Giant Bomb Review

69 Comments

Resident Evil: Revelations Review

3
  • 3DS

Viewed as a handheld game, Revelations is impressive enough, but in the long history of the Resident Evil series, it's just average.

Hold still while I pop that thing.

In an effort to get the most out of Resident Evil: Revelations, I ended up lying on my bed in the dark with two pillows propping the 3DS up in front of me. Making yourself play in those kinds of restrictive conditions seems antithetical to the portable nature of the 3DS, but then it's hard to immerse yourself in Revelations' creepy atmosphere when you're riding the bus, hanging out in a busy airport terminal, or playing in most of the places you're likely to get out a handheld. Just by virtue of playing out on the small screen, Revelations was never going to scare you like its best predecessors. The kernel of a great, classic-feeling Resident Evil game is in here, but the limitations of the format and some offputting storytelling techniques keep it from joining the ranks of the best entries in the series.

You'd expect a game called "Revelations" to offer some, you know, insight into the greater Resident Evil mythology. Moreover, this game's supposed placement on the timeline right between Resident Evils 4 and 5 allows a perfect opportunity to tie into the events that led into the latter game, such as Jill Valentine becoming Wesker's mind-controlled slave and Chris Redfield linking up with new partner Sheva Alomar. Aside from the BSAA's peripheral involvement and a throwaway reference to Africa toward the end, though, Revelations foregoes any intriguing links to other RE games in favor of offering a totally self-contained storyline. The plot involves competing anti-bio-weapon task forces, the new bio-terrorist organization Veltro, and, um, a gleaming futuristic aquapolis that gets overrun by rampaging BOWs. And there's a satellite that shoots sun-lasers? Considering none of this stuff has ever really been mentioned before or since in other Resident Evil games, all these goings-on feel disconnected from the rest of the franchise. By the end of the game, what passes for the story's meager revelations fall flat in that broader series context. It doesn't help that there's hardly anything in the story that actually suggests when in the RE timeline the game happens, or that you should even care when it does in the first place.

The environment scanner adds an additional mechanic to the story mode.

The best idea Revelations has is to set most of the game aboard an opulent pleasure cruise liner-turned-floating bio-weapon research lab. That setting, with its grand banquet hall and other antique-looking luxuries, immediately recalls the original Resident Evil and the tense, claustrophobic sense of place its oppressively creepy mansion brought about. Revelations' mansion-on-the-sea approach is equally sound, and there's a fairly lengthy section in the middle of the story where it feels like the game has finally abandoned you there, forcing you to explore every room and utilize all your abilities to find keys with anchors inscribed on them to make it through. But the plot is broken up into an unnecessary episodic format that works against you ever really feeling like you're trapped in the inescapable grip of the ship, since you're frequently being whisked away from Jill Valentine and her shipboard plight, and forced to play as other characters in less-interesting places. Most of those new characters run the gamut from dull to ridiculous to vaguely offensive. One of your team members goes by the callsign Jackass and sounds like a Three Stooges reject, while Chris' new partner Jessica is so needlessly sexualized that when she finally lands on the ship ready for action, she appears in a skin-tight catsuit that leaves one leg entirely bare and the other wrapped in purple stripes. Resident Evil has gotten away with (and arguably benefited from) a certain amount of cheese in the past, but much of what isn't Chris or Jill in Revelations just feels silly and out of place.

Even if some of what's going on is kind of ludicrous, at least it looks nice while it's happening. We probably haven't seen everything the 3DS is capable of yet, but at the current moment Revelations' production values are pretty impressive for a handheld game. The characters are detailed enough, and--more importantly for a Resident Evil game--there's a robust enough lighting model that's used in the right ways to create a set of appropriately moody environments. Some parts of the game don't really look like they were meant to be viewed in 3D; specifically, a good number of the textures give an ugly moire effect when you've got 3D on that disappears when you turn it off. But on the whole the game makes a strong impression technically, and the music and sound design might as well be coming out of a console if you play the game with decent headphones on.

Raid mode gives you some more missions to play after the story, if you want to keep shooting BOWs.

By default the game clings to the over-the-shoulder Resident Evil 4 style of gameplay, which means you won't be moving your character and aiming your weapon at the same time. That should be fine for anyone who's stuck with the series so far, but the small screen and small controls make the combat feel awkward on occasion, especially in places where overly tight camera angles make it damn near impossible to see the enemies coming at you. The enemies also don't transition very clearly into their death animations, so I ended up dumping more ammo into a lot of foes than was necessary to actually kill them. You have a dodge move that will theoretically help you avoid taking damage when you're cornered, but I found the timing on that move so finicky that I never felt like I'd properly mastered it by the end of the game.

Despite all that clunkiness, I did find myself getting genuinely sucked into the game's fight for survival from time to time, and the requisite jump scares did their job effectively when I was playing in my carefully constructed chamber at home. The gameplay is also nicely enhanced by a few peripheral systems. You can upgrade all of your weapons with sets of collectible mods that tweak damage values, firing rates, chance to stun enemies, and so on. There's also a running set of in-game achievements that challenge you to complete some boilerplate objectives (like dodge 20 enemy attacks, scan 15 collectibles, and finish the first three episodes) to unlock some new in-game gear. And you've got a first-person scanning device to use in the story mode to uncover extra items and collectible handprints scattered around the environment. Those little extra features add some nice variety to what's otherwise a standard Resident Evil campaign experience.

As you go through the storyline you'll also unlock "raid" missions, which are snippets of the campaign broken up into short, timed levels where you try to set a high score. There's a whole separate metagame attached to the raid mode where you level up multiple characters and buy new weapons and gear with both battle points that you earn in the campaign and Play Coins you get from walking around with your 3DS. It's nice that there's some depth and customizability to the raid missions, and they'll give you something to do if you want to keep playing after the story is over, but the game's action isn't good enough on its own that I wanted to go back and spend a lot of time on those missions after the fact.

Small screen, mostly small scares.

Of course, if you want Revelations to play like a proper third-person shooter that lets you move around and shoot at the same time, you can always slap the $20 Circle Pad Pro (hitting retail the same day as Revelations) onto your 3DS. But that adds a significant amount of weight and bulk to the 3DS' nice, compact design, and making that tradeoff for slightly better controls just wasn't worth it to me. Your mileage may vary, and the Circle Pad will be useful for a few other upcoming games, but to me it's not worth making Revelations half again more expensive and increasing the size of the system that much just to get marginally better controls.

That's the fundamental issue with shoehorning a big, console-style game like Resident Evil into a form factor the size of the 3DS. You just can't get a game that plays as well or makes as big a visual impact as it would on a big TV, and if you start bolting peripherals onto the system to alleviate those problems, you start to negate what makes the system elegant in the first place. Revelations could have mitigated the effects of its limitations with a more memorable story and more appealing (and maybe more familiar) characters, but the game doesn't deliver enough on any one level to make it easily recommendable if you aren't a diehard fan. Revelations isn't exactly a bad Resident Evil game, but the series has certainly seen better.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
69 Comments
  • 69 results
  • 1
  • 2
Edited by Lively

First?

Seriously though, this might be tempting just to see how well the Circle Pad Pro actually works.

Edited by MooseyMcMan

I might pick this up one day. If/when I get a 3DS. I really wish they'd put out a new one with the second analog dealy built in. Solve so many problems. Well, not really solve, but...never mind.

Also, "aquapolis" is my new favorite "word."

Posted by paulunga

In the long history of the series it's the third-best game behind RE 5&4. And that statement is only half a troll, the early games were just very different and from a very different time.

Posted by Hot_Karl

I loved what I've played of the game so far, and it does seem to do right by making a portable RE experience.

I feel like this game will go over with the crowd that's already pumped for it. They probably won't have complaints with the game. For everyone else...maybe they'll remake it in HD and release it on PSN/XBLA.

Posted by CitizenJP

Shiiiiit. Well I'm still getting it lol.

Posted by tobygw

*Resident Evil Revelaitons

Posted by Hunkulese

This game is a great addition to the improving 3DS lineup. I'm enjoying it more than RE 5.

Posted by Commisar123

Nice and informative review, thanks Brad

Posted by Behonkiss

@MooseyMcMan said:

I might pick this up one day. If/when I get a 3DS. I really wish they'd put out a new one with the second analog dealy built in. Solve so many problems. Well, not really solve, but...never mind.

Also, "aquapolis" is my new favorite "word."

Honestly, I probably would have picked up a 3DS by now if not for the fact that the inevitable DS Lite equivalent will probably have the Circle Pad Pro integrated into it (And maybe a longer battery).

Posted by Mento

I had similar issues with Mario 3D Land. The 3D was good, but largely incidental, and after getting a sore hand and tired eyes after several hours of jumping, boomeranging and running away from that purple asshole I sort of wished I could be playing it on a console like any other Mario game.

I'm starting to wonder when the "like the real games but smaller and slightly less pretty" entries in franchises will make their way to the various downloadable markets where they belong and leave portable gaming to the type of games better suited for incremental on-the-go play sessions. I can't help but feel it's why iOS and the like are kicking everyone's pocket-sized asses, so to speak.

Moderator
Posted by Enigma777

If you ask me, they should have just released it for the PSP for which it was originally planned for.

First Monster Hunter 4, now this... I have to wonder how much cash Ninty is throwing at Capcom to secure these exclusives.

Posted by Phatmac

Seems like a more personal review than most, which I find to be awesome to a certain extent. Obviously everyone's experiences will be different, and this reflects on how you'll play handheld games. I think some people overstate the dying gaming handheld market and forget that consumers aren't as easy minded as most would expect. I think games like this are a great thing, sure some may complain that having a console game on a handheld is bad, but to me it can also be promising. I think more people should praise Capcom for making a competent shooter instead of criticizing why they did it. Is it really that bad for a developer to focus on a vision and have it succeed to some people? Should Revelations be judged as a handheld experience as how you play it or by how good of a game it is? I find that more people are discounting mobile games and frankly not appreciating them as much as most people. My point of this long post is to ask that if the use of handheld games is more important than how good a game is? It isn't as black or white as this, but it seems that Brad was in favor of his own thoughts and uses of handheld games. I think differently, but I can appreciate a different point of view. Still, solid job as always Brad.

Edited by Video_Game_King
Online
Posted by DancingJesus

This review highlights why the iOS is doing so well.

I'm not interested in games that offer inferior versions of series I love. Give me something new, exciting, affordable and easy to play in small doses.

Posted by Toug

To be fair,

@Brad said:

"Jill Valentine becoming Wesker's mind-controlled slave and Chris Redfield linking up with new partner Sheva Alomar"

are things that happen IN RE5 and it's DLC, so there isn't much they could really do with that stuff.

Edited by Scrumdidlyumptious

I hope that every handheld game review from now on doesn't degenerate into a commentary about putting a certain type of game on a handheld system. I'm not really interested in this game, but making it into an argument about what system it should be on isn't helpful for anyone looking for purchasing advice and it doesn't say much about the quality of the game for the people interested. Hopefully this is just a phase and it will eventually stop being a staple of handheld game reviews since it's not helping anyone. Thankfully Brad doesn't fall too far down that trap.

Posted by algertman

@DancingJesus said:

This review highlights why the iOS is doing so well.

I'm not interested in games that offer inferior versions of series I love. Give me something new, exciting, affordable and easy to play in small doses.

I can smell your smug from here.

Posted by Draxyle

@DancingJesus said:

This review highlights why the iOS is doing so well.

I'm not interested in games that offer inferior versions of series I love. Give me something new, exciting, affordable and easy to play in small doses.

That's how I feel about handhelds as well. I don't want the "console experience" on a handheld, that's what the consoles are for. If you're going to go that route, at least allow the handheld to be hooked up to a television (I miss the old gameboy to SNES player). If this is trying to be RE without being quite up to modern RE levels, then what's the point?

This is still the only game that is even mildly interesting to me on the 3DS, but it's definitely not enough.

Posted by Eribuster

@Enigma777: Nintendo didn't pay for RE 4 to be exclusive (at least explicitly, I think).

Nice review. I had hoped that Brad would be a bit more positive on the game than what finally came to pass, but ultimately there is a (personal?) mismatch between game and platform.

Posted by BabyChooChoo

Dat ass...or should I say booty?...

Posted by StitchJones

I am against the whole circle pad thing for the 3DS. It should have been designed with it, if that was their master plan. Now that RE is out and can utilize it, it's only a matter of time before the US get's Monster Hunter and that will also use it. And if I recall correctly, Metal Gear 3D also uses it. So even if you wanted to totally avoid it, some big name games coming out for 3DS pretty much force you hand into getting it. I do wonder how much time will pass before an updated 3DS model is announced with the right stick built in.... but I digress.

I would really like to check this RE game out, but with Kingdom of Amalur hitting as well, I'm going to jump into that and 'circle' back around to RE at a later date.

Posted by OllyOxenFree
@BabyChooChoo said:

Dat ass...or should I say booty?...

Would you even consider calling it a "rump"?
Posted by Blubba

I just realized part of why I like Giant Bomb reviews so much. They don't use purchasing advice as a medium to make political statements about gaming or make a giant spectacle.

To be fair, I haven't read the IGN review, but I was turned off the second I saw "This is why portable games work! Better than Resident Evil 5!" I still believe in non-phone portable gaming and I didn't really care for RE5, but god damn it, I'm just looking at multiple sites to see if this game is worth my money, not your bullshit.

Posted by Grimluck343

Never played a Resident Evil game, guess I won't start here.

Posted by newmarcom

I respect the opinion of those who wish this game was a full console release. But there should be consideration for those who can only game on the go and handhelds are their only answer. "Console-size" games on a portable system is a feat in itself and isn't that a good thing?

Posted by DantronLesotho

day bow BOWs

Posted by ptys

It's been getting quite high praise everywhere which is great for me being a "Die Hard" Resident Evil fan, but always wondered if without the setting and characters whether a game like this could be that exciting, so I can understand Brad giving it a realistic score, in terms of artistic merit anyway. Still looks sweet to me though, will probably buy a 3DS just to play it! Yip that's how we old school Resident Evil guys roll... been attached to these characters since the mid 90's.

Edited by Max_Hydrogen

Great review from Brad, can't ask for a better explained and more detailed assessment. I learnt a new word: "moiré"! Also, "aquapolis" was funny.

I pretty much agree with those who don't see the point of making these kinds of games on a hand-held. Like Brad said, how are you going to play this on a crowded bus? That's why I think cellphones are the true hand-held game consoles because most of their games are facile, reflex or puzzle based games that are played in quick sessions and are designed to pass the time and mentally shelter the player so they don't notice just how crappy public transportation is. That said, I can see how a game like Revelations could be better appreciated on a long flight when one has time to invest in a story driven experience where exploration, strategy and management are required but the limitations of a hand-held (as graphically impressive as RER is) seem to defeat the purpose of putting it on such a device in the first place.

As for the game itself, the achievements and upgrade system seem out of place in an RE game and the plot and new characters Brad describes is turning me off: where is this stuff coming from?

And this of course, is to say nothing of the Circle Pad... Nintendo is a shadow of what it used to be...

Edit: I just noticed the picture of Jill in the rain used for the review on the homepage... Is it just my imagination or was it designed to look like Jill had participated in a bukkake session...? Oh, Japan... (It's probably just me. No wait, I take that back: upon closer inspection one must ask when are raindrops ever white?)

Posted by ptys

@Behonkiss said:

@MooseyMcMan said:

I might pick this up one day. If/when I get a 3DS. I really wish they'd put out a new one with the second analog dealy built in. Solve so many problems. Well, not really solve, but...never mind.

Also, "aquapolis" is my new favorite "word."

Honestly, I probably would have picked up a 3DS by now if not for the fact that the inevitable DS Lite equivalent will probably have the Circle Pad Pro integrated into it (And maybe a longer battery).

I purchased the DS when it was first released and the second iteration was such an improvement, it made it feel like a whole new system! This is why I'll wait as long as it takes for them to get the design right. This game will be the first thing I pick up when they do.

Posted by Manachild

Thanks for the review brad. Still bought it, and happy with it.

Posted by Brad

@ptys said:

@Behonkiss said:

@MooseyMcMan said:

I might pick this up one day. If/when I get a 3DS. I really wish they'd put out a new one with the second analog dealy built in. Solve so many problems. Well, not really solve, but...never mind.

Also, "aquapolis" is my new favorite "word."

Honestly, I probably would have picked up a 3DS by now if not for the fact that the inevitable DS Lite equivalent will probably have the Circle Pad Pro integrated into it (And maybe a longer battery).

I purchased the DS when it was first released and the second iteration was such an improvement, it made it feel like a whole new system! This is why I'll wait as long as it takes for them to get the design right. This game will be the first thing I pick up when they do.

I'm afraid you guys are gonna be waiting for a while -- it's looking like there won't be a new revision this year, at least. Nintendo hasn't even started making a profit on the current design yet.

Staff
Edited by vinsanityv22

Fair review Brad, but I just think it's a more impressive game overall I suppose. You didn't slam it without describing your issues though, so all in all, I respectfully disagree a bit here, but am not enraged. Which is pretty rare for when I read a review I disagree with:)

I have absolutely no problem with it controlling like RE4; I don't want a third person shooter Resident Evil (judging by the reaction to Operation Raccoon City, I'm not alone). I also don't think it loses anything by not being a big console release; some people just seem to look down at the handhelds. But as someone who has been enjoying the fantastic, innovative RPGs on the DS for years now (like Dragon Quest IX and Radiant Historia), I consider the handhelds just as legit as my PS3.

Posted by mabber36

how nobody complains when consoles get potable style games, like super meat boy, splosion man and clash of heros, but when portables get good console games, it's always, "why didn't they put it on the console so I can justify my expensive tv blargblargblarg"

Posted by MrMazz

sounds like a solid but slightly broken game. Eh if I ever get a 3DS (read new model with second joypad) and its on sale dosen't seem like a terrible buy.

Posted by benspyda

I got this game for free with a circle pad pro when I bought a 3DS. I think 3/5 is a little harsh, I like how it is more in the style of the old games and that it shows capcom still understand that people like that. I think if you like resident evil and have or want a 3DS, this is a good purchase.

Posted by Klei

Oh it's Brad, I don't care then.
Edited by beast780

While I disagreed with more than I agreed with here, especially with opinions on the CPP which I've had a good experience with so far, I look forward to a more thorough discussion on this weeks Bombcast. I think this game was a perfect fit for the handheld market. It's certainly not a stable in the series, but its got many positives going for it.

Posted by yoshimitz707

Man, I was hoping this would be awesome so I could pick up another 3DS game. Oh well, at least the eShop is pumping out good games now. Great review as always, Brad!

Posted by MormonWarrior

Hmm...lots of good points here. There's the one thing about portable games that never seems to apply to me: the place I play and enjoy portable games most is in my room, on the floor or on my bed. It's a more private gaming experience than playing on a screen - and it's telling that I recently got a GBA SP again and have been playing it obsessively instead of the four or five Xbox 360 games I got over the break and still haven't gotten to. There's something about having your own screen and stuff to get absorbed in...

But yeah, full-on console games like this should probably stick to the consoles, and we should see more Mario Land 3D/Picross/Advance Wars/WarioWare/Phoenix Wright type games instead.

Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

@OllyOxenFree said:

@BabyChooChoo said:

Dat ass...or should I say booty?...

Would you even consider calling it a "rump"?

I would call it more of a fanny.

Posted by outerabiz

wake me up when Resident evil begins to control like dead space or left for dead.

Posted by Zamir

@Godlyawesomeguy:

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

I've gotten really excited for this, and although this review puts a bit of a damper on that excitement, I still can't wait to jump into it. It's been too long since we've had a brand new, proper RE game.

Posted by Behonkiss

@Brad said:

@ptys said:

@Behonkiss said:

@MooseyMcMan said:

I might pick this up one day. If/when I get a 3DS. I really wish they'd put out a new one with the second analog dealy built in. Solve so many problems. Well, not really solve, but...never mind.

Also, "aquapolis" is my new favorite "word."

Honestly, I probably would have picked up a 3DS by now if not for the fact that the inevitable DS Lite equivalent will probably have the Circle Pad Pro integrated into it (And maybe a longer battery).

I purchased the DS when it was first released and the second iteration was such an improvement, it made it feel like a whole new system! This is why I'll wait as long as it takes for them to get the design right. This game will be the first thing I pick up when they do.

I'm afraid you guys are gonna be waiting for a while -- it's looking like there won't be a new revision this year, at least. Nintendo hasn't even started making a profit on the current design yet.

Ah, figured as such. Good thing there still isn't a huge library of great exclusives for me to yearn for yet, then (Though Kid Icarus, Rhythm Thief & Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney look intriguing as far as the future goes).

Posted by Cramjomlin

I'm thinking I'm just going to wait around for RE6. Great review, though, as usual.

Edited by Yummylee

Just want to point out that Revelations purportedly occurs during 2005 (and the whole bouncy-blonde slave-Jill thaang was expanded upon during the Lost in Nightmares DLC for RE5), just one year after RE4 and 4 years before RE5; it's confirmed during the trailers, but I'll agree that it's shoddy story-telling if the fact wasn't illuminated during the actual game. I haven't played it, though, (and won't be able to for a long while...) but I'll agree that the story doesn't seem entirely engaging from what I've seen and is mostly there as some throwaway plot to justify this as a ''console RE experience''.

The reason I want to play Revelations is the atmosphere and the gameplay; playing on my own (I know there's an AI with you sometimes, but it's not like Sheva where she's a dynamic AI intended for a human player to occupy) walking down some dark-lit hallways? FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF--even though that only takes up a portion and CAPCOM also had to sprinkle in a lot of generic much more action-orientated scenes. The Raid mode looks brilliant as well.

To put it lightly, I really want to play RE: Revelations. On a console. But damn it all... I'll buy myself a 3DS if that's what it takes. This is the exact same reasoning as to how I came into ownership of a Gamecube.

Online
Posted by GunstarRed

Hmm, I often agree with Brad more than anyone else on the site, but I just don't really agree with this at all. I feel that there is very little said about Raid mode which if you ask me is better than Mercenaries has ever been, always giving you new missions and objectives, characters, costumes, bonuses, guns etc the mode itself is almost worth the price of the game on it's own, 61 missions and they get absolutely insane.

I played the game with the circle pad pro and at times, especially in the more horror-like sections felt a lot like Dead Space with the enemies coming out of the vents and moving and shooting feels like the way the game is meant to be played. I really don't see why it should be looked upon negatively because it plays more like it should be on a full console. It's better than 5 (which I liked a lot), but not as good as 4.

Posted by OriginalGman

This game IS a handheld game, how are you supposed to view it as anything else? I really don't like the argument "this game could be great, but having to play on a loud and bumpy bus sucks." I don't think that assumptions about where the player is playing should be held against a game. I do most of my handheld gaming at home, as it's quicker and easier than turning on a console when I need a small gaming fix. I enjoy my Kinect, but I don't hold the fact that my ceiling is only 6 and a half feet high against it. If I wanted to move it into the living room, I would.

I just wish more people would stop assuming that engaging, deep gaming experiences can't happen on handhelds. In the last half-decade, handhelds have been home to some of the most intriguing and unique games, thanks to lower production costs and higher margin for risk-taking. Distraction games like Picross 3D are great, but that doesn't mean they are the pinnacle of gaming on the go.

Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

@Zamir: I knew this would happen. I actually am a religious follower of the bombcast (proof), and got the reference.

I was also commenting on what I truly would describe her ass as.

Posted by xen0

Um, am I the only one who figured out how to customize the controls? All of these problems I've been reading about this game just sound like those who are playing it, don't know the options (MANY) are there.

You can turn on strafe movement, and while holding in aim - with gyro-control which works RATHER WELL if you're not a lazy slob (and we all know newer Nintendo consoles are all about getting our fat asses moving) - you can move and aim at the same time! Holy cow!

Also, those with a 3DS looking to try out the game for themselves can do so with the FREE DEMO in the eShop..

Surely, I'm not the only person who knows about these things...at least I hope not. I worry for humanity. D:

  • 69 results
  • 1
  • 2