Resi on a boat!
For the past several years the Resident Evil series has been dealing with a bit of an identity crisis. The 14-year-old series isn’t that much different from many other young teens really – it’s a little awkward and has a few unsightly pimples it hasn’t quite cleaned up yet, but in spite of its flaws the series has remained a strong force in the gaming industry, even despite the fact it hasn’t quite been the most popular kid in the class. Much of the franchise’s awkwardness has largely come from Capcom’s inability to decide if the series needs to take the jump to full-on action gameplay or to embrace its slower, more methodical horror roots. How does their newest entry on Nintendo’s new handheld stack up? Read on and find out.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty of the games mechanics, let’s first take a look at what Resident Evil: Revelations is all about. The game takes place in 2005, between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5 when the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance is still in its infancy. Jill Valentine and her fellow BSAA agent Parker Luciani- a smooth talking and portly Italian with cheeks built for smuggling Gnocchi by the pound- are investigating the supposed reemergence of the bioterrorist group “Il Veltro”, who was responsible for wiping out the solar powered Mediterranean city of Terragrigia in a B.O.W. attack one year ago. It appears the group, who was thought to be destroyed, is from the dead and it’s up to the Jill, Chris, Parker, and several other new characters to find out what exactly is going on. Be warned though, the story is a bit hokey at times, and at some points it becomes impossible to take seriously. Even still, the conspiracy-filled story has its moments, even if you have to endure a few groan-inducing moments to see them.
Resident Evil: Revelation’s gameplay is similar to Resident Evil 4 and 5 in that the game is played from an “over the shoulder” perspective, but the pacing is much more akin to earlier games in the series. While you’ll surely be blasting apart a wide variety of undead creatures, you’ll spend just as much time exploring the deserted halls of the Queen Zenobia, solving simple puzzles, searching for keys and avoiding the undead to conserve ammo for the numerous boss battles the game throws at you. Speaking of ammo, one new feature Resident Evil: Revelations brings to the series is the GENESIS scanner. This device is used to scan the environment for healing items, ammunition, and other points of interest. This may sound like a gimmick, but it really made me want to explore every inch of the ship to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and the constant rewards like weapons customization upgrades and healing herbs made using the scanner a very satisfying distraction.
You won’t always have the chance to take it easy and explore though- the enemy encounters are numerous and often intense in Revelations. It’s not uncommon that you’ll be faced with four or more ghouls at a time looking to rip your flesh from your bones. When the going gets tough, it’s time to bust out the guns and go all sorts of Dirty Hairy on some abominations. Thankfully, the combat feels great in RE:Revelations. When aiming your gun with the right shoulder button the camera snaps to a first-person perspective allowing you a clear view of your enemies without your body obstructing the camera. Aiming is quick and responsive, and gamers looking for added precision can pop on the Circle Pad Plus for dual-analog precision. However, the game plays just fine without the attachment. As stated before many enemies will attack you at once, thankfully the 3DS hardware is up to the task and the framerate never really becomes an issue. Even with a screen full of pursuing ghouls the game never loses much steam and gameplay remains pretty smooth throughout. Throughout the roughly ten hour campaign the combat is consistently enjoyable and never becomes a chore.
Unlike most Resident Evil titles, Resident Evil: Revelations takes place in a wide variety of locales. While the game starts you off aboard the dilapidated cruise liner SS Queen Zenobia, you will explore other areas as well such as the mountains of Europe, the bottom of the ocean, and a structure in the doomed city of Terragrigia itself. The story moves by quickly and in episodic form, a welcome departure from the series norm that works very well, especially considering the game’s handheld nature. While there are many different areas you’ll be visiting, the majority of the game takes place about the Queen Zenobia. The ship is massive and fans will find it to be much more reminiscent of the eerie mansions of earlier games in the series than you would expect. While exploring the Queen Zenobia’s eerie cabins, shadow-soaked galleys, and rain-slick decks you’ll encounter an entirely new type of horrors that are unlike any zombies you’ve blasted before in previous games. The new monstrocities are the product of a new variation of the T-Virus, the T-Abyss virus. These ghouls resemble pale, deformed mannequins with grotesque blades for hands. The T-Abyss infected prefer to hide in confined spaces like washing machines and vents so they can catch players off guard. More often than once I fumbled with my 3DS as one of the game’s slimy minions surprised me from behind.
While you’ll fight plenty of these aquatic nemeses during your holiday on Zenobia, fans of the earlier games in the series will be happy to know that you’ll spend just as much time exploring the darkened confines of the game world. Resident Evil: Revelations is one of the most impressive looking games on the 3DS to date, and exploring the dark and detailed environments is a treat. The interiors feature excellent volumetric lighting effects, extremely detailed character models, and a fantastic audio presentation that is teeming with grim atmosphere. There simply isn’t a more impressive looking or sounding game on the 3DS. That’s not to say everything looks great though. Occasionally you will find some inconsistent looking rooms that look plain compared to some of the better designed areas. Also, some textures (particularly the water) can look pretty flat and muddy. Really though, these are minor gripes when looking at the rest of the game. Also, while most of the voice acting is solid, there are a few actors who fall a bit flat with their delivery, and more than a few cheeseball lines that really break the immersion, like when BSAA agent Jessica announces she and her “great ass” are on their way to save Chris. Moments like this are few and far between though, and mostly the cast does a solid job of voicing the game’s cast.
Resident Evil: Revelations is a return to form for the series. This handheld horror-fest offers more thrills and chills than the latest console offerings in the series which will surely please longtime fans. In addition to scares, the lengthy 10 hour campaign and bonus Mercenaries-inspired Raid mode that happens to support cooperative play, makes this one full-featured title that not only does the series justice, but raises the bar by showing what developers can do when they fully utilize the power of the 3DS. Make no mistake, this isn’t just a solid handheld offering, but a total-package Resident Evil title that demands the attention of anyone who has a love for the series.
Final Verdict: 5/5
Available on: Nintendo 3DS (reviewed), PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 3; Publisher: Capcom ; Developer: Capcom; Players: 1 ; Released: May 20th, 2013
Full disclosure: This review is based on a retail Xbox One copy purchased by Hey Poor Player.</p