Resident Evil Revelations review – A return to survival horror?

Guest writer Colin Sum takes on the Resident Evil Revelations 3DS game.

By Colin Sum

So, has Resident Evil Revelations for the Nintendo 3DS stayed true to its series origin as a survival horror game or is it just another action-fest like Resident Evil 5? At least, it doesn’t have any boulders you would need to punch to advance through the story. Sorry Resident Evil 5, I just had to mention that. Moving on.

The story of Revelations takes place in 2005, between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, and follows series protagonists Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield in their attempt to uncover the truth behind Veltro, a bio-terrorist organization thought to have disappeared during the “Terragrigia Incident” a year before the story’s setting. Players will mostly take control of Jill Valentine aboard the Queen Zenobia, a gigantic cruise ship stranded in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, while accompanied by newcomer Parker Luciani as they battle through hordes of infected zombie-like inhabitants of the ship called the “Ooze”. Other times, you will find yourselves controlling Chris Redfield or other new characters in various scenarios. New characters are also a nice addition, but the dialogue still remains pretty cheesy if you tell me. I guess that’s always a series staple as well. The story is pretty decent and self-explanatory with the whole bio-terrorist group and conspiracy theories. Unless you’re new to Resident Evil, you’ll probably see it coming. This time around, the way the story is told is pretty unique in that it feels as if your watching a television series. Told in half-hour segments or rather “episodes”, you won’t miss out on anything much even if you accidentally skip some scenes as at the start of each episode, there will essentially be a “previously on Resident Evil Revelations” to recap the story for you. First time players can expect to finish the game under 10 hours.

Most of the enemies you’ll face are the “Ooze”.

Most of the gameplay, players will find themselves exploring and backtracking through the rooms and hallways of the Queen Zenobia, albeit with the denizens of the infected. Other times, you’ll be roaming around snowy mountains or revisiting the events of Terragrigia. The only moments that I truly hated going through were the “diving and swimming” parts of the game, especially having to deal with those pesky “Sea Creepers”. Mechanics-wise, it still suffers from “tank controls” from previous Resident Evil games. The game’s Type D control settings allows players to use the Circle Pad Pro add-on, which gives you 2 extra buttons and a right stick for camera control. I, myself, prefer the traditional Type A controls set upon by Resident Evil 4. Partner AI still isn’t as great as they’ll just stand and shoot the enemy, without the enemy noticing. Even if the enemies do attack your partner, he or she are technically invincible. There is also a new “dodging” mechanic, which by pressing your left stick in any direction at the moment an enemy attacks, your character ducks out of harm’s way. Now you’ll probably won’t use it unless you really need to get away. Weapons now can be customized and upgraded via “custom parts” found littered about in the game’s environment. This is pretty nifty as it may give you increased damage, stopping power, ammo capacity, and various other interesting perks. Another interesting addition to the game is the “Genesis” scanner. It allows you to scan the environment for hidden items as well as scan enemies. Scanning enemies gives you a certain percentage. Getting a full 100% nets you a herb, which you now can use with a simple hotkey, as established in The Mercenaries 3D. The only downside is that you have to unequip your current gun to use the Genesis. So when fighting enemies, you may want to think about that.

The graphics and sounds of this game is nothing less than stellar. The visuals of Revelations look amazingly stunning, especially basked in full 3D glory. While I may not have played much games on the Nintendo 3DS, I’ve got to say that Revelations holds true in the visuals department. I don’t think there’s a game out there currently on the 3DS that can compete with Revelations when viewed in full 3D detail, especially on a handheld. I even went as far as to increase the depth of the 3D effects in the game’s options. Although, 3D graphics are still a little choppy during gameplay, it adds a necessary element to the already beautiful environment. The atmosphere is creepy and is definitely a homage to the older Resident Evil games, but falls short in the later half of the game as it becomes more like the recent series. The background music adds to an already creepy atmosphere during the ship’s course of events and changes to blend in with other different scenarios. I remembered once, on my first run through, where I had to check up on a “certain person” by going through the crew quarters and out of nowhere I seemingly hear a creepy distorted voice: “Found You”. It just made me not want to progress through anymore, especially playing it in the dark. I would highly recommend that any of you first-timers to play this game in the dark with headphones, volume cranked up, and in full 3D.

After a long a grueling campaign, you ask: is that it? Well, unfortunately no. After successfully completing episodes in Campaign Mode, Raid Mode stages are unlocked. Raid Mode is an offline or online co-operative mode in which you battle waves and waves of incoming enemies in stages taken from the campaign. Players can choose a character, each with their own unique abilities (Jill is good with handguns and machine guns while Chris is good with rifles and shotguns.) They then can go through stages and fight enemies to level up their character, gain BP points, and acquire weapons and perks. These points, also obtainable after completing campaign episodes or meet specific requirements in Mission mode, can be cashed in the in-game store to get more perks, better weapons, and various other upgrades. In the various stages of Raid Mode, enemies you fight will have a health bar and level above their heads. There are also unlockables which you can receive through meeting specific requirements under Mission Mode, which is an achievement-esque mode. Certain missions require you to kill a certain number of specific enemy. You can also acquire missions through the Streetpass feature of the game.

Overall, Resident Evil Revelations feels like a mix between the earlier Resident Evil games and the more recent ones like Resident Evil 4 and 5. Combining the off-the-shoulder camera view along with the creepy environment that feels as if I’m back in a mansion definitely, it feels reassuring that this game does not disappoint. The only downside mostly being the partner AI and certain parts of the game where it just feels like Resident Evil 5 again. All in all, it was definitely a great experience, one that I did quite enjoy on the 3DS. For those who like a good story with amazing visual and elements from past Resident Evil games, I would recommend this. Last note, Revelations is the first game released in North America to support the Circle Pad Pro (CPP) add-on. It allows more movement to the game, allowing players to actually move and shoot. Now unless you don’t mind the traditional “tank controls”, then I wouldn’t recommend getting CPP.

Grade: B+

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