on June 27, 2013
Originally debuting for the Nintendo 3DS in early 2012, Resident Evil: Revelations makes its long awaited appearance in full HD for the consoles.
Story: The events of Resident Evil: Revelations are actually set in 2005, between the events of Resident Evil 4 in autumn 2004, and the main events of Resident Evil 5 in March 2009 (and also before RE5's DLC episode "Lost in Nightmares", which took place in 2006). It is around the time when former S.T.A.R.S. members Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine first helped co-found the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (B.S.A.A.) to curb the appearance of bioweaponry in illegal markets.
From Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, you might know the BSAA as that elite, quick-response military group that is sent in to neutralize bioterror outbreaks all over the world. But here in Revelations, the BSAA are still a younger organization with only a few select members under private advisory status. The game chronicles the early organization's investigation that spans various areas of the Mediterranean basin to uncover the truth behind the destruction of a floating city, and to track down a mysterious new terrorist group called "Veltro", who once planned to contaminate 1/5th of the world's waters using their newly created T-Abyss Virus.
Revelations' story is divided into mostly sequential episodes, making you feel like you're watching a television series, which is an interesting new take for an RE narrative. (It reminded me, by the way, of another episodic horror game I've recently played, Alan Wake.) Some episodes also have different subsections, where you play as a different character in another location, or you're playing through earlier events in a brief flashback. It might be a tad disorienting at first to be playing as a certain character, and then suddenly to be playing as someone else or in a different location, but it should all still tie in together by the episode's end.
Gameplay: Revelations uses an over-the-shoulder camera perspective that has been a staple in the series since Resident Evil 4. Movement is also more similar to the controls of RE4 and RE5 as opposed to the 360 degree controls of RE6. Melee attack prompts also only appear for stunned enemies, likening it again to 4 and 5 and differentiating it from 6's free melee. Caution is still suggested however when trying to get close to melee your enemies, as not always will a melee prompt seem to appear even when an enemy looks stunned. It seemed easier to pull of melee combos even in 4 and 5 than Revelations.
I liked that they re-included the ability to move while shooting and reloading, but I must note that it is different from RE6's. Revelations' is more like strafing. Here in Revelations, you have to hold the left trigger while you're aiming in order to move your character, but they still cannot change the direction of their aim while doing so. At least in 6, you can change your aiming direction (up, down, left, right, etc.) all while walking and not having to press another button, so I did like 6's gunplay more.
There is also a dodge feature, but it's more like RE3's dodge mechanic where you can only perform it when an enemy is just about to attack you. It can be tricky to learn, and I'm still trying to get better at it. But I also still preferred RE6's dodge system, where you can dive out of the way more on command instead of having to wait for your enemy to attack you.
(By the way, Revelations does have its own Public Demo, which I used to learn its controls, but please note that Revelations' XB 360 demo is only available on Xbox Live to those who have a Gold membership. I only had Silver, so I unfortunately had to use my one month trial even just to download it. I wonder if this was another one of Microsoft's cheap ways to try to promote Gold memberships. :/ )
The most common enemies found in Revelations are called the Ooze, which have been infected by what is known as the T-Abyss virus. The T-Abyss is a mostly aquatic virus, so it turns most of its victims into B.O.W.s that are somewhat amphibious in nature. Their flexible bodies allows them to slip in and out of tight areas such as ventilation ducts that the player cannot go through, which somewhat adds to their creepiness whenever they make some of their sudden appearances. In addition to the Ooze and their variations, the T-Abyss virus has also created other aquatic-based enemies and bosses. Particularly, there is even one new type of enemy that was made for Revelations' console versions that wasn't present in the original 3DS version.
Perhaps the most notable new gameplay element in Revelations is a new item known as the Genesis Scanner. This handy little device can detect items that cannot be normally found with the naked eye. The Genesis can also scan the remains of the enemies you defeat, and whenever you reach 100% scan data on the Genesis, it'll reward you with a healing herb. Don't forget to scan regularly with the Genesis; it might just help you out when you're looking for that last bit of ammo or healing item, especially on Infernal difficulty, which can be really challenging. It is also mindful to remember that enemies in Revelations no longer drop ammo as in RE4, 5, and 6, so already this game requires a slightly different approach when handling enemies.
You can find various customization kits which contain parts you can use to upgrade your weapons in the ways you choose. The upgrades are actually not permanent, as you could always choose which parts to add on or remove, and place them on different weapons. There are also item boxes located in some parts of the ship that you can use to store items you don't need and switch them with items you want/have to use. (I thought it would've been an even better nod to the earlier REs if they somehow reincorporated typewriters and ink ribbons of some kind, but the reinclusion of some sort of storage box was interesting enough.)
Raid Mode is the new mini game featured in Revelations. One to two players can fight their way in various maps based from locations in the main game that now have new enemy layouts. Completing various objectives in Raid Mode can unlock new costumes for certain characters in the mode. Raid also has a leveling system, where the higher your level is, the stronger your firearm power and character defenses will be, as well as the more new weapons in Raid you will have access to once your level matches that weapon's level.
Graphics and Sound: Although the Nintendo 3DS is pretty powerful for a handheld system, of course it's still not in the same league as the home consoles. As such, Revelations looks much better for the main systems. What used to be blurry or fuzzy textures in the 3DS version now appears much sharper and clearer in HD. Revelations' music is also hauntingly beautiful, especially in the more elegantly decorated rooms, and every piece brings out that area of the ship more to life.
Cons and Pros:
My personal cons:
-I found a few of the controls to sometimes have been a bit uncooperative. You can tell that this used to be a 3DS game. I also wished that they reincluded having the option of using a laser pointer for your weapons and not just a crosshair/targeting reticule. And once again, I did prefer RE6's gunplay, dodge, and melee system more than Revelations', and going from 6's controls to Revelations' controls felt like a slight downgrade.
-Your character, it seems, cannot run that fast in this game, making it a little annoying if you're trying to evade your enemies to conserve ammo. Even in RE1, 2, and 3 it seemed that your character could run faster than in Revelations. Especially with Jill, it looks more like she's only walking fast rather than truly running. But then again, there would be little room to "run" in these narrow hallways of the ship, so I guess that sort of makes sense.
-A little short. I was able to complete the main game in about 8 hours. Then there's Raid mode, but after that and the main story, there's not that much other things left to do. This game didn't have quite as much replay value as I initially hoped, but it's still a good game and I would still go back to it from time to time. Luckily, I was able to borrow a copy from my local library first since I was unsure about buying it at full launch price.
-Slightly lacking in enemy diversity/variety. Revelations only has about a dozen different common enemies. In fact, there is even one type of Ooze (the Chunk Ooze) that looks and functions almost identically to one of the J'avo mutations (Telo-Explozija) in Resident Evil 6.
-In the main campaign, you are followed and assisted by a CPU controlled partner, but they cannot be controlled by a second player, and there is no co-op option for the main game. (Some might disagree with this being a con.)
-It might get tedious and time consuming to feel like you have to scan every side and corner of every room. It was also a little funny how some items are at first invisible, but you cannot see them or pick them up until after you scan them.
-I usually don't mind backtracking that much to search for a key/important item, etc., but I thought the game could've provided just slightly better hints as to where they were. The lengths and times you had to go when searching for said item could've also been a little tightened.
-No infinite ammo options for most of the weapons in the game. The only infinite ammo weapon is the infinite rocket launcher, which can be unlocked when the game is completed in Infernal difficulty, but that's it.
-No chapter select. You can't go back and replay specific parts of the main game that you want to. You have to replay the whole story sequentially right from the very beginning.
-No option in the main menu to be able to watch the cutscenes separately.
-(Not really a true con, but it seems like there might be more who think it is, so I'll just place it here for now.) Revelations overall still feels like an adventure game, as it has its own action-like scenes closer to the ending. And as with many stories in video games, it also has a big turning point. There's still more ammo to be found lying around compared to RE1, 2, and 3. You will also still be doing a fair amount of shooting and combat in this game, so just know that these will be there. But many of RE's boss fights have been rather faster-paced and action-like anyway, and RE has always had rather big, dramatic endings. Plus, I never saw the RE series as just pure horror alone, so I was personally okay with all of this.
My personal pros:
+The slower-paced, more mysterious horror returns. Although Revelations has its own share of action-like scenes as you get closer to the game's turning point and ending, much of the earlier parts of the game really try to recapture those atmospheric settings set by the earlier RE titles.
+The graphics are much sharper and clearer compared to the original 3DS version.
+Very unique setting of exploring an abandoned cruise ship.
+More puzzles, and they're just about right. I didn't find them too simple or too challenging.
+Even though Revelations only has about a dozen different common enemies, which is likely less than what most other RE games have had, the enemies it does have are more aquatic, as opposed to the mostly land-based B.O.W.s in many of the other RE games, making Revelations' enemies still somewhat more unique.
+Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat make worthy partners in this game for Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield respectively, with Parker being my favorite new character in Revelations.
+It feels like you're watching a television series since the story is episodic. Plus, there were many surprising and shocking plot twists.
+RE: Revelations makes many references to Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, one of the greatest ever pieces of western literature.
+The weapons customization system seems a little more integrated.
+Infernal mode is really challenging, as it changes item placement, and some rooms/areas that may have been empty of enemies in lower modes could now be full of them. You'll be relying on the Genesis Scanner even more, and you'd have to choose more carefully which weapons are right for your next situation as well as which upgrades would seem best for which weapons.
+Like Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil: Revelations HD is supported by resident evil.net, a completely free web-based service designed to enhance your experiences with the game. Participate in various online events to earn RE points, which can then be used to buy items from the site that you can send to your game.
Overall: I admit that having just come from Resident Evil 6, it did feel a little weird going back to a single main campaign. But bioterrorism hadn't exactly gone global just yet in this title, so for this story, I didn't mind exploring one general area. And when I first learned several months ago that Revelations was coming to the consoles, I was also a tad apprehensive at first that its events take place many years ago, but we're just learning about them now. And because of that, it felt like it was an archived side story that was for some reason kept secret for so long.
But what I still have to commend Revelations most for is its reattempting of more of those dark and atmospheric settings that were most prevalent in the earlier REs. Of the modern, main series RE games, Revelations perhaps has the closest to the slower-paced horror of the classic RE titles, at least definitely in much of the earlier parts of the game. I also thought exploring an abandoned ocean liner made for quite an interesting and unique new setting. I personally actually didn't find Revelations to be that scary. I guess fighting B.O.W.s comes easy to most of us by now, compared to the early history of RE, and B.O.W.s are getting more commonplace even at this point in the main RE timeline. But more of those creepy-looking settings in this game were still a really nice touch and throwback.
If you're still on the fence about it, see if you can first borrow a copy from your local game store or library. Especially if you don't have a 3DS and weren't able to get it during its first release, I still recommend it however. It's not a completely perfect port over, but it's still a pretty good game for its scope. Revelations for the consoles is possibly the best version of it you can find.
In retrospect: Somehow, I've come to appreciate all the other main REs more than ever before now that I've played through Revelations. I recently also decided to replay RE1, 2, and 3 on my PS1 emulator, and they still have their own charm even after all of these years. It was nice to take a step back and relive the earlier events of the series history, and to see how far the characters have come since their rookie days and all that they've been through, as well as how much their worlds have changed greatly since they first ever fought bioweaponry.
Now that there are so many different main series Resident Evil games, how might you ask Revelations stacks in my book? I actually still like the stories of RE1, 2, and 3 a bit more than Revelations, with 2 being my favorite of the earlier REs, but I do prefer Revelations' more modern features. I don't think I really want to go back to fixed camera positions or dated controls. But I at least found Revelations to be more enjoyable than Code Veronica.
As for the other newer REs, if I feel like I'm more in the mood for a slower, more mysterious horror, I play Revelations, maybe even 4. If I want to go on a B.O.W. extermination spree, I play 5. If I want all of them all in one game, I play 6. I think it's great that we have so many different RE games to fit our moods and tastes. It has certainly been a grand journey fighting the horrors of B.O.W.s in unique locations the world over alongside these characters for many years.