"Abandon hope all ye who enter here."
As many may know this, the game takes a set back in time and is placed between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. It has been one year since something known as the Terragrigia Panic where the terrorist group known as Veltro unleashed a new type of virus, the t-Abyss virus, on to the city, leading to its destruction much like Raccoon City. Afterwords, the group went silent. Flash forward to 2005, it seems as if Veltro is back and have captured BSAA agents Chris Redfield and and Jessica Sherawat and placed them on the luxury liner the Queen Zenobia so it is up to Jill Valentine and her new partner, Parker Luciani, to save them and stop Veltro's plans of unleashing the t-Abyss virus.
While the story may not be one of the best ever written, it is a neat idea. What makes the story great is how it is presented more than anything. The game is divided into four chapters, each of those being divided up into three episodes and those divided up further most of the time. In this way, the game feels like an action horror television show complete with its own recap of the last episode whenever you start a new episode or start the campaign again. By doing this, the story leads to a lot of cliff hangers at the end of most of the episodes leaving you with the need to know what happens next. On top of this, the story itself, as I mentioned before, is full of twists that will keep you guessing as to what is really happening; not all as it seems on board the Queen Zenobia.
The game likes to jump around in the story a lot as well. There are times when you will jump back in time or two another group all together. Overall, you end up playing as four different people in the campaign: Jill, Chris, Parker (two out of three times you are actually playing as him during the Terragrigia Panic), and another BSAA member, Keith Lumley. At first it may seem confusing as to why they are doing this, but it brings a lot of in site as to what is going on in the story and in retrospect it seems like a smart move. As for the different characters, most of them felt kind of dull really. There were a few that I ended up really liking (ie. Parker, Raymond Vester who is an FBC agent, Keith and his partner Quint Cetcham, and Clive O'Brian) but there were a few that just seemed very dull personality wise.
When it comes to controls, the game is nearly spot on with everything, and this is without the Circle Pad Pro. The game in this sense reminds me a lot like Resident Evil 4 does in this sense. While there are three different types of control step-ups to choose from, I found the default to work the best for me. Now if you are not a fan of having your character stop when you pull the gun out, there are ways around this. Type C controls feature the ability to move the camera and shoot by using the A, B, X, and Y buttons. This feels rather awkward to use, but do not worry because there is another way without shelling out the extra $20 for a Circle Pad Pro if you are against it (which really I am not, I just cannot find it anywhere) is using the gyro scope which works quite while. I myself would switch between using it and not using it throughout the game and I cannot say which way I prefer to use as they both feel great. Outside of the control set-up, the only thing that does not like to work too much is the dodge system. It feels as if it only works one out of six times or so. There are also underwater bits in the game and unlike a lot of games that feature swimming sections, it is not plague with terrible controls.
The second screen is set up very nice since it gives you a second option for selecting and reloading weapons or changing your sub-weapon. It feels a lot better just to quickly tab the screen then try and reach the D-Pad (if you are using Type A controls). The other nice thing about the second screen is that there is a map sitting right there. Having the second screen in a Resident Evil game is almost a God sent since you are not stopping to look at a map that is hidden away in some menus (though there is a 3D map that is kind of like ones featured in the Metroid Prime series if you need it) and makes the game play a lot more fluid.
Something a little new to the series is something called the Genesis Scanner. What this will let you do is scan for hidden items, enemies, and other hidden secrets. When you scan enemies a percentage will slowly rise up and once you hit 100% you are rewarded with a herb to heal yourself with. Also, the scanner doesn't totally take away from items that are sitting around, there is more of an even number to them. Other things the scanner can do is show you invisible or hard to see things. Also kind of new to the series is how you customize weapons. Instead of spending money on upgrades, you can find custom parts throughout the different stages that you can place or remove on your weapons that you pick up. Money, called BP, that you earn during the campaign instead is placed towards Raid Mode and is rewarded to you based on how well you did in terms of accuracy and how many times you died.
The boss fights are normally a nice challenge in the game. There is not one at the end of each episode, but there is quite a few over the course of the game. Each one is a worthy challenge leading up to the final boss fight. This one felt kind of cheap during the last phase, but overall it was a nice fight that was not too hard. It does take like a million bullets (or half a million and a rocket launcher, your choice) to put him down as do other fights. Its main power, the fact he can teleport and make copies of himself, might feel out of place to some, but to me it was not that weird. When you compare it to other enemies in the game that can turn invisible, it seems to fit in a way.
Once you are done with the campaign, or I should say finish up a chapter though you will not have all stages of the first difficulty until you beat the game, you unlock Raid Mode. This new mode is a lot like the Mercenaries mode of past games though the major difference is you are trying to reach a goal. Levels are set up like sections in the campaign but it has different enemy placement and with some enemies with different stats that make them faster, stronger, or have more defense. This mode also fractures a shop where you can buy stronger weapons as you increase your level or custom parts with in game money or using Play Coins. And by stronger, I mean ridiculously powerful once you hit the last few levels (the max level is 50). Whether it be alone, with a friend, or a stranger online, Raid Mode is just a lot of fun, especially when you get into the hardest of the three difficulty (Abyss). Truthfully, on most of the twenty stages of each difficulty it is easy to earn an S-Rank by yourself. There is also a bonus stage that is the entire Queen Zenobia if you are up for a long challenge.
For achievement nuts out there, Revelations has you covered in its own version of them which are called Missions. There are missions for both the campaign, which are like completing it on a certain difficulty, scanning all enemies, or dodging a certain number of times, and for Raid Mode, which are like complete all stages in a difficulty with an S-Rank, kill a certain number of a certain type of enemy, or StreetPassing someone who a virus mission. By completing these mission you can unlock weapons or items you can use in the campaign or new outfits, honor colors (which say that you have an S-Rank on all stages on a certain difficulty) or money for Raid Mode. You can also get missions from people you StreetPass (or meet online) in two ways on top of the virus thing. One, you can hunt "them" down in one of the stages and kill them now that they are a BOW, and two, they send you supplies in the campaign. Overall, missions are a nice way to keep you playing the game more and gives you something to do in Raid Mode more then just getting an S-Rank or to see if you can go through the entire thing just using a knife.
Revelations overall gives a nice challenge at a good pace in both the campaign and Raid Mode. And after beating the game on Normal, you get the pleasure of unlocking Hell difficulty for the campaign. The game features a New Game + type deal where all your weapons transfer over from each play though, making Hell a little more manageable. For beating it once through, I was able to tackle Normal in a little over nine hours. Raid Mode on the other hand I have put around twenty something hours into to get through all the stages on all the difficulties and playing through them enough to get to Lv. 50. Between the Raid Mode, multiple difficulties in the campaign, and missions to do, there is plenty enough to bring you back to the game over and over.
As with most things, there are some small dents in this games armor. During the game, when it is loading a new area or enemies there is a bit of lag (though more for new areas than enemies). Now this is not really that severe by any means and you get use to it over time, but the load times are a bit long at times. For the most part this doesn't hinder much as this gives you a great time to reload your guns to prepare for more enemies and it serves as a great way to know when enemies show up. There are also some glitches in the game, like I have had enemies attack me through walls before, but it isn't common by any means.
Minus the small glitches mentioned earlier, the game is solid graphically. Revelations seems to be on level with some of the high end Nintendo Wii games. There is plenty of detail give the the environments, characters, and some enemies. Now some of the enemies look rather bland, others have a terrifying look that is just great. The cut-scenes also look great, only slightly above the level of the in-game graphics. When 3D is turned on, the game looks even better. The game also lets you choose how strong the slider will effect the 3D, so in other words just because you have 3D on all the way does not mean that it as deep as the game gets. This is a nice feature for those who have a hard time finding just how much depth they want.
The sound track is probably one of the best things in the game as it is able to greatly add to the atmosphere of the game. It is able to big a sense of uneasy in areas that are suppose to be safe while still sound impressive and amazing, for example the main hall theme for the Queen Zenobia. It is also able to build tension and fear during the parts that are suppose to be dead frighting like boss fights. On top of this, lines that some of the enemies (bosses) say add even more. They just sound creepy while near them or when they appear. It is saddening that not all of the game is like this, as the times when the game is scary is mainly when you play as Jill. But it has a nice mix of action and horror so that people who are looking for the a kind of rebirth in the horror have had their wish granted. The voice acting for the rest of the cast is also pretty good. While some lines are fairly bland, over all the characters sound great. I still think the best line in the entire game is when Chris says "damn, it's like a disco ball's in front of my face" because you only really hear the "ball's in front of my face" part.
Overall, Resident Evil Revelations is a superb game. While it suffers from some minor glitches, lag, and a pretty poor dodging system, the rest of the game is able to step up and make the game an amazing experience both alone and together with a friend. Raid Mode is simply a blast and the sound track is one of the finest. I think that anyone with a 3DS would like this game, but not everyone is up for something that is scary. If you are a fan of older Resident Evil games, this is a defiant pick up for you. And if you are looking just for a great game that is well worth its price for the 3DS, look no further than Resident Evil Revelations.