The lights are on
When it first released in 2005 Resident Evil 4 reinvented
Resident Evil by completely updating the controls and providing an adrenaline boost
of action. However, following the even more action-packed Resident Evil 5 and countless
spinoff titles, the series has gradually lost the atmosphere of terror that let
it define the survival horror genre. Capcom’s latest Resident Evil title is an
attempted return to these horror roots in the form of a hardcore game for Nintendo
Fans of Resident Evil should be happy to know that
Revelations storytelling is as over the top and confusing as the rest of the
series. However, this time around its presentation is much more cinematic. The
story revolves around two competing counter-bioterrorism organizations and an
outbreak centered on the Mediterranean cruise ship, Queen Zenobia. While series
mainstays Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield are front and central, the plot
brings in a diverse cast of new characters. These include Jill’s graciously
Italian partner Parker Luciani, comic relief duo Keith and Quint, and the utterly
Despite being on a smaller screen, Revelations presents the
same high production values one would expect from its console relatives. It has
easily the best visuals and 3D effects on the 3DS and posses audio that is just
as impressive. The musical score always sets a perfect tone to the events going
on and the voice work, while often cheesy, is of a high quality.
Revelations attempts to move back towards traditional
survival horror while still providing the third-person action that the newer
titles are known for. The deformed Ooze are introduced as unsettling new foes
and ammo to fend them off is scarce, if not to the same degree as the earlier
titles. Meanwhile, the Queen Zenobia’s chilling atmosphere often matches that
of the original Resident Evil mansion. Unfortunately its ability to provide a
memorable setting is often hampered by the game’s pacing.
Game play in Revelations is split between Jill’s ordeal on
the Queen Zenobia and short side stories staring characters set in separate locations.
While Jill’s sections showcase survival Horror themed game play, the others are
intense shooting galleries. Though this allows the game to provide diversity,
the continuous interruptions hampered my ability to immerse myself in exploring
the main setting. Another problem with the game is that the frequent presence
of an AI partner at your side negatively impacts the game’s atmosphere. It’s
hard to feel any sense of isolation or fear when you have someone backing you
up. All of this makes me feel as if Capcom wasn’t confident in a full-on return
to survival horror, which is a shame since the horror driven sections could easily
have covered the whole game.
The game does feature some intense boss fights that you’ll
need all the skill (and bravery) you can muster to confront. Thankfully you
have a robust arsenal to take them down with guns that can be upgraded using
parts you find through exsploration. The controls are also more than up to the
job, though with a few kinks. Unlike Resident evil 4 and 5 you switch to a first-person
view to aim your gun and shooting and moving is finally possibly though unwieldy
without Nintendo’s circle-pad add-on. Movement options also include a dodge move,
though I found it too unwieldy to rely on.
Revelations is nothing if not ambitious and often feels more like
a console game than a portable one. It also takes steps in the right direction
for returning survival horror to the series that defined it. Unfortunately it
is held back by not embracing this identity fully. While both survival horror
and action fans will find plenty to like in Revelations, the former will likely
not be fully satisfied by what the game has to offer.
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