An experience equal to any home console game.

User Rating: 9 | Resident Evil: Revelations 3DS
Some handheld games feel like they've been limited by their creators because they are "only" handheld games. While Capcom's first entry in the Resident Evil series on 3DS may be guilty of this, a year later it's successor Resident Evil: Revelations certainly is not. It is every bit an equal to home console games of any generation.

For starters, Resident Evil: Revelations is probably the most impressive game released in the the 3DS's first year from a technical standpoint. Sprites and backgrounds both are deep and detailed. The 3D is gorgeous and adds a lot of space, especially if you go into the game's menu and crank it up to the maximum settings. The sounds too are incredible. Hollywood-style effects and eerie music are complimented by well placed silence in order to build atmosphere. This technical details don't go to waste either; every one of them serves to draw the player further in leading to some moments that are downright chilling.

This stage is set for an extravagantly over-the-top tale of biological terrorism and government intrigue. It is primarily set on an abandoned luxury liner packed full of horrendous and otherwise dangerous mutants and your main goal is to get off said luxury liner life and limb in tact. There are additional settings which provide both a background for the current story and explains what's going on behind the scenes while you're trying to escape but, to be honest, it is all a bit much. The story is fun but fun for its own sake is not really what Revelations is going for. The whole thing could have been pulled off better by simply dropping players into the middle of things and leaving them to sort out just what needs to be done, Metroid-style.

The overzealous plot barely gets in the way though and aside from the occasional moment of confusion regarding just why on earth you are following two entirely different people in a seemingly unrelated environment, Revelations will keep most gamers enthralled in its gameplay. It is fairly standard controls for a game w/ only one analog stick; the character moves using the stick and then when the R button is held, the player can the aim and fire his weapon. It's a bit clunky compared to dual-stick controls--which you can have w/ the optional circle pad pro attachment--but it's fairly functional and there's only rare moments where it becomes frustrating.

In the first few levels, action ranges all the way between creeping around weaponless to all out machine-gun blasting insanity. However, it veers more toward the former for the most part. Exploration along with conservation of both health and energy is the focus. Enemies are slow moving but get progressively tougher as the game goes on, especially when they assault in groups. The end result is a riveting crawl through a sometimes terrifying setting.

Revelations also includes something it calls Raid Mode, which is essentially a chance to replay the levels w/ run and gun style gameplay (and w/o any sort of pretense of plot). For something that is included as a bonus, it has a lot of depth and replay-ability. There are not only varying levels of difficulty and awards and power-ups to be earned but also some RPG-style leveling up for both your character and your weapons. It additionally offers co-op, both online and through local wi-fi. For gamers inclined toward unlocking every last secret, this mode offers nearly as much playtime as the regular campaign mode.

For those of us who want to see handheld games get equal respect to their bigger brothers, we have a long way to go but full featured and stunning games like this on the 3DS are a good start. The charm of Resident Evil: Revelations is not just its game-play but that you can take it w/ you anywhere w/o compromise.