I love the word ‘Revelations’. It seems to be used a lot these days as a way of stimulating audiences with a promise of an intriguing expose – although ironically it’s only ever been used in various types of below-average media where there is in fact very little to ‘reveal’ (ergo Silent Hill: Revelations, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations, Hellraiser: Revelations… ) Does Resident Evil Revelations buck this trend? Well, you’re about to find out.
We begin on a dark and stormy night somewhere in the middle of the Ocean. News is pouring in faster than the incessant rain that cascades from the sky down upon Jill Valentine’s inappropriately exposed cleavage: Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat have gone missing. Where were their last known co-ordinates received? Upon an ominous looking ship named the ‘SS Queen Zenobia’. Jill and her new partner Parker, climb aboard this seemingly baron ship in search of a few answers. She lingers for a few moments so that you can have a second look at her cleavage and confirm that she is indeed wearing some sort of latex number (a really impractical clothing decision on her part given both the seriousness of the situation and the appalling weather conditions) and then, like a pornographic ‘Life of Pi’, you head back inside and out of the storm.
Cutscenes such as these are sadly the only time you’ll get a good look at Jill’s jublies, as for the most part the game plays out similarly to its iconic predecessor RE:IV and adopts a 3rd person over-the-shoulder stance which gives players a great view of her and Parkers’ backs. While I felt this decision was the wrong choice for Operation Raccoon City and questionable for Resident Evil 6, over-the-shoulder works incredibly well here – executed appropriately with some responsive controls and some neat game design. This, too, is to be expected – as Resident Evil Revelations is a HD port of one of the 3DS’ most celebrated games (released last January 2012 to a cacophony of fantastic reviews). Does this port, however, still retain the same positives it was initially commended on? Read on and stop trying to Google search Jill’s cleavage.
My answer is both yes and no – for all the games’ positive elements it has this annoying knack of slipping back into mundane territory. It doesn’t quite have enough pizazz to sustain its career on a fully-fledged 1080p console. While I enjoyed my time with the game, I couldn’t help but think ‘this game would have been a lot more awesome had I played it on a handheld console.’ The graphics can be fairly poor at times despite the impressive variety of nautical-themed mutant creatures on offer. Similarly to Operation Raccoon City, this game also has an annoying knack of throwing you into poorly designed fighting areas – it doesn’t necessarily feel claustrophobic or craftily designed for horror purposes, it just feels lazy and subsequently means you’re constantly bumping into walls and boxes and tables when you’re trying your hardest to evade an enemy.
Design works well in other ways, however! Corridors on board the SS Queen Zenobia feel suitably creepy and harken back to the good old days of RE IV and ground-breaking titles such as the original Dead Space. Walking around dimly lit bathrooms and kitchens with just a flash light to illuminate small areas is perfect survival horror and helps to emphasise the horror of when a creature emerges from an opening in the wall or from underneath a desk. Something as casual as opening a cabinet, locker or a door also feels far more tense than it should be (kudos to the designers) as it always feels like a gamble as you opt to see ‘what’s behind door number one’.
The games’ strong single-player campaign features some neat little puzzles, some old-school survival horror moments, an interesting ever-changing narrative perspection and now a new device known as ‘Genesis’. It’s basically a multi-purpose camera (as seen previously in Beyond Good and Evil) that switches your view to first-person and allows you to analyse a creature for extra bonuses (usually with jumpy, disastrous consequences). As well as being a nifty device for scare-tactics, it’s also a great way to perv on corpses of survivors (usually with cleavage out – well, the women anyway) because nothing screams ‘this is a fun game!’ more than when you’re scanning a dead girl’s boobs in the name of science.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Revelations. While it didn’t really ‘reveal’ anything beyond what you’d expect from a contemporary game narrative (please refer back to my opening paragraph for further discussion on this) it definitely engaged me throughout and kept my frustration levels to a minimum. There are some clunky areas that are definitely difficult to navigate through and to fight creatures in (although I pin that down to perhaps an odd translation in the size of rooms from the 3DS to the domestic console) and occasionally the graphics don’t feel up to par with the standard of today’s games – but on the whole this is a classic Resident Evil game which takes the series back to its much-loved core roots. For fans who love value for money, an optional multiplayer mode known as ‘Raid Mode’ is available as part of the package – however it’s a very basic Horde mode that sees you fending off waves of the mutant scum whilst racking up some XP (suited mainly for the hardcore RE fans that look forward to this type of challenge).
While there are obviously better survival horror games out there to play, you’ll be hard pushed to find one better than this released within the past few years – and for that credit where credit’s due with Resident Evil Revelations. Now anyway, back to cleavage…