Resident Evil underwent a transformation in 2005 with the release of Resident Evil 4 for GameCube. Gone were the stiff controls of the PlayStation era, in was an over-the-shoulder camera. The franchise moved away from cheap thrills to more of an action-oriented game.
The evolution continued with Resident Evil 5 when it was released on PS3 and Xbox 360 with cutting edge graphics and gameplay that was even heavier on action. The franchise had all but abandoned the survival horror genre that popularized it. While critics loved 4 and generally praised 5, hardcore fans undoubtedly felt that they had lost something.
Enter Resident Evil: Revelations. Capcom has managed to reach a middle ground that respects the tradition of this respected video game franchise while also advancing with the times. In essence, Revelations takes of the best parts from all of the Resident Evil games. Originally released for the Nintendo 3DS, the game has been ported to PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360.
While Resident Evil 4 and 5 were a little too fast paced to ever be scary (especially the case for 5), Revelations slows the pace down. This might be a technology-related decision (the 3DS just cannot handle the same amount of action from a modern console) but it proves to be a positive move. Moving your character at a slower clip lets your brain process and anticipate events that have not yet occurred. The result is anxiety that has been absent from these games for quite a while.
The story links Resident Evil 4 with 5. You will play as series veterans Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, as well as some new characters. Jill and her new partner, Parker Luciani, are sent on a search for Chris Redfield and his new partner, Jessica, who have gone missing on an abandoned cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia.
The game takes place across multiple different locations with the primary one being the cruise ship. The Queen Zenobia is a surprisingly vast ship with plenty of exploration potential. Many of the rooms are locked, requiring specific keys or keycards to open. While backtracking was (mostly) abandoned in more recent games, it is a signature of the franchise that's been brought back with Revelations.
The game is split between action-oriented chapters and ones where the main focus is on exploration. As you can imagine, the action missions are less scary than the ones where you are peeking around corners for bad guys. The adventure chapters feel more like the classic Resident Evil. That being said, Resident Evil: Revelations is extremely predictable at when they are going to throw monsters at you.
Revelations allows your character to have up to three weapons of any type, all of which can be enhanced with upgrades that you find throughout the world. These may include things such as a boost in damage or larger clip size. Upgrades are not permanently attached to your weapons so you can move them from one weapon to another using one of the inventory crates scattered throughout the map. Also worth noting: you rarely run out of ammo completely but it is still advisable to manage it wisely.
Capcom also tacked on a "Genesis scanner" that allows you to scan dead monsters, fingerprints, and find hidden objects. It's a bit of a pain to pull it out constantly searching for hidden objects or trying to capture a scan of a monster before it disintegrates. Mostly it just feels like filler to extend the length of the game. Sadly, the pacing of the game and storyline take a hit due to this.
The best part of any Resident Evil game has always been the boss fights. Because you are on a ship in fairly confined quarters, these fights become all the more intense. While you probably won't die very often from regular enemies, the bosses are likely to give you fits. Finally being able to put them down is satisfying.
While the single-player story will take you roughly ten hours to beat across the game's twelve different "chapters", that is not all that Resident Evil: Revelations has to offer. The "Raid" mode extends the experience to the online arena with co-op (unfortunately split-screen is not an option).
This mode allows you to choose one of multiple characters in a fast-paced action sequence that usually takes about five to ten minutes to complete. You are awarding with points depending on your performance, which you can then use to buy weapons, upgrades and ammunition. The goal is to complete the missions with the highest score and best times. It's a fun little distraction from the story.
As far as graphics go, Resident Evil Revelations is a surprisingly good looking game, considering that it was ported from the Nintendo 3DS handheld. It is not by any means on par with Resident Evil 5 or 6 but it is respectable considering the source. The same cannot be said for the sound, which is a bit of a mess. Lots of audio gets repeated in a loop. This of course is due to the limitations of the 3DS hardware they could have at least improved it for consoles.
I'm glad that Capcom decided to port Resident Evil: Revelations to the PC and consoles. It would have been a shame if fans never got a chance to play this game due to its prior exclusivity on the 3DS. It feels more like a console than a handheld title. While there are definitely some technical issues, the overall experience is a positive one linking classic Resident Evil gameplay with more recent outings.