Resident Evil: Revelations is everything that Resident Evil 6 should have been. There. I said it. If Capcom was smart, they would have just scrapped the original idea for Resident Evil 6 and instead released a multi-platform version of Revelations. Heck, they could’ve just called it Resident Evil 6: Revelations. RE fans would have been a lot happier if this existed in place of the actual RE 6.
Enough trash talking, though. Venting won’t take away what Capcom has already done. Thankfully, Capcom realized that they made a big mistake with RE 6 and they’re trying to make up for it. For that, I applaud Capcom’s move to bring Revelations to consoles. Originally, released on the Nintendo 3DS, the events of this entry take place between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, using the best elements of both of those titles. Now on consoles and PC, Revelations reintroduces some of the survival horror elements that were a staple for the series but have been mostly absent in the recent titles.
The story begins with the paradise city of Terragrigia. A terrorist organization known as Veltro releases a virus upon the city, inducing mass panic, and warranting response from the Federal Bioterrorism Commission and the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, the latter of which series protagonists Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are members of. The two zombie-fighting veterans are joined by a handful of new characters, such as Jill’s partner Parker Luciani. However, the character’s aren’t very much of the focus of the story this time around. The plot highlights the various organizations and locations, wrapping them all in a giant mess of conspiracy theories and hidden agendas.
It never seems hard to catch the main jist of the plot, thanks to the campaign being divided up into episodes. They even come with their own “Previously on…” section every time the players starts a new gaming session. The layout of the campaign is also a great way to jump between the different settings and change the pacing without throwing the player into a sudden panic.
The primary portion of the campaign takes place on the luxury cruise liner, the “Queen Zenobia”. The atmosphere and gameplay resembles that of earlier Resident Evil titles. The player must move down dark corridors, conserve ammo, and watch for enemies that suddenly appear around the corner or out of places like air ducts. As Jill and her partner, Parker, explore the ship, they must try to uncover why the ship was taken over by the virus, and how the terrorist organization, Veltro, is involved.
Although the atmosphere does make it feel like the classic survival horror experience, it doesn’t quite live up to the scary and exciting experiences in Resident Evil 4. The enemies can become too predictable and somewhat boring. The puzzles are also fairly easy and too repetitive. It’s fun to use the Wii U pad to solve the circuit panel puzzles, but after about the third or fourth one, you find yourself wanting a new challenge. Despite these flaws, the variety of action and exploration elements on the Queen Zenobia keeps the player from getting bored.
Between each mission segment onboard the Queen Zenobia, the game takes a break from survival horror elements to add a dash of action-oriented gameplay to the mix (which feels more like recent RE titles). The player briefly controls another character in a different time and location, filling in parts of the story that cannot be told from the perspective of a single character. Within each episode, these segments act as a quick run-and-gun, complete with plot fillers. For example, in order to further explain how the city of Terragrigia became infected with the virus, the player travels back in time and takes control of Parker, who was stationed in the city at the time of the its impending doom. Parker must battle through waves of Hunters, in hopes of making it to the top of the building so that he can be extracted from the city via helicopter. From his eyes, the players witnesses the fast downfall of the city, adding variety to the gameplay and the plot.
The graphics are boosted to support HD displays, which makes the already beautiful 3DS game even more beautiful on the big screen. While the textures are still lacking a bit in comparison to the most recent graphical achievements, the game still holds up well on current generation consoles. The well-lit parts of the Queen Zenobia really stand out, adding a certain glow to the setting. Character textures are also very detailed, going as far as the attention to detail in Jill and Parker’s wetsuits.
The soundtrack also transfer well in this port. The eerie music and occasional organ tracks add to the creepy ship atmosphere. The faster paced tracks do a good job of complementing the quick paced segments and providing a sense of urgency. The voice acting a very well done, though some of the dialogue can be a bit cheesy and over-the-top at times, especially the exchanges between Keith and Quint. Sound plays an important role in atmosphere and the horror elements. A particular part still gives me chills every time I hear it (“maaaayyyyydaaaayyyyyyyyy”).
The controls in the game take full advantage of the Wii U’s gamepad, providing the player with a real-time map of their current location, and the ability to quickly switch weapons with the touch of the screen. It’s also a vast improvement from the 3DS’s second screen, which contained a more cramped interface and involved a lot more window toggling. The grenades and melee attack each now have their own designated buttons. In the 3DS edition of the game, the player had to switch between the melee attack and the grenades in order to use one or the other. The console version takes full advantage of the second joystick for looking and strafing, which could only happen in the 3DS version if the player had the Circle Pad Pro accessory.
Raid Mode, a non-canonical mission-based game mode returns on consoles and PC. Very little has changed from the 3DS version. However, this version of the game includes two more unlockable characters: RE series veteran HUNK and Raymond’s pre-mutated partner, Rachael. The gameplay is very similar to “The Mercenaries” mode in previous RE titles. The main goal of Raid Mode is to revisit locations from the campaign and defeat all the enemies in a quick and precise manner in order to gain bonuses and money to spend at the in-game store. Your character will level up, become stronger, and gain stronger weapons, allowing him/her to continue on to harder missions. This mode adds a lot of additional content that can be unlocked by playing through the missions or the main campaign.
And since the campaign is only about 8-10 hours long, the player will want to play through again and see what additional content they can unlock for either the campaign or in Raid Mode. Speaking of unlockables, the game includes more unlockable outfits that weren’t previously available in the 3DS version. There is also a “New Game+” feature for players to select after they have beaten the campaign for the first time. This mode gives the player a chance to try a different difficulty, but keep all the weapons and gear they obtained in their first playthrough.
And that’s pretty much the only way the player will have a chance in the newly added Infernal difficulty, which provides a challenge for even veterans of the franchise. In this difficulty, the enemies are stronger and come in much larger numbers. Frankly, I find it impossible to start a game on Infernal difficulty with only a pistol and even have a chance in the first area. If you’re up for the challenge, be my guest. I’d love to see a video of it. For everyone else who isn’t a freak of nature, I would recommend gathering up those weapons and upgrades on a normal run through of the campaign before tackling Infernal.
Overall, Resident Evil: Revelations provides an enticing experience for both new players and old fans alike. The great combination of different pacing and multiple story arcs keeps the player’s attention in the main campaign, and the addition of a harder difficulty and the Raid Mode missions gives the player more to do after the main campaign is complete. This game succeeds in areas where RE 6 fell flat. Take note, Capcom: this is what Resident Evil should be.