Recently, the Resident Evil
series has been accused of moving away from its survival horror roots and focusing more on all out blockbuster action rather than atmosphere. Is Resident Evil Revelations (Xbox 360)
a return to the atmospheric horror of the earlier games or is it just a continuation of the fast-paced, third-person action that the series has become known for?
Set between the events of Resident Evil 4
and Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360)
sees the return of Jill Valentine alongside her new partner, Parker Luciani, in search of her original partner Chris Redfield and fellow BSAA Agent, Jessica Sherawat at their last known location, the abandoned cruise liner, Queen Zenobia. From this simple premise the story becomes more complex, and, despite the game’s name, reveals nothing related to any of the other games in the series. Instead, the story revolves around a shady terrorist organisation named “Veltro”, their connections to the Queen Zenobia and an attack on a floating city by the name of “Terragrigia” one year earlier.
It’s clear to see from Revelations
episodic structure that it was originally designed for the handheld market; episodes typically last between 15 and 45 minutes depending on how inquisitive the player is and checkpoints are fairly regular, allowing you to enjoy the game in long or short bursts. The majority of the game is played from Jill’s point of view but the gameplay often switches between other members of the cast in other locations, such as an office building under attack from an army of BOWs or in the mountains being chased by packs of wolf-like mutations. Character switching doesn’t negatively effect the pace of the game either. The Queen Zenobia, as a whole, isn’t a very large location and moving around the ship does entail a fair amount of backtracking, so switching to these other locations helps to break up the monotony.
Enemy placement can seem a little scarce, but even the most basic of creatures can take a vast amount of bullets to defeat. Mixed with the limited amount of ammunition available, deciding whether to fight a group of enemies or attempt to slip past is key to survival. This decision is made more difficult due to the fact that many areas of the ship are tight and claustrophobic, making it hard to run straight through large groups, which is where the dodge mechanic comes in. Even though dodging is important, it can be difficult to use at the best of times, and absolutely horrific at the worst. On many occasions, characters will swiftly avoid attacks without even attempting to perform a dodge, but inversely, get stuck against walls or other enemies when actually trying to evade. Revelations
does include an expansive arsenal of weapons, all of which feel great to use, and you’re given plenty of opportunities to experiment with different weapon setups. The usual selection of Pistols, Shotguns, Rifles and Machine Guns are available, and are supplemented by numerous weapon modifications hidden throughout the game. These modifications allow you to add extra abilities to your weapons such as increased damage, burst fire or adding a daze effect and can be switched between different weapons by visiting one of the many storage boxes spread throughout the ship.
A new feature introduced in Revelations
is the “Genesis”, a device that can be used to detect a variety of hidden objects such as ammo and can also be used to scan enemies. The introduction of this device not only gives you a new way to find items, but encourages you to slow down and examine your surroundings before moving on. Unfortunately, this scanning mechanic isn’t quite as useful as it could have been. Every time you scan an enemy (whether it is dead or alive) the scan meter increases, and each time it reaches 100 percent you'll be rewarded with a green herb. Unfortunately, this scanning mechanic doesn’t actually give you any information on the enemy itself and could have been a much more useful tool if it provided some tactical information.Revelations
does bring back one element from earlier games in the series that brings back some good memories, engraved keys. Certain rooms on the ship will not be able to be accessed until you have found the correct key. Some of these areas are related to the storyline, but other rooms contain items and weapons that will prove invaluable. This might not seem like a massive change, but it does slow down the pace of the game and makes it feel more like a classic survival horror experience.
When it comes to looks, Capcom has done a good job at updating this Nintendo 3DS game for consoles. Revelations
looks good in HD, with character models being highly-detailed and environmental aspects such as lighting and fog add to the game’s dark atmosphere. Not all of the graphical translations were successful, though. The 360 version of Revelations
does retain some poor ground and wall textures when viewed up close, lip-synching is often not very synchronised, and some character animations, especially when strafing and moving forward simultaneously, just look strange.Revelations
also sounds great. Enemies each have distinctive audio cues that help to inform players what enemies may be around a corner or through a door, and the musical score helps to emphasize the many predicaments that our cast of unlucky characters find themselves in. The voice-acting, as we’ve come to expect from the series, seems to come directly from a cheesy B-movie in some places, but it is generally very well delivered.
The console version of this title also introduces an addition difficulty level that didn’t appear in the original handheld version, Infernal Mode. Alongside making the enemies more resilient to attacks and physically stronger, this additional difficulty also changes enemy and item placement, making everything you learned about dealing with different creatures in easier modes even more important. Infernal Mode isn’t for the faint of heart and requires a lot of patience to progress.
While the Campaign is the real meat of the title, some of the most enjoyable gameplay comes in the form of Raid Mode. Raid Mode is an arcade-style, score-attack mode that can be played solo, co-op (over LIVE), or via system link (Yes, that are games that still utilise this feature.). This co-op mode reuses sections from the Campaign and changes enemy and item placement while also using different enemy variations such as a smaller, more agile versions of enemies or ones with increased size and defense. One main, noticeable difference between the campaign and Raid Mode is that enemies have visible health bars and damage output is shown on screen by floating number akin to many RPGs. This mechanic allows players to think more tactically about which weapons to use in different situations and how best to approach different areas on later attempts.
Upon completing stages, players receive grades based on their accuracy, the number of enemies defeated, the amount of damage they received and the time taken to complete the map. On top of this, Battle Points, or BP, and experience are earned based on the grade the player receives. Bonus BP is also earned from completing the stage under certain conditions like defeating all enemies and completing a level without taking damage. Earned BP can then be used to purchase weapons, weapon attachments, ammo, and capacity upgrades that allow you to carry additional ammo, grenades and herbs. All of these added RPG-style elements make Raid Mode highly addictive.
The achievements for Revelations
are almost an even split between the Campaign and Raid Modes, with 24 in Campaign and 26 in Raid Mode. The Campaign achievements are fairly straightforward, with the standard selection of stage completions, completing the game on each of the difficulties as well as achievements linked to certain actions with specific weapons or enemies. All of the Campaign achievements can be unlocked in a single playthrough if you’re willing to attempt Infernal Mode from the beginning and follow a guide for the location of the hidden handprints.
The achievements for Raid Mode on the other hand will take much longer to unlock, as you will need to reach Player Level 50, defeat 10,000 enemies, and complete every level on all three difficulties with an S rank. While this might seem like a huge grind to many, Raid Mode is interesting enough to bring players back for more, especially if they have a friend to help out.Resident Evil Revelations
might not quite be the return to survival horror that many people hoped for, but it is certainly a big move in the right direction and quite possibly the best Resident Evil
since Resident Evil 4
. It manages to bring back a lot of the tension and atmosphere from the earlier titles in the series but still holds on to the improved controls and action of modern Resident Evil
s. Raid Mode helps to beef up the experience, extend the life of Revelations
, and is a well-thought-out addition to the title. For those that may have been disheartened by recent entries in the series or have been put off by what has been said about these later titles, Resident Evil Revelations
may finally help to put some of those fears to bed and restore some faith in the franchise as a whole.
The reviewer has spent 10 hours playing the game on the Normal difficulty and has yet to defeat the final boss (He's a beast). He has started another campaign on Infernal difficulty and died, many, many times. Approximately 6 hours have been sunk into Raid Mode and plenty more hours are sure to follow. This copy was purchased by the reviewer.