Resident Evil: Revelations review

James Haresign May 20, 2013 - 8:00 am

Resident Evil: Revelations gets a makeover following its 3DS debut, but can a console port really hold the key to the franchise’s rebirth?

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There’s a lot riding on Resident Evil: Revelations. After the problems of the last two numbered entries, Capcom are using this return to a more traditional Resi experience to gauge their audience. The fact it came out over a year ago on 3DS won’t deter them. The reception to Revelations will dictate how the franchise goes forward – and judging it for that purpose, I really hope it does well.

Revelations is very much a Jill Valentine game, but it does throw in a fair few secondary characters like Resi 6 was so fond of, though. While it does jump around some, it’s a lot more sure of its stance than 6 seemed to be. There’s a definite focus on Jill and her mission to try to get to the bottom of the latest virus outbreak on board an abandoned cruise ship. When the rest of the cast pop up it’s usually only for a level and their sections are decidedly more action orientated compared to Jill’s, which are rooted in survival horror. The only time it feels a little awkward is towards the tail end of the game when Chris and newbie Parker start running around the same areas as her but can’t use the weapon boxes and upgrade their gear.

What of the other characters? They’re used pretty well actually, helping to flesh out the story or give the impression the BSAA are a proper Agency responding to a threat. Of course, Chris Redfield’s there, the closest thing this series has to a star (before anyone starts shouting, I’d give Leon equal billing). There’s Grinder and his partner Jackass too, who Capcom have deemed to be the comedy relief because that’s something the Resident Evil series really needed. As such they’re annoying frat boys, with Jackass getting a weird stalker subplot over new girl Jessica.

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Ah Jessica, possibly the most model-looking special agent I’ve ever seen, and I’m a big James Bond fan. While the guys all get standard BDUs or khaki pants and t-shirts, the ladies fair far worse. Even though the majority of the game takes place aboard a boat, the BSAA regs seem to dictate that females must wear skin-tight wetsuits. Jill’s is the least offensive, blink-and-you-miss-her Rachel seems to have been issued one with a faulty zipper that doesn’t go past her belly button and then there’s Jessica. While she may be lucky enough to own the only one with a fully functioning zip, the suit’s missing an entire leg and she’s made the bold decision of wearing high heels.

Getting the band back together

Despite all this talk of partners, Revelations’ campaign is a solo affair – a welcome relief. I know we all moan about it, but you don’t realise just how much this series works better without co-op until they rip it away from you. It’s a major factor as to why this game works so much more than the last two numbered entries. Having said that, your partner does follow you around for about two thirds of the game but they seem to be equipped with potato guns as their weapons don’t do anything other then make enemies flinch. I was running low on ammo at one point and decided to just run around a small room while Parker finished off the remaining zombie. Only he couldn’t. He must have ploughed 100 shots into the thing and it did nothing. I suppose it means you can’t cheat, like I wanted to, but it does feel a little surreal.

Gunplay is exactly what you’d expect from a post-Resident Evil 4 game, nothing evolutionary there. Dodging can feel a bit random, though. It got to the point where I didn’t trust it at all and if it activated then, well, lucky me, because I had no idea how it worked. I spent an early part of the game getting smacked around as it refused to activate, while other times Jill would nimbly duck out of the way and I wasn’t even aware I was pressing the right buttons. Combined with the inability to throw grenades while aiming down iron sights, combat can feel a bit awkward until you’re in the swing of things.

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