After the lacklustre reception of Resident Evil 6 and Raccoon City – both of which I actually enjoyed – there were high hopes for Revelations, an HD remake of last year’s 3DS game.
Not only were these games heaped with scorn but they divided fans of the series and highlighted just how far removed they were from the cult PlayStation original and unsurpassed Resident Evil 4. Neither felt like a true Resi game – for all the graphical improvements, control tweaks and new characters, locations and game modes, they left the majority of the gaming public cold. Fortunately, Capcom was listening and the new Revelations is not rotten like the undead that star in it. Far from it. This is arguably the best instalment for years.
I’d never played the 3DS version so came to Revelations fresh. This new edition not only boasts HD visuals but also crams in more lighting effects and sounds than the handheld version. Then there’s the inclusion of an extra hard Infernal difficulty mode and the new Wall Blister beast to confront. For the first time in years, this really does feel like a genuine Resident Evil title, capturing what made the first few games in the series so enjoyable. Saying that, it’s still not particularly scary, the camera angles are irritating and the zombies are still bullet sponges… but that’s kind of what we’ve come to expect from this long-running series, isn’t it?
Revelations takes place between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, and continues the story of the T-Abyss infection and terrorist organisation, Il Veltro. Series stalwarts Chris and Jill make yet another return to our screens, along with a couple of other characters, Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat.
As you’d expect for a modern Resident Evil game, these two are the usual useless AI sidekicks who join you for the ride. To be fair, they’re not nearly as inept as Sheva of Resident Evil 5 fame but nonetheless, they’ll drive you mad with their inaccurate shooting and inane chatter.
They say that worse things happen at sea – and that’s never been more true given the events taking place on the abandoned cruise liner, the Queen Zenobia. This is where all the action starts with Jill in search of Chris after he goes missing during a mission. Unsurprisingly, all is not as it seems onboard. You’d certainly feel hard done by if you’ve paid through the nose for a relaxing break on this ship…
Admittedly, Revelations is a tense affair with plenty of thrills and spills. There were several moments where I leapt in surprise when something burst onto the screen in front of me – although I’m not really talking Dead Space moments here. All the enemies you face are pretty tame and bordering on laughable caricatures – from giant sea slugs to rabid, half eaten dogs and lurching ooze creatures.
Personally, I think the ship concept is fantastically well employed – a really chilling environment, with its dark corners, eerie creaks and narrow corridors. And remember, don’t trust the vents… and never linger by a door! Otherwise, the other locations fail to really hit the mark and you can’t help but think you’ve seen them all before.
As with previous games, the controls are pretty standard and easy to pick up. Accurately shooting and manoeuvring, however, is as frustrating as ever. You’d have thought our heroes would have learnt how to run away from these creatures by now, right? Instead you’ll find yourself colliding with obstacles as you try to avoid being eaten and saunter away from their salivating jaws at a snail’s pace.
Ultimately, dealing with ammo scarcity is once again the name of the game and all too often you’ll find yourself relying on the dodge move to avoid some slathering beastie. Guns and ammo are hard to come by, which makes the fact that zombies are impervious to fewer than ten direct hits fairly frustrating.
You’ve got a new scanner gizmo this time round too, which you can flash about the place in search of hidden objects such as those magical green herbs and ammo. It’s a pretty nifty device mind, also able to uncover handprints and clues that will aid you in your mission. Oh, and there are a couple of basic puzzles to solve along the way.
Despite Revelations’ HD facelift, I really don’t think it looks nearly as good as Resident Evil 6 – and in fact looks fairly bland in places. And once again, the positioning of your character and the poor camera angles take a bit of getting used to, often obscuring your vision and making the game a lot trickier than it needs to be.
Overall, despite these gripes, Revelations is a great game and makes amends for the last few titles that have borne the Resident Evil name. Admittedly there are no real surprises on this shiny disc: you’ll find the usual complex and occasionally unfathomable plot, plenty of twists and turns, untrustworthy characters, as well as loads of infected creatures baying for your blood.
When you’re done with the standard campaign, you can turn your hand to the Raid mode, playing either online co-op or solo and seeing how long you can survive. With upgrades galore, new weapons and characters, I imagine this is where many gamers will keep coming back for more.
This game was reviewed on the PC and Xbox 360.