As time has gone on, the Resident Evil series has slowly moved away from its survival horror origins and become more of an action series in the forms of RE4 and RE5. These changes have angered many old school fans of the series, and they haven’t managed to gain many new ones with the classic RE controls (tank-style movement and standing still while shooting). With the release of Resident Evil Revelations, Capcom manages to return to its survival horror roots while not alienating those who have enjoyed the action of the recent releases.
This is done by splitting the game into two parts: The first part are the sections where you play as fan favorite Jill Valentine. Working under the BSAA, Jill is sent to find Chris Redfield, whose last known location was on the mysterious SS Queen Zenobia, a boat eerily similar to the mansion from the original Resident Evil. These sections are the survival horror portions of the game (limited ammo and scary environments), where you fight the new enemies, the Ooze.
The action parts of the game are made up of flash forwards/sideways to give backstory and, without going into too much detail, what is really happening with Chris. In these action set pieces, ammo is more readily available and, rather than fighting the Ooze, you fight classic enemies like dogs and Hunters.
Revelations’ design does many things well. It is one of the best looking games currently on the 3DS. It has great character models, the environments are well created and feel spooky even with no enemies present, and the sound design is excellent, incorporating the creaks and moans of the ship to increase feelings of fear. I experienced some framerate issues during loading times but, although frustrating, were quickly forgotten and did not detract from my experience.
The controls feel great. In a change up to many gamer’s complaints, you are now able to move at a slow pace while aiming your weapon. The touch screen, a gimmick in most titles, is not overly used and, when it is used, it makes sense. You use it to view your map and inventory, switch weapons, and use special items like herbs, grenades, and your knife. The only problem is that, when aiming, you go into a first person view, but this can be changed to third person in the options menu. The game also supports the Circle Pad Pro peripheral, but I did not have the opportunity to play using it.
The major problem with the game is its pacing. The game is split into episodes, much like Alan Wake. The beginning of each episode gives you a summary of what happened in the previous one even though you just played it. These chapters usually signify you switching from the survival horror sections to the action sections, or vice versa. The action portions are decent, but you will find yourself playing through them to get back to the Zenobia levels. The story is also a bit ridiculous, even for Resident Evil, but it is not too much of a deterrent.
Finally, there’s the new Raid mode. If you have played Resident Evil before, think of this mode as an objective based Mercenaries mode. In this, you choose one of the various characters from the campaign, all with their own skills (machine gun mastery, increased melee damage, etc.), and level them up while completing objectives in various campaign areas. At the end of each chapter, you are scored and rated in a similar fashion to the campaign, and you also receive experience for your character. Leveling up characters will allow you to purchase and use higher level versions of your weapons, improving them by increasing reload times, stopping power, and clip size.
If you own a 3DS, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. It is one of the better games currently on the system and is the best handheld RE experience to date. Despite some pacing and story issues, this game is still well worth your money.
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
Genre: Survival Horror / Action
Release Date: February 7, 2012 (US), January 26, 2012 (Japan)
Platforms: 3DS (Reviewed)