Capcom is probably one of the preferred passengers on the rerelease gravy train, with many of their most notable titles in the last several years being ports, including the decent Megaman Legacy Collection 2 just earlier this year. Resident Evil is the other franchise, with golden entries like Resident Evil 4 and 0 released on everything but your toaster by this point.
Resident Evil Revelations was originally a pretty early 3DS title, launching in 2012 and aiming to please fans of the horror focused Resident Evil and certainly succeeding more than big brother Resident Evil 6 did, a game with the greatest accomplishment of spurring the complete reboot of the franchise.
"Ammo and healing items are scarce by design, forcing you to make every shot count against the writhing and twitching BOW mutations you go up against."
This is of course, not the first time Resident Evil Revelations has been given the HD treatment. We’ve already seen this jump from the tiny 240p 3DS to last generation HD consoles, and now nearly 5 years after original release, bumping it up again to current boxes can only have so much impact.
Resident Evil Revelations conscious choice to return to the classic formula wasn’t unwelcome at the time and largely still holds up in 2017, though there are clear artifacts of the 3DS forcing design decisions. Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield lead the two separate teams that the 9 hour main campaign follow and it’s sprinkled with just the right amount of cheese to make the tense segments feel impactful throughout.
The campaign is split into chapters and subchapters, the subchapters taking about 10 to 15 minutes from opening to completion was fine for a pick up and play burst on the subway, but on your big home theatre system causes things to feel abruptly segmented.
"The natural inclusion of a second stick for the port means that the game overall controls a lot smoother in general, but the aiming is still a bit loose to ask you to aim carefully to compensate."
The environments are startlingly limited in scope too, almost always limited to claustrophobic halls and small rooms. Such a vibe mostly makes sense on the shipboard segments with Jill, but such cramped spaces are at odds with an open mountain for example, with invisible walls all over.
Ammo and healing items are scarce by design, forcing you to make every shot count against the writhing and twitching BOW mutations you go up against. A pale imitation of the Metroid Prime scanner is worked in that can help you find hidden ammo and boost healing items by scanning enough enemies, though liberal use tended to max out ammo count pretty quickly and undermined the difficulty curve.
The natural inclusion of a second stick for the port means that the game overall controls a lot smoother in general, but the aiming is still a bit loose to ask you to aim carefully to compensate.
"The most egregious example of the 3DS roots of the game are in the low poly models and fuzzy textures all over the place."
The 3DS limitations poke through here occasionally too, as the controls can occasionally feel overcomplicated by button combinations for what should be one, such as throwing sub weapons or dodging. Finicky dodging controls were to blame for more than one death during my run and it’s never good when death doesn’t feel like the players fault.
Atmosphere plays a key role in survival horror games, but not all the pieces quite fit together perfectly. The most egregious example of the 3DS roots of the game are in the low poly models and fuzzy textures all over the place. Taking the game as a port, and it’s not like these are PS1 level models, I’ll stop short of saying that the character models are bad. It’s actually kind of impressive how good they do look on a huge TV when they were created with a screen literally 4 and a half times less pixels in mind. All the same, it’s easily the most distracting part of the presentation.
Luckily audio design picks up the slack, with some chilling ambience that always made you think the next corner held certain death and sound effects that made me jump or squirm on occasion. Perhaps it doesn’t match some larger projects in scope, but it held up strongly and helped establish some immersion, even when the dated visuals were playing tug of war with it.
"What impresses in its own time and place really fails to spark much excitement in a world where we just played a dramatically re-envisioned Resident Evil in virtual reality."
The campaign is partnered with the single other mode, a more action focused Raid mode where you can buddy up with a friend to take on remixed levels with new characters to use and a wholly separate progression system. It’s a bone thrown to the action side of the series that eventually grew to cancerous tumour but it’s surprisingly subdued here, and unless you have a friend who specifically wants to play it, unlikely to keep much attention.
Really, the biggest problem with Resident Evil Revelations is really the fact that it’s a 2012 game from a handheld with 2008 hardware in 2017. What impresses in its own time and place really fails to spark much excitement in a world where we just played a dramatically re-envisioned Resident Evil in virtual reality. Is Resident Evil Revelations fine? Yes, but it doesn’t really pass more than that threshold, and for a series that used to infect our minds with the horrors of the things that go bump in the night, that’s kind of lame.
This game was reviewed on the Playstation 4.
Classically styled Resident Evil action is still appreciated, Great audio design holds up, and the tension remains great.
Really dated looking visuals play tug of war with your immersion, limited gameplay space reveals the dated tech the game originated on, scanning mechanic breaks the difficulty curve.
Resident Evil Revelations is a game out of time and it doesn’t hold up to the standard of the hardware it’s trying to compete on. Is it still classic style Resident Evil? Yeah, sure. But it’s hard to say whether that’s enough in 2017, and with the rest of its issues, it certainly lacks in many departments.