An uneven mess.
The Resident Evil series is a confusing dog pile of videogame concepts. With slow-paced horror, light gun games, frantic action, and even an upcoming team-based shooter, I feel like before delving into a new Resident Evil game you have to have the conversation of which of the previous games it represents most. Then everyone wonders if the enemies are regular zombies or more intelligent foes. Resident Evil Revelations is Capcom’s second foray into the 3DS with its classic horror franchise. Revelations isn’t moody enough to satisfy fans of games past, or exciting enough to stand with the most recent console iterations. This game weirdly isn’t like any other titles in the franchise, for better or worse.
I’m a huge fan of Resident Evil. Ever sense traversing through the Police Station on the original PlayStation, I’ve trucked through the entire franchise. I even suffered through some horrendous movies. Being the fan that I am was probably the only thing motivating me through Revelations. Resident Evil has always been about grabbing herbs and hearing loud recycled footstep noises. This 3DS game has you covered for everything Resident Evil. However, Revelations simply doesn’t pack enough punch to make it feel meaningful.
For the bulk of the game, you’ll play as Jill Valentine. Thankfully the game restrains itself from making any “master of unlocking” references. Resident Evil isn’t self-aware, yet. Jill and her partner are tasked with rescuing muscle man Chris Redfield (take a drink every time he says “Roger That”) from a cruise ship attacked by terrorists. Eventually, Jill discovers a new virus has broke out on the cruise ship transforming everyone on board into hideous monsters. This eventually breaks into conspiracies, double-crossing, and convoluted plot points. For such a simple story, Revelations had me dumbfounded. There are far too many moving parts in the story for the little time the game dedicates to plot development. I was literally confused regarding who the bad guy was by the game’s end. It doesn’t help either that Revelations doesn’t appear to be tying into any other Resident Evil games past or upcoming. It doesn’t help either that the new characters, including JackAss (literally, that’s his name, are abysmal, even for Resident Evil standards.
Revelations puts its best foot forward immediately. The first few engagements were tense. My ammo was low, the ambient noise was eerie, and the monster sauntering down the hall toward me felt terrifying. My initial impressions were very positive. At first, Revelations sets itself up to be a fantastic horror mystery that combined mechanics of modern Resident Evil games and the concepts of the franchise’s early days. Then the linearity of the game kicked in. It became too apparent I was following a straight line. It doesn’t help either that the enemies are weak and uninteresting. I became increasingly board as the game progressed.
The lack of attention to the story is odd considering the amazing production values. Capcom took advantage of dramatic camera angles and well-directed cutscenes to craft one of the best looking handheld games I’ve ever seen. Like Alan Wake, Revelations is cut into episodes. Each episode even begins with a “last time on Resident Evil Revelations” to catch you up. Watching each episode being wrapped up is arguably the most interesting aspect of the entire game. This translates well to a handheld giving the player good stopping points every 10-20 minutes. Good production values don’t make up for Revelations’ shortcomings. The plot is littered with new factions, villains, and heroes that never come together to entertain with a coherent story and the end result feels like a “made for TV special”.
I can’t imagine Resident Evil Revelations satisfying anyone. If you’re like me and just wanted a pretty new game for your 3DS and a huge Resident Evil fan, you’ll probably be able to swallow the $40 price tag to wet your appetite for Resident Evil 6. The visuals do showoff the 3DS’ power, but simply isn’t enough to carry the game’s weight for 8 hours. I was incredibly let down by the attention to horror literally dropped after a mere 2 hours of play. After that, I felt like I was just playing a half-assed version of Resident Evil 5. Revelations is the direct-to-DVD Resident Evil game. Just hold on to your pennies and wait for the Blockbuster Resident Evil 6 this November.