I’ll confess: I played Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS and completed its story mode over a year ago. I couldn’t exactly tell you why I felt compelled to pick up this version of the game, but I have purchased it again and I’d like to give you my impressions so far.
First of all, I bought Resident Evil: Revelations for the Wii U mainly because I thought the Wii U Gamepad added the most to the game compared to other platforms. I didn’t feel like the PC version would necessarily look THAT much better than other platforms because this is essentially an upscaling of a 3DS game, even though there are some additional graphical bells and whistles. One of the other reasons why I got this version is because I wanted Miiverse functionality. I probably shouldn’t enjoy the fact that you can write messages for the creatures to say in other people’s games, but you totally can, and I get a kick out of it.
If you’re unfamiliar with Resident Evil: Revelations, the game takes place chronologically between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. Chris and Jill have just recently joined the BSAA, the anti-terrorist organization that vows to stop the use of bioweapons. Chris’s signal goes dark during a mission and Jill and her partner, Parker Luciani, head to his last known location: the middle of the ocean. There, they find an empty cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia. Aboard it are a cornucopia of horrors created by a new virus: the T-Abyss virus.
While Resident Evil: Revelations has the same over the shoulder view as Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5, or Resident Evil 6, it has a mood more akin to the classic survival horror of the earlier titles. Fighting is not always the best option, and you’ll find yourself running from and dodging creatures as you try to make it to your destination. If you try to gung-ho it, more often than not you will find that you run out of ammo.
For the most part, the Wii U version plays exactly like the 3DS version: the overhead map, guns, and subweapons are in the exact same place. That being said, I know that most people will not pick this up on Wii U, so I tried playing with TV only mode to get a feel for how this game will look on other platforms and I’m pleased with what I saw. The overhead map I had on my Wii U appears tastefully in the upper-right corner of my screen. Switching weapons and subweapons can be done with the D-Pad. Certain puzzles in the game that would display on the touchscreen of the Wii U Gamepad just appear onscreen, and can be manipulated with the controller.
In other control improvements, the Genesis scanner now has its own dedicated button, and no longer needs to be switched to as a subweapon to use. This is a huge change, as good players will often use the Genesis scanner whenever they can to find hidden items. Ammo tends to be scarce, especially early on, so making this action a simple button press as opposed to an inventory gear swap helps the flow of the game dramatically. I’ve also read that a lot of people are complaining about the feel of the analog sticks, especially that aiming is awkward. Aiming definitely needs a lighter touch than most shooters I’ve played, but it’s nothing you can’t adjust to.
Resident Evil: Revelations, like I said before, is an upscaled 3DS game and there are parts of it just look better for the treatment than others. Any time you are in the Queen Zenobia cruise ship, the HD treatment will wow you with new lighting effects and great surfaces. There are some brand new effects as well. When you kill an ooze monster, it looks like its skin is actively melting as it turns into a pile of goo. However, everything that takes place in flashbacks or other locations is left wanting. Especially awful-looking is the first part of Chapter 2, when you play as Chris in the frozen tundra. The geometry of the walls looks like it came from a PlayStation 1 title, and the repeating textures ended up making me nauseous. It is definitely an uneven HD treatment.
Raid Mode isn’t really any different from the 3DS incarnation. You have the capability of earning weapons and gear from the ResidentEvil.net online platform and transferring them into your game, but the mode plays exactly the same: It’s a short level, generally no more than 10 minutes in length, where you and, optionally, a co-op partner you find online, rush through as fast as you can, blasting away all the ooze creatures you see. This mode mixes it up; sometimes you’ll find enemies that can take loads of damage, or enemies that are extra powerful, or short squeaky enemies that move fast. There’s also lifebars above enemies’ heads that adds to the arcade shoot-em-up feel. There are a few pre-order weapons, and new raid characters to play as, but this is mostly the same experience. One thing I found that was different was that there were targets placed around the maps, and shooting them earned me additional points (It is entirely possible that these existed in the 3DS version and I was totally blind).
I’ve only played through the first 2 chapters of Story Mode, and the first 3 Raid missions (The initially available ones). It feels good to play this on a console so far, but there have been moments where it’s painfully clear this is a handheld port, like when Jill’s ponytail clips through her shoulder. I want to play more, and see how some of the other environments look in HD. I also haven’t found any instances of the brand new creature, the Wall Blister; I’m looking forward to seeing what on earth one of those actually is. Stay tuned to Gamer Horizon for my full review of Resident Evil: Revelations.