After the fun but “Not quite Resident Evil” Resident Evil 5, the series’ fans wanted Capcom to take the franchise back to its roots as a survival horror experience. It seems that Capcom sort of listened and came up with Resident Evil Revelations which was much more of a hybrid between the old slow style and the new action style. It was good. Great, in fact. It was one of the best games on the 3DS.
Yes, a 3DS game.
While initially only available for the Nintendo portable system and sold fairly well, apparently it still didn’t meet the expectations of Capcom due to its expensive development. I mean, it’s probably one of the best looking 3DS games. And so Capcom decided to squeeze a bit more out of it and give it a HD makeover for home console which was released over a year later. And here we have it. Did the fantastic 3DS game make a good transition to home consoles? Let’s find out!
The story of Revelations takes place between Resident Evil 4 and 5 after the start up of the BSAA, which I’m sure stands for something fancy but I can’t be bothered to check what. Chris and his partner have gone missing, apparently in the middle of the sea. Long time colleague and series favourite Jill Valentine alongside her partner and Barry Burton wannabe, Parker, go off in search of them. A signal leads them to the Queen Zenobia, a huge decrepit ship seemingly abandoned in the ocean.
The game’s story is broken up into chapters which bounces between the past and the present and between different parties. For me, while I enjoyed the story overall, I found it disjointed by the lack of linearity especially the parts that are off ship which were much less interesting, these parts were mostly action focused and featured characters I didn’t really care about. There’re are so many twists and turns, so until the very end, you’re never quite in the loop about what’s going on, even at times you begin to distrust the game due to the countless bait and switches. Saying that, it is very interesting overall and will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout.
Revelations swung the series back to horror, at least partly. Overall however, Revelations’ gameplay is a mix of the old and new. The newer over the shoulder action made popular since the fourth iteration is here. While some may lament the lost fixed camera angles and tank controls, I’m personally satisfied they’re not here.
While there are plenty of moments when you are alone in dark, tight corridors with barely a bullet to your name, Revelations does bring out guns blazing. As stated, it does mix them well enough although the slow and tense moments do outshine the ‘all-action, machine gunning dozens of Hunters’ set pieces.
Compared to previous games there’s very little puzzle aspect to Revelations which is sad. I always enjoyed the puzzles of the original games. The closest we come here are simple wire connecting tasks to unlock doors, it’s very simplistic and can be done mindlessly.
The controls are smooth and responsive enough although probably do feel a little stiffer than they would have been had they’d been developed for home consoles from scratch. Aside from the slight, but not damaging sluggish aiming, Revelations just suits the home console better. You move around with the left analogue stick, aim with ZL, shoot with ZR. Pretty standard and it mirrors the 3DS controls if you have the control pad pro add on. The L button is pretty interesting as it pulls out the Genesis which is basically a scanning machine. You can use it to find the myriad of hidden items, scan enemies which can give you extra healing items and finally, it can find hidden handprints which, if enough are found, can unlock new weapons. It’s a very useful device and one that should be utilised throughout the game.
The complaints so far are pretty minor, some may say petty. In fact there’re only two issues I have with the game that I think have an overall negative affect on the experience. Firstly is the dodge mechanic which is made out to be simple, but is actually rather finicky and unreliable. Considering the close quarters of the environments, it’s not ideal. Some might say there shouldn’t be a dodge mechanic at all, which is fair enough. I accept that argument. But the fact it is here and it’s so unreliable it leads more to frustration. The second thing is the lack of reaction and visual feedback for shooting enemies, especially the standard ones. Resident Evil 4 was amazing for introducing area specific reactions for shooting the enemies. Shoot them in the leg to stall them. Simple but incredibly effective. Sadly the enemies in Revelations barely react at all and often walk at you as bullet sponges and you can often do very little to protect yourself from the oncoming danger.
The greatest advantage the Wii U version has over the other consoles is the Gamepad. Yes, it only works as a map and quick switch for equipment, but I found it very useful and I’m really glad it was there. Of course there’s always off TV play to use if need be, too. In all honesty I wish the Gamepad could be used for gyroscopic aiming, something which is missing from the original 3DS release. Say what you want about motion controls but sometimes you can miss their presence.
As a former 3DS game, you won’t be surprised to hear that the graphics are not the strong point. They don’t look bad or anything, main character models are good, but textures can be poor at times and environmental models are quite blocky. It’s not the end of the world though, as the art style more than makes up for it especially on the ship. The dilapidated crew quarters, grand hall and inner bowels really play the part. I think that’s mainly down to moody lighting which masks some of it well. Off ship missions fair less well especially the snowy mountains, where textures really don’t come off well. Overall though, it’s fine and gets the job done.
As you complete chapters in the main story mode you unlock stages for Raid Mode, which is to Revelations as Mercenaries mode is to the other Resident Evil games. While I can’t say I put a fair amount of time into it as I only tried it a handful of times for this review, I think I vastly prefer this over the revered Mercenaries.
It is what is says on the tin. A raid. Each stage is a small slice of parts from the story mode where your goal is to get to the end, killing enemies along the way, picking up items and earning points. What makes this addictive is that you level up your character, buy guns, upgrade equipment and you can also play it co-operatively online. That is, of course, if you can find somebody these days.
The box art is a very simple affair but it’s fantastic, maybe one of my favourites on the Wii U. It’s a classic horror cover, it has part of the ship setting which shows you were the story takes place, it has the hand pressed against the glass which shows the horror theme. It’s not really the beautiful piece of art that I usually appreciate for covers but I just think it gets the point across perfectly.
Resident Evil Revelations is a pretty common game for the Wii U, personally, mine was a gift, but these days you can get it for just over £10 to £12 and I don’t see it ever going up in price, nor do I see it going down any further. That’s because it’s a quality game that’s fairly common. It’s one of those games that you shouldn’t be any hurry to pick up if you’re worried about price. Of course, as a multi platform game, it suffers from the Wii U Tax whereby the 360 and PS3 versions go for a much smaller price, so unless you’re a Wii U collector, you wallet is safer with the other versions. But the Wii U does have the pretty useful Gamepad integration so there is that.
Overall, Resident Evil Revelations is still an excellent game and has made the step up to home consoles well. Aside from a little rough around the edges graphics, Revelations certainly doesn’t feel like a handheld game in disguise. It mixes gameplay styles particularly well, even if the action parts aren’t quite as good. It’s tense in story and gameplay and I think every Wii U owner should have it in their collection. It’s also much better than Resident Evil 6.