Resident Evil: Revelations, released last year for the 3DS, is the most recent handheld addition to the Resident Evil series. Capcom decided to try to bring Resident Evil back to its survival/horror roots and away from its more recent action/horror installments in the franchise. But how successful were they in their goal?
The first thing gamers will notice upon starting Revelations on the 3DS is just how impressive the graphics are. While it is certainly not on par with graphics on the Wii-U or Playstation 3, the 3DS version does come close. Characters are expressive, firearms are not held awkwardly, and reactions to attacks are very fluid. Even water effects, which can often be quite difficult to imitate realistically, are emulated with precision. None of this is limited to the cutscenes either; the entire game just looks beautiful. Or, in the case of Resident Evil, terrifying and grungy.
Gameplay-wise, the title has a few kinks. Explanations can often let players down. Of course, tutorials were non-existant back in this examiner's day, but the ones offered in Revelations are brief and quite cryptic at times. For instance, the dodge mechanic is very poorly explained despite being an essential action to survive. Even gamers playing on the game's casual difficulty will have a hard time without understanding how to dodge the ravenous zombies, mutants, dogs, fish and everything else with sharp teeth looking for a quick snack.
Players take control of various characters throughout Revelations' story arcs. The camera, as has practically been the norm since Resident Evil 4, is situated on the character's shoulder. Aiming has taken an interesting change though. The screen turns into first-person mode when Jill, or whoever is being controlled at the moment, raises their weapon. This can be slightly disorienting at first and leaves open much wider blind spots for monsters to waylay gamers. Realistic? Sure. Frustrating when a monster decapitates Jill from her side? Always.
When it comes to being a survival/horror game, Revelations fails. Granted, there is a lot less ammunition to go around, but this examiner was hard-pressed to find a time where unloading a full clip of shotgun ammo into the dead body of a particularly frustrating boss was a bad idea. Health is plentiful, especially after knowing how to dodge, and a single grenade is often all that is needed to clear a room. Of course, if players get really desperate for ammunition, chances are there is a CPU partner tagging along with them. A partner with infinite ammunition.
The sound for the game is a mixed bag. The atmospheric music is generally quite unsettling and downright creepy. The firearm sounds are, however, quite laughable coming from the 3DS speakers. Obviously handheld speakers are fairly limited when it comes to bass, but the guns in Revelations sound almost like peashooters. Even the machine guns were fairly unsatisfying when it comes to sound. Visually, monsters are torn apart and sent flying backwards. Audibly? Chris Redfield's microwave popcorn just started cooking.
The game's plot, though slightly convoluted (but hey, what Resident Evil plot isn't?) is entertaining and definitely helps to pick up the slack. Gamers will want to press on, no matter how simple the puzzles are or how ridiculous the scan system is. Seriously, there is something wrong with vision in the Resident Evil universe – having to scan a tipped over trash can to find 90 machine gun rounds is a little bizarre. Even the process of having to stop the forward momentum to scan every recently killed enemy to eventually earn a green herb gets monotonous very quickly.
So is Revelations on the 3DS worth it? Diehard Resident Evil fans will definitely get a kick out of it, but going into it expecting nostalgia could end very badly. Capcom attempted to bridge the gap between gamers who love the original three Resident Evils and those who love the more recent additions with Revelations. It is a step in the right direction but does not quite offer the mental challenges and suspense the original Resident Evil games do.
Hm, time for some popcorn. Happy Halloween.