There are few games as synonymous with the culture as Resident Evil. Almost anyone who has ever touched a controller has heard of the zombie-slaying title. It invented a genre, and it continues to enthrall fans, even ten years after its premiere. When Capcom announced Revelations, I was both ecstatic and sad. Ecstatic because it had been some time since the release of RE5, and I was craving a new full on game; and sad because it was being developed for a handheld system. Nothing against the 3DS, but I prefer my Resident Evil on the big screen. Thankfully, Capcom has delivered a worthy successor to the series in one of the best 3DS games released thus far.
Resident Evil: Revelations is set before the events of RE5 and focuses, again, on Jill and Chris, while introducing a few new faces. The game hops around Tarantino style between events and gives ample back-story to the characters. Voice acting is on par with the best of the series, and the sheer amount is impressive considering the medium. The bulk of the game takes place on the Queen Zenobia, which is a ship out in the middle of the ocean. This setting is perfect, as it brings a lot of the tense and terrifying claustrophobia of the original games back to the series.
Walking down halls is even more enhanced with the excellent sound design. I recommend strapping on a solid pair of headphones while playing this one. The enemies in the game are, once again, not of the undead variety, and instead take the form of a sort of liquid goo that allows them to appear out of almost any opening. This increases tension, and while they lumber along like zombies, they are deadly up close.
This is where the Resident Evil game play comes into effect. The tension in these games has always been amplified by the fact that your character could not move and shoot at the same time. Maneuverability has always been restricted to aid the feel of impending doom. Capcom has included a way to move and shoot at the same time, but it is limited. When you hold down the aim button (right trigger) you go into first-person to shoot. While in this mode if you also hold down the strafe button (left trigger) at the same time, you can move back and forth or left and right. As you can imagine, this is extremely limiting, disabling your ability to aim. While it can be helpful to get you out of harm’s way, I found myself ignoring it most of the time, because it was more of a hindrance than anything else.
The game does support the 3DS’ new control scheme, which adds a second analog stick. Unfortunately, for this review, I was not able to test this piece of the game, but I never felt restricted because of that. The game was designed to work with the standard 3DS system, not to mention it just feels right to RE fans. The control scheme works great, even if it cramped my larger hands after an hour two of playtime.
Cramming a true Resident Evil experience onto a handheld was definitely a challenge. In order for Capcom to take a console experience into the portable market, the game is broken down into episodes. Each one can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on your pace, which makes play sessions more manageable on the device. Of course, the 3DS also has the excellent sleep mode; just close the lid and come back at any point. That is, of course, as long as the power doesn’t die and lose your save progress. Even with bite-sized episodes, the game is still meaty, hosting a hefty dozen or so hours for the campaign. This is truly a full entry in the series, so those without a 3DS are missing out.
The way the game is designed, you would think co-op would be a no-brainer. You almost always have a partner with you during the game, but the AI seems to do little to no damage. Alas, there is no way to play the actual campaign with your buddy. Instead, Capcom has included what they call Raid mode, which is essentially the same thing, but with a few twists. You can progress through the areas in the game in Raid mode, but enemy placements are different. You are awarded points, which can be spent to purchase weapons and upgrades, and the mode feels more arcade-like than the core experience. It is definitely fun to blast through with your buddy, and you can opt to do it locally or online.
One area that Revelations excels at is the visuals. This game is absolutely gorgeous on all accounts. The character models are fantastic, and the locales are excellently designed with tension in mind. This game would look great as a Vita title, and easily sets the bar for Nintendo’s portable. The 3D effect is actually really well done and I loved the “Previously On” sections before each episode. The game definitely has style. As I mentioned, the audio is on par with the series standards, although some of the new characters are definitely grating after a while.
Resident Evil: Revelations is a true entry to the series that hardcore fans simply must experience. The controls are well done, even without the additional hardware, and the tension that made the series famous has returned. If you own a 3DS, this is definitely one of the must-own titles on the system. If you are a Resident Evil fan, it is nearly reason enough to purchase the system on its own. Despite the minor flaws the game contains, this is one experience that RE fans and 3DS owners simply should not miss.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher.