Resident Evil has always been a traditional home console series with one of the few exceptions being the misguided Resident Evil: Deadly Silence on the DS. That attempt was not well received and most people thought Capcom would be done with trying to port the series onto a portable console.
But this is Capcom we’re talking about. A king among kings for milking franchises.
So, how does Resident Evil Revelations fare? Read on to find out…
Resident Evil Revelations begins with a bit of a trip down memory lane to a time before Resident Evil 5. Fan favorite Jill Valentine is back at the helm with newcomer Parker as her sidekick this time around. They board an empty cruise ship in search of Chris and his new partner, both of whom have vanished while searching for a mysterious organizations simply known as Veltro, blamed for releasing biological weapons in the futuristic city called Terragrigia. The story takes quite a while before it becomes interesting and it’s slightly confusing, but considering the source material, it flows pretty well and fans new and old will be able to enjoy the campaign.
The gameplay is the draw as always for Resident Evil. While the game doesn’t necessarily take any chances, the game remains fun with the focus on enemy encounters down tight corridors and grotesque monsters constantly dropping in to catch players off guard. Bosses are gigantic affairs, but the final encounter left me wanting a little bit more. Staying true to survival-horror, healing items are few, ammo is still tight and the guns are varied, but the difficulty is fairly pedestrian compared to other titles.
The graphics are simply stunning for a portable console. Revelations has set a new benchmark for visuals on Nintendo’s portable. Jill, Parker, Chris and every enemy is highly detailed and literally come to life before your eyes. The lighting that powers the dim atmosphere of the cruise is easily the best I’ve ever seen on a portable. The environments are grand spectacles—making mockeries out of the excess of the modern ships in the process—that set the stage for the terrifying events to come. Monsters sound creepy and the ship moans with every passing wave. The presentation is ridiculously detailed and, although I had doubts, Capcom has captured the spirit of a Resident Evil game on a portable system. Finally.
There are a couple of extra features inside Revelations that complete a robust package. The “Raid Mode” is pretty much a stripped down version of campaign sections into ten minute pieces. It features different customizable weapons and characters than the campaign, creating a completely separate experience for players. Most missions try to swarm players with masses of enemies, but the bosses create a hectic and very fun experience. I can’t tell you how relieved I’ve felt after defeating two simultaneous bosses who have chainsaws for arms. Raid Mode is a solid extra adventure that will challenge some of the most hardcore survival-horror players.
This review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the StreetPass functions of Revelations. Players can receive new “Missions” for Campaign, which give bonus ammunition and gun parts. To add a slight twist to Raid Mode, Missions become an active goal inside the game, rewarding a take-down of a specific monster with a new gun. The StreetPass functionality really motivated me to carry my 3DS around wherever I went and I think most other gamers will want to do the same.
The major issue I must mention before closing up this review is a problem that isn’t so much an issue with the game as the way it’s being presented on the 3DS. Capcom hasn’t released a true Resident Evil game on a portable before and I can finally understand why after playing Revelations: all the hard work put into creating atmosphere is completely destroyed if the user is playing in a populated area, such as a bus or coffee shop. It’s a damn shame that doesn’t ruin the title, but limited my personal satisfaction at times.
Resident Evil Revelations is more than the sum of its parts and is proof that a survival-horror game can be successfully made for a portable system. As I said earlier, my biggest complaint isn’t with the game itself but the platform it’s been delivered on. It doesn’t make Revelations a bad game by any means. Just more difficult to enjoy.
GO Rating: 4/5
Available now for $39.99 on the Nintendo 3DS.