Resident Evil: Revelations 3DS
For many, Resident Evil is about clunky controls, heavy atmospheres and light supplies. For others, the series is about teaming up with a friend to blast through hordes of enemies. Revelations promised to appeal to those who preferred the traditional approach of careful exploration and ammo conservation, yet the game actually does a pretty good job of covering both game styles.
Revelations follows series favorites Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, along with new characters, as they investigate the circumstances surrounding a deserted cruise liner out at sea, a strange enemy base in the Arctic and the mysterious terrorist organization that links them both, Veltro. The story of Revelations is broken up into episodes, a great feature for this handheld title. Each episode starts with a “Previously…” video, ends on a decent cliff hanger and last about half an hour, perfect for a game that people are supposed to play in short breaks throughout the day. The plot unfolds via a surprisingly large number of cut-scenes and dialogue sections.
The pacing in Revelations feels spot on. A panicky solo struggle through the ship can be followed by an all out fire fight with a group of large enemies before you are again thrown back to the deep end on board the ship. It really forces the player to change strategy and think about the context. The game allows players to carry a limited supply of weapons and ammo, and also mix and match upgrades, encouraging some foresight and careful monitoring of ammo levels.
Slightly awkward controls make a comeback here, although the adjustment period is rather short thanks to a simpler interface and the benefit of using the touchscreen for menus and weapon swaps. Revelations is the first 3DS title released in the PAL region to make use of the new Circle Pad pro attachment. While it is possible to aim and shoot at the same time, the logistics of pulling it off were far beyond me, which meant I was stood still while firing (increasing the intensity). I played the game both with and without the circle pad and, while I did prefer playing with it, the game was no less enjoyable or playable without.
No Resident Evil title would be complete without some cheesy voice acting and stupid script, and both are present throughout Revelations. Pointing out the obvious and making “witty” remarks are the order of the day, but, fortunately, these aspects of the game are considerably more bearable than many would expect (with the exception of one character, aptly codenamed “Jackass”).
Revelations sticks you with an AI partner for much of the game, a damaging factor that, while improving the frantic nature of the game, opposes it’s survival horror tone. These partners are often about as helpful as a plank of wood, as they consistently provide stupid comments at inappropriate times. Previously, it was possible to play with a friend (who is only occasionally reminiscent of an unhelpful plank of wood that makes stupid comments) throughout. However, in Revelations, this is not an option, leaving your solo efforts only to be accompanied by an frequently annoying tag-along.
Visually, Revelations can brag about being the best looking game on the platform so far (a crown that, pleasingly, seems to be shifting around quite often). In 2D and particularly in 3D, Revelations wows with a home console look and style. There doesn’t appear to have been any concessions made to cram this game onto a handheld, barring the occasional patch of slowdown while a new area loads.
As ever in this series, the amount of game you get for your money is exceptional. The campaign itself is a good 7 to 8 hours, and there is plenty of replay value. Completing extra objectives throughout the game awards bonuses for other play-throughs such as new weapons, upgrades, and additional health and ammo items. Progress through the story is also rewarded with unlocking ‘Raid’ mode. This new feature is in place of the Mercenaries mode of previous titles (which has it’s own game on 3DS). In Raid mode, players team up with a partner via WiFi to tackle missions based on sections of the story. Raid is a suitable alternative to Mercenaries, especially as Revelations doesn’t seem to lend itself to that style.
Making a handheld game that feels every bit as deep and technically impressive as it’s home console cousins is no mean feat, but Capcom have pulled it off in style. Revelations really sets the bar high for third and first party developers on the 3DS.