STAFF REVIEW of Resident Evil Revelations (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013.
by Adam Dileva

Resident Evil Revelations Box art Resident Evil is really the title that launched the survival horror genre to its peak with its debut back in 1996 on the Playstation. With well more than a dozen spinoffs and sequels, the latest few versions have seemed to lost that touch of what made the original games so great; the fear factor. The latest games have transitioned into the common action games that are a dime a dozen these days which has left some of the original fans excluded and uncertain of the series’ future. About a year and a half ago it seems Capcom wanted to start to remedy this situation and created a Resident Evil game that went a little more back to its roots, the only problem being is that it launched on the 3DS when it was relatively new and not the largest installed user base to experience it. It seems Capcom wants everyone else to experience their hard work and has finally remastered its 3DS title, Resident Evil Revelations, and brought it to the home consoles, HD graphics and new content in tow.

I’ll be honest, I actually skipped Revelations on the 3DS, as I didn’t think that a handheld version of the long standing title would be up my alley, or all that scary like some of its predecessors. Turns out I was missing out, as Revelations turned out to be quite well received and showed that Capcom was clearly trying to revive Resident Evil to its proper survival horror roots. It’s not very often that a handheld title gets an enhanced and redone version on the consoles this much later, so needless to say I was a bit skeptical on what improvements really could be made from the small screen and single analog stick to the HD TV and fully fledged controller. To say that I was impressed would be putting it mildly; sure it’s not perfect and you can clearly see its portable roots in certain aspects, but if you didn’t know it, you probably wouldn’t guess that Revelations was originally a handheld title.

HD visuals, better lighting, new enemies, a new difficulty, and a second analog stick makes Revelations feel like its own game. Sure there are some muddy textures and not everything points to it having the budget Resident Evil 6 did, but when you compare how everything looks, especially Jill and Chris to its smaller counterparts, it’s impressive how Capcom managed to get Revelations on the TV screens without everything looking like it was expanded. And these are just the changes you’ll notice right away, there are a vast number of gameplay improvements and more that I’ll get to shortly, but you’ll be happy to know that Revelations is a step in the right direction to Resident Evil returning to its glory days of survival horror; not perfect, but a step.

Set between Resident Evil 4 and 5, Revelations tells the story of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) which we were introduced to in Resident Evil 5. Series staples Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield take the helm in Revelations, but you’ll also be introduced to other BSAA members and play as them as well through a convoluted story that will have you scratching you head. The game begins with Jill and her new partner Parker searching for Chris and his partner Jessica on the SS Queen Zenobia, a seemingly deserted cruise ship lost at sea.

A year prior to this mission though, the ‘floating city’ of Terragrigia came under attack by a terrorist group known simply as Veltro, which BSAA members Parker and Jessica were sent to keep things under control. With the city having an almost pure and sustainable solar energy supply, this is when Veltro decided to attack and eventually turned Terragrigia’s technology on itself, destroying everything in the process, later dubbed the Terragrigia Panic.

You’ll play Revelations not only from Jill and Parkers point of view, but Chris, Jessica, and even other lesser important BSAA members as well as you progress through the confusing and incredibly difficult to follow storyline. As per the course with a Resident Evil plot line, there’s always some big mastermind puppet master behind the curtains that’s not revealed until the end. The story is actually so confusing at times that the game itself is broken up into separate chapters (and to facilitate the character swapping) that even gives you a ‘previously on Resident Evil Revelations’ as if it was a TV drama you needed catching up on. The story feels bloated and while I did enjoy it when it started to come all together at the end, you really need to pay attention to really grasp it fully; It’s not as simple as the Umbrella corporation and zombies any longer unfortunately.

Revelations plays somewhere in between old and new gameplay; you can move while shooting and raising your gun but there’s also many small corridors and enclosed spaces that made us fear the game in the beginning. There are of course new gameplay mechanics that have been added, such as the Genesis device that you’ll be using the majority of the time. Using this Genesis scanner, you can quickly research enemies (dead or alive) to earn bonuses and even use it to find hidden hand prints for other secrets. Being that you’re so ammo deprived constantly in Revelations (especially on the harder difficulties), you absolutely need to use the Genesis to find hidden ammo that you can’t unearth otherwise. You’ll essentially be scanning every room if you want ammo for your weapons which is a shame, as you need to constantly be stopping what you’re doing for a moment to scan for hidden items, as it tends to turn down the pacing quite drastically.

The weapons feel very useful the majority of the time, until you get to the enemies that are seemingly just put there to soak up all of your reserve bullets, and the weapons themselves do feel powerful, especially when upgraded with parts you find along the way. As you’re able to actively swap between four separate weapons, you’ll eventually have a weapon for almost every situation. There are many hidden modifications you’ll find (when you’re scanning the rooms constantly) that can increase your damage, adding more knockback to your shots, and many more. Each weapon has a different amount of mod slots available for it and part of the fun was experimenting with what worked and didn’t for my play style. And yes, you can move your character while aiming and shooting.

While there are some puzzles that you’ll need to complete now and then, there really isn’t too many to label it as a feature of the game itself. Those that played the game previously on the 3DS will be happy to know that there’s a brand new difficulty mode, Infernal, which not only makes the creatures more difficult, but also rearranges item locations and more to keep things fresh just in case you’ve memorized everything previously.

Raid Mode that was originally included also returns, but with some improvements, new weapons, characters, and more. Raid Mode allows you and a partner to play in bite sized co-op sections taken from the single player game, but with rearranged events, enemies, and items. I played campaign first then tried Raid Mode and was totally expecting enemies and everything to be the same, but while the environments might be recycled, the experience is anything but. The first Raid Mode level is a great example, as it’s also the opening section of the campaign as well. There’s maybe an enemy or two in campaign, but in Raid Mode with a co-op friend there are many more enemies and items in different locations, which kept me on edge, as I wasn’t sure what to expect. The weapon upgrade system from campaign carries over and is much simpler to use in Raid Mode, and still encourages experimentation, as you’ll get many more weapons and mods here. Each character even has their own strengths and weaknesses, and each level will play into one of the characters strengths. Some characters are more proficient with specific weapons while others may simply be decent overall. There’s just enough depth and challenge in Raid Mode to keep it interesting while still being rewarded for the matches you complete. While it’s not a game seller in itself, Raid Mode definitely will help you to continue playing the game after you’re done its campaign.

While playing and Jill and Chris is always welcome and awesome, the new characters are very hit and miss. Parker is a fantastic new character and I would really love to see him star in his own Resident Evil title; sure he’ll never reach the popularity of the well-established Resident Evil characters, but I really liked him as a companion, probably due to his passable voice acting. That being said, almost every other new character that is introduced is absolutely annoying and obnoxious that I’ll be happy if I never see and hear from them again. Jessica is one of the worst perpetrators and her badly acted one-liners are enough to make you want to see her get bit. The same goes for some of the other characters you’ll get to play, as their voice acting is just done so terribly, coupled with the bad script, which you won’t actually care for them at all.

I did enjoy Revelations for the most part, and even though you’ll have to sit through a contrived plot and unmemorable bosses, it’s more of an accomplishment that console gamers get to experience Revelations, even if it is still apparent at times that it was a handheld game at its roots. The main attractions like characters and environment look great with the new visuals, when you stop to look at the finer details (since you need to when you want to scan), many of the other textures are very poorly detailed and quite blurry when inspected up close. Again, being that this is a port of a handheld, that’s still an impressive feat, just don’t expect it to look anything close to how great Resident Evil 6 did.

One of the main questions with Revelations is should you get it on the console if you’ve already played the 3DS version. My answer is no; sure the controller will make things much easier and seeing it in HD will be an improvement, I just don’t see much replay value here outside of Raid Mode if you’ve already taken this journey with the BSAA. That being said, if you skipped on the 3DS version like I did or want to remember how Resident Evil used to play, Revelations is a safe buy. Sure it’s not as it was during its peak of survival horror gameplay, but the Queen Zenobia setting sure is memorable only second to the iconic mansion and the village from Resident Evil 4. It’s by no means perfect, but I’ve not enjoyed a Resident Evil for its original ideas since Resident Evil 4, and like I said above, Revelations is a step in the right direction by Capcom and I can support that with a clear conscience.

Overall: 7.3 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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