Resident Evil: Revelations Review - welcome back to the world of Survival Horror
- Posted May 20th, 2013 at 05:27 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Resident Evil: Revelations is a superb return to form for the franchise, sadly let down by sluggish character movement and awkward combat.
- Fantastic atmosphere
- Superb blend of combat, exploration and puzzles
- Raid Mode offers plenty of replay value
- The sluggish character movement
- Some dull enemies
- 'Genesis' device is underdeveloped
If you’re reading this from the perspective of an old-school Resident Evil aficionado who has become disenchanted with the direction Capcom has taken its venerable zombie blaster in recent years, then sit up and take notice. Revelations is the nearest you’ll likely get to a quintessential Survival Horror Resi experience for some time, at least until Capcom figures out what direction it wants to take the series after the Jack-Of-All-Trades effort that was RE6. What we have here is a distinct effort to compromise; a unification of horror and action, encompassing the best (and worst) that the series has offered over its sprawling 17-year history. And for the most part, it works wonders.
Originally released on the 3DS, Revelations bridges the gap between RE4 and 5, and sees BSAA agents Jill Valentine and Parker investigating a massive cruise ship known as the Queen Zenobia. Initially, the pair is on the hunt for missing comrade and series staple Chris Redfield, though things soon become a bit more complicated than a simple Missing Persons case. For one, the ship is infested with a new form of Bio-Organic Weapon known as Ooze; essentially humanoid, slime-like creatures with an insatiable appetite for human flesh, and the creation of the deadly T-Abyss virus.
Mechanically, Revelations adheres to the same template as the last few games, with players controlling Valentine (and later, Redfield and a few other BSSA agents) from an over-the-shoulder perspective. As mentioned though, Revelations has a distinct classic survival horror aura about it, and this is evident in the pacing and atmosphere throughout. Unlike the massive outdoor locations seen in the previous few games, the Queen Zenobia is a claustrophobic, sinister environment devoid of the bombastic soundtrack and ostentatious, Michael Bay-esque set-pieces seen in RE6. Aesthetically, much of the cabins resemble the Spencer Mansion of RE1– it was designed by the same architect, after all – and it works a treat.
However, the most prominent feature that separates Revelations from its action-focused stable mates is the puzzles. There’s more of them here, and they’re far better designed than anything than Capcom has achieved in the past few years, offering the most cerebral Resi outing since 2002’s RE Zero. Sure, they’re still a far cry from the brain-teasing riddles found in Silent Hill, but they still offer a welcome change of pace, punctuating the combat at various intervals so that you’re never in danger of become bored with the proceedings. Being a former 3DS title, you don’t have the same touchscreen interaction as you did on Nintendo’s console, which is a shame since that worked rather nicely, but all in all the balance between puzzle solving, exploration and shooting is the best we’ve seen in years.
Speaking of shooting, Revelations’ gunplay is still as satisfying as you’d expect, if a little cumbersome due to the controls. Valentine and co have access to a wide variety of firearms – from pistols, shotguns, rifles to machine guns – and all of them can be upgraded by obtaining Custom and Illegal Parts which can be attached via special upgrade boxes dotted throughout the Zenobia. Upgrades are the rudimentary batch you’d expect, such as increased fire power, rate of fire and upping your chance of a critical hit, though they are nonetheless noticeable and definitely give you the edge in combat. Characters aren’t quite as mobile as RE6, but you can still move while shooting and reloading, a welcome addition if ever there was one. Sadly, characters are sluggish in that there’s no authentic run button; you simple either walk or shove the analogue stick forward to make them shuffle faster. It’s hopelessly inadequate for some of the more fast moving foes, making dodging attacks a chore. You can dodge by holding X and forward simultaneously, but it’s too unreliable; many times I attempted it and simply received a smack for my troubles.
The Ooze foes are intriguing, if slightly underwhelming creatures to scrap with. They’re grotesque and shambling, and combined with the creepy atmospheric qualities of the ship interior can provide a few shocks as they surprise you by lurching out of trunks, air vents and cubicles. However, they’re not especially interesting to fight; they lumber forward, absorbing gunfire, and then collapse, melting ... (continued on next page) ----