Title: Resident Evil: Revelations
Platform: Xbox One
Genre: Action, Adventure,
Release Date: August 29, 2017
It’s been just about five years since Resident Evil: Revelations hit the Nintendo 3DS, and since that time we’ve seen the game ported to last generation consoles, and now once more for modern consoles. This isn’t the normal course for a game, especially one that was built from the ground up for a portable handheld. Resident Evil: Revelations is a series that seems to really have connected with fans, even in an age where the Resident Evil series has returned to being about scaring the player, and not just another silly action game.
This new version of Resident Evil: Revelations has been remastered for home consoles complete with high quality HD visuals (1080p), enhanced lighting effects and new sound experience. What’s funny is that same tagline was probably used for when the game launched on the Xbox 360 and PS3, as both of those were HD consoles as well. I can’t say how much better this new version looks when compared to last generation as I’ve never played the game before, but you can rest easy knowing Resident Evil: Revelations looks quite pretty for what it is.
This new home console version is a little more robust featuring additional content including a new enemy, extra difficulty mode and improvements to the online Raid Mode such as new weapons, skill sets and the opportunity to play as Hunk and other characters from the series. I know adding a single new enemy seems like more of a joke than anything, but you are going to have to understand the context the game is working in being an upscaled 3DS game. If anything, Resident Evil: Revelations makes the 3DS look like a pretty amazing piece of kit.
The Resident Evil series has seen a number of portable games over the years, but these have never (to the best of our knowledge) been canon with the core series. Resident Evil: Revelations changes that up with a story that places it between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, revealing the truth about the T-Abyss virus. And just like most of the Resident Evil series this one is pretty silly in terms of story. The game is broken up into episodes, much like a television show, something that would serve the portable nature of the original well, but only serves to slow down the overall experience on modern consoles. The game itself features twelve of these episode, but experienced players can blow through the story in about ten or so hours.
Fans of classic Resident Evil will be happy to know that series favorites Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield return as playable characters, plus their random and annoying partners. This is actually the first major failing of the game, as each extra character that is thrown into the mix is either bland or utterly annoying. The partner Jill gets paired with for the majority of the game is simply generic agent 162, while Jessica, the partner Chris gets, is obsessed with sleeping with every male character and wearing the stupidest outfit I could imagine for this mission. Seriously, it was so bad that it nearly put me off the whole experience. There are also a few times you’ll play as two annoying characters that act as comic relief and are there only to pad the game.
The game is broken up into episodes and so the story tends to jump around in very strange ways. This isn’t a linear story and you’ll be doing a lot of flashbacks, flash-forwards, and even flash-sideways. Hell, there are even times when the game switches to stuff happening five minutes ago. This sort of thing could work in theory, but it really makes the game a confusing mess, especially latter in the game. A few parts really served to piss me off from a simple logic standpoint. There’s a bit where Chris and Jessica are in some frozen tundra investigating a base, only to leave before learning anything because they want to go look for Jill that’s in the Mediterranean.
Makes sense so far, but as they are traveling across the globe your boss sends team idiot to pick up at that tundra base which makes no god damn sense. The only reason this happens is to fit the circular story into a square peg. There was also a time where Chris and Jessica were on a helicopter taking off to find Jill on a missing ship over the ocean only for the developers to forget this and have the two next show up on a PT boat boarding the ship they were looking for. Chris and Jessica aren’t the only ones that this happens to, but it really does feel like the smaller story bits seemed like an afterthought.
Gameplay is where Resident Evil: Revelations really shines. It doesn’t do anything to revolutionize the gaming world, but it works well. The only thing that I could never really grasp was the dodge mechanic that the game forces you to use because of the corridor nature of the game. The controls want you to pull down and hit “A” at the same time just when an enemy attacks to dodge, but it doesn’t always work. It really doesn’t help that hitting down and “A” also serves to turn you around, so I often found myself turning my back to a monster that was swinging for the cheap seats. Aside from that everything else works great. Shooting feels fine, and there is a variety of weapons to collect and upgrade to insane levels, but monsters also seem to level so it’s never a cakewalk.
As this was a 3DS game first everything has been stripped away to make this a bare-bones experience, but that actually really works for the game overall. You won’t be combing items, crafting anything, or collecting random bits and bobs outside some of those silly keys Resident Evil is known for. In this regard Resident Evil: Revelations would make for a great first experience for those looking to get into the world of Resident Evil. Those that have played many of the games in the series before are probably going to find the experience an easy one, but the silly story and classic characters should be enough to warrant a look. That said this is probably the least scary experience in the entire series. I think I was startled a few times during the entire experience and that was mostly from my characters teleporting into view.
There aren’t all that many enemies to deal with and they are all simply a variation on the first one you meet. Again, this is because of the limitations of the 3DS, but it still is a shame we don’t get many of the wilder creatures and especially bosses the series is known for. But at least we get an armored shark man because why not splice ancient shark DNA into people. That will never, ever, bite you in the ass later, especially not on an isolated lab on a cruise ship. The game also doesn’t really set the stakes very high because of how silly it is. Sure, there are some bad guys that were once good guys that are trying to end the world or something, but it’s all so predictable right from the start that it hurts. That and I couldn’t keep straight all the stupid organizations that are in play in this iteration of the series.
The combat is straightforward and the game really wants you to kill everything that moves. Ammo tends to be plentiful and enemies are better blown into bits than avoided like in earlier games. Ammo management is still a thing, but I more often than not failed to pick up ammo because the game wouldn’t let me as the carry limit for said ammo was full. Another reason for engaging enemies is to scan then with you magic “do-it-all” scanner thing. This little Deus ex machina does just about everything you can imagine, and makes you wonder why they aren’t selling the thing and getting out of the zombie game altogether.
The scanning gun lets you scan the area you are in to identify items that you can’t see much like a metal detector for everything. It all feels very Metroid Prime in that respect and only helps to take away from the more realistic nature of the name. Then again, we’re talking about a game were we fight mutated fish people. The game also wants you to scan enemies to build up your DNA bar and once this reaches %100 (about every 10 or so baddies) you get a magic pill that works like a healing herb. That right, this little bugger also creates medicine for what’s ailing you. Again, they should really be selling this to governments around the world.
But even with all these gripes, most of which are just silly annoyances, Resident Evil: Revelations is a really fun experience overall. Streaming the game on Twitch I found myself laughing and having a really fun time with the adventure. And that’s something that we don’t often get, especially with AAA games designed for home consoles. This one feels like it was built to be a fun experience first, as opposed to built from a boardroom. Resident Evil: Revelations is good fun that managed to get me hooked for hours at a time when I really didn’t expect it to. And at $20 for a physical copy you really can’t go wrong here, especially if you missed the game the first or second time around.
“Resident Evil: Revelations is lots of fun and proves that this plucky little 3DS game deserves another remastering”