I purchased Resident Evil: Revelations back in 2012, less than a year after the Nintendo 3DS came out. Unfortunately, I never finished the game on Nintendo’s handheld — partly due to the limitations of the genre and my own free time. Going back to it all these years later, I realize that I had been missing out on a genuinely true Resident Evil experience that was held back in 2012 by its weird handheld controls.
The story of Resident Evil Revelations takes place in 2005, between the events of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. You play most of the game as Jill Valentine alongside her partner, Parker Luciani. You both are sent out to locate series-protagonist Chris Redfield and his partner Jessica Sherawat after they reportedly go missing during a mission.
Unfortunately, the story falls flat towards the end, playing beat for beat what many games in the series have done in the past. Also, Resident Evil Revelation‘s main villains is rather generic and never really feel too different from anything the series has offered before. On top of that, some of the character motivations are strange and confusing.
It was very cool to see Jill and Chris back together again in the same game. Although they’re not the only characters you’ll get to play as — Resident Evil: Revelations introduces a lot of new characters to the series. You’ll get to play more action-orientated missions as a lot of the new faces, and they do a good job at breaking the game up into fun action sequences and intense survival horror.
Like the first game’s Spencer Mansion, Resident Evil: Revelations introduces its own new setting: The Queen Zenobia. The ship Jill and Parker find themselves on after attempting to track Chris down. The setting is filled to the brim with atmosphere. Even though this was originally a 3DS title, Resident Evil: Revelations’ visuals take on new life one PlayStation 4. While it falls short is character models, some do manage to look impressive like many of the environments. That said, cutscenes in particular can sometimes look very strange when the characters start doing things up close.
Enemies aboard the Queen Zenobia are also well designed and super creepy. Unlike their zombie counterparts in the series, the new virus in Resident Evil: Revelations causes people to turn into monsters called “Oozes.” They kind of reminded me of the “Regenerators” from Resident Evil 4. Enemies in the game’s third act were definitely the scariest to me though, but I’m biased since they capitalized on my fear of water.
Although I won’t spoil them here, the boss battles were also engaging and a couple of these fights were designed really well with Resident Evil: Revelations‘ setting in mind. Not only that, but some of the sound design in Resident Evil: Revelations is also pretty creepy. As fans have come to expect from the series, the sounds that the Queen Zenobia produces make each trek down its long, dark hallways and corridors all the more tense.
The AI in Resident Evil: Revelations is admittedly pretty terrible at times. Sometimes my partner wouldn’t be following me, making it so I wouldn’t be able to progress at certain points in the game. I remember one instance in particular where Parker just would not accompany me into the next room. He kept getting attacked by enemies and, even when I went back and saved him, he continued to stay in the room. Outside of boss fights all the enemies pretty much used the same logic for the most part — a fact that undercut the scariness of the game through predictability
A unique addition to Resident Evil: Revelations is the “Genesis” scanning device. It allows you to search your environment for hidden ammo, items, and collectibles that’ll be all around you. The tool really encouraged me to explore every nook and cranny of the game’s world. Even doing so I only discovered about a third of the game’s collectibles. You’ll also get rewarded for scanning enemies, once you scan enough of them you’ll get a free healing item.
Speaking of items, Resident Evil: Revelations ditches the combining system from past Resident Evil games. While this is probably due to the game’s original limitations of a Nintendo 3DS title, it remains unmodified on the new PlayStation 4 version. While it’s not a huge loss, it did make the game feel a little bit lesser as a whole. The game ditches a conventional inventory but keeps safe rooms and item boxes. Micro management in the Resident Evil series is something that has always added to the tension in-game. Causing you to constantly wonder if you’ll have enough space in your inventory to move on.
Weapon upgrades are scattered throughout the entirety of the game. You’ll be able to apply them to your favorite weapons, increasing damage, reload speed, fire-rate, and more. The control you have over your characters is more satisfying than a few later entries in the series like Resident Evil 4 and 5. You can actually strafe, move while you use melee attacks, and dodge enemies by timing motions with the analog stick. Aiming actually feels really solid on a controller, whereas it was harder on the Nintendo 3DS using its one, tiny analog stick or the ill-fated Circle Pad Pro.
Another cool addition to Resident Evil: Revelations is the game’s Raid Mode. It essentially turns all of the story chapters into small little missions where you’ll have to reach the end objective point. You can play by yourself or with a friend if you want to. The game mode felt like it turned Resident Evil Revelations into an action RPG of sorts: you level up, find loot, and enemy levels can also vary, making it easier or harder for you to achieve your objective. I found the mode to be interesting and pretty fun online, but it probably won’t hold your attention for too long seeing as it’s more of a dumbed down version of the regular game’s story.
Resident Evil: Revelations is a true survival-horror experience with a lot to offer on modern home consoles for only $20. Not everything in the game has made the jump to console perfectly, but if it’s anything to go by, I sure as hell enjoyed this game a lot more than Resident Evil 6 (I’ll still defend 5 even though it’s not my favorite in the series). If Resident Evil 7: Biohazard wasn’t enough for you this year, I can’t think of a better game to recommend. Resident Evil: Revelations stays true to what made the first handful of Resident Evil titles great while also offering slight moments that delve more into the action oriented titles. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.