Welcome back Resident Evil.
After the disappointment of Resident Evil 5 – itself a game that took itself a tad too seriously – Revelations is a blend of the new control scheme and the slower, tenser atmosphere that the series had back in its original incarnation.
The results are surprising. But not all of Revelations is rosy.
Revelations has a plot so complicated, cliche-ridden and transparent that you can see most of the twists and turns coming a mile off. The “Episodic” nature of the chapters has been done to death, and I would say adds nothing to the experience save some annoyance – but it keeps the pace up a bit, a real separation between segments. The Circle Pad Pro addon that comes free with many copies of the game is an ugly, pointless and clunky piece of badly-designed excess that isn’t strictly speaking necessary or that beneficial in the long run. Although it being free is certainly not a bad thing.
Where Revelations succeeds, thankfully, is in the gameplay – both compelling and addictive, with a great and strange cast and some barkingly hilarious moments that are a welcome break from the typical cavalcade of serious faces that Resident Evil 5 bandied about. It’s a great game – one of the best spin-offs in recent memory, and a perfectly valid addition to the series canon.
It’s also an impressive technical showcase for the 3DS – this is no quick knock-off, this is a fully featured game with depth and character, tuned and honed for the 3DS platform specifically. The CPP add-on isn’t that necessary, and many seem to be fine not using it, as the game performs perfectly well without it. It’s visually impressive, sounds great and the little touch-screen puzzles add a small but interesting touch on the typical scenarios the series has been so fond of.
It’s still a far cry from Resident Evil 4 though, as comedic as it is sometimes there is a sense that it is still trying to play it straight – which in itself amplifies the comedic elements even more. It’s also tense and scary, with some stellar moments of panic and sheer terror (The fate of the Comms Officer is absolutely brilliant, hilarious and totally freaky in equal measure!). The plot, muddled and convoluted as it is, is certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, itself the cause of many sniggers and giggles. Resident Evil 4 knowingly sent itself up – at every available opportunity. Resident Evil: Revelations is comedic because it’s so riddled with the obvious, the cliche, the transparent, that any attempt to shock, surprise or intrigue has already been accurately predicted beforehand – and the execution is hammy, cheap and hilarious.
But it is still a great game, a great example of a technically accomplished, triple-A grade game on hardware only a year old. There are no obvious examples – yet – of shortcuts, or graphical issues – the load times to stream/render areas are done with some intelligence (although they are noticable).
Revelations looks the part, handles the part and talks a very good game, although it is straight-laced deadpan comedy to Resident Evil 4’s clownish self-deprecating send-up.
Revelations is worth playing. And as good an example as needed that Resident Evil 6 may be back in safer hands – if a game such as this can be crafted to such a high standard, it bodes well for Resident Evil 6 later this year.
Which is why Revelations is so important. Not as a high-quality spin-off, but because it shows that Capcom still have the ability to make great games like this.
Once again, welcome back Resident Evil.