May 20, 2013
At one point during Resident Evil: Revelations' soggy seafaring story, Jill Valentine refers to one of the T-Abyss virus-infected Ooze as a zombie. While that's not really technically true, the Ooze possess a number of zombie-like characteristics. They're slow moving, clumsy and if they get close enough, they'll try to suck the life out of you with their bizarre lamprey-like suckers.
The Ooze, as well as being weird, are scarier than the menagerie of mutated creatures featured in Resident Evil 6, which is part of the reason why Resident Evil: Revelations is a far more satisfying experience overall, and is distinctly, uniquely Resident Evil. It's not the 'return to Resident Evil's roots' that's been mooted, but it has more in common with Resident Evil 4 than any of the recent, more action-oriented Resident Evil fare.
Told in an episodic format, Resident Evil: Revelations takes place aboard the Queen Zenobia, a massive cruise ship comprised of leaky grey corridors, rusting engine rooms and flooded maintenance areas. It's not just a claustrophobic setting, but it's one that's distinctive and memorable, meaning you'll have the lay of the land in your head in no time.
Of course, there's a handy 3D map to consult should you get lost, which is entirely possible once you find yourself caught in the labyrinthine passageways and crew quarters deep below deck. Starting out as Jill Valentine with her partner Parker Luciani on a mission to locate and rescue her former STARS colleague Chris Redfield and new partner Jessica Sherawat, the story flips between flashbacks and other characters that have their role to play in the overall narrative tapestry.
The script still has it's fair share of hammy moments, and some of the lines elicit laughter rather than evoking a sense of drama, but for the most part, Revelations' story still manages to draw you in, even if it is the same old daft Resident Evil yarn, albeit with some new players this time, including a fledgling BSAA, the shady FBC and nefarious Veltro, who've infected one fifth of the world's oceans with the T-Abyss virus.
Revelations plays a lot like Resident Evil 4 and 5, with none of Resident Evil 6's concessions to its action-driven gameplay like cover, rolling and what not. As such it feels more like a classic Resident Evil title, post-Resident Evil 1-3 with its fixed camera angles and static environments. There are light puzzling aspects, and even the odd quiet moment of foreboding to ratchet up the tension.
Gameplay-wise, initially Revelations feels rather slow, and the lack of a run button seems a little odd, but the truth is the controls are nigh-on perfect. The only real flaws come when you're walking and strafing at the same time, as it looks like you're ice skating, and when you're attempting to evade an attack, the quick turn and dodge moves can feel a mite unreliable.
It's a well-paced game too, and one that's enormously fun to play, thanks in part to a fair and even checkpoint system and the fairly brief nature of each chapter. New weapons, creatures and parts of the ship are introduced at just the right time, while one minute you'll be swimming through the flooded bowels of the Zenobia and braving the snowy tundra as Quint and Keith the next, searching for the truth behind the fall of Terragrigia, as orchestrated by the bio-terrorist organisation, Veltro.
Resource management plays its part in Revelations too, with three weapon slots and the ability to carry five healing herbs at any one time. You can apply upgrades to weapons and switch out guns at weapon boxes, while ammo still needs to be scavenged and carefully managed. Everything has been refined and pared down, so there are no first aid sprays, no yellow, blue and red herbs to combine, and any ammo you collect is stored in your ammo pouches. Grenades are thrown at the touch of a button, healing is mapped to a single button too, and there's no fiddling in menus to equip or use things.
You can collect additional pouches to store more ammunition, and if you avoid spraying bullets like a maniac, you'll normally have enough to scrape through. You can also scan each room for hidden items using your handy Genesis contraption, used to gather research on the Ooze. Scanning the Ooze also counts towards a percentage, and for every 100% you accrue, you'll gain a herb as a reward. It means that rather than racing through the game, you're made to stop and examine your surroundings first.
Managing your resources is all brought to the fore in Revelations' score attack-style Raid Mode, which tasks you with completing a section of the game in the quickest time possible, facing enemies of varying strength and sizes. Unlike stalwart Resident Evil bonus mode Mercenaries, Raid Mode is a different beast in that there's no clock to fight against, and surviving to get from point A to point B by any means necessary is your sole concern.
As you progress through the main campaign and Raid Mode, you'll accumulate BP to spend on weapons, custom weapon parts and consumable items like herbs and ammo to help you survive the numerous Raid stages, increasing Revelations' longevity massively. Each Raid stage lasts minutes and playing solo or in online co-op is a blast, so chances are once you've finished with the 7-8 hour campaign, Raid Mode will keep you occupied for countless hours. And there's always a New Game+ to tackle in the campaign with all of your weapons and other items intact.
Clearly Capcom knows that the lion's share of Resident Evil: Revelations runtime lies in Raid Mode however, as the majority of the achievement list is dedicated to completing and fulfilling various requirements within Raid. There are some pretty challenging achievements to tackle in the campaign, like beating the game on normal or above without dying, and Raid also has its fair share of tough goals to complete.
This includes having to clear every Raid stage with an 'S' rank, levelling up to 50 and acquiring 150 bonuses during your Raid Mode career, meaning if you want to attain that elusive 1000 Gamerscore, you're going to have to prepare to be in for the long haul. You might want to rope in a friend, especially if you want to grab the achievement that involves striking an Ooze together with a synchronised punch. Tricky.
A decent HD revamp of the acclaimed Nintendo 3DS game, Resident Evil: Revelations is a Resident Evil game for fans of Resident Evil games. Nicely paced and a joy to play, it's still packed with cheesy B-movie moments and has an irritating final boss. Nevertheless, Resident Evil: Revelations harks back to a time when Resident Evil games were more tense, enjoyable and above all, fun.
The sounds made by the Ooze are genuinely unsettling and the voice-acting, while hammy in places is generally excellent. The score is hit and miss, getting the subtlety just right at times, while going too loud and relentless at others.
Capcom has done a fine job sprucing up the Nintendo 3DS game for consoles. Resident Evil: Revelations looks superb in HD, although it is a little rough around the edges in certain places. There's also a distinct lack of the series' signature gore and body horror in this one, which is a shame.
This is the kind of Resident Evil game we'd like to see more of. Tight controls, no unwieldy menus, no concessions to all-out action. Just a fine Resident Evil game more in the Resident Evil 4 or 5 mould, except you can move, strafe and shoot in this one.
While the campaign is somewhat short, there's New Game+ to tackle and Raid Mode will keep you playing for hours upon hours, solo or with a co-op buddy online.
As achievement lists go, Revelations' is pretty bog-standard and almost entirely bereft of invention. Another typically grind-filled Capcom list, completing the campaign without dying is one thing, getting 'S' ranks on every Raid Mode stage and earning 150 awards is quite another. A time-consuming, tough and uncreative list.
More like the survival horror Resident Evil should be and less the balls-to-the-wall actioner, Resident Evil: Revelations almost strikes the perfect balance between scares and playability. It's arguably the best Resident Evil game we've played since Resident Evil 4, and that's saying something.