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Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) artwork

Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) review

"A welcome return to form"

Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) image

It feels like it's been a long time since I've wanted to talk about a game in a complete positive light when I got finished with it, but it's finally happened again. I heard of Resident Evil Revelations for 3DS and saw some images, marketing, and video footage for it, I even read some interviews with the developers and stuff. I liked what I saw, it seemed to be an attempt to get back to what Resident Evil was about before. Things like: Feelings of isolation reinforced by the environment, great and mood setting sounds and music, interesting looking if somewhat over the top or bizarrely designed locations. In short, more of an emphasis on Survival Horror rather than Action. To top this off, a friend of mine who bought a 3DS well before I did got a hold of the game and we share similar opinions about Resident Evil, he endorsed the game and said it was really good.

Originally I had intended on trying out RER when I got a 3DS, but news of a console port had hit before I picked one up. So I decided to wait it out and buy what I figured would've been an enhanced port, besides I could play it on my couch or in my chair and utilize my stereo system. I was still looking forward to playing this but was still somewhat nervous about the quality of the game.After RE 5 and 6, I wasn't sure if I could take another big disappointment with this series.

I was not disappointed.

Yes, you are indeed on a boat. Don't you ever forget.

If anyone still gets that, you're cooler than you think. Anyhow, this game is set before the events of RE5. You play as a few different characters in the game but you'll spend most of your time playing as Jill, during her and Parker's investigation on the Queen Zenobia cruise liner, which is where most of the game takes place as well. Jill and her partner for this mission, Parker Lucani are sent to investigate the ship and search for Chris and his partner Jessica Sherawat who have apparently gone missing. The plot picks up from there, and I'd rather not go into spoiling because the game is still relatively new.

Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) image

When you play through this game you actually play as Jill the most, that surprised me a bit because from what I could gather, Capcom made it seem like you would play as Chris for an equal amount of time in the marketing and interviews for this game. I was also surprised in that you played as a new character, Quint along with his sidekick Keith, neither of these characters were mentioned in any of the material I had seen but it's nice to be surprised. That brings me to this point, you're never truly alone in this game. That nagging need for the developers to stick you with another character at all times persists for the most part, but at least the AI isn't dumb and they don't need babysitting or have to steal your items, so it's forgivable.

Some things change, and others stay the same.

This game still plays in that post RE4 style, which is fine. The main controls and camera are still mostly intact, with a few additions and changes. For starters you can now reload and aim your weapon while moving. You can't run and aim, you walk forward, backward, or side step at slower pace. That doesn't sound useful but it actually is for going around corners with your weapon drawn.

You can also reload on the go...sort of. You can't actually walk and reload, you have to reload while you're still in place. BUT, once you start the animation you can actually get moving. This is a nice change that can help you when you're trying to keep distance while reloading. They also brought back the dodge mechanic, but it's not like how it was in RE3 where you could roll away from enemies and recover and shoot them from a defensive position. Instead you kind of maneuver around the enemy attacking you somewhat awkwardly and you can get clear of them enough to get away. I've heard that Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw has said that the dodge mechanic was poorly explained but I don't believe that's the case. I wasn't very good at it at first but I could pull it off easier and easier as I got further in the game. I think the timing for pulling a dodge off is just kind of strict is all. Then again, I think he reviewed the 3DS version. Maybe it's better on the consoles?

I still think it would've been cooler if you still dodge and shoot like in Resident Evil 3. That game was apparently too actiony for some people though. I bet they regret saying that now. Yeah, if it's not abundantly clear yet, I'm not too big of a fan of direction this series underwent in the 360/PS3/Wii generation. To each his own though.

Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) image

Puzzles have made a comeback in this game as well. They're not anything on par with the older games from the original RE all the way to RE Zero, but they definitely take a little more thought or at least more trial and error than what RE4 provided. I realize a lot of people don't really care for puzzles, but this is more of an old guard thing. You wouldn't understand it unless you were more familiar with the older games. It's just not a Resident Evil game without these bizarre puzzles with not so obvious solutions that gave the games a dash of the Adventure genre.

There were some totally new additions to this game as well. One is this device called the Genesis Scanner. This thing, I could take or leave. This item is introduced to you early in the game, and it's actually not that critical to the gameplay which makes it's inclusion kind of head scratching. What happens is you pull it out and you're put in a first person perspective, then you look around whatever area you're in at the moment and look for the classic RE object shine that lets you know there's something over there and you need to pick it up. A lot of the times these things are hidden in plain sight so it's like the game is adding this weird extra step to you obtaining items You can also use this thing to scan dead monster remains to build up a percentage so that you can earn an extra Green Herb tablet for healing.

It's such a weird mechanic though. Why can't I see these things without the Genesis Scanner? How is it that by scanning puddles of blood, ichor, and slime remains that I build up this arbitrary percentage that when it reaches 100% I'm rewarded with an extra Green Herb? It just raises too many questions...but they're not that big of a deal. I'm not entirely sure if you could complete the game without it's help but I do think it could be done.

The new inclusion which I'm actually a fan of is the Gun Customization. Upgrading your guns have been a part of RE since the second game (Aside from it being unceremoniously booted out in RE6) which is a little hard to believe when you think about it. The more modern route of doing this was introduced in RE4 where you find treasures and use the money from them to upgrade your gun's attributes at the nearest teleporting/omnipresent Merchant (I miss that guy.). Instead, you find customization items scattered around or by solving a puzzle or killing a tough monster, and that when you find your magic item box (IT HAS RETURNED!) you can take the time to customize/upgrade your weapons as you see fit. You can upgrade the typical stuff like damage, firing rate, critical rate, and capacity but you can add cool elements to your guns as well such as; increased knock back rate, double shots, and a charged shot where if you hold the fire button down long enough you can fire off a powered up shot which you charged with your Chi like in Dragon Ball or something...that last part doesn't actually happen but it does increase the damage.

Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) image

All of these Gun Customization items add a kind of loot spin on the game. This addition to the game isn't groundbreaking nor innovative, but it's different and something the series hasn't tried out yet so I think it's cool in that way. Gun Customization is expanded on even further in Raid Mode.

Raid Mode is an extra mode for the game, a lot like Mercenaries from RE4, 5, and 6. But, Raid Mode is also very different. You can pick from several different characters to play as from the game that each have their own unique abilities. For example Jill will fire Handguns 100% faster than Chris, who will reload Shotguns 50% faster or something similar. Once you pick your character, you equip them with whatever weapons you've got, and pick your stage and go.

When you play, there's no time limit and you don't kill enemies to get more time. You either have to find the end of the stage or complete some sort of objective. The differences don't end there though, when you play Raid Mode, the enemies have HP bars floating above their heads complete with numbers flying out of them showing how much damage you dealt like in an RPG. The enemies themselves are even a little different, some of them are really big and take a lot of damage, some are fast and hard to hit, there are even “rare spawns” where you'll run into an extra tough monster and when you kill it you'll get something good more than likely.

When you finish a stage, your performance is judged and you level up which gets you access to better weapons and items and makes it easier for you to play later stages. Raid Mode is like taking part of Mercenaries, taking some light RPG elements and mashing them together so that we get Mercenaries: The RPG. I actually really like this mode and it's a little more fun and addictive than regular old Mercenaries. All of this stuff comes together and combing that with all the unlocks you need to work for such as more characters, weapons, and upgrades makes this a very satisfying extra mode that you can sink a lot of time into. To top that off, you can even play it with a friend or others.

Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) image

This isn't all rainbows and bunnies though. There are few things that did bug me about the game. One has to do with the plot but it's not related to the content of it, but just how that's more about tell and not so much show like in a lot of the older games with the files and stuff. Revelations did bring back finding the files, which was something else RE6 was lacking.

But the cutscenes kind of overshadow this attempt. It almost seems like there's too much going on that you're allowed to see, instead of simply taking in the atmosphere of the eerie ship and figuring out what's happening. It's kind of jarring when these cutscenes happen. I suppose that's modern gaming in a way.

The other thing is just a flat out negative, I can't find any good explanation for this. This game's enemies don't have a lot of variety. Not in appearance, and not in behaviors. The main enemies are called “Oozes” and it's basically this mutated tall guy with claws.

That's fine, but 70% of the game's enemies are this guy. There's some variations of the Ooze, like one with these razor blade arms, ones that shoot these weird projectiles at you, and fat ones that explode. I may have forgotten one or two, but that's because they're mostly forgettable and their appearances are so similar. A couple of mainstays appear like Hunters and Dogs but these Ooze guys felt somewhat lazy in comparison to other games. At least it's not zombies with guns though.

They seem to run a tight ship.

I'll admit I was kind of worried about how the game looked, because it's a 3DS game being ported to 360 and PS3. Again though, I was surprised to see that the game looks great. Facial details on the character models sometimes are kind of low end along with some embarrassing animations like Jill clearly holding her handgun while she has it in her leg holster. That aside, the areas are well designed with somewhat believable clutter, and the lighting is excellent.

Resident Evil: Revelations (PlayStation 3) image

Sonically this game brings it as well. The soundtrack finally sounds like an RE game should again. Subtle, moody, and atmospheric during exploration, but frantic and loud when bosses or events take place.

The sound design is also good, you can hear the ship creak and subtle noises in the background that will keep you on edge, along with fairly creepy sounds. One of my favorite moments is when you first arrive on the ship, it's raining and Jill comments on this bell that's ringing because the ship is rocking and how it's creeping her out. It was a very cool little moment that helped set up the atmosphere for the ship. In general it just seems like there is more of an attempt made here to try and build tension and create a compelling atmosphere in this RE game.

Coming back for another trip?

This is a very likeable RE game with a solid story despite my misgivings about it, I could easily see revisiting it and enjoying the single player down the road again. It does have a New Game + where you can play with all the weapons and stuff you've collected. The biggest contributor to the reaply value for this game though is the Raid Mode. You could easily sink dozens of hours into playing it and it helps that you can play online with friends.

As I said above, I was not disappointed in this game in virtually any way other than monster design and that's more of a minor quibble. I think it's safe to say this is probably the best RE game that we've gotten since RE4. I'm happy that it's in my collection and I look forward to playing it again someday, if you're an RE fan, you owe to yourself to pick this up, be it on the 3DS or the 360 or PS3.

+An interesting single player game, where you play as a few different characters.
+Some changes to the RE4 controls make this game a little more fluent in gameplay.
+Puzzles make more of a return in the game, which older RE fans will appreciate.
+Gun Customization is fairly in depth and you have to consider the pros of each one and weigh them over the others.
+Raid Mode is a major extra mode that offers many hours of play once you finish the regular Single Player.
+The look, feel and sound of this game is more in step with the older titles and some of RE4. Graphics and Sounds are great for a portable game upscaled to consoles.

-Enemy design is monotonous and lacking in variety. Even some bosses suffer from this.
-The Genesis Scanner feels like a pointless addition. It adds an unnecessary step to collecting items.
-The plot is more of a tell and don't show kind of affair. There are several cutscenes that take place with different characters from all over the place.

Project Horror 2016
Project Horror saw one (1) horror review submitted every day through the month of October. This review was part of that effort.

zork86's avatar
Community review by zork86 (October 13, 2016)

Sometimes, Zork reviews something other than Resident Evil games. And when he does, he gets the hose again.

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