Review: Resident Evil : Revelations
Posted 14 Feb 2012 at 12:34 by Sam Gittins
The story is very well written managing to put more recent offerings to shame without sacrificing those crucial elements which the series is famous for; you initially assume the role of original STARRS member turned BSAA operative Jill Valentine who following the disappearance of her long-term colleague Chris Redfield is sent on a mission to rescue him alongside fellow operative Parker Luciani who teams up with her. Following traces of a comm link they venture across the stormy seas of the Mediterranean in a tugboat, as they near the target point they find an ominously dark ghost ship which was formerly a cruise liner; unaware of the evil seeping out of every shadow contained within they venture on-board to search for clues surrounding Chris' mysterious disappearance.As one of the biggest names in third party games Resident Evil still carries a lot of weight so whenever a new title is released it's sure to create a great deal of interest but when Capcom announced that their next canon iteration would be coming out not on home consoles but on the 3DS in the form of Resident Evil : Revelations this caused more interest than usual and with good reason too. It may not be a 'numbered' entry but don't let this fool you because it is every bit a classic Resi title as the best of them if not more so in certain areas thanks to its respectful evolution of the series which successfully creates revises the blue-print which will hopefully be reused in future titles.
Dialogue is always kept relevant during the main story though there are still enough 'cheesy' comments thrown in there which will no-doubt please long-term fans without turning away any newcomers, a shift in focus towards how the story is told along with the setting makes for a more dynamic experience especially when coupled with the games episodic nature which in addition to being presented in Chapter form has recaps after each part giving it a televisual feeling which works well with the short but satisfying nature of the narrative. Of course the game is perfectly suited to short bursts of play but you may well find that you'll want to keep progressing to discover what's going to happen next as you'll end up playing in a variety of locales as a selection of characters who all have their part to play in what turns out to be a rather compelling tale.
Controls have always been a sticking point when it comes to Resi but thankfully things have moved forward a bit as we now have the same control scheme that we received in the portable version of Mercenaries a few months back except everything feels significantly more refined; walking and running is a simple case of just using the circle pad as pushing it anywhere below halfway will make your character walk whereas pushing fully forward will allow you to run with ease while all other actions are assigned to the face buttons plus the d-pad. Shooting is handled by holding down the the right shoulder button to aim down your sights – you can opt for third or first person aiming – and using 'Y' to fire while pressing 'B' at this time will reload your weapon, holding the left shoulder button allows you to strafe while pressing 'X' allows you to use your sub-weapon ranging from combat knives to various explosives; you can switch between main weapons with a right press on the D-pad with left for sub-weapon scrolling, 'Y' is also used contextually for picking up items plus delivering blows to stunned enemies, 'B' plus direction initiates a quick turn and 'A' of course uses a trusty herb to replenish your health... there are no first aid sprays for the sake of simplicity.
If you are considering purchasing or already have a Circle Pad Pro then I would highly recommend using it with this title as it offers a quite simply unparalleled level of control, yes the device itself is rather ugly but it's ergonomically designed as well as being very effective at what it sets out to do. Using it is simple as the game detects the device as soon as you change the control option, recognising it every time from that point forward which is a good thing because even though the game is perfectly playable without it you won't want to be without the device after using it; having two large triggers at your disposal alongside dual-analogue controls really transforms the experience for the better so if you can see yourself playing this game for a long time then I would advise picking up the peripheral if only for comfort and accessibility.
One of the series traits from the beginning has been its ability to instil a sense of fear into the player, this seems to have been more absent in recent entries in the series but I can confirm that there were definitely a good few moments in Revelations that genuinely made me jump while playing but despite having a very classic feel to it in places things seem to have moved on for the better in other areas as in the older titles you seemed to be very limited on what you can carry; here you no longer carry a case on your person as you simply can carry up to four weapons with a cap being places on other single-use items such as grenades. The case mechanic does however come into play as at certain points in the game you can access chests where you can store extra weapons you've acquired, swap them around and also apply different modifiers to your weapons which come in the form of 'Custom Parts' which you may find during your adventure, they can range from giving you extra fire-power or capacity, you can have as many parts as there are slots on your weapons plus you can find 'Illegal Custom Parts' which can provide some rather useful modifications.
While there seems to be more new enemies which are fearful in their own ways there are some returning favourites such as Hunters which are always nice to see but for the most part it's all about the Ooze which look like mutated variants of the Regenerators from Resident Evil 4, they will mostly shamble up to you trying to chew your face off if they get too close but other versions will attack you with their machete-shaped arms or launch projectiles in your general direction. Perhaps the most terrifying are the Skeg-Dead which are the games 'chainsaw maniac' equivalent only these have the ability to shoot out traps which you really don't want to get caught in when one of these monstrosities comes lumbering your way with a circular saw attached to its arm; there are also various aquatic creatures who will attempt to drown you in the underwater sections not to mention some rather inventive boss battles including – yes you guessed it – one you need to take down with a rocket launcher.
For all of its scares though another important element that's made it through partially intact are the puzzles and while none of them are ever quite on the same level of ingenuity that was displayed in the very first titles there are still some that will require a bit of thought along with some rather nice diversions that require use of the touch screen to short-circuit door controls and actually use an underwater blowtorch later in the game, it's nice to see that this aspect hasn't been forgotten about as it rounds off the gameplay rather nicely. Indeed. There's even a rather impressive on-rails section which requires you to take control of a turret atop a tug-boat which seems to borrow from the most recent numbered entries but in all the right ways creating a welcome change of pace that's not out of place.
Overall the single-player story is well put together touting a reasonable length of between ten or twelve hours on your first play-through with plenty of scope for replay thanks to the achievement-like mission list which rewards you for such things as dispatching many enemies with the rather satisfying weapons – machine guns, magnums, pistols, shotguns are all included – or for scanning hidden hand-prints using the games scanning device which also proves its usefulness many times over while at the same time offering an extra element which adds immersion to the experience. Also while the more standard difficulties offer a reasonable amount of challenge you can play through the game a second time on 'Hell Mode' which truly lives up to its name as you'll likely find yourself having to retry certain sections of the game which you may have blitzed through previously thanks to a greater number of tougher enemies coupled with more limited resources.
But this isn't all the game has to offer as while you will most likely happily while away a good few hours on the story mode you'll soon surpass that time in Raid Mode which is where the games lasting appeal surely lies, choosing from many characters from the story mode you get to choose your load-out, pick a stage from a selection of twenty-one all based on locations you will have encountered before but with loads more enemies. Perhaps best of all is that you can either opt to go it alone or team up with anyone you know locally or go online and find someone to team-up; the latter isn't just recommended because it's a lot of fun but the stages do get genuinely more progressively challenging so having a friend to fight alongside you is very useful indeed if not essential especially on the later difficulties of which there are three to work your way through and believe me when I say that obtaining an S rank on all of them will be tough.
You will level up regardless of how you decide to play but you score points bonuses for accuracy, genocide, no damage taken plus meeting the par-time, if you somehow manage all of these then you will also acquire a trinity bonus which will net you even more experience points or 'BP' as its known in the game which also acts as a currency that you can use to buy special weapons, extra modifiers, greater ammo capacity or even extra storage space for your weapons as when your box is full you have to get rid of the weaker weapons that you don't need, be sure to check the stats carefully though as you don't want to throw away a six-slot special weapon by mistake. I had the pleasure of playing many games of Raid Mode with members of our N-E community which were most enjoyable , always fun and just goes to show how great a game like this can be with a healthy bout of friendly co-operative competition; Capcom have even been clever in their inclusion of Streetpass which enables people you've played with to actually become named enemies whom you must put out of their misery when you revisit any stage bearing a purple hallmark.
Visually there is a lot to be in awe of as the graphics are nicely detailed throughout achieving a quality that's comparable possibly even superior to Resident Evil 4 which is rather impressive and shows that the mobile engine used for the game is very competent indeed feeling like a step-up even from Mercenaries which too is impressive. What truly sets things apart though is the in-game depth of 3D that's customisable which when at its fullest setting really shows what the 3DS is capable of creating very believable environments which for the most part runs at a very smooth frame-rate which only dips at certain corridor or elevator sections which is forgiveable given that it's having to load whole areas and though it's a pain to wait those extra few seconds it's certainly better than a loading screen.
Audio is even more impressive as everything sounds very realistic indeed from the satisfying shotgun unloading into an enemy to every footstep your character makes as well as some rather creepy voice samples, they all sound excellent coming through the systems speakers but if you have a decent pair of headphones to hand then I would urge you to use them as this game will certainly make the most of them not to mention adding an extra layer of immersion that is quite simply unparalleled and will allow you to enjoy the atmospheric music that the game has to offer that much more; quite simply it's an aural accomplishment.
There should definitely be room in your 3DS game collection for this as Resident Evil Revelations is an excellent entry in the series and a title that's well suited to the console as it has everything you could want from a Resi title but in portable form; all of the important elements are there alongside a fair few advancements that make playing the single-player campaign a joy. As for Raid Mode you'll most likely find yourself playing it for a very long time indeed as it's the game-mode that keeps on giving for as long as you have time to invest in it, truly this title comes highly recommended for newcomers and fans alike.
N-Europe Final Verdict
One of the best Resident Evil games in recent years, Capcom have outdone themselves setting a new benchmark for the series which all future releases should follow; Revelations is a Resi revolution and one that you should be part of.
Gruesomely good graphics
A few framerate dips
Some difficulty spikes