A well-done port for newcomers to the game and at the same time a reminder that Resident Evil can be a great game.
Returning heroes Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are joined with new partners in this latest tale. Chris spends most of his time with Jessica Sherawat, while Jill hangs with Parker Luciani. In the Resident Evil timeline, Revelations takes place between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, with a story about the terrorist organisation Veltro and its rebirth, after disappearing off the radar due to their bio-organic weapons (BOW) attack on the floating city of Terragrigia. The game begins with Jill and Parker in search of Chris and Jessica at their last known whereabouts, the cruise ship SS Queen Zenobia. This isn't a Resident Evil game without a silly plot, and it's all here, told through episodes that allow the game to switch between characters and the current perspective on the overall story. Emulating a TV series, each new episode begins with "Previously on Resident Evil: Revelations," which stems from its design as a portable game. There is nothing wrong with it being on consoles, as each chapter mostly lasts over 30 minutes and it does not compromise the quality of the game.
This port to the consoles and PC hasn't altered much from the 3DS version, but Capcom did decide to add new content, mostly for the multiplayer-focused Raid mode; nothing has changed in regards to the story. There are no extra chapters, additional rooms or anything related to extend the main campaign. The one thing that does affect the single-player is the new Infernal difficulty, where the game places more enemies and changes their location. Items have also had their places remixed so that veteran players won't be able to use their knowledge from previous plays. Infernal is a nice inclusion for the hardcore fans who want more of a challenge after playing it on the 3DS, or for anyone who might want to play through the game multiple times.
For me, Revelations is the best Resident Evil game since Resident Evil 4. It manages to invoke the slower pacing of the classic games, but at the same time implementing a modern approach to its gun-play mechanics. The puzzles are not a focus, so fans that like that aspect of the older titles might be a little disappointed, but the ship, with its eerie and desolate appearance, does give a great sense of atmosphere on arrival, as players try unraveling the mystery and find answers to what the hell happened on the SS Queen Zenobia. The cruise ship parts of the story do bring in elements of the backtracking that was present in Resident Evil and its mansion. Finding emblems and keys to unlock other compartments to explore newly unlocked areas is definitely a throwback that I am willing to embrace.
Inventory management is kept to a minimum, with characters allowed to carry up to three weapons. These can be swapped in the magical, connected storage boxes, but this is limited to weapons only, as key items are automatically stored on the player without limitation. Green herbs have their own section on the main screen and no longer require mixing with red herbs to buff their effectiveness – characters will be fully healed with the use of one herb. Secondary weapons, such as grenades and mines, can be picked up but are limited in the amount you can carry. Same with ammo for each of the three weapons you hold. Upgrades can be found around the environment, offering increased ammo capacity or add-ons for weaponry to buff an aspect. These are not locked to one weapon, allowing players to visit a storage box to swap them between their favourite guns.
A new feature to Revelations was the inclusion of Genesis, a scanning tool that uncovers hidden items and offers a reward of a green herb if you could build up the metre to 100 percent. This requires the scanning of enemies, dead or alive, with the alive offering more metre building. It's a simple mechanic, offering the chance for players to decide to go for those extra points from scanning an enemy before engaging in combat. Just be careful the enemy isn't too close, or it's free food time for these monsters. It wouldn't have hurt to have the Genesis have a more involving role, such as the brilliant usage of the scanner visor in Metroid Prime.
That's my only major gripe with Revelations, really – the enemies. They are all a bit too lacklustre in quality. Old classics like the Hunters are nice to see, but when you return to the grey, sloppy, slimy designs of the T-Abyss infested population of the SS Queen Zenobia, then it's a bit of a drag to look at. Monsters don't react much to shots, either, which I guess makes sense for water-based enemies – bullets easily going through them and such – but it doesn't feel as rewarding to pop a cap in them, removing any strategy to gun-play that has been featured in recent titles that include a behind-the-shoulder camera. A small note to report is that with a typical, third-person control system based on a 360 controller, it makes it a lot easier to strafe while shooting, which is very handy in a game like this.
Raid mode was met with praise on the 3DS version, so Capcom have added more weapons, skills and characters to improve upon what was already there. Levels from the single-player are used to construct the stages for Raid mode, although these are often broken down into smaller chunks. The premise of Raid mode is to supply an action-focused multiplayer mode that gradually gets harder with level-ups. BP is rewarded for finishing these stages, which can be spent in the shop to buy better weapons, ammo, or upgrade weapons. It's a different approach to the survival tactics of Mercenaries; rather, this has inspiration of a score-attack feature. Raid mode isn't afraid to have a laugh, as enemies become modified into bigger but slower monsters, or tiny but speedy beasts. There's something amusing seeing mini Scagdead running around with his saw trying to kill you.
MT Framework has proven to be a wonderful engine with fantastic scalability on various platforms. Revelations on 3DS remains one of the better-looking games on the handheld, but its port to consoles isn't shabby either. The origins of being developed for the 3DS do show, such as simple and blurry textures showing up from time to time, but this HD update looks fine and sharp on consoles that being on a large TV doesn't do it any injustice. The 360 version runs at 30FPS and keeps that framerate for the most part, but just like on the 3DS, when the game is loading a new area on the fly, the framerate will be hit with judders until the loading is done. A shame, but it happens in places where nothing is going on.
There isn't much here to draw in the original fans of the 3DS version of Revelations. If you're diehard enough, then you might enjoy playing it on the bigger screen, but this console release is aimed for people without Nintendo's handheld. For them, then, Resident Evil: Revelations is a great step in the right direction. A well-done port for newcomers to the game and at the same time a reminder that Resident Evil can be a great game with quality atmosphere without having to succumb to the big-budget, AAA nonsense that plagues the industry.