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Resident Evil: Revelations (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC)
Game Reviews

Resident Evil: Revelations (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC)

Improved visuals and controls make this port of the 3DS original the best Resident Evil game to hit home consoles in years.

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Last year was pretty rough for the Resident Evil franchise. Fans were treated to a set of terrible games, including Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and the even worse Resident Evil 6, a disappointing new live-action movie, and what felt like a general disinterest in the long-running survival horror genre. Thank goodness for Resident Evil: Revelations on 3DS, which came out of nowhere and became the best game in the series since Resident Evil 5.

Now six months after the disappointing Resident Evil 6, Capcom attempts to make amends by releasing an upgraded port of Resident Evil: Revelations for home consoles. While it lacks the cool 3D effects of the 3DS version, the enhanced visuals, improved controls and a revamped Raid Mode will most likely lure fans back to the fold who were sorely frustrated by more recent chapters. As the game’s plot and gameplay remain largely unchanged from the original version, my review includes bits from our original review when they apply, with major differences noted.

Set between Resident Evil 4 and 5, Revelations recounts the events just after the creation of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA), with the narrative that alternates between popular characters Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. The majority of the game takes place on the Queen Zenobia, a cruise ship stranded in the ocean on a dark and very stormy night, which may have played a key part in the solar destruction of the ‘floating city’ of Terragrigia to combat a bioterrorist attack by the secret organization known as “Il Veltro”. Yes, a plot involving international bioterrorism and archaic language is boilerplate territory for this franchise at this point, and real fans won’t be surprised to see a host of new characters sporting strange hairdos and high school personalities running around and spouting passages from The Divine Comedy (Dante’s Inferno) like it was the most natural thing in the world.

The emphasis on a return to survival horror is apparent from the get-go, and a cruise ship is an inspired setting, with tight confines and claustrophobic hallways making things feel more like Dead Space than a modern RE game. You’ll traverse long passageways, pick up herbs, read notes and logs, solve mini-puzzles, and even fend off the occasional T-Virus monster while trying to stay alive. There’s several nods to the original game, and don’t be surprised if you have to empty a few bathtubs and reach into dirty toilets to get where you need to go. Heck, even the omnipresent wooden box makes a return for easily storage and retrieval. Not only that, but finding spare parts let you augment and upgrade weapons like handguns, shotguns, and machine guns along the way, though you’re limited to carrying just three at a time, with Jill being the only character that can switch weapons in the campaign.

The most notable difference this time around are the updated high-definition graphics, which look impressive here, though it’s apparent they’re models designed for a lower-end system as things such as a character’s hair is static with little to no animation. There are also a few parts where you’ll see some low resolution graphics on models that look muddy up close and give you a painful reminder where the game’s origins were. Nevertheless, most of the graphics look good and the enemies will give players a good scare or three along the way, especially with the faceless new enemy added here called “The Ooze” that looks like something straight from the Silent Hill game series.

Another difference are the updated controls which are a lot better this time around thanks to having two analog sticks as opposed to the 3DS’ one (unless you had the Circle Pad Pro attachment). Now gamers can move and strafe around with the left stick while moving the camera and targeting icon around with the right stick. The payoff is a much better feel of control, though some things still don’t work quite as well as they should, such as the still flawed dodge system that requires perfect timing to use and feels like a giant gamble when you attempt to use it. I also enjoyed how Capcom made accessing your weapons easier here, as you use the d-pad left or right to cycle through your main weapons, while up and down goes through your sub-weapons. You can also press a button to use a herb to restore health, so no more pausing the game and going through a cumbersome inventory menu here.

Rounding out the last of the changes is a revamped Raid Mode, where you race your way through an arcade-like version of some of the stages to take out stronger, faster enemies to earn medals and BP (Battle Points) to unlock costumes, weapons, parts to customize them with and more. This time you can play with a friend locally (though sadly not split-screen) or with someone online. And for those who are looking for an even bigger challenge in the single-player campaign, there’s an all-new difficulty called “Infernal Mode” that’s sure to fit the bill for the most hardcore out there.

Resident Evil Revelations is hands-down one of the best entries in the franchise, and this excellent port will finally let console gamers experience most everything (minus the 3D effects) from the excellent 3DS version. While it could’ve used a bit more polish here and there, it surpasses the disappointing Resident Evil 6 by leaps and bounds. Fans who never had the chance to play the original will want to snag this revamp – though they may ask themselves which is scarier, the monsters or the steep $50 price. That said, it’s the best Resident Evil game in years and thoselooking for something scary and action-packed will enjoy the monster-filled ride here.

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05/21/2013

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Capcom

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About the Author: Chris Mitchell