Three Resident Evil games in one year? As a huge fan of the series, I’m ecstatic about it, however, I’ve had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind ever since RE6 was announced. I felt that maybe the series was spreading itself a bit thin, and that the quality of the games would suffer as a result. With that said, I’m very happy to announce that not only is Resident Evil: Revelations as good as I’d hoped, it’s also probably the greatest showcase for the 3DS thus far.
But let me get my complaints out of the way first. Remember how Capcom was hyping Revelations up to be a return to the series’ horror roots? Yeah, well it turns out that’s not entirely true. The game makes an admirable attempt to be scary, throwing in far more puzzles than RE5 ever bothered with, and introducing some aspects which require you to play a bit more slowly and carefully, but ultimately, the game just isn’t scary. Creepy at times, but not scary.
A large part of this has to do with the game’s pacing, it starts off in full RE1 mode, giving you limited ammo (and at times no weapons at all) and forcing you to focus on survival above all else, but this later gives way to almost RE5 levels of action with plenty of ammo to boot, particularly in the second half of the game.
Now let’s move back onto the positives, beginning with the most obvious one, the game’s graphics. It’s often hard to believe how far we’ve come in recent years, the DS struggled with PS1 quality visuals, and here I am playing a handheld game that looks as good as Resident Evil 5 at times, it’s easily the best looking 3DS game, and I suspect it’ll stay that way for a while. The 3D effects work extremely well and can be raised beyond even what the 3D slider will allow you. (Though I don’t recommend playing it on very high settings, at least not during long play sessions)
The gameplay is incredibly solid, introducing new mechanics such as a Metroid Prime-esque supply scanner which can be used to find hidden items), and controls well with or without the 3DS circle pad pro add-on, in fact, I hesitate to say either control scheme is better or worse. Without the circle pad the controls feel closest to RE4, but if you do have it, you can move and shoot, making the controls almost identical to say, Dead Space or Shadows of the Damned. It’s really just a matter of personal preference.
Revelations tells a far more coherent story than has been seen in an RE title for a while now (written by Cowboy Bebop and Ergo Proxy scribe Dai Sato) , and it’s presented brilliantly. Set between RE4 and 5, you’ll largely control Jill as she makes her way through an abandoned ship called the Queen Zenobia, though there are several occasions at which you’ll be playing as Chris or some of a few new characters introduced here. Despite the story as a whole being rather good, Revelations does unfortunately contain some occasionally terrible lines of dialog (of particular mention is Chris’ partner Jessica, who says things like “Me and my sweet ass are on the way” without a hint of irony), but they’re mostly once-off occurrences that never interrupt major story sequences.
So the story mode will last you a good 8-10 hours and upon completion, you’ll unlock a new game+ mode and the brutally hard “Hell” difficulty level. Revelations also boasts some of the best unlockable content in series history, with the co-op RPG-esque RAID mode, being one of the most addictive co-op experiences I’ve ever had the good fortune of playing. I’ve put about 10 hours into this mode, and there’s still loads of stuff left to do, and the randomized nature of loot drops means you’ll always want to keep going, if only to find that slightly stronger and more customisable handgun, or to find one of the incredibly rare legendary weapons. This mode in of itself feels like a better deal than the entirety of Capcom’s previous effort, Mercenaries 3D, and that was a full game.
So what you have here is a gorgeous, incredibly fun title that’s packed with content, it almost single-handedly makes up for the 3DS drought that’s plagued owners for far too long. I can’t recommend it enough.
9 out of 10