Review by Bkstunt_31
The new standard for 3DS games!
Resident Evil, being the huge franchise that it is, hasn't had a hole LOT of success on handhelds. It's only had a single NEW game on handhelds before Revelations came along, that being Resident Evil Gaiden on the Game Boy Color. We can only assume that it didn't do well as no new games came along for about a decade afterwards. But now we have Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS trying to change things, and boy the series sure has changed in the last decade! We've went from survival horror with rather slow-moving zombies to a more action-laced series ever since Resident Evil 4 came out, with fans of both types of game play. Well, after playing through Revelations (the FIRST game I tried out since I bought a 3DS), let me tell you what you can expect!
Wait, there's ANOTHER virus!?
Revelations takes place between Resident Evil 4 and 5, during the time frame where biological terror is becoming well-known to the world. This is after the BSAA has been formed with bio-terrorist experts Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield being the best agents they got (for obvious reasons!). The game centers around three agencies: the BSAA and FBC (Federal Bioterroism Commission), two terrorism fighting agencies, and Veltro, a bio-terrorist organization. Before the game starts, Veltro made their name famous by attacking a city off of the coast of Italy named Terragrigia with yet ANOTHER new virus, the T-Abyss virus, basically dooming the city to a grisly death and causing the FBC to use a solar weapon to "cleanse" the city and kill everything.
This caused Veltro to be public enemy number one in the BSAA's eyes, of course. The BSAA director, Clive O'Brian, got a tip stating that Veltro is actually hiding on a cruise liner in the Mediterranean named the Queen Zenobia and sent Chris and Jessica to investigate. However, they lost contact with the duo and are now sending in Jill and her new partner, Parker, to go search for Chris and Jessica.
The game has an appreciable (and new) setting in chronicling some of the BSAA's first adventures. The game itself is split up into multiple chapters (12 to be exact) and is definitely set up in an episodic format. Heck, the game even has "Recently on Resident Evil: Revelations" segments at the start of each new chapter just to make sure the gamer KNOWS what's going on in the story (which is fantastic, I think). The developers also do a great job at making ALMOST every chapter end with a cliff-hanger of some sort. This would be pointless if the story was told from a single perspective, but the story actually is told form three different BSAA team's perspectives, and their individual stories will jump chapters, which helps to keep the story FRESH. The story itself if fairly basic and perhaps even a bit generic, but the setting and format of the story-telling itself makes this a very enjoyable story.
"Classic" new game play.
Resident Evil: Revelations is, without a doubt, a mixture of some older and newer Resident Evil game play elements. The game is MOSTLY styled after the very successful Resident Evil 4 and 5 games, as evidenced by the camera being behind the character. You also have your more modern movement choices in the game, such as the ability to run and quick-turn, as well as the ability to dodge enemies (with a well-timed button press) that you just don't see any earlier Resident Evil games. However, the old games do show their colors here as exploring your environment reminds me greatly of the older games. For example, you'll be exploring small rooms for the most part and will need to find symbols (like the old games) to unlock new areas. The enemies you will face are also (for the most part, with some exceptions) fairly slow-moving, like the zombies of old.
New to the series is an environmental-scanning gun designed to identify viruses which actually has a pretty big impact to the game play. As you play you can use this gun to scan rooms to find "hidden" items; items that will only appear if you use the gun. However you can also scan enemies (which takes a little while AND leaves you vulnerable) in order to build up a percentage gauge. If you can get that gauge to 100%, you will be given a herb! Items in the game aren't EXACTLY plentiful, but with that gun and excessive use of it you can pretty much guarantee that you'll never run into item problems.
You will also gain new weapons as you play. You start out with your standard hand gun and a melee weapon, but you will soon gain and use all sorts of firearms, such as the shotgun, machine gun, sniper rifle and more. That's nothing new in the series, but in Revelations you can only carry up to three weapons at a time. The REAL difference in this game's game play is that when you go to aim your weapon (as you NEED to aim to fire) you will enter a FIRST-PERSON view point, allowing for much more aiming potential in the game since it's on a hand-held system (a good change, given the hardware I believe). The game also has a neat gun-customization element to it where you'll find gun parts and can literally modify your weapons. Upgrade options include ammo capacity, fire rate, damage, and other options. You can even find "illegal" gun parts and put them on to REALLY enhance your weapons, giving you abilities such as being able to fire two rounds with one pull of the trigger.
In the end, the game play will feel familiar to any Resident Evil fan, and provides many of the same elements of past titles while still feeling unique in its own way. Back-tracking through environments is required all of the time, but at least new foes and often new items also await you. I felt that the selection of enemies was a little lacking, but was by no means deal-breaking. I also saw that the popular melee options from the newer games return, but just aren't nearly as cool or punishing in this title which game me little incentive to ever use them. I also wished that the game had a better navigation system as I found myself looking at the maps and STILL not quite knowing where to go (something along the lines of Dead Space, perhaps). Ultimately the game is enjoyable to play despite my minor nit-picking issues, which is the important thing to take away here.
Wait, have we been to this room before?
The graphics in the game are, without a doubt, utterly fantastic. Anyone that tells you otherwise is just lying to your face. These graphics look like they could easily be on a console without anyone crying foul and yet they are in the palm of your hand! Everything looks good, from backgrounds to character and enemy designs to the amount of detail present in each area. Exploring the areas you'll come across is just plain fun in itself given the amount of detail that is present combined with the atmosphere. Character and enemy animations are smooth and the 3D effect is pretty neat and works well. Revelations graphical prowess will undoubtedly be the STANDARD for any big-budget game released on the 3DS to be judged against.
The only thing REALLY holding me back from saying the graphics are perfection itself is just... how much you have to backtrack combined with the repetitive environments (which I can't fully disclose due to plot reasons). It's not HORRIBLE by any means but you still feel the twinge of laziness being a possible factor...
Moody but unmemorable.
Most horror games have a hard time getting both MEMORABLE tunes in a game while simultaneously providing a great atmosphere. Revelations is really no exception: they EXCEL at using the game's music to set up the atmosphere and emphasize the creepy situations you'll find yourself in, which I would say means the music is doing its job well, but they just can't make the music anything more than that. The voice acting in the game is good, with monsters and characters all sounding just like you would expect. The series has come a long ways in that regard! The audio as a whole does its job well, but just isn't very memorable.
You're in for a ride!
Another thing that really impressed me about Revelations was the amount of content it had. With 12 chapters you're going to spend awhile with the main game (about 12 hours I'd say), but that's just the beginning. The game also has a built-in achievement system that keeps track of specific accomplishments and actually rewards you for them as well as a "New Game +" mode after beating the game. However the most impressive addition to the game has to be Raid Mode. Raid mode unlocks as you play the game and is essentially a whole new game in itself where you and a friend (a friend either in person or over the internet) can clear rooms of enemies and level up your character. You can also gather up points to buy new weapons and upgrades to make yourself strong. It's pretty fun to jump online with someone and kill some enemies in a co-operative situation, and even more impressive that this type of mode is added on to a rather fulfilling gaming experience already. The classic "Mercenaries" mode that is extremely popular with Resident Evil fans is NOT present however, but that is only likely because there's another 3DS game out there called "Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D" which I HAVE to imagine would take care of any of your hand-held Mercenaries needs.
It may have been a decade between original Resident Evil games to come out on a hand-held system, but man oh man did Capcom do good with this one. Fans of the series often bicker about whether older or newer games are better, but each camp should find something to like in Resident Evil Revelations. The graphics are close to perfect and many of the other categories not only do their job well but often shine in their own ways. For future big-budget titles coming to the 3DS, Revelation will now be the standard. And as for you, that means you should probably put this game on your "must play" list! Have fun and keep gaming!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Resident Evil: Revelations (US, 02/07/12)
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