Spooky Scary Sea Monsters
Without co-op in the story mode
In-between Resident Evil 5 & 6 (2009 and 2012 respectively), Capcom made a partial return to the series’ claustrophic surival/horror roots with Resident Evil Revelations, which first came out for Nintendo’s 3DS in 2012 and was then ported to PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii U with higher fidelity in 2013. Players get to slip into the roles of several BSAA and FBC agents who are trying to unveil the misdeeds of the terror organization Il Veltro – yet another evil organization, who settled in the Mediterranean Sea where they plan to infect sea creatures with the deadly T-Abyss virus and turn them into zombies and … you know the gist of it. It’s Resident Evil. So the question isn’t so much on whether it’s a silly pretence, but if it’s an enjoyable one at that.
About the Game
This review will focus on the PC release. As this is a Capcom game, it goes without saying that it is impeccably optimized and can be controlled with both your typical mouse and keyboard combo as well as with any gamepad of your choosing. And exactly because this is a Capcom game, the story has the typical weak points fans have come to know and love from the series while everyone else will occasionally scratch their heads thinking about how one thing leads to another. But don’t let some plot holes ruin your fun; The locations are spectacular and definitely very spooky.
RE Revelations manages to perfectly fuse the over-the-shoulder camera from newer games with the creepy corridors from older titles – tank controls, fixed camera angles, and awkward reticles from the yonder days are also gone completely.
The campaign takes around twelve hours to complete with the main story being set on an abandoned cruise ship where monsters, inspired by deep-sea creatures, roam. Chris Redfield apparently went missing and Jill Valentine went off to find him. A good starting point, if it weren’t for players then immediately having to play as Christ Redfield in the next stage while he’s training to punch his next boulder. Shouldn’t that be the end of the story, you may ask. Couldn’t Jill just get in touch with Chris? Well, yeah, but where’s the fun in that? So be quiet.
Because the game is set on an abandoned cruise ship, the scary atmosphere really shines. While exploring the ship, there were two occasions where the game actually did scare me. Sadly other portions of the story just didn’t fit the tone. While Jill Valentine and her new partner, Parker Luciani, are trapped on this ghost ship with jump scares and eery monsters, the game cranks up the RE 5 meter whenever players sporadically get teleported to what appear to be filler sections starring Chris Redfield and company. They even have a loudmouthed, comedic duo. In these segments there will be lots of monsters, action, and shooting. Both of these things are fine and are exactly what I love about the franchise in general, but they weren’t ideally mixed in this release. Constantly having to switch between characters that are somewhat unimportant to the plot and the actual main protagonists is a little distracting.
As Resident Evil swayed away from its more point & click adventure style roots, the development team over at Capcom decided to make the puzzles in this game somewhat easier and focus more on backtracking, in order to unlock all items.
They also added the scanner function to Revelations so as to add a little bit of a Sherlock Holmesy feel to it. Players can look through the scanner to find hidden objects, mostly ammunition, scattered throughout the game’s world. Similar to Metroid Prime (2002), they can also use it on enemies, which, unlike in Prime, does not tell players more about enemy weak spots. Here, once enough enemies were scanned in, players receive a green herb, provided their inventory isn’t already crammed full. An awesome mechanic that helps against running out of health, but some info enemies would’ve been nice also.
Players like me, who appreciate the co-op experience in RE whenever it is available, will be disappointed to learn that Revelations’ campaign is a one man show that they’ll have to power through by themselves. Granted, with a human partner this game might have been too easy, but given the fun one can have with RE 5 & 6’s story, the lack of it is a slight letdown. On the plus side, players get an AI partner in every mission … who doesn’t really do much. Unlike in RE 5, your partner will neither pick up any items nor will they try to heal you. (S)He’ll also be completely ignored by enemies and will fire shots that appear to be doing so little damage that they’re not worth mentioning.
There is still online co-op mode, of course, with the return of the beloved raid mode that’s been with RE since its PlayStation 1 days – and it is as fun as ever with unlockable weapons and characters. Players who have linked their game to Resident Evil Net will also be able to unlock even more bonuses for performing certain tasks here. The multiplayer in Revelations is somewhat easier to play than in RE 5, so even beginners should have a relatively easy time flocking up good scores.
As previously mentioned, the game is a 3DS port, so players might have to make a few concessions here and there, but those shouldn’t bother anyone too much. It was the difference between the action stages and horror stages that was surprisingly jarring. Both were fun, but the way they were brought together wasn’t ideal. As it stands, I definitely recommend it for players who like zombie horror and cheese.
If you were waiting for the part where I’d explain why the game has the word “revelations” in the title, let me tell you, so was I. It pretty much has nothing to do with previous entries in the series. So the revelations here are about people and places you will have never heard of before. Now wasn’t that a revelation?
The game is a remarkable 8.5 sea monsters out of 10
Where to get
Resident Evil Revelations is available at a retailer near you, purchaseable on online stores like amazon, as well as available as digital downloads on various online platforms like Origin or Steam for $29.99 USD or your local equivalent.
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All screenshots taken by me during my playthrough and recorded using the Steam Overlay feature.