesy shooter sequences featuring Chris and his partner. While the parts of the game that take place on the haunting ship are intense and leave you peering around each corner, the interruption of that by other sequences is sigh inducing. Besides this and a few other hiccups, Revelations is a must play for both fans of the series and genre.
Out Of 5
Resident Evil: Revelations
The graphics are stunning and at times beautiful. Exploring the Queen Zenobia exposes players to cold, industrial hallways that are narrow and tough to maneuver. Discovering the luxurious mansion within the ship was a real treat for the eyes, and will likely remind fans of the first time they saw the lobby of the police station in Resident Evil 2. There will be incidences of things looking too pixely, such as blood piles left by some of the monsters. Animations, such as the gears turning on a wheeled puzzle, will cause frame-rate issues.
Capcom has mastered the art of creating a terrifying and tense environment, largely through background noises. Wind howls through broken windows as it batters the ship, and sometimes it almost sounds like moaning. Or is it actually someone, no, something moaning in a room somewhere? These sounds make you paranoid. The problems in the game are largely attributed to the cheesy dialogue between characters, and the voice work. Also, the sound of your character walking is the same sound as the enemies shuffling and is confusing. In earlier games, hearing shuffling was an indicator that you were in the danger zone.
The controls in Revelations leave much to be desired. Playing sans the Circle Pad Pro, it's awkward to try and aim with any amount of speed. Aiming speed and look inversion can be adjusted, but did not seem to be saved when you quit the game for the day. Different button configurations can be used, which could be handy for those who require specific controls. Unfortunately for everyone who has ever played any game ever, the tank controls are present here. What this means for those who are not used to tank controls is that you cannot walk or run and shoot. This is a big problem, especially when the creatures hunting you are fast. It was all fine and good when you were fighting slow zombies, but things have changed.
Although Revelations brings the series back to hunting for keys and crests with odd emblems, as well as hunting for information, it doesn't go all the way. In the older games, there were tons of files, diaries, and photos that show players what had happened and what caused each disaster. Some of them contained secrets to puzzles and safes, and some of them were just interesting to read. Revelations is extremely lacking in this aspect. Couple that with the control issues, and it kind of detracts from this amazing game. Revelations succeeds in the aspect of survival horror. Ammo and health are scarce, and you will constantly find yourself re-skimming each room for anything you may have left. Oh, and did I mention the mutant creatures?
It was fun to see that Revelations went back to its survival horror roots and got away from the newer action games. Unfortunately, the lack of files and such to sift through really made me loose interest in taking my time exploring the ship. The small screen of the 3DS is also hard to play a game like this on. It accomplished a console quality hand-held game, but the small screen can sometimes be annoying when everything is dark.