The Resident Evil franchise has been going through a bit of a transition phase as of late. While Resident Evil 4 revitalised an entire genre, almost everything that's followed since has done anything but that. With Resident Evil: Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS, Capcom were hoping to buck that trend, promoting it as a game that returned more the core roots of the franchise and on many levels, it does that. Just don't expect any Revelations.
The campaign focuses on the story of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, as they attempt to stop a rather sinister chain of events that have been set in motion by the bio-terrorists organisation Veltro.
Due to the nature of the campaign structure, this will see you flit around from place to place, past and present, as the different episodes are structured in to make everything seem coherent. Within the first few episodes you'll be on a cruise ship, be in a snowy mountain, play through a flashback on a beach and play another flashback during a daring escape from Terragrigia. It does settle down though, and once it does, the plot is very befitting of a Resident Evil title.
Gameplay has remained constant, when not equipped with the Circle Pad Pro expansion peripheral. The classic "move or shoot" dilemma is thrown up, but there's nothing wrong with that here. It adds to the atmosphere, as many of the environments you'll find yourself in are rather cramped "“ there aren't many places to run. So you don't just get jumped, Capcom has also made sure the dodge mechanic is very accessible. If you see an enemy preparing a swing, just press up on the analog nub and you will take no damage at all, but also put yourself in a more preferable position.
One of the main problems though, isn't with the gameplay "“ it's with the enemies. Revelations introduces a new type of enemy called the "ooze". Due to the fact you'll be fighting on an infected cruise ship, this makes sense, but they offer no real feedback or excitement. Most of the time the enemies will just soak up your bullets and flinch once they've received a set amount of damage, there's nothing dynamic about it. There is also very little in the way of variation. There are a few different mutations of the "ooze", but most of them are rather pathetic. There's never any real danger, unless you're going up against multiple versions.
This in itself is something that undermines what Resident Evil: Revelations is attempting to achieve. The atmosphere created by segments on the ship is immense, and some of the "boss" fights are rather exhilarating, but at the same time, the only sense of fear or horror comes when going around a corner and running into an enemy. At most other times, they are very unthreatening. Other parts of the campaign are equally uninspired and detract from what the title could have been "“ a truly focussed survival horror title.It's a shame, because the tools where there to be used. So many occasions pop up where more could have been done, but it was never realised. It's baffling to understand why Capcom would have purposely chosen not to offer more genuine frights, because the ship offered so many opportunities due to its rather stark changes as the campaign progresses.
The 3D visuals in Revelations are top notch. From the cutscenes, to the in-game visuals, Revelations is one of the games which truly takes advantage of this visual alternative offered by the Nintendo 3DS. At no point does it ever feel like a detraction from the experience and it only serves to highlight just how atmospheric the cruise ship featured throughout the game is. The voice acting and story is also pretty solid throughout, although there are a few instances where perhaps the direction was a bit wrong.
Resident Evil: Revelations also has a rather cool addition to its arsenal mode called "Raid Mode". It essentially replaces the Mercenaries Mode which we've seen in the previous main-series titles, and of course the stand-alone product which was released last year.
Unlike Mercenaries, Raid feels much more arcade. Enemies have health bars, can appear in giant forms and can even receive buffs. You're also able to level up and collect some rather cool loot. It's co-operative too, so you don't have to experience it by yourself, and this adds a nice extra dimension to proceedings. When combined with the good points from the campaign, this additional makes Resident Evil: Revelations a game that's well worth picking up if you're a fan of the franchise. There are also some nice little missions for the single-player campaign, and the ability to receive items from StreetPass.
Resident Evil: Revelations is a game that's very befitting of the franchise. For large parts, it features a brilliant atmosphere and sumptuous 3D visuals. Raid is also a rather solid additional mode which gives the game some extra legs. However, it's the inconsistencies that bring Revelations down a peg. The new enemy type is rather uninspired and it feels like there were so many missed opportunities. This could have been a fantastic survival horror title for the Nintendo 3DS. Instead, it's just a very good one.
|The atmosphere on the cruise ship.|
|Some of the boss fights are rather exhilarating.|
|So many missed opportunities.|
|The ooze isn't exactly an inspired enemy type.|
|Story flits around a bit too much.|