By: Kyle Grubb
You were probably expecting me to do RE5 next, weren’t you? I was debating between playing Revelations last or putting it here. I decided to attack the series chronologically (sorry, RE0. Still waiting to see about that HD Remaster).
In Life: Once again, we’re back at a Resident Evil game I hadn’t played. I remembered playing the demo for this game on my 3DS, but just never ended up buying it. I probably had a bunch of games I was already playing, and figured that some portable Resident Evil game wasn’t the best use of my money. I still was a bit disappointed by Resident Evil 5, even two years later, and I knew that Resident Evil 6 was right around the corner. If I was going to buy a Resident Evil game in 2012, it was going to be that. I’d heard good things about Revelations, but just never cared enough to give it a try. When doing this series of reviews, I debated back and forth on whether or not to play the original 3DS version of the game or pick it up on one of the consoles it was ported to. The PSN sale ended up making that choice pretty easy.
In Review: Resident Evil: Revelations was released in early 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS by Capcom. After proving itself successful, the game was ported to the PS3, XBOX 360, Wii U, and Windows in mid 2013. Updated in HD and given some extra content and a new difficulty level, it is, on paper, the superior version. Revelations primarily follows Jill Valentine, now a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, as she investigates an abandoned cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia. Working together with fellow BSAA agent Parker Luciani, Jill finds herself wrapped up in the middle of a mystery surrounding not just what happened to the ship and its passengers, but also the true details of a horrific incident of bioterrorism that occurred one year ago.
I am not!
Well what do you suggest?
Isn’t that your job?
Wait, Picture Dude!
In Review Part 2:
Well, I guess I’m all on my own here. I have absolutely no idea how to incorporate humor without Picture Dude. This is going to be interesting. Well, here we go…
Let’s cut the crap. Revelations is good. It’s not as good as 4, but it’s probably a better solo experience than either 5 or 6 are. I had somehow gathered that this game was a return to form for the series, a step back more towards the more horror-themed entries in the franchise. Nope. Maybe it was the claustrophobic setting on the ship that gave me that feeling. While I did enjoy the feeling of slowly investigating the ship, and I did enjoy the ability to go back to other areas occasionally and open up locked rooms for extras stuff, it was mostly a pretty linear experience. You had a clear destination for every chapter, and they clipped along so fast that I never felt like it was appropriate to ever actually explore anything. And while some of the enemies were creepy looking, they were never scary. Also, the enemies were just really uninspired. There are three variations of the basic foe, and those are the majority of the enemies you fight. The only type of enemy that regularly appears other than that are Hunters, which are a recycled enemy from earlier games in the series. Am I the only one annoyed by this?
Starting out as a handheld game, it shouldn’t surprise to hear how badly the system was simplified. There is almost no inventory management in the entire game, outside of choosing which three weapons you want to use. Ammo is heavily limited, and you have to find packs throughout the campaign to increase your maximum. Having to pass up large amount of useful ammo was an annoying factor to deal with, especially when most of the enemies, particularly early on, are huge bullet sponges.
As of yet, it really just sounds like I haven’t liked the game. That’s not true. Throughout the campaign, you’re searching can net you with custom parts for your guns, that allow you to give them bonuses like more damage or faster reloads. It gives a sense of progression, and also just helps you feel like you have some control over the way you play. When playing as any of the characters that aren’t Jill, though, you’re stuck with a pre-set loadout that you can’t customize. It’s a bit annoying, but not that big of a deal. Those side chapters, while fairly frequent, aren’t usually very long.
The game’s story isn’t bad. It’s fairly coherent, it doesn’t require any real outside information to follow, and it’s fairly well acted. That said, it isn’t perfect. I have a particular gripe with the story, but talking about it would involve spoilers, so I’ll refrain. For the new characters, they’re pretty likable. Most of them are two-dimensional, but at this point I don’t expect much depth in this series. I cared about the characters, and worried about them when they were in danger. That’s how I know they did a pretty decent job. Jill and Chris are still pretty bland, though. That isn’t going to change any time soon, mind you, so I think I’ll just stop complaining about it.
In my opinion, the best thing this game has going for it is Raid Mode, the secondary mode in the game. You select from a host of different characters and replay sections of the game with remixed enemies. This is the most “gamey” section of the game, and it works. The introduction of RPG elements also gives you something you’re constantly striving toward. Every level awards you Battle Points and EXP. You use the experience to level up, allowing you access to better gear, and use the BP to purchase weapons, custom parts, ammo, or upgrades. Playing through the levels, also, you can find various guns with randomized statistics. Honestly, the mode reminded me of a more slow-paced Borderlands. Being able to see the enemy’s health bar, and watching as damage done to them is reflected by numbers appearing in the air, probably helped with that comparison. There’s quite a lot of depth into this mode, and playing through it so much is what held me up from doing this review sooner.
Also, this was the first game in the series that had moving while aiming. It’s awful, though, so it’s barely an issue. Mostly because that description is inaccurate. Essentially, while aiming the gun, you can hold down a button that allows movement. This, though, uses the stick that controls your aiming. As such, you can’t physically manipulate the retical while moving around. There was a reason I almost never used this feature.
Maybe I’m just cranky because Picture Dude abandoned me, but I just didn’t enjoy Revelations that much. There are other possible reasons for this, mind you. Playing so many of these games back to back may just be getting to me. Also, the game probably felt like something truly special on the 3DS, but on consoles just feels like a stripped down version of the franchise. There is still a fair bit to enjoy in the game. The gunplay itself is good, the story is a bit unique compared to the other entries in the series, and Raid Mode is deep and a blast. You can sink a fair amount of time into this game after completely the story, and that feels rewarding in its own right. The voice acting is never awful, which is probably the first time in the series I can say that, and the sound design is great as usual.
The problem with Resident Evil: Revelations HD is that it doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself from the rest of the series. It seems to try and invoke the old games by placing us in a small, explorable environment, but then harkens back to the newer entries by throwing wave after wave of enemies after you during parts of the game. The tone is inconsistent during gameplay, and that just hurt my enjoyment of its experience. Also, the story seems to be completely superfluous in the grand scheme of the series, especially because Revelations 2 supposedly doesn’t build on any of the story elements from this game. It’s not as bad as 3, for me, but it just feels like the whole game struggles to find its own identity. By failing to excel in any one element, the game seems determined to ride on the success of its predecessors. Hopefully the next Revelations doesn’t suffer from these same problems. I bet this will be a better game on the 3DS, and so if you want to experience it, that is the way I’d recommend you go.
Resident Evil: Revelations HD
So there, are you happy, Picture Dude?
I’m still figuring out my voice for my reviews. That’s why you pick up the slack, you know…