Resident Evil: Revelations Review
I’m happy to say that Resident Evil: Revelations does deliver on its promise to bring the series back to its roots. I want to mention from the very start that Revelations is hands-down the most ambitious 3DS title to date - even more so than Nintendo’s own Super Mario 3D Land. Revelations is just as long as any of the numbered franchises, clocking in at around twelve hours – give or take an hour or two depending on your play style and difficulty settings. The story is tremendous in scope (with fully animated cut-scenes), the gameplay is diverse, and Revelations even offers a robust online multiplayer experience after completing the campaign (more on that later).
First, let’s talk story. Revelations provides an interesting structure, taking a page from television layout. It’s been done before in video games (Alone in the Dark and Alan Wake come to mind) and even includes the, “Previously on Resident Evil: Revelations,” between missions. This structure suits the handheld well, allowing for act breaks and a pick-up-and-play feel. The story is interesting Resident Evil fare, with Jill Valentine being trapped on a derelict cruise ship with new-comer, Parker Luciani. Overall, this title has a cinematic feel, like Resident Evil 4 and 5, and the varying locales and shifting timeline allow for some clever (and some absurd) plot twists.
I appreciate the way Revelations is set over the course of one night, with the time becoming an important factor. Several characters even comment how it's the longest night of their lives, and by the end of the ordeal, the sun finally comes up. It helps keep the story contained, while flashbacks appropriately flesh out prior events. By the end of Chapter 12, it feels like you’ve lived through it with the characters.
In typical Resident Evil style, the story is over-the-top and borders on ridiculous, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. In fact, I was more invested in this story than Resident Evil 5 because of the larger cast and overlapping narratives. The dialogue, too, is often tongue-in-cheek. When you’re being viciously attacked by wolves and Jessica shouts out, “Me and my sweet ass are on the way!” you can’t help laughing. Sure, it takes away some of the tension, but this cheesy dialogue comes with the franchise. Embrace it.
In terms of gameplay, it’s hard to argue against Revelations. With seemingly every option fully customizable, you’ll find a control scheme that suits you. It’s also compatible with the Circle Pad Pro, though I only used the standard controls (which worked fine for me). I also like the addition to walk and aim; though it’s a little clunky, the option is nice, and it does add to the tension.
Some of the small additions, such as the Supply Scanner and ability to swim, add to the overall diversity. You won’t just be running around shooting, and some of the later set-pieces (many of which are amazing, by the way) change the way you play the game. The Supply Scanner, too, is effective for slowing you down. Add in fully customizable weapons and you have a console-like experience.
On that note, I just want to say that Resident Evil: Revelations is perfectly suited for the handheld. Many argue that these kinds of games are better suited to a home console, but I disagree with those sentiments. Revelations feels appropriately scaled back in terms of narrative, and the structure is perfect for a handheld experience.
Revelations nails the presentation. This is the best looking 3DS game to date, no question. You won’t find better graphics on any other Nintendo handheld title, and the fluid animations round out the package. My only gripe is the awfully masked loads at certain doors and elevators. The entire frame rate slows down and it becomes obvious that the system is trying to catch up with the new locale.
The sound design is equally impressive (more so than any RE title, in fact) with creaking floors and eerie wails. There are a few places in particular where you’ll hear a creature muttering things, and you’re just waiting for them to pop out. One even cries “IT HURRTTSSS,” when shot, which adds a terrifying realism to the mix. The final chapter of the game, too, is unprecedented and appropriately creepy.
After you complete the campaign, you’ll unlock a surprisingly addictive Raid Mode, which allows you to play through certain chapters with online co-op. This is more than an afterthought, with a wide array of unlockables. The fact that the game makes you finish the campaign first ensures that all the players are at least decent and have some semblance of what they’re doing. The more I play it, the more I enjoy it.
All-in-all, Resident Evil: Revelations is an amazing Nintendo 3DS game; in fact, the most ambitious title I’ve seen on a handheld. It works perfectly and makes its predecessor, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D seem obsolete. If you own a 3DS and are a fan of survival horror or just plain action, you should check Revelations out. I can’t give it a higher recommendation. Let’s hope this one sells well so that we get more high-grade titles like this going forward.