3DS

North America

Resident Evil: Revelations

by Zachary Miller - February 6, 2012, 11:37 pm PST
Total comments: 9

9

Jill's got a nautical-themed pashmina afghan.

I think Revelations is compelling because it hybridizes the two types of RE games. Younger readers may not realize this, but before RE4, the series was famous for its terrible "tank" controls, sparse ammo, an inability to aim, and way too much key finding and door unlocking. However, the old games arguably did "fear" much better than the new ones. I've said before that RE4 and RE5 aren't so much scary as stressful—protecting Ashley from hoards of Plagas-infested villagers isn't the same as being stalked by a mutated, virtually invulnerable super-soldier with a rocket launcher. The old games were also much more atmospheric, relying on ambient noise and excellent pacing to deliver shocks and scares. The newer games fix the controls and aiming, but have also toned down the fear factor. Revelations is a great hybrid—it plays like RE4 and RE5 (with some improvements), but the atmosphere and progression are decidedly more of a throwback.

Sadly, Revelations’ storyline is absolutely inconsequential to the larger mythos of the series, which greatly disappointed me. All the characters except series veterans Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield are new and, for the most part, stupid. Two characters in particular—Jackass and Grinder (those are their appropriate codenames)—have almost no redeeming value. The game is split into 12 episodes, and each episode has two chapters. While you play about 50% of the game as Jill Valentine, you will take control of one of the periphery characters from time to time, including Jill's new partner Parker, Chris, and those idiots whom I spoke of earlier, but these characters aren’t interesting at all. The storyline is fairly predictable, but there are some truly stupid plot twists that will make you hang your head in shame, and a few of the art direction choices are horrifying: the hairstyle of a particular character and the legless catsuit of another are groan-inducing. The real letdown is that Revelations doesn't set up the backstory of RE5 at all—we'll see if the new T-Abyss virus is even mentioned in the upcoming RE6.

Let’s talk about the production values: they’re spectacular. This is easily the best-looking game on the system, Super Mario 3D Land not withstanding (though it’s a different kind of beautiful). The character models and animations are smooth and mostly impressive. Everyone looks like they were taken straight out of RE5. Hunters, in particular, have never looked better. Not all of the enemy characters have the same level of polish, though: standard “Zoidberg” enemies and the later shielded creatures look fine, but the mutant wolves and two-headed fat guys seem unfinished. And even though the game takes place (mostly) on a ghost ship, that ship is shockingly diverse in its localities. And the few times where the story takes you to other worldwide places, the environments are just as impressive and feel completely different. The music is great and adds to the creepy vibe early in the game, but the more adventurous themes that fill your ears during the game’s final hours are not particularly effective (maybe I’ve been spoiled by RE5’s “Manjini IX -In Flames-”). The game uses the system’s 3D effect to great effect—you can even further enhance the effect in the options menu, which I highly recommend trying.

The game controls almost exactly like Mercenaries 3D, but adds two important new features: the ability to strafe (by holding the L button) and the "Genesis device." If you played the demo, you know it as the "Item Scanner," the name I will continue to use. You toggle between the scanner and your gun by tapping up on the D-pad. It's a wonderful tool that lets you find hidden items in rooms. Ammo is usually pretty scarce on its own, but the Item Scanner helps you find more in a pinch. Its other utility is scanning live or dead enemies, which builds up a percentage meter. Once you hit 100%, you are rewarded with a free health item. I do wish there was more information on enemies given (à la Metroid Prime), but it works for what it does. One other nice addition, though I haven’t mastered it, is the ability to dodge enemy attacks. There are also a few missions involving swimming, and the swimming is passable. At the time of this writing, I was unable to try the game with a Circle Pad Pro, but if I do procure one, I’ll write up separate impressions.

Similarly to Mercenaries 3D, you pick up perks with which to customize your equipment, including giving your guns larger clips, more power, a faster fire rate, and even the ability to "charge" a shot. You will find different parts in normal mode compared to hard mode (which you need to unlock), so there's good incentive to try that harder difficulty—though let me tell you, you'll need those new, better parts! While you can only carry three guns at a time, gun crates stashed around the ship let you swap them out and make new customizations. It's a fun system, and really lets you play to your individual style.

Once you've killed the final boss (bring a rocket launcher) and beat the story mode, you can start to tackle Raid Mode, which is Revelations' version of Mercenaries, but crossed a bit with Call of Duty's online multiplayer mode. Instead of dedicated maps, however, you'll find yourself traversing story mode maps, trying to mow down enemies in an attempt to get to the end of the stage in the best time possible and getting as many kills as you can. Once the stage ends, you are given points to use in the Raid Mode store (better guns, better perks) and experience, which levels up your character. You can choose a variety of characters, and unlock more the better you become. I found it very rewarding to go back to previous maps with better equipment and just blow through them for XP. Raid Mode allows solo play, local wireless, and online co-op. Online co-op was really hit or miss for me: I was only able to join one out of every five matches I tried, and if you don't successfully connect with somebody around the same level you are, you'll be facing very strong enemies that you aren't ready for. Hopefully, once the game launches in the U.S., there will be more options and more games to join (I never encountered more than six lobbies).

The game also has tons of unlockable content based on your performance in both the story mode and Raid Mode—you’ll get new characters, new costumes, new guns, and new perks all the time.

There are, however, some less stellar portions of the game. There are a few chapters—always with peripheral characters—that amount to “stave off waves of enemies until something happens.” These are frustrating areas of the game because they’re obnoxious kill rooms and your AI partner never helps in a meaningful way. That’s another fairly irritating part of the game: any time you’re stuck with an AI partner (just like RE5), things go a little downhill. They’re chatty (especially Chris’ bimbo partner), unhelpful, and break up the game’s otherwise tense atmosphere. I felt nothing for them, and I was quite happy when one of these peripheral characters seemingly died in a fire. There’s also a bit of a lull in enemy design—you’ll fight standard Ooze enemies for most of the game, but during the second half you’ll come across a few more imposing creatures. Boss battles are quite good, though—the second-to-last boss is particularly epic.

Despite these few setbacks, however, Resident Evil: Revelations is an impressive game that’s great fun. Though its contribution to the larger mythos is inconsequential, the game’s story mode presents a good challenge and some genuinely hair-raising moments, and Raid Mode is fun, addictive, and rewarding. I bought a 3DS on the promise of Revelations, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Despite my complaints, I believe it is greater than the sum of its parts. This is definitely going to keep me busy for a good long time.

Summary

Pros
  • Addictive, co-optional Raid Mode
  • Controls like a dream
  • Excellent story mode
  • Lots of unlockable content
Cons
  • ...and it's pretty brain-dead, to boot
  • "Kill room" missions
  • Online seems a bit hit or miss right now
  • Story doesn't add to the RE mythos...

Talkback

ThomasOFebruary 07, 2012

Was the title misspelling intentional?

LithiumFebruary 07, 2012
BrandoggFebruary 07, 2012

Played the demo last night - incredible game.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusFebruary 07, 2012

I won't give this anything more than an 8. It's a solid game, but the design decisions changing it from a skill* based game from RE4 to a more stat approach more similar to an action RPG turing every enemy into bullet sponges detracts from the experience. To compensate for the sponginess, there os ammo everywhere, I never really had to worry about ammo outside of the first hour and had to leave a lot of it behind since I couldn't carry it all.

The Zoidbergs are nowhere as clever, as reactive or remotely as unsettling as the Not-Spaniards. They just silently ooze towards you. Gone are the gruesome deaths, exploding head shots, the creepy parasite form whipping a poor villager's spine at you, the lighting isn't anywhere as atmospheric outside of a couple of locations where there is substantial dynamic lighting. The environments are less dynamic with less things to sidle, no barricades to put up for Zoidbergs to bust down, hell, they don't even follow you through doors anymore. No real set pieces. It's a shame the retarded closest racist element from RE 5 created these featureless Zoidbergs. I mean, whats the problem, Africa is full of Africans, the game is set in Africa. No one bitched when they were Not-Spaniards, not even the Spanish.

It does start to resemble a little RE4 in Raid mode in the higher difficulty levels where they throw a lot of enemies at you, but it lacks the awesome factor where you can take on an entire village with a pistol, an infinite supply of suplex while shooting projectiles out of mid air and WIN on skill alone, not firepower. You just stand there hosing down the corridor with bullets until everything is dead again, it's the only way to play.

It really lacks that "HOLY SHIT" X factor that RE4 has. A pretty good game all the same.

AdrockFebruary 07, 2012

Quote:

The real letdown is that Revelations doesn't set up the backstory of RE5 at all—we'll see if the new T-Abyss virus is even mentioned in the upcoming RE6.

To be fair, RE5 sets up its own backstory, especially with the Lost in Nightmares prequel scenario. The only thing you need to know is Jill "died" and Wesker has been f-ing with the plaga sample Ada stole from Leon at the RE4. In the RE6 trailer, I think Chris says something along the lines of "After what she's done to us, how many of our men are dead because of that bitch" which could be a new character or someone from Revelations. If I had to guess, I'd pick Jessca because no one else makes sense. She's the only new female character so unless Chris is calling some dude a bitch, my money is on Jessica if Capcom plans to connect Revelations to the rest of the series. That's not a spoiler; I haven't played the game yet. I haven't even played the demo.

fordrobFebruary 07, 2012

"Our game is getting too awesome...hmmmm...I know, let's add kill rooms; that will add a whole new layer of suck!" -too many game developers
#BadIdeas #HashtaggingOutsideOfTwitter

Fatty_The_HuttFebruary 07, 2012

Just picked up my copy, spelling mistake on the spine intact and nifty pre-order 3DS lenticular eyeball case too. Can't wait to dive in.
I don't want to read your review yet, Zach, but I like the score.  ;D

For all inquiring minds: The misspelling was as a result of a Facebook contest I ran. Since it makes me laugh, I have refrained from changing it.

My logic is that Capcom sent us a game to review that has Revalaitons on the side, so we're just reviewing the game we received. We'll likely change it back soon.

Lucariofan99July 26, 2013

Iwas really sacred when i played this game! :Q

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Biohazard: Revelations Box Art

Developer Capcom

Worldwide Releases

na: Resident Evil: Revelations
Release Feb 07, 2012
PublisherCapcom
RatingMature
jpn: Biohazard: Revelations
Release Jan 26, 2012
PublisherCapcom
eu: Resident Evil: Revelations
Release Jan 27, 2012
PublisherCapcom
aus: Resident Evil: Revelations
Release Feb 02, 2012
PublisherNintendo
RatingMature (15+)
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