So it appears more or less official now that this secret game Capcom is set to reveal is Resident Evil: Revelations Unveiled. It’s kind of the worst-kept secret in a while, considering the ratings listings were confirming this in November. But you know what? I’m not excited by this. And I love Resident Evil.
I liked Resident Evil: Revelations. Let’s clear that first. I even named it as one of my best games of 2012.
Everything about Resident Evil: Revelations works, from the controlled sense of humour to the tight, claustrophobic corridor nature of the action. I wasn’t totally sold on the episodic nature and I sort of did skip the recap before and after each section, but you know what? At least I COULD skip them. The gameplay felt very much like the best of old and new Resident Evil, the simple but amazingly effective Raid Mode gave it a longevity and replay value that even the Mercenaries Modes have been sorely lacking of late and the characters were well-written, believable and interesting. More to the point, the control method on the 3DS was shockingly effective. It worked, and you can’t always put your finger on why it works, you just know it works and the touch-screen inventory allows the top screen to busy itself with the action independent of the pause menu.
In November, Joystiq amongst others reported that the Korean ratings board GRB had pushed forward a listing relating to Revelations on the X-Box 360 and PS3. Interesting, but there wasn’t much to go on with that – we thought “Hmm…”, and that was about it. Now, more fuel has been added to the fire with the indication via Exophase that Resident Evil: Revelations has a full X-Box 360 achievements listing. So it seems more than likely that yes, we will see Resident Evil: Revelations on the X-Box 360, at least.
And you know what? I’m not entirely sure that will work.
On the 3DS, somehow it works. The controls are tight and natural, and the touchscreen allows a fluidity in inventory and weapons management that really helped offset the sometimes quite frantic action on the screen above. No doubt that Revelations was a very pretty game – it was, and I’m sure a conversion into at least a 720p standard will look equally as lovely. But I’ve got to confess that part of my issue with Resident Evil, especially in the last few years, is that Capcom found itself very much at an impasse in terms of controls.
On the PS3 at least you know that the Move could operate much like the Wii Remote did with Resident Evil 4. And remember, that worked. Somehow, it just works and when something works that well it can be very difficult to go back to your basic, standard model. A lot of criticisms of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 have a lot to do with the control mechanism, and fans of the series still reckon that the Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition control scheme is the way to play this sort of game. A system that can convert fairly well to the PC, as modifications to Resident Evil 4 PC has shown. The series has found itself between that rock and a hard place, because it cannot come to a compromise between the great and the average when it comes to how you play it.
But it’s more than control issues, and knowing that we’re going to be back to fiddling with an inventory system and pause menus that will detract from the action – action that Revelations had in abundance. It’s also a case of asking if it is entirely necessary. In recent years, Capcom have been pretty terrible when it comes to actual ports; and this isn’t a port from one nearly-like system to another. This is taking a Nintendo 3DS game, built around two screens and touch controls, and trying somehow to cram that into a controller-based console game that still also has to be updated graphically so it looks right on a big HD screen – this is something Capcom haven’t been very good at recently either. If it was just the Wii-U, I’d shrug and still have issues with the graphical quality and transitioning from small screen to large screen – that will always be a problem for this sort of porting, after all. But at least I could feel somehow safe in the knowledge that the control system, the U-Pad, isn’t that far removed from the original and that system could – and should – transition quite nicely.
But then, we’re still in shock considering the news last week that Resident Evil 6, a game that was set to be the benchmark for the Wii-U in terms of graphics, has been officially killed off on the basis of it being a late port (so what is this Resident Evil: Revelations thing then, hmm?). We’re taking a game that worked perfectly fine on a 3DS and now Capcom, the notorious porters that they are, appear to be trying to make that fit onto the X-Box 360. And I’m sorry, I can’t see it working. This isn’t some blasé fanboy baiting here – I’m looking forward to trying out DmC this week, and Remember Me, and plenty of other games on the X-Box 360 and PS3 and Wii-U. I actually have Resident Evil: Revelations. I still love it. I still play it, and the addictive Raid Mode. But you have a company porting a game from the Nintendo 3DS to the X-Box 360, two very technically different platforms, and a company whose track record of ports the last few years has… well… let’s be nice and say “problematic”, eh?
Maybe I lack the vision for this sort of idea, and maybe it’ll work – who knows? But it seems unnecessary when Wii-U players wouldn’t mind ports of Dragon’s Dogma and Resident Evil 6 on their console, and for all the bravado of “not looking back”, that’s exactly what this port is. And worst of all, it’s a port that just sounds alien in its concept – it doesn’t come off as a natural fit, and if true is money that quite simply could be better spend on other projects and ports that people want to play and buy, no?
2012 wasn’t the best year for Capcom. 2013 was a time to sort of bury the difficult year they had and move onwards. I agree that moving onwards and upwards is important – after playing Resident Evil 6, I don’t think the Wii-U will miss that game really. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Resident Evil 6 had no idea what to focus on, so it just sort of unloaded everything everywhere and what you got was great bits married to really terrible bits, and no discipline to cut out the truly shockingly awful parts. But a port of Resident Evil: Revelations isn’t the sort of start I can get behind. I just don’t see the point. It’s going to be expensive, and it’s going to be super-risky. Those two key points should have knocked this idea on the head before it got out of the brainstorming room, but nope, here we are. Crazy Capcom looking to try another crazy port.
Part of me suspects however that this really is going to happen, and the reasoning for it happening is to at least get a good modern Resident Evil game out there to the console masses, in order to somehow distract us from the critical disaster that was Resident Evil 6. To try and court back some favour with the fanbase – a fanbase which most likely already owns Revelations. We do like the game. Really we do. But we like it on the 3DS. We like it like that because that was what it was designed and built for. It works on the 3DS because it was made for the 3DS. It feels like stating the obvious, but it seems like a fact that has missed some of the people in Capcom as they desperately rummage around trying to find a way to salvage the Resident Evil franchise. “I know, people liked Revelations! Let’s stick that on consoles!”, I think someone might have said before smacking their head repeatedly on a wall.
If Capcom want to salvage the franchise, this isn’t how to do it. Port the old Resident Evil remake. That would be interesting. How about perhaps trying a few small X-Box Live “Episodic” chapters like you see in Revelations and seeing how a few small but interesting games go? How about acknowledging that you can’t always rewrite things all the time; Resident Evil 4 worked. So go back and study why that game worked. Ask fans why it is Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 are unpopular, perhaps that will also help bridge the gap. There are plenty of interesting ways of going about making up for the last couple of console Resident Evil games, as well as that frankly insultingly poor HD port of Resident Evil 4.
If Capcom are using Revelations to somehow save face over Resident Evil 6, then I fear for the port. I really, truly do. It won’t help nurse the frustration so many have towards Resident Evil 6. If anything, it could be a financial disaster as people become inherently mistrusting of the Resident Evil moniker.
I do wish Capcom the best of luck with it. But you know, I’ve already got Resident Evil: Revelations. And I love it – it’s a brilliant, truly great 3DS game that shows what can be done with the system. Do they really think I want a compromise with a X-Box 360 or PS3 version? And 1000 points – so, is this a full retail game? As in, £39.99 retail game? More than I actually paid for Resident Evil: Revelations when it was released on the Nintendo 3DS at £27.99?
Err, no. Thanks. I’m disabled. It’s my body that doesn’t work. My brain is quite fine, thanks very much…