Creepy and fun, Revelations is a great horror game despite some pesky problems.
Cheesy story and characters
Long load times
Ammo dumping flashbacks aren't fun
After a less than stellar outing with action fest Resident Evil 5, Revelations twirls around and dives straight between the atmosphere of the old and the mechanics of the new. A secret organization, known as Veltro, has unleashed a terrible virus amongst the Mediterranean Sea and it's up to our heroes in the BSAA to stop the wrath. In the crew are our old friends Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield teamed up with a few new sidekicks. Jill and new buddy Parker are sent on board of a ship trying to find Chris and Jessica who have disappeared. In the beginning, the story seems straight forward and easy enough to understand. As you get through maybe halfway through, the game will start throwing predictable plot twists at you and ultimately starts making less and less sense. Characters you thought were good turn out to be bad, new bad guys come into play, people get injured but end up living, etc. Unless you pay real close attention, it's hard to figure out what this new bad guy has anything to do your bosses plan. Some new characters are increasingly annoying, such as the two cheese heads known as Quint and Keith using laughably bad lines such as "one of the vics" and "That would be boobs." The game is told through episodes and sometimes breaks away through the main story to play through some flashbacks as to how these characters got to know one another. The story is mostly trash giving you an excuse to play through a creepy boat filled with monsters and fun gameplay that will last about 10 hours.
Revelations is arguably the best looking game on the 3DS. Pushing polygons in character models and model animation. People and enemies look great at any distance, removing the problem The Mercenaries 3D with characters jerking around in the background. However, the tight character models hinders the walls of pretty much every room. The walls are really blurry which isn't a huge deal because there's not much to look at there. Also the mouth animations are really poor when the characters talk, barely budging an inch and making it pretty cheap. There isn't much variety in enemy design as you'll run into the same gray blob creature and shiny Hunters over and over again which gets rather boring. Some actual Zombies would have been nice. The game does a good job of creating a haunting atmosphere on board the ship. The lighting is spectacular and makes those jump scares actually a bit creepy even if they're predictable in the first place. Disappointingly, however, the game frequently leaves the ship and goes back into bright monster slaughter houses, for lack of a better phrase.
Load times are definitely an issue especially when leaving one big area into the next. You'll have to wait and watch as the wheel on a door spins by itself for upwards of 30 seconds before it opens and elevators take forever. There are also small load times every time you open a regular door, preventing you from going through it quickly and making your partner or co-op buddy wait until you're all the way through before they can. The game's frame rate can drop quite often, most notably when a group of enemies is about to appear and completely randomly at other points. Remarkably it can remain very smooth throughout bigger things such a boss battles. There are many different levels of 3D to choose from; from normal to super high. It's very subtle in this game and they don't really do too much with it but it can sometimes get in the way when aiming through a scope because the scope is in the foreground and the enemy in the background. The reticle actually splits because of the focus of your eyes. The highest intensity of 3D is very mind blowing but there's too much ghosting to actually enjoy it.
A small little pest that rears its ugly head throughout the entirety of the adventure is some questionably sounding sound effects. Most of the guns sound very low bit like they're from a Super Nintendo game and the very noticeably rustling of any character movement heavily distracted me from trying to stealth around corners. To put it lightly, it always sounded like something was coming towards you even if you move just a little bit and concentrate down the hall. Other sound effects are neatly orchestrated into the atmosphere and help create that creepy tone. Sudden crashing vents or opening closets feel right at home even if it feels as though they belong in a DS game. The music is well used, keeping it to a bare minimum when the suspense is rising and bursting out into some grand hall music when the environments get huge. One of the characters appropriately stating, "It's like an Opera House in here." Bringing me to the voice acting, which is well done, except when the script gets laughably bad or cliché in which you can't help but sigh at some of the dialogue. But the better parts are well acted, making the urgency of separated partners feel even more real even if the story isn't that great.
The way Resident Evil controls has always been a love hate relationship for players. The way your character moves like a tank is definitely off setting as well as aiming with the same stick that controls movement. Fortunately if you can bring yourself to like this control scheme then the games are very fun to play. Revelations uses this by having you hold down the R button to go to aim mode and press the Y button to aim. While absolutely not ideal for a fast paced game, it works really well here, making you feel more vulnerable and in danger. There is an option for use of the circle pad pro to move the camera and move faster while you shoot but I, personally, haven't tried it. The game makes great use of the touch screen where the map and your inventory are displayed. Weapon swap is there with the press of the thumb and you can even tap the icon to reload more quickly than the standard way.
Revelations puts you on an abandoned cruise liner throughout most of the game. You'll be solving the mystery of the ship and mostly shooting down monsters known as B.O.W.'s. The most basic of these creatures come in a small variety, mostly the ones that waddle towards you and try to eat your face, as well as some that annoyingly shoot projectiles at you. Easy to dodge unless you don't notice them off-camera at first. The dodge mechanic is rather confusing in which it tells you to move the circle pad up to dodge or do a spin (Down + B). It may as well just say move Jill's oversized butt forward but the problem is that it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. The melee mechanic is also different that previous game, making you put an attachment on your gun to get a higher stun rate instead of just aiming for the knees. It's never very clear when you can melee an enemy, just them stopping and you going up to them looking for the melee prompt is how you learn. Something they added, though, is charging up the melee to execute a more powerful one though it makes you a sitting duck for a few seconds.
The maps are not very big and the layout of the main area can easily be remembered by heart. This is useful because a bit of back tracking is required and you definitely want to avoid running into the same dead ends over and over again. The cruise ship is well designed, making it feel like a luxurious boat with a full hotel and casino. There are plenty of rooms to go in and plenty of stuff to get. You'll be locked inside a hotel room and having to avoid enemies after your weapons have been stolen which serves as a good starting point. Some rooms will house goodies such as a shotgun but some others will be a waste of time with boring notes that don't make you feel like you've accomplished anything by reading them. The place has its fair share of boss fights and they are very tough. It seems as though some of them can take enough bullets to make your gun commit suicide and they'll still be standing. Although they have some tiny weak points it's definitely worth it to at least take your time and try to hit them. The action will sometimes flash back to previous events in the character's lives, such as how the mission got started or how somebody joined the crew. These events ultimately just end up with dumping your ammo into the same monsters over and over again and aren't as fun or as scary as the main adventure.
Revelations adds a mode called Raid Mode and has you compete in, shall we say, dumbed down versions of the campaign missions. That's not a bad thing at all because Raid Mode has a ton of depth to keep you coming back for more. There are many missions to collect as well as a full customizable range of weapons. You can select up to three and also attach many enhances such as increased damaged and increased ammo capacity with higher versions of each always a goal for you to unlock. There are three difficulty levels and all of the first and most of the second are pretty much cakewalks. Once you a ways through it finally becomes a challenge and becomes all the more fun playing along with a buddy. There are definitely some problems, though, such as you still have to snooze your way through annoying loading doors and elevators and, if you don't go through together, it will be twice as frustrating for the person who has to wait for your load to finish so they can start theirs. The later difficulties also start getting harder for you to actually find someone to play with. But Raid Mode is a very fun addition that will keep you busy after the campaign is over.
It may not be Shakespeare, but if you're in for some cheap but good scares and addictive multiplayer then it belongs in your 3DS.
Creepy and fun, Revelations is a great horror game despite some pesky problems.