Resident Evil: Revelations shares fairly little in common with recent Resident Evil games, despite a similarity in presentation. While the same over the shoulder perspective is used, the atmosphere of foreboding and the scarcity of resources at certain times commands a playstyle akin to Resident Evil games that appeared on the original PlayStation. If you don’t own a 3DS, you should definitely give this a look, but be aware of its portable origins.
Let’s Make Dante’s Inferno References
Resident Evil: Revelations takes place, chronologically, between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. The BSAA is a fairly new organization, chartered to battle the increasing threat of Bio-Organic Weapons, or B.O.W.’s for short. Series mainstays Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield join a cast of new characters as they investigate a mysterious cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia, floating in the Mediterranean, which may be linked to a new B.O.W.-based threat from terrorists. There’s more to Resident Evil: Revelations then just a cruise ship, however, as you’ll explore the city of Terragrigia in flashbacks from a year prior, relive the tragic events that befell it, and discover how these two locations are related.
I actually like the plot of Resident Evil: Revelations. Things don’t get too outrageously and needlessly detailed, and the twist is somewhat logical. The campaign is around 6 to 7 hours, so most of the characters don’t get a lot of time to develop. As a result, you won’t get too attached to them, but that didn’t really bother me; I wasn’t expecting that kind of feeling from a Resident Evil game. I can safely say my expectations were exceeded.
The title of this section is so named because several characters throughout Resident Evil: Revelations quote Dante’s Inferno. This is never really explained, except perhaps to make the comparison that the deeper Jill and her partner, Parker Luciani descend into the Queen Zenobia, the deeper they descend into hell. It’s a weak and meaningless comparison that doesn’t get paid off except for a line that is uttered by one of the characters during the ending.
Most of the time you’ll be playing Resident Evil: Revelations as Jill Valentine on the mysterious cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia. Its narrow corridors and blind corners are the perfect atmosphere for some good old fashioned scares. Even as you collect more powerful weapons and weapon upgrades, you’ll always be prey to a surprise attack from one of the ooze monsters, which are creations of the new T-Abyss virus. Therefore, often it is the best solution to not engage every monster you see. If you do so, you run the very real risk of running out of ammo or supplies for when you might really need them. Patient and thorough players are rewarded, not only by minimizing risk, but by using the Genesis scanner to scan environments for hidden weapon upgrades, ammo, and health-restoring herbs.
There’s a healthy enemy variety. Aside from standard ooze monsters, stronger ooze monsters, and ooze monsters that shoot projectiles, you’ll find aquatic creatures, quick moving hunters, and even an ooze monster carrying a shield. Often when fighting a new creature, you won’t be able to mow it down quickly, no matter how hard you try. Resident Evil: Revelations features a dodge mechanic that simply requires you to tap forward or back at just the right time to dodge attacks. This technique is actually quite difficult to master, but feels rewarding as it puts you in a great position to either run past the monster to safety, or lay heavy fire into the creature’s backside.
Diametrically opposed to this are the scenes in Resident Evil: Revelations where you play as other characters who are not on a cruise ship. In this scenarios, you will run through mostly open environments, blasting foe after mutated foe. If these scenes are meant to echo the action of newer Resident Evils, they fail. These temporary characters tend to be loaded for bear, so you’re never in any danger. Therefore, you never feel any tension. These scenarios do feel the weakest, but they serve a purpose to break up the pacing of Resident Evil: Revelations, and prevent it from feeling completely monotonous.
Raiding The Co-Op Mode
Resident Evil: Revelations’ sole mutliplayer offering is Raid Mode in which you and, optionally, an online partner, tackle bite-size levels pulled from the single player campaign. This mode has an extremely arcadey feel. Every creature has lifebars over their heads and each bullet you fire tells you exactly how much damage you did because a yellow number will pop up right over the hit, telling you. You’re awarded more points for a quick finish, so often you will run and gun your way through. Working with a partner feels especially gratifying, as you can split up to clear areas faster, or help each other out of jams.
As you play, you’ll earn weapons and weapon parts that carry over from level to level, and your character will level up, allowing you to use more powerful and potent weapons. There are also rare weapon drops. Any ammo you find is also yours to keep, but if you run low on ammo and don’t buy any from the in-game store, you get to keep that as well. A Raid mode level tends to not take more than 10 minutes, with the exception of the secret 21st level, which is a special challenge and can take over an hour. Once you complete all 20 (21) levels in a difficulty level, you can play them on a harder difficulty level. In all, there are three difficulty levels, so you can spend some time here. It’s bite-sized fun, and it’s one of my favorite co-op experiences of recent memory.
The Wii U Difference
I played Resident Evil: Revelations on the Wii U, which is mostly the same as the other platforms, with a few additions. You can choose to play off-TV, or not utilize the screen of the Gamepad. In either of those cases, you’ll get an experience identical to the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 versions. If you choose to use the Gamepad, the map will be moved to the center of the screen, and you can quick switch your equipped weapon or subweapon with a tap. Not a huge difference, but it’s there.
The Wii U version of Resident Evil: Revelations also utilizes Miiverse. You can post a message when you die, explaining your frustration with what happened, or drawing a cute picture of whatever just ate you. You can also see the messages of others who died in the same place as you. You can also write messages for creatures to say to other players in Raid Mode using text bubbles. It’s a cute addition. All in all, the Wii U version of Resident Evil: Revelations isn’t too far removed from what you’ll find on other platforms. I find that at the time of this review, there are plenty of people to play Raid Mode with.
One omission that I didn’t even notice at first, and didn’t realize until I finished the game, is that the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are not supported as a control method; only the Wii U Gamepad and Wii U Pro Controller can be used. After the success of Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition’s controls, I would have loved to be able to precisely aim my shots. What’s worse is that Resident Evil: Revelations on 3DS supported the ability to aim using the gyroscope functions of that system.
Making it to the Big Screen
Resident Evil: Revelations came out almost a year and a half ago on the 3DS, where it was hailed as a console-like experience on a handheld platform. Now, we have a console-like experience on a console platform. The handheld origins of Resident Evil: Revelations are clear in the high-definition visuals we now have. Some textures look washed out. Outdoor environments look especially bad, with level design reminiscent of a PlayStation One title. Characters’ mouths move at a bare minimum when they are talking. It’s always painfully obvious that this game could look better than it actually does, and while there are some new visual effects, such as the textures appearing to melt off of a creature’s body when it is killed, I know my console is capable of more, and I want the game to reflect off. The environments tend to be small and claustrophobic not for atmosphere, but to reflect the limited memory in the 3DS. On the other hand, many of the areas of the ship look perfectly acceptable, if not mind-blowing.
The sounds feel like they haven’t been changed too much from the 3DS version. The slimy slithering and the low moans of the T-Abyss mutants sound like they’ve been put through a lo-fi filter. It’s not too noticeable if you play using your TV speakers, but I used headphones with my Wii U Gamepad, and the quality difference became much more noticeable.
I also want to mention that the loading time between certain sections of the Queen Zenobia can reach upward of 30 seconds. It’s extremely aggravating.
There have been several improvements. Obviously, having a second analog stick helps aiming tremendously, assuming you never experienced Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS with a Circle Pad Pro. The Genesis scanner has a dedicated button now, and zooming in with rifles is now handled by clicking in the right click, which feels way better than the X and A buttons used in the 3DS version. The most salient of those are the new enemy creature, the Wall Blister, and the new difficulty mode, Infernal, which remixes enemy placements, and giving you fewer hits before you die. The Wall Blister is an ingenious touch for veterans. Initially, you’ll see these creatures hanging on walls where they did not exist before. Shooting them has no effect. About halfway through the campaign, one of these Blisters falls off. I wasn’t really prepared for what happened, and was happy with the end result. The Wall Blister has a small amount of health, but left alone, it will charge Jill and kill her in one hit. I was delightfully surprised to be torn apart by these new creatures.
There’s also some new DLC, but it’s of little consequence. There’s new characters for Raid Mode, and some new weapons that can be used in Campaign and Raid Mode. The selection of pistols seems nice, but it actually gives very little advantage in Campaign. They seem better in Raid mode, but you won’t miss not having them if you didn’t get them through a pre-order or get them while they were free on Wii U.
Taking a Double Dip In Infested Waters
Resident Evil: Revelations is a good game that doesn’t wear out its welcome, and adds a blissfully fun co-op mode. However, nothing can escape the fact that this title did come out over a year ago on 3DS. If you have a 3DS, you might as well get it for that system; it’s available on the eShop for $20. There are some really well done 3D effects, and it still looks amazing on the system. There’s simply not enough new here in this package, whether you’re looking at Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, or PC that justifies a second purchase. If, however, you don’t own a 3DS, and don’t mind playing a console game that definitely shows its handheld roots at times, this is a solid offering.
Ted played through the Campaign of Resident Evil: Revelations on Normal difficulty, and played through about half the Raid mode on Wii U. He finished the campaign in about 7 hours. He also previously played the 3DS version to completion. He did not receive a copy of the game from Capcom for review purposes.
+ Classic, tense gameplay evokes classic Resident Evil adventures
+ Relatively simple yet enjoyable plot
+ Co-op Raid Mode is wildly enjoyable
-Graphics noticeably lacking
-Action scenes feel out of place
Available on: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS
Version Reviewed: Wii U